I'm not sure about the cash cards as I don't have one, has anyone tried using one yet?
Credit cards have always been an expensive way to take money out with both at home and abroad, they just got a little more expensive.
I use a visa debit card which is what most people will have whether its visa/Maestro/Cirrus etc and I still won't be charged by my bank its just at the Thai end.
You get a warning message before you take your money out so at least its not a charge you don't know about until it shows on your statement.
I am now toying with idea of getting a Thai bank account although they have pretty low rates for savings when compared with back home.
As far as I know the following banks are not yet charging the 150 baht and I've also included what they look like so that they are easier to find ;]
Kasikorn bank - green white and red ATM
Ayudhya Bank - yellow ATM
Bangkok Bank - blue white orange ATM
It just annoys me becasue the tourism sector is already suffering and this will not help, as people are hardly going to recommend Thailand if they've been ripped off everytime they take money out of an ATM, and people are already quite wary of coming here due to the various protests coups etc. One of the major things Thailand as a tourist destination had going for it was that it was value for money, it still is but it is changing rapidly particulary in the tourist resorts. I was on Kho Tao a couple of weeks ago and I was really shocked by the increase in prices, things have always cost a little bit more than the mainland but some things are double or even treble the price now.
You should check your bank statements, I use a Visa debit card issued through Barclays Bank, Isle of Man and I am charged a "commission" of 2.6% & a "fee" of 1.96% along with an exchange rate that is at least 2%-3% lower than a Thai bank exchange rate (this is due to Barclays Bank doing foreign exchange through "traders"!).
These are all consistent over the last several years.
In terms of a Thai bank account, I have both a THB account & a Thai GBP£ account NEITHER of which pays interest, as foreigners are not "residents" in their eyes unless they have changed nationality to Thai !!.
So whichever way you turn you are being shafted by the financial institutions.
I just love those banks.
I check my statements quite frequently and I don't get charged anything at all by my bank, no commision, no fees, just the slightly lower exchange rate which is actually quite good. I took out money a couple of days ago and I got just over 51 baht to the pound so its pretty good really. I used to be with HSBC and they were quite good at the time.
I am hoping that these few Thai banks don't introduce the charge, if they do I may have to open a Thai account and see what the tranfer fees/rates are
I was on Kho Tao a couple of weeks ago and I was really shocked by the increase in prices, things have always cost a little bit more than the mainland but some things are double or even treble the price now.
This is Thai psyche going to work. You'd think that a drop in tourist numbers would reduce prices, but it works the opposite way in Thailand. They increase their prices in order to get the same income from fewer customers.
I find it vaguely irritating that they have this two tier pricing system whereby Westerners pay double what the locals do. Then they complain that English teachers earn twice as much as their Thai counterparts, but they don't take into account the dual pricing system. Even electricity at around 8-10 Baht/Kwh is almost 5 times the amount a Thai national pays.
Unless one's income is from a Thai source, opening a Thai bank account isn't necessarily a fix. There are pretty hefty fees for transferring funds from a foreign bank. And, God forbid, if your deposit is a check, the funds are held up to 90 days.