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Best Way to Handle Money....

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Best Way to Handle Money....

Postby MarkosC » 28 Jun 2016, 10:35

My wife and I are coming back to Taiwan for two weeks starting next week (from the US, she's from Taiwan and I've lived several months in Taiwan on and off), and we've had a bit of a debate about the best way to handle money:

1. bring in US$X and change it at a bank (suggestions as to which bank will be the best?)
2. just use the ATM (this is what I used to do when I lived there, but with 7-11 allegedly charging a NT$100 fee and with all the ATM + foreign transaction fees at home, this can get expensive if we do it often)

Of course, for a longer trip, #2 is the only option (and to be honest even if we do #1 we probably would end up going to #2 after a while, unless we very accurately guess the amount of money we'll use).

Thanks for any suggestions.

MC

[edit to correct grammar. I swear, native English truly am I speaker]
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Re: Best Way to Handle Money....

Postby super_lucky » 28 Jun 2016, 10:52

MarkosC wrote:My wife and I are coming back to Taiwan for two weeks starting next week (from the US, she's from Taiwan and I've lived several months in Taiwan on and off), and we've had a bit of a debate about the best way to handle money:

1. bring in US$X and change it at a bank (suggestions as to which bank will be the best?)
2. bring just use the ATM (this is what I used to do when I lived there, and of course the only way to do it for a long trip, but with 7-11 allegedly charging a NT$100 fee and with all the ATM + foreign transaction fees at home, this can get expensive if we do it often)

Of course, for a longer trip, #2 is the only option (and to be honest even if we do #1 we probably would end up going to #2 after a while, unless we very accurately guess the amount of money we'll use).

Thanks for any suggestions.

MC


For a two-week trip, No. 1 - in my opinion - is the only viable option.

The US Dollar is pretty strong against TWD - US$1 = 32.74 TWD. Megabank will give you a fairly decent exchange rate. I would only exchange US$100 at the airport for initial transportation expenses.

Depending upon your bank, you get hit coming and going on ATM fees. Wells Fargo jacks me for $5.00. Taiwan ATMs charge 100-200 TWD (?). I'm not sure because I almost never withdraw money from that WF card. [Meanwhile, wire transfers are exceedingly more expensive - but a different subject.]

Unless you're staying in a hostel, I wouldn't worry about having $30,000 TWD on me at any given time. In fact, when I first came to Taiwan all those years ago, I had way more than that on me for months at a time. Well, not on me, but in my personal possession. Even if you're going to have a couple of grand in US dollars on you, I don't see a problem with that, unless you plan on getting blackout drunk every night.

You could exchange $200-300 at a clip and still make out pretty good on the exchange rate. Those ATM fees are cancerous. :2cents:
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Re: Best Way to Handle Money....

Postby MarkosC » 08 Jul 2016, 11:53

Thanks, superlucky. We did that today. Wife's family is a long-term customer of Huanan, so we (supposedly) got the best rate there (and if we didn't it wasn't too far off......and that all I'll say... :). )
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Re: Best Way to Handle Money....

Postby Chris » 08 Jul 2016, 12:12

Bank rates are pretty similar, including at the airport.

If withdrawing from an ATM, withdraw the maximum amount you think you'll need, Withdrawing US$100 twice incurs double the fee of withdrawing US$200 once.

When you leave, change your money back to US dollars while still in Taiwan.
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Re: Best Way to Handle Money....

Postby Abacus » 09 Jul 2016, 06:00

super_lucky wrote:
MarkosC wrote:My wife and I are coming back to Taiwan for two weeks starting next week (from the US, she's from Taiwan and I've lived several months in Taiwan on and off), and we've had a bit of a debate about the best way to handle money:

1. bring in US$X and change it at a bank (suggestions as to which bank will be the best?)
2. bring just use the ATM (this is what I used to do when I lived there, and of course the only way to do it for a long trip, but with 7-11 allegedly charging a NT$100 fee and with all the ATM + foreign transaction fees at home, this can get expensive if we do it often)

Of course, for a longer trip, #2 is the only option (and to be honest even if we do #1 we probably would end up going to #2 after a while, unless we very accurately guess the amount of money we'll use).

Thanks for any suggestions.

MC


For a two-week trip, No. 1 - in my opinion - is the only viable option.

The US Dollar is pretty strong against TWD - US$1 = 32.74 TWD. Megabank will give you a fairly decent exchange rate. I would only exchange US$100 at the airport for initial transportation expenses.

Depending upon your bank, you get hit coming and going on ATM fees. Wells Fargo jacks me for $5.00. Taiwan ATMs charge 100-200 TWD (?). I'm not sure because I almost never withdraw money from that WF card. [Meanwhile, wire transfers are exceedingly more expensive - but a different subject.]

Unless you're staying in a hostel, I wouldn't worry about having $30,000 TWD on me at any given time. In fact, when I first came to Taiwan all those years ago, I had way more than that on me for months at a time. Well, not on me, but in my personal possession. Even if you're going to have a couple of grand in US dollars on you, I don't see a problem with that, unless you plan on getting blackout drunk every night.

You could exchange $200-300 at a clip and still make out pretty good on the exchange rate. Those ATM fees are cancerous. :2cents:


Except that you can pull out 20,000 out of the ATM at once which makes the fees 250-350NT in fees quite small. Some banks also don't charge ATM fees (like Schwab). And banks in Taiwan (or other money changers) also charge 100-200 in fees to change money. Basically it doesn't make much difference one way or the other.

One thing that all travelers should do though is carry 100-200 USD's as backup just in case there is a mixup with your card and it doesn't work when traveling.

The other thing that everyone should do is change their money back to USD's as Chris mentions. Any time you leave a country you should never take the local currency on to the next country (unless going across a land border). You will get a terrible exchange rate for TWD in most countries. Likewise your foreign currency (Ringit, Rupiah, Baht, etc...) will get you a horrible exchange rate at Bank of Taiwan. It is fairly easily to get a favorable exchange rate for USD's (and EU + a few other major ones) in any country.
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Re: Best Way to Handle Money....

Postby Doraemonster » 10 Jul 2016, 15:33

Cash exchange rates are relatively good in Taiwan against the US dollar and the euro (other currencies not so much). If you have an account with a local bank, you should check there first; otherwise, all banks will offer similar rates to non-customers. If you want to shop around, the two to compare first would be Mega Bank (兆豐) and Bank of Taiwan. Perhaps uniquely in the world, the exchange rates at the airport are not worse than anywhere else, at least as long as you make it during the trading hours. There is a flat fee for currency exchange at the airport but it's only 20 TWD per transaction if I remember correctly.

Still, I'd use the ATMs. Unless your card issuer has ridiculously steep fees for withdrawals abroad, the rates might work out even better yet or, in most cases, more or less the same. Exchanging cash is a hassle due to the need to locate a bank branch, go there within their ridiculously short opening hours while remembering to avoid the lunch break as well, bring a passport, fill some redundant paperwork and wait in line perhaps. Honestly, for a supposedly market economy, the inconvenience of the whole process is staggering. Even Russia did not have so much bureaucracy when I visited many years ago.

If you are going to move lots of money, you should probably consider a SWIFT transfer instead. For a two-week visit though and with a decent US-based bank account, ATMs are the way to go.
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