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Money in Cambodia?

Melbourne, Australia
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26 posts
12 reviews
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Money in Cambodia?

Hi,

I am trying to figure out what to carry into Cambodia.

The hotels we are staying in do not have safes so I am a little dubious about doing what we normally do which involves withdrawing large amounts from ATM's (so that we dont do numerous withdrawals at $5 per transaction plus the currency exchange fee).

I am trying to figure out what method will cost me more...

withdrawing smaller amounts regularly from an ATM and incurring the bank fees from my bank and possibly the bank in Cambodia

OR

Travellers Cheques?

I looked into the cash cards offered by NAB but they have silly conditions attached like charging $10 to close your account and a monthly fee if you dont use it.

Anyway if anyone has done research into the most economical way to source money for a holiday advice would be most welcome.

Cheers and thanks in advance for any feedback!

Allie

Vancouver
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705 posts
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1. Re: Money in Cambodia?

Forget about travellers cheques unless you are staying at 5 star resorts. My experience is ,is that no one wants them and they are a big time hassle.I once cashed in $1500 worth in Manila at American Express headquarters, after being turned down time and time again trying to cash them.I took a considerable loss getting rid of them.

Ivest in a real good quality money belt like a "pacsafe" and carry around $300 or more USA at a time, without a worry about being pickpocketted.In my experience ATM's offer up a better trade than most money changers and there are ATM accounts out there apparently that have very small fees. Check into whats available in Melbourne, regarding low ATM fees abroad.

The money belt I have has a hidden latch(tucked under the pouch) that can't be easily undone....a wired belt that cant be cut by an exacto knife and locking zippers,making it a virtual nightmare for would be pickpocketers.For a regular traveller, a good moneybelt is a great investment.

Other than that...

In my opinion, Cambodia is a very safe tourist destination if one excercises common safe and has a good money belt in those crowded marketplace settings. It's the drunks and the careless types who run into problems.We felt really safe there, at all times.

Cheers!

Sunshine Coast...
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2,824 posts
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2. Re: Money in Cambodia?

There are a number of fee free accounts for you to choose from in Australia. If you are happy with your current bank then open a second fee free acount simply as a travel account and continue to use your current bank for your day to day needs.

NAB offer a Gold Banking Account which has fee free overseas ATM withdrawals and also free travel insurance. This account costs $10 per months UNLESS you deposit $5000 per month into the account. That money doesn't need to stay in your account it just has to be deposited. My local branch actually suggested to me that I open a Classic account (which doesn't have the $10 fee) and only change to a Gold account for the months that I am overseas. Even if you have to pay $10 per month that is only 2 ATM withdrawals for the other banks. However I simply deposit my salary into the account before transferring it elsewhere which takes care of the problem.

Citibank also have an account - Citiplus or something like that - which also has no fees. This is an internet based account. I have had one for years (although it only became fee free for OS ATM withdrawal recently) and I haven't set foot inside a Citibank branch in about 15 years.

For credit cards the best option is the 28 Degree Mastercard. This card used to be called the Wizard Clear Advantage Mastercard. You apply for it online just be sure to allow enough time before your travels. I have used this card for several years both as a credit card and also as an ATM card by preloading via Bpay and then withdrawing my own money. As long as you pay off the total each month there are no fees however if you don't pay it all off the interest rate is about 20%.

There are also a number of credit unions and perhaps some of the smaller local banks that also have fee free accounts. It's just a matter of finding the one that suits you. If you travel frequently it is certainly worth the time to find a cheaper option. Although if this is a once off trip for a couple of weeks perhaps saving $20 or $30 dollars is not so important.

Sunshine Coast...
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3. Re: Money in Cambodia?

Sorry meant to add that both the NAB Gold account and the Citiplus account pay virtually no interest but both can be easily linked to other fee free high interest accounts (if there is such a thing these days!!) so your savings can earn something for you.

Edited: 31 January 2012, 22:29
Palm Cove, Australia
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4. Re: Money in Cambodia?

Hi

That was a great detailed answer. Thank for taking the time. Harley

what about the currency conversion fee? How much is that?

BTW

I always travel with cash for my monthly trips (cc as back up) I find the more exchange get a better rate.

Sunshine Coast...
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5. Re: Money in Cambodia?

The conversion fee from 28 Degrees is the best I have ever seen. It has always been less than 1% from the "interbank" rate but as the AUD$ bounces around and I'm never really sure exactly when the conversion takes place it's hard to be exact. One time it even appeared to beat the interbank rate (which is impossible) but I think the AUD$ went up and down in the same day and I caught it at the right time.

I have had 2 other bank accounts where I was charged 2.5% and 3% conversion fee and the 28 Degrees card was always at least 3% better than those rates for money withdrawn at the same time.

(In Europe I often need about 1000 Euros to pay for apartments and typically I need to use more than one card at the same time to withdraw the full amount. This makes for very easy comparisons!)

I haven't used the NAB Gold card or the Citibank account overseas since they removed the fees so I have no direct experience but others report that the NAB Gold card also gives you a rate within 1% of the interbank rate.

Nick and Lynn Booth (Sydneynick and Lynn B) have posted quite a bit about fee free banking options for Australians on the European forums and they have been using a NAB Gold card for a while.

Citibank only dropped their fees within the last few months so I don't know how many people have tried them yet.

Sunshine Coast...
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2,824 posts
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6. Re: Money in Cambodia?

I really need to check before I hit submit!

I always carry some cash too. However if you lose cash it's gone so I typically only have about $500 to $1000. For one week in SEAsia that's a lot of money but if you want to spend 2 months in Europe then you will starve to death if that's all you have!

Vancouver
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705 posts
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7. Re: Money in Cambodia?

Harley...

You are so right about Europe and starvation.

Two star hotels there usually cost $150, while we had some decent hotel rooms in Cambodia/Vietnam for $40 or less.

We were thinking of a European tour, but most likely we'll be coming back to SE Asia next holiday season.

Palm Cove, Australia
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8. Re: Money in Cambodia?

Thank you again Harley,

I will be returning for a 3 month stay later in the year so your info has given me a good guide as will need to use cards. I will refer to this and read those OP’s posts. Ta .

I do not think other countries realize the fees and chargers our banks hit (try) us with…I question my bank and building society for every $1

I am returning very soon ( 1 mth stay) and with the AUD so high atm will be exchanging when there…I did this last year, even exchanged all my AUD before returning.

I have been collecting US for awhile now just incase it drops to 50cent again :-) should have afew holidays.

What have you decided Travelolic? Hope we didn’t take over your post too much.

9. Re: Money in Cambodia?

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