I'm trying to figure out how much cash to bring for about 25 days in Vietnam and Cambodia. I don't love the idea of carrying around lots of cash, but I also don't love the idea of paying lots of fees to get cash there. My atm card charges $3 per transaction plus a 3% "exchange" surcharge, which isn't really about the exchange at all b/c they apply it to transactions in Cambodia where you're getting $US, so that's pretty steep. I'm hoping to rely on my capital one visa credit card as much as I can b/c they don't charge any fees, but I'm guessing that I won't be able to use it in lots of places (and I believe the places I use the credit card at may charge fees?). Will I at least be able to use it for more expensive stuff like Ha Long Bay tours, the Angkor Wat admission pass, the boat from Phnom Penh to Chau Doc, the clothes I buy in Hoi An and the cost to ship them home, etc.? I think I can get travelers checks for free through my bank as well, so they may be a better deal for me than my atm card. How hard will it be to find banks or other places where I can exchange them, and what rate am I likely to get?
There is a 'story' on money costs in SE Asia here on Travelfish, I suppose you've looked at that - if not...
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In Vietnam, many places accept a credit card, and while the more expensive places charge at the bill rate, cheaper places often want to put on a 3% surcharge (they say its what the banks charge them).
ATM's in Vietnam charge 20,000VN dong per withdrawal. ANZ allows 20 million VN Dong / transaction (they are only in HaNoi & SaiGon), most others are 9 million or less.
Cambodian ATM's are ANZ (different company) and charge US$5 per withdrawal. From memory, max is US$200 / withdrawal.
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If your debit card is so expensive, why not get another credit card and pre-load with cash and use that at ATM's.
That way, you minimise the withdrawal fee.
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I don't know what country you are in, but there is info here on Travelfish about various banks in various countries doing OK deals.
Here in Australia, both Visa and Mastercard allow the banks to put a (about) 3% charge on top. It's a blatant rip off by the banks. Fortunately, one bank doesn't take the amount so I can avoid. Maybe you have a similar situation in your country.
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There is always the matter of travellers cheques. Some contributers to Travelfish have said in their country there is no buy fee, and there is only a little fee in SE Asia. That may be a solution.
#2BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941