The Thai Bankers’ Association have recently introduced ATM cash withdrawal fees for credit and debit cards registered outside of Thailand. The fee is 150 Baht per transaction and is being phased in from April 17, 2009. Please note that this new fee is a separate addition to any fees that your home bank may already charge for overseas ATM cash withdrawals.
Are All Thai Banks Charging for ATM Withdrawals?
The Thai Bankers’ Association has a pool of members which covers the main banks in Thailand and so it is going to be difficult for overseas visitors to avoid the fees at ATM machines. Banks that are charging the 150 Baht withdrawal fee should pre-advise you on the ATM screen after you have entered your card details.
Update October 2012:
AEON Bank ATMs are still not charging the 150 Baht fee »
Does My Bank Charge a Fee for Using a Card Abroad?
To avoid any nasty surprises, always check with your bank the amount they charge for using your card overseas. This applies not just to ATM withdrawals, but also to credit and debit card purchases and cash advances. These will all normally attract a fee which is applied by your own bank in your home country. These bank charges applied by your home bank are separate to the 150 Baht ATM fee that is being applied by Thai banks.
What About Nationwide Flex Account Cards?
In the past, many savvy UK travellers have opened a Nationwide Flex account to avoid paying ATM withdrawal fees abroad. However, the 150 Baht fee will also be applied when using your Flex Account card at a Thai ATM. In a double whammy, Nationwide have also announced that they will now be introducing fees of up to 1% for customers using debit and credit cards outside of Europe.
How to Avoid the ATM Withdrawal Fee in Thailand
The new ATM fees mean that visitors to Thailand could save money by altering their habits. One option is to withdraw money over the counter inside the bank rather than at the ATM. In addition to your card you will also need your passport and some Thai banks may impose a limit on the amount you can withdraw in one transaction. Another alternative is Traveller’s Cheques. They have fallen out of favour in recent years, but they can prove a useful back-up. Thai banks typically charge a fee of around 30 to 35 Baht to cash each Traveller’s Cheque.
photo © Thaizer