A heavily-moderated forum containing essential information on various aspects of Cambodia. Only moderators can create threads, but all users can post. Questions should be asked in the Questions and Answers forum.
Ditto the above two posts - excellent service, but the ATM at the Sihanouk branch, near street 51, is often out of order. However, the branch a mile or so up the road (near the stadium) is usually working, so no major hassles.
I actually think banking has made great strides in Phnom Penh in recent years. Vattanac on Norodom also has excellent service.
O, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven
I want to recommend a moneychanger in PP. Sovann at 69 & 71 Street 136, Psar Tamei , between St. 51 [Pasteur] and 53 St. He does all kinds of currencies and has always given a slightly better rate for non-riel transactions than other shops I tried. He and his crew are dour but scrupulously honest.
He has an ongoing love affair with money and gold. If you check his DNA I’m sure you’ll find he’s a direct descendant of the moneychangers that Jesus kicked out of the temple. Also, when i have a bunch of US cash that I don't want to carry around, I give it to him to hold.
Also, generally, be aware that FOR CASH its better to buy Thai baht and Vietnam dong in PP than in Thailand or Vietnam if you go to a good moneychanger. Also, if you want to buy currencies other than baht, do not do so in Thailand. I believe Thai law forces banks and moneychangers to convert all currencies to baht first and then to the desired currency [2 conversions], which gives the buyer a distinctly lower net rate. [e.g. avoid buying US dollars for euros in Thailand].
And your friend Sovann doesn't do it in two steps?
CPB one of the best banks I have ever dealt with. Very short waits, ATMs seldom down, good staff. Hey, should I be getting paid for this?
When Wobby Wombler realised he didn't have the charisma to become an undertaker, he knew his destiny was in Accounting.
Do you mean he sells gold as well? I am trying to source some international coins or bars/chips/ingots.
Is Sovann the name of the shop or do they have some different name on the sign?
OK, this is dual purpose post - Thailand and Cambodia relevant.
Today I am consdering the best ways to access funds. For convenienece and preferring to keep in C$ , for the moment I am leaving all in my Cdn bank for which I have a VISA debit card. However, I see at least four hard costs of using it...
1. Fee for using foreign bank ATM. Solution: park some money in a bank that has ATMS overseas
2. C$5 (gotta check) for not using their own ATM Solution?
3. Lousy foreign exchange. How bad I don't know. Solution: In Thailand, at least, there is a Thai bank that posts FXS rateadvertises before (or is it after?) one takes out cash. I don't know which banks do this in Asian countries.
4. A percentage. I had forgotten this one. A US expat in BKK tells me that he gets dinged with this too, something like 3%. Solution: Perhaps there is a bank that cahrges zero, and makes its profit from investing and FXS speculation rather than dinging the custoemrs whose cash it is using to earn 100's of times more in inetrest than it pays its pedestrian investors (account holders)!
5. The extremely low interest rate earned in Cdn bank accounts
Since there are ATM limits and limits on cash withdarn back home one has to do multiple withdrawals - costing even more!
So, my question is, what is the REAL cost of using the banking system internationally? I mean, literally, when ou add it all up, what is one really paying to say withdraw $1000?
Same expat recomends going to the bank counter. That would save $5. Big deal.
It's complcated, not transparent (at least not obvious to me - I signed to terms). But it certainly seems worse than I recall when I was a teenager in 1971. Maybe banks aren't making enough money. Or they are passing on the cost of doing paperwork for gov't agencies and supragovernmental agencies.
I see it as political and financial in origin. The state seeks to 1) control unethical activity. a legitimate role some would say, and in some ways I agree; 2) criminalize non-victim activities that are not intrinsically unethical (e.g. vice), and 3) monitor even completely legal and acceptable activities that increases state control and justifies their existence/salaries; 4) make more money whatever the excuse
Looks like the only workaround is bringing cash or opening a local bank account. But in Thailand (unlike Camodia) one can't bring Canadian or even US cash and open a bank account. So one loses on an uneccessary exchange spread (buy and sell differences). Looks like there is significant cost any way you try to do it and 'the system' is very hard to beat.
I admit it, I am a romantic aboutr simpler times, financially unsophisticated, stubborn and a bit cheap. Some compormises might be in order to lower stress level!
The best place to start is with an excel spreadsheet, seriously!
You need to work out what each withdrawal or exchange is costing you, it is fairly horrifying to see the hard numbers.
As an Englishman I cannot advise on your best plan as a Canadian, but here are my findings, I would paste screen shots of various spreadsheets but my photoshop elements recently decided that it was a pirate copy, and will no longer work.
I start with an example of a typical UK current bank account as a warning of how bad things can be.
Use of a Lloyds Bank UK (GBP) account at an ATM in Thailand (THB):
Ref: Lloyds bank charges (pdf)
So assuming that the ATM allows a max withdrawal of 10,000 THB:
- quick calc (6% of 10,000) +150 = 750 THB, or 7.5% of the amount you withdraw. If you withdraw less than the maximum your charges will be an even higher percentage.
How can we improve this?
1. Pay for your bills with the Debit card rather than withdrawing cash,
That way the seller will get stiffed rather than you.
However Lloyds still charge the 2.9%, and there is a new charge of £1.00 for making a purchase using the card! So for small bills this will be more expensive.
2. Find a better bank account for use overseas.
If I use my Citibank UK debit card at a Citibank ATM overseas charges are minimal and I get decent rates. There is only one of these in Thailand, and none in Cambodia. I am certain that other international banks exist, what about CanadaBank?
3. Use a cash card
Companies such as Caxton and FairFX offer cards which you load with cash before travel, these still cost 2% - 3% plus the Thai bank charge.
4. Use a moneychanger.
I have tried this in Pattaya and got rates, very close to the market rate.
I could provide figures for 2,3,and 4, but cannot be bothered to check everything again.
So you need to find the way that is best for you, examine the banks charges, and do comparisons between the rate that you got, and the market rate.
If I am testing a new method I prefer to use the ATM on Sunday afternoon under the belief that the FX rate will not be moving as the markets are closed, I may be wrong.
sorry for the delay in my reply:
"And your friend Sovann doesn't do it in two steps?"
Yes, exactly. He will directly cross currencies in a single step and give a single quote.
Yes is a very active gold dealer, an item he loves even more ecstatically than money.
His shop is on the right as you face Psar Themi, one or 2 stores before the corner.
Well, Cambodian Public Bank just told me that Americans can come in and do a wire transfer to America for $25, even without an account with them...
U might also want to find out the SWIFT number for the intermediate bank that handles foreign incoming wire transfers for the bank u are sending money TO to save a lil money...
I wouldn't do that, only confuses everybody.
Just give them the bank details of the receiver.
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