I remember reading about this topic somewhere on this messageboard before but I can't find the conversation anymore. Someone said that VISA would generally be better accepted than Mastercard in SE Asia. I only have a Mastercard, so I also ordered a Visa for my 3-month trip starting end of August. However, now I heard that Visa and Mastercard have merged and are now actually the same company and consequently they should both be accepted equally. Does anyone know anything about this? Is Mastercard still a problem in some parts?
#1 Danka has been a member since 23/4/2006. Posts: 24
i think that might have been me making that comment on visa vs. mastercard. we've been travelling around in thailand and laos for just over a month now, and i have to admit that the visa vs. mastercard distinction isn't as true as it once was. the majority of places we've seen take both cards now, although we have seen a few spots that still accept only one card, typically visa.
i guess i would say that you should be fine with just the mastercard. particularly when you consider that most folks just don't use a credit card all that often here (we've used ours exactly five times since we arrived), it probably isn't worth an extra effort to get a visa for this trip.
i hope that info helps and i'm sorry if my previous comment created a hassle for you. regards.
Thanks very much for your reply. I just cancelled my visa application and I hope I'll be alright with the master card. If you don't use your credit card very often in SE Asia, do you usually take out large amounts of cash or how do you deal with this?
#3 Danka has been a member since 23/4/2006. Posts: 24
I guess I am making a distinction between a credit card and an ATM card. We've only use our credit card to pay for airplane and train tickets on this trip, along with a few hotel rooms and one expensive dinner. Apart from that, we usually pay with cash as we go, pulling local currency out of an ATM with our ATM card from back home. It has a 4-digit PIN code.
Most of our travel is in Thailand this trip, so we pull out around something in the neighborhood of 7000 baht each time we need cash.
For Laos and Cambodia, we definitely have a few traveller's checks on hand, and some US cash too, to pay for things like the Lao visa on arrival fee and the taxi from Poipet to Siem Reap. But even there, we've pulled Lao Kip from an ATM in Vientiane using our ATM card and I'm told that US dollars are available from ATMs in Siem Reap.
The only trick to using an ATM card is that the money needs to be in the account before it can be withdrawn. Also, double check the fees your bank might charge you for these transactions, since they can add up quickly.
I hope that answers your questions. Take care.
Thanks for the information, Exacto. I have a Maestro/Cirrus ATM card. Do you know if that works in some parts? I guess some US Dollars are always handy as well. Will try to get those before I leave.
#5 Danka has been a member since 23/4/2006. Posts: 24
most of the banks here are on the maestro or cirrus networks. you'll see stickers or signs at the various ATMs to let you know if they'll accept your card or not.
i remember a few years back when ATMs were getting very popular in thailand, with one on every block or so. now you'll see entire groups of them with seemingly every thai bank represented. regards.
Thanks a million, Exacto. I should be ok then.
#7 Danka has been a member since 23/4/2006. Posts: 24
How easy is it to cash up travellers cheques in thailand?
#8 Enrico_Gatti has been a member since 4/5/2006. Posts: 17
it is very easy to cash travellers cheques in thailand. there are foreign exchange booths almost everywhere in addition to banks. you'll be asked to produce your passport at the booth as a form of identification. the down side on cashing TC's in thailand, however, is the service fees you'll rack up - typically about 40 baht per check, which is a considerable fee to pay just to exchange money.
hope that info helps. cheers.
Whilst on your tour, have you come across this 'LINK' logo as seen at the top of this cash machine----> http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/660000/images/_661590_link300.jpg
sorry, i didn't notice this logo on any of the cash machines i frequented. but that doesn't mean it wasn't there, just that i didn't particularly notice. maybe someone who is in thailand right now can have a look and tell you if they see it or not.
most credit/debit/ATM card issuers have a website listing the networks they are on and worldwide ATMs where you can use their card too. regards.