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I have some investments that will be generating revenue in Pounds (UK banks), Euros (Holland, Lithuania) and PayPal.

I am planning on doing a lot of travel in South East Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia) and will need to withdraw money in those countries, I have both Visa an Master Card (Debit and Credit cards).

After reading a few articles, so far I can see that getting money out in that region might not be as straightforward as going to ATM and not as cheap as I am used to.

What would be cheapest way to move cash and take it out as dollars or local currencies?

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My experience was that the most cost-efficient way was to find a supermarket that accepts debit/credit card payments at checkout. It is possible in all the countries listed above in all major cities including India.

To take out cash in most of the countries you will have to use ATM, and fees will be around 3-5 USD per ~100 USD taken out. If you get offered 'conversion' at ATM always refuse or you will be hit with extra ~5USD as they will use local (worse) conversion rate than western banks provide.

You can forget (as of 2019) of using mobile providers (Google Pay, Samsung Pay) they are almost nonexistent in SE Asia.

  • My bank refunds ATM fees for getting cash in foreign countries (I've used this a lot in the past when they used to charge fees on electronically paying in foreign currency - but I haven't been to Southeast Asia so I'm not sure whether there's a catch) – cbeleites Apr 24 at 15:39
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Depending on the amounts needed using transferwise with a local account may be a good solution.

If amounts are lower you can get intra-bank rates for purchases using cards from Revolut and N26. (They also have zero fees on wire transfers and any type of transaction whatsoever.)

If the country you visit isn't very high on card usage, you can always make cash withdrawals using the aforementioned banks either free up to an amount or with a markup of about 1.7% on the intra-bank rate.(just as the other answer suggests always opt for your bank to handle the currency conversion are it will always be higher to do with the local bank processing the transaction)

  • My apologies if not allowed, and will delete if so, but I use N26, and there's a promo right now whereby being referred you get a 10eu credit from them upon successfully making your first transaction. In case someone sees merit in a new account with them, feel free to use code: leonidab2795 on registration to claim this bonus. – Leon Apr 23 at 8:43

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