Thai Baht Questions


#1

I’m confused about Revolut’s Thai Baht conversion rates. I know there are other topics about this here, but none seem to give me much clarity. I have 2 questions:

  1. I understand that Revolut applies a 1.5% markup when converting into Thai Baht, but is this when (a) exchanging balances in the app, (b) making card purchases in Thai Baht, ( c) making ATM withdrawals in Thai Baht? Or all 3 of these?

  2. I understand that Revolut applies a markup on currency exchanges at the weekend. This is either 0.5% or 1%, but Revolut states that for the Thai Baht, this is 1.5%. Is this 1.5% in addition to the normal 1.5% markup - in other words, does Revolut add 3% to the currency exchange rate for the Thai baht at weekends?

(Note to Revolut: given that many travellers using Revolut probably travel to Thailand, an FAQ on Thailand would be very useful!)


#2

Can anyone answer this?


#3

looking into this (below) you’re right- 3% weekend markup fot THB


#4

Thanks for replying. I’m still not sure. I’ve read this before and it’s very unclear to me!

For a few illiquid currencies, we provide the best rate we possibly can. For THB…we apply a small 1.5% markup on the exchange rate.

During the weekend…for illiquid currencies like…Thai Baht, there is a 1.5% markup.

Is the weekend 1.5% markup simply the same 1.5% markup as Revolut applies during the week, or an additional 1.5% markup (i.e. 3%). The wording is very vague!

My guess is it’s the same, so 1.5% 7 days a week.


#5

@AndreasK could you please clarify this?


#6

@AndreasK are you able to answer this, or can someone else on the Revolut team answer this? Thanks !

@Mike are you able to answer the query, as you seem to be quite knowledgeable about issues concerning Thailand. Thanks!


#7

Hi. Your guess is wrong unfortunately.
What Revolut does is it applies a 1,5% markup on “illiquid” currency like THB under the pretence it is illiquid which is not true as Thailand is the biggest or the second biggest economy in SE Asia.
Not to go into too much detail, Revolut is charging a hefty margin on currencies like THB that might be slightly more difficult to “acquire” than lets say USD.

What happens during the weekend is… Revolut adds an additional 1,5% markup (making it 3% in total) for the purposes of currency markets being closed, and there is a chance Revolut could be loosing money when markets reopen on Monday, and that is the day Revolut buys the actual currency you were spending during the weekend. This weekend markup basically protects them against possible loses.

The way regular bank or credit cards work is that they authorise your card for spending during the weekend and your spending gets “settled” a few days later on a working day with a rate that Visa or Mastercard is able to secure on the “settlement day”. This means, with most of regular bank-issued cards, you will not pay this weekend markup, but at the same time, you don’t know what you will be paying for THB as the charge will be settled at a later date with kind of unknown exchange rate.

Revolut however works differently and the moment you swipe the card, that is the rate that will remain “locked”
For some things one is better than the other. But in most cases you would be loosing money if spending with Revolut in Thailand. Rate is more or less unlikely to fluctuate by 3% over the weekend.

If revolut dropped the “illiquid currency” charge for THB it would be great, at least during the week, but this way, you are basically paying more all the time just in case exchange rate changes significantly.

Unless you have some rip-off bank card, you are better off using that in Thailand.
For places like UK or US and most other parts of the world, that do not fall into “illiquid currency” category, Revolut is still the best because you know exactly that you are getting the best possible rate and that rate will stay the same (no settling delay).


#8

You might want to have a look at TransferWise Borderless Debit Card for THB spending. For GBP > THB conversion they offer mid-market rate +0.55% fee 7 days a week.

Come back to Revolut when they get it sorted


#9

Thanks @Mike for your detailed response. Much appreciated.


#10

Thanks @Platin, yes Transferwise looks like a good option.


#11

I dont think using ATM 's in Thailand is good idea anyway due to fact that all of them add their own withdrawal fees to foreign cards.
When I will go to Thailand I will use something like superrichthailand.com (good old-school “offline” currency exchange office)


#12

Superrich is very good, although I like to use SiamExchange just by the National Stadium. Great rates but mostly on pair with Superrich (only with main location). Superrich locations on BTS are a ripoff.


#13

Keep in mind that many people don’t like to walk around with large amounts of cash and cash exchange places really don’t address the issue.

As everyone probably knows by now, all ATMs in Thailand charge a fee of about 220 THB. There are only two exceptions to this rule. One is Aeon ATMs that charge slightly less, I think 150 THB.
The other is Citibank ATMs in Bangkok locations (3 branches only), where foreigners that have Citibank accounts available in their home countries, can use that card in Citibank and avoid the fee.
I know there are also some banks (mostly in the US) that will refund any fees charged by the ATM operator. In those cases, you can expect the fee to be refunded, but as i said,…I don’t know any banks that would offer this in Europe, I believe it is only “a thing” in the US with some banks.

That is why if you live in Thailand or visit the country a lot, it is very good idea, to open a local bank account to avoid most of the fees regarding withdrawals. Then you can wire the money to Thailand when rates are favourable pay a couple of hundred baht to make a large wire, and use local bank card to take out small amounts of cash each day.

One more thing that is interesting is, that all ATMs in thailand charge you withdrawal fee, but they have different limits of max amount.
If you can withdraw lets say 50 thousand THB, than 220 THB is not really that bad.
My general observation was that the max limits are as follows;
Max amount per each withdrawal;
Citibank - 50.000
AEON - 30.000
Siam commercial, Bangkok Bank and most other local banks have limits mostly set to 20.000

This way, you still get the best value at Citibank.


#14

To my surprise, it seems to take place in the UK as well. HSBC refunded overseas ATM fees as per below post:


#15

I’m afraid Platin is incorrect if insinuating that hsbc will refund “regular” atm fees. The example I used was regarding naughty atm’s that don’t forewarn you of fee, then charge you. In a case like that any decent bank should sympathize against such poor banking conduct and arrange some kind of refund since its normal practice that atm’s are supposed to advise you of any charges, before you actually proceed to withdraw any cash.

Therefore if at atm in Thailand says it’s gonna charge up 200 baht or whatever,
then that is good practice. So if u still proceed then you probably won’t get a refund because you were forewarned correctly.