Finance and money forum

Fee free UK debit card in Thailand / Laos / Cambodia?

  • Jeromeo

    Joined Travelfish
    26th June, 2009
    Posts: 2

    Hello all!

    Advice please...

    I'm due to fly into Bangkok in September to spend two months travelling through Thailand, Cambodia and Laos before heading over to Oz, NZ and Fiji. I'm trying to figure out which one of the UK banks let you withdraw money, or use it for transactions, for free (or at least the cheapest one out there). Any ideas?

    I'm with Lloyds TSB currently and they charge a percentage of the transaction plus a fee for withdrawing the money. There's got to be better out there!

    Failing that, am I better off taking cash??

    All thoughts welcome and thanks in advance!


    #1 Posted: 26/6/2009 - 00:58

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  • BruceMoon

    Click here to learn more about BruceMoon
    Joined Travelfish
    27th December, 2008
    Location Australia
    Posts: 1941
    Total reviews: 6

    According to:

    You appear to need to look for a Nationwide card (tho somewhere someone said they were introducing fees, but still low).

    I don't know, I'm in Australia.

    Elsewhere on Travelfish you'll learn that nearly all banks in SE Asia charge foreign customers a transaction fee to use the ATM.

    Type in ATM fees Thailand in Search Travelfish (above) to see the 'latest' for Thailand: last was some charge, others don't. But all ATM's have a fee in Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia.

    Not in Malaysia.


    #2 Posted: 27/6/2009 - 11:44

  • tails101

    Joined Travelfish
    1st April, 2006
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 105

    Hi Jeromeo,

    If you are after a fee-free uk debit card you are now pretty much out of luck these days... unless you go for a monthly fee paying bank account.

    Nationwide are still the best value in terms of debit card - they don't charge any commission on the exchange rate (you get the bank rate) or a fixed extra fee for withdrawing the money, but they do pass the currently 0.84% visa fee (going up soon to 1% I think) on to you... so basically for every £100 equivalent you withdraw, it will cost you at most £1... In Europe, you don't pay this visa fee either.

    However, I believe Nationwide do a cash card account which still currently offers completely free cash withdrawals overseas... however, it isn't a debit card, simply a cash withdrawal card.

    Hope this helps...


    #3 Posted: 27/6/2009 - 17:31

  • Jeromeo

    Joined Travelfish
    26th June, 2009
    Posts: 2

    Thanks alot guys, I was under the impression Nationwide was the one to go for and you've just confirmed my thoughts!

    I'll be down there Monday to open my account....


    #4 Posted: 27/6/2009 - 17:48

  • dkanalie

    Joined Travelfish
    29th April, 2011
    Posts: 3

    For anyone who is withdrawing cash from a EU country in Thailand usually has to pay 150 THB. Stop it! I spent thousands before I guess. Just got an account and VISA card for free (no FEES at ALL) and get the 150 THB refunded. Not only available for people from DE / A / CH, but for everyone speaking a little German or is willing to use a German Online Account interface.

    FYI: All savings are INSURED by the German government! No fishy bank at all. Check it out:

    Just my two cents ;)

    #5 Posted: 29/4/2011 - 20:19

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    As far as Cambodia goes:
    This is an entry taken from my Nationwide account (UK) from Feb. this year withdrawn in Phnom Penh .It was $400 and the statement reads £248.17 (that's the exchange rate $1.61) Pretty fair for the time.On top of that is a non-UK commission fee £4.96 and then non-UK cash w/drawal fee £1. So I paid about 2.25% commission all in.
    Probably the best deal available.The statement reads Sun Simexco Co.
    The machine is about 100metres down from the Phnom Penh hotel on Monivong Blvd. and across the road.It was recommended to me as some banks take more.
    Thailand is a complete rip off.Take Travellers Cheques.High value ones are the best since they still only attract the 48 baht transaction fee and you get a slightly better rate than cash so it evens it out.

    #6 Posted: 29/4/2011 - 23:10

  • rledez1990

    Click here to learn more about rledez1990
    Joined Travelfish
    12th March, 2010
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 106

    The account you're looking for is a Nationwide Flexaccount by the way, just to save you time! And it definitely is the best- i trawled in and out of every bank on the highstreet last year before my trip and, although there is a minimal charge for some usage, its far and away better than what any other bank provides (ESPECIALLY Lloyds TSB!)

    They don't let you open Flexaccounts that easily though- the application is subject to a credit check and you have to blag that its going to be your main account and that you'll have at least X amount of money going in there every month. If you get through that process though it's really good!

    #7 Posted: 29/4/2011 - 23:34

  • stevejames00

    Joined Travelfish
    29th January, 2009
    Posts: 53

    Check out Caxton FX card. It does not charge you fees and the exchange rate is pretty good.

    #8 Posted: 30/4/2011 - 00:57

  • Nixxypie

    Joined Travelfish
    27th April, 2011
    Posts: 55

    Hi, I'm going to Thailand in August and September and have been wondering the same thing... I found this which might help. Money saving expert is run by this guy called Martin and it's so good (even just for restaurant vouchers and comparing prices of other things). He just tells you the cheapest and best way to do everything, it also has travel insurance on there too if you haven't sorted it yet.

    I don't understand the interested associated with credit cards as I've never had one, but reading the article he suggests that the cheapest way to spend money is to open a Halifax Clarity credit card but make sure the bill is paid off in full at the end of the month, otherwise you're hit by the interest.

    I hope this helps.

    Also, I personally wouldn't recommend taking cash because for the length of time you'll be there you're going to need hundreds of pounds, and if it's stolen you're f*****. I'm going to take a bit in cash for each currency, and some british cash to exchange out there, but the majority of it I will be spending on a card. Yeah fees are annoying but surely you'd rather pay the extra few pounds per transaction rather than put yourself at risk and lose your money altogether.

    #9 Posted: 30/4/2011 - 23:27

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