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Payments in Thailand: How to pay for goods and services

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Joanna Horanin

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Last updated at 24/05/2024, 00:45

Hi, I'm Joanna, the author of The Blond Travels. In the worlds of Thailand and Portugal, I feel like a fish in water - and it's no coincidence! I've been exploring Thailand for over a decade, and I've settled in Portugal for 6 years now. My mission is to support Dreamers - just like you - in discovering these fascinating countries and helping those in love with them find their own place on Earth, preferably for good! Let's uncover these unique corners of the world together.

Before visiting Thailand you might wonder if you would need cash, or is having a card enough to pay for goods and services. In this post I will tell you the best ways to make payments in Thailand.

Thanks for expats and tourists coming to the Kingdom in millions, Thailand is developing fast. All kinds of payment systems are available and working well. I have compiled a set of advice for you, so you can check how to prepare for your trip to the Land of Smiles.

Payment methods in Thailand

Here are the main payment methods that you can use when travelling or living in Thailand.

Cash

Using cash is common in Thailand because there are still a lot of independent, small vendors that only use cash.
Have cash with you if you shop at local markets, eat at street stalls, or catch a taxi off the street. It’s always good to have smaller money. The best way to do it, is to withdraw money from an ATM and then buy something small at a 7-11.

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    Quick advice: You don’t need to take cash with you. You can simply withdraw it from an ATM. The best solution is to have a Revolut account. Taking money out is free then and you only pay the ATM fee in Thailand, which is 250 Baht.

    Cards

    You can pay with cards in bigger shops, supermarkets and hotels. You will need your PIN and quite often you’ll be asked to sign a receipt as well.
    Foreign cards are widely accepted, including Visa and Mastercard. In some places American Express will not be taken.

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    Online payments

    In Thailand you can pay online for goods and services as well. There are Thai sites like Lazada, which is a bit like Amazon and you can buy nearly everything there.
    As it’s a bigger shop, they accept all kinds of cards.

    You can also pay online for taxi fares (Grab), or food delivery (Grab, Food Panda).

    Paying for goods and services by PayPal is not possible in Thailand at the moment. It’s illegal for businesses to use it. This might change in the future, but it’s yet to be confirmed.

    PromptPay

    If you live in Thailand, it’s an option worth considering. This is an e-payment system and a national payment system. It’s been operating since 2017 and aims at reducing cash usage. Over 50 mln people are registered to use it.

    Check out how to use PromptPay here.

    Digital wallets

    Another great option for expats in Thailand. The most popular digital wallets in Thailand are:

    • TrueMoney
    • Rabbit Line Pay
    • AirPay
    • mPay
    • GrabPay

    ATMs in Thailand

    Cash machines are very common in Thailand. In shopping malls, gas stations, by 7-11s and on main streets – you will see them in even smaller towns and villages. So, don’t worry that you won’t be able to take money out.

    Thai ATMs charge 250 Baht for one withdraw from a foreign bank account. To avoid fees, you can withdraw larger amounts, like 10,000 or 20,000 BHT at one time.

    If you have your own Thai bank account, you won’t be charged any fees. When you open one, make sure that you know where you can use your card. Many banks issue cards that can only be used when taking cash out.

    I think it’s worth mentioning that after a withdraw, the machine will first give you the money and then the card. This might cause some people forget to take the card. Always check and double check that you took it.

    Safety

    Thailand is relatively safe for travellers and expats. Here is some general advice on how to look after your money in Thailand.

    • When withdrawing money from an ATM, cover the keypad when entering your PIN.
    • Don’t carry all your cash with you. Try to use safes in hotels, store some money in other places, too. I would advise not to have too much cash anyway.
    • Have a spare card with you.
    • Make sure you can contact your bank to block your card and report a fraud.
    • Pay online only on trusted sites.
    • Don’t give anyone your card/bank details.