Like most people, I don’t want or like to carry around a load of cash with me day to day. When using the ATM’s you’ll be charged around 200THB plus any charges your bank decides it wants to! So this is what I use to avoid foreign ATM fees in Thailand.
“Be aware that you will be charged a local ATM fee of around 200THB no matter what foreign card you are using. This post is about limiting your bank charges.”
While some of these cards are available worldwide, this post aimed at people from the UK. As that’s where I’m from and the services that are available to me.
Avoid Foreign ATM Fees In Thailand
We now have a number of options to avoid foreign ATM fees in Thailand. I’ve listed a few of these below.
If you currently bank with Nationwide, go with the FlexPlus account. You won’t be charged a fee to take out your money, only the local ATM charge. You also get worldwide family travel insurance AND worldwide family mobile phone insurance – So it’s not a bad deal!
This does, however, cost £13 a month. So if you can make use of all the other benefits that come with the FlexPlus account, it’s worth looking into.
These guys now offer the TransferWise debit Mastercard® and allow you to load the card with money for more than 40 different countries.
Thailand isn’ listed as a currency that the card can hold. You can however still use your pound sterling (or other currency) on the card when withdrawing money from the ATM’s.
This card does come with a few limitations, in that it’s free ATM withdrawals up to £200 per 30 days and a small conversion fee. Typically between 0.35% and 2%.
But you do get your money at the real exchange rate and the card is accepted anywhere in the world that accepts Mastercard.
There is also no monthly fee to use the card.
For me, this is my ideal ‘backup card’ and one that I have and take with me for those just in case moments.
This is a card that I’ve only been using for the past year and I might be a bit bias as I love my Starling Bank card in Thailand!
The app is simple to use and you get notified the moment you make a card payment.
Unlike some of the other travel cards, this is free to apply and you don’t need to add £10-£20 to your account before they send you a card.
There are no monthly limits on how much you can take out before you start getting charged. It’s just the local ATM fee you pay, and in some cases, I’ve had Starling Bank refund the local ATM fee!
Transferring money to and from the Starling account is instant. So no waiting for a day or two to spend your money.
As with the TransferWise card you get the real exchange rates when using the card but without the conversion fees. There is also no monthly fee for this card.
I use my Starling Bank card in Thailand as my main card and so far I’ve had no issues at the ATM’s or in the shops.
While there are a few more card options out there, these are the ones I’ve personally used to avoid foreign ATM fees in Thailand. I know of people that use Monzo and Revolut while travelling and have had no issues. For me, they are very similar to the TransferWise card.
You can’t go too far wrong with using Starling Bank card in Thailand as your main travel card!
Use your local banking app (with a VPN!) to transfer money over to your Starling account and away you go. I do this more for security than anything else, keeping my main money away from my holiday money.
Basically, if anything happens to my Starling card, I’ve only lost a little bit of money and not everything in my main bank account.
In short, using the Starling Bank card in Thailand as your main bank account and the TransferWise card as your backup.
Let me know in the comments below of your money tips on how you avoid foreign ATM fees in Thailand.