Originally posted: January 2009
Last updated: February 2009
To be exact, I am referring to ATM cash withdrawal with Singapore issued ATM cards. What are the usual concerns if one were to withdraw Thai Baht out of any ATM machines in Thailand, will the inter-bank rates be favorable? What are the applicable charges?
For a start, I did a little experiment when I was in Bangkok a few weeks ago (Jan'09). Armed with an UOB ATM card issued in Singapore, I withdrew THB6000 from an UOB teller-machine along Silom Road. It was an arbitrary amount. And UOB (Thailand) was chosen because this serves a good baseline for future comparisons against other local Thai banks.
This was what reflected in my bank account after the above withdrawal.
Bank & Location: UOB, Silom Road (Jan 2009)
From my bank statement, I found that the conversion rate of 23.84 (THB6000/SGD251.68) to be very attractive. In fact, throughout my stay in Bangkok then, the over-the-counter exchange rates for SGD to THB fluctuated narrowly between 23.7x to 23.8x. It was a pleasant surprise that the inter-bank rates matched closely with the OTC rates! As for the service charge, I was slapped SGD5 (about THB119) for this service. Since this was my first record, there are no ground for comparison as of now.
I am likely to repeat the same practice but on a different bank when I am in Bangkok next week. This blog will be updated once I have more information.
The exchange rates decided to head South after a span of my 3-week hiatus. In Bangkok last week (end of Jan 2009), the OTC rate fell to the range of 22.7x - 22.8x.
This time, I made a withdrawal of THB6000 from a bright orange ATM a door away from the UOB auto-teller at Silom. The fruity-looking ATM belongs to Thanachart Bank.
Bank & Location: Thanachat Bank, Silom Road (Late Jan 2009)
Again, the interbank rate of (THB6000/SGD263.36) 22.78 was comparable to the OTC's. The SGD5 service charge appeared more like a norm to me now.
It is apparent that both UOB and Thanachart Bank in Thailand offer competitive (or perhaps, honest) rates. With careful planning, and restricting the number of overseas ATM cash withdrawal to just once or twice for the entire trip. This looks like a viable option. I now do not see the necessity of lugging a big sum of Singapore dollars for all my future trips.