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Tips for using ATM Machines in Phuket

Phuket Business | Phuket ATM machines

The simplest way to obtain local currency abroad is by using an ATM or automated teller machine, cash dispenser, hole in the wall... An ATM will normally give you a better exchange rate than you'd get if you were buying foreign currency with cash or travellers checks, since the exchange is made at the interbank wholesale rate.

ATM cash machines can be found all over Phuket, so gaining access to your money should never be a problem. Getting cash from the ATM in Phuket is almost exactly the same as accessing your money at home except the menu screen displayed after entering your pin number will usually be written in Thai, although there will be a small sign directing you to the English language service.

Withdrawing cash from a Phuket ATM will mean a currency conversion from your home currency to Thai Baht, charges for this will depend on your bank and can either be a percentage or the amount withdrawn and or simply a standard fee. It's worth finding out how you'll be charged before you travel as if your bank charges a standard fee per withdrawal it makes more sense to take out larger sums of money from the ATM in Phuket. Get the best exchange rates with your ATM debit card

ATM machines also allow you to take money out using your credit card. While this can be a convenient and tempting resource it's generally not recommended as bank charges tend to be much higher on cash withdrawals on credit cards and you run the risk of high interest rates if you aren't back home in time to make the payment. Unfortunately there is a lot of financial fraud in Thailand which makes many banks extra cautious when it comes to withdrawals. It is definitely a good idea to inform your bank that you'll be visiting Thailand and that you intend to use your ATM card in Phuket before you leave home. Otherwise you run the risk of your bank freezing your ATM card in case your card has been stolen. In the past some people have also had their cards frozen because their spending habits (making more withdrawals than usual) are not consistent with your normal usage, so by letting you bank know you will be on holiday and using your cards while in Phuket will help them understand your change in spending habits and location.

Carry a backup ATM or credit card. If you lose your ATM card or a machine can't read it, an ATM card for a different bank, or your Visa or MasterCard, will be a lifesaver.

Be just as aware of ATM machine scams in Phuket as you would be at home. There was a case of ATM fraud in Phuket although it should be noted that the people responsible were not Thai and are now resting not so comfortably in a Thai Prison. It's certainly not a common in Thailand as it is elsewhere in the world but you should not let your guard down just because you're on holiday. If you don't like the look of one ATM machine, then leave it and go to a different one. There is no shortage of options.

Bring along cash. A modest supply of cash is nice to have if the ATM link to your home bank isn't working. Internet connectivity or temporary power outages always seem to happen at the most inconvenient times and both could hamper your ability to withdraw money.


Last Updated: 18 Oct 2011