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ATM or Credit Card?

Travel Forums Asia ATM or Credit Card?

1. Posted by JAY_H (Full Member 69 posts) 9y

Hi guys
Off to SEA alone and was planning on just taking an ATM (Visa) card and a bit of cash for my first week. Never been before and was just trying to get some advice really. As ive never been before i dont know what people do, I dont know if i should get a credit card or will i be ok just with the ATM?
Cheers for the info :-)

2. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 1587 posts) 9y

I bring all three - cash, travelers checks and a debit card for the ATM. A credit card will work in ATM's but keep in mind that some credit cards have big fees for each ATM use (and the interest starts immediately after withdrawal.) I keep a credit card only for emergencies that might come up when I am overseas.

I do use a debit card for withdrawals sometimes from ATMs and my credit union pays for my ATM fees (no interest with debit cards.)

When you use an ATM take out the most you can at one time so that you can cut down on a lot of big fees. You should also check with your bank or credit card issuer to see how much the fees are, perhaps you have a particular card with lower fees you can bring. If you plan on only using ATMs for your cash make sure you have a back up credit/debit card in case that card is stolen, lost or damaged.

There are ATMs available in many places in Thailand, including at the airport, be aware of who is nearby and cover your hand from prying eyes when you enter your password. You will have to change money so that you have some small bills for paying the taxi and other cheap purchases. Thai 1000 baht and 500 baht notes may be too large for the taxi driver to cash or he may say he has no change and hope you will tell him to keep the change.

Always use the safety box provided by the hotel for safeguarding your money and valuables.

3. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 1587 posts) 9y

Quoting JAY_H

Hi guys
Off to SEA alone and was planning on just taking an ATM (Visa) card and a bit of cash for my first week. Never been before and was just trying to get some advice really. As ive never been before i dont know what people do, I dont know if i should get a credit card or will i be ok just with the ATM?
Cheers for the info :-)

Forgot to mention, for purchases in stores or restaurants use cash. The fewer times you expose your credit card the less chance of fraudulent charges showing up on your statement. It's too easy for a someone in a restaurant or store to telephone your credit card numbers to an accomplice in another country like Hong Kong and that accomplice run up a lot of charges on your tab.

4. Posted by Degolasse (Travel Guru 823 posts) 9y

I use ATM debit cards almost exclusively. Check the back of your debit card, it should have either PLUS or CIRRUS on it. These are the international banking companies, and as long as you find and ATM with that symbol on it, you can use your card. I always carry a VISA card as well just in case, but in all my travels, it has left my money pouch once - in Laos when there was no ATMs an I withdrew money at a bank on my VISA card. In Indochina you will end up using American money quite a bit, so its always good to have a bit of US cash in small denomination with you. In Cambodia when I was there there were no ATMs so i just changed US cash or travellers cheques. I believe there are ATMs now though.
I always carry travellers cheques as well, and besides the odd occasion like in Cambodia I almost always end up going home with them all unspent. But they are good as a back up.

5. Posted by rama_h (Inactive 91 posts) 9y

use atm to take cash, credit card to go shopping, cash just a bit at a time so it's safe for you to travel...

6. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 9y

Hello Jay

ATM machines are in most major cities at least. But I have heard, that they often dont work, in Laos.

Be careful, with your credit card, in South East Asia, especially Thailand. Credit card fraud is common. Best to only use it, in big international hotels and other such places. And the credit card people might stop your credit card, when they see it is being used in Thailand. Then u will have to go to the inconvenience of phoning them, and having it reinstated.

U can also bring a stash of cash, in Euros or US dollars, if u keep it in your money belt and take it everywhere, with u. Never leave it in your room and take it to the shower with u. Guesthouse rooms are easily broken into.

Mel