Many shops in Thailand (as well as hotels, restaurants and major department stores) will accept credit cards but will often charge you. The typical charges are about 3% for Visa or MasterCard and up to 5% for American Express.
Thai Credit cards
If you’re using a Thai credit card, you will not have to pay the foreign exchange fee that you would with foreign credit cards. However, getting a Thai credit card is not exactly easy – especially for foreigners.
To apply for a Thai credit card, you will need to provide a valid work permit, proper visa documentation and history and proof of income. Foreigners holding retirement or spouse visas may not be able to apply for a credit card. However, you might want to check this at several branches as regulations differ between banks.
The big banks in Thailand such as Bangkok Bank and Siam Commercial Bank will request that you have a minimum monthly income of 50,000 -150,000 Baht before issuing a credit card. Krung Thai Bank, however, will only request an income of 15,000 Baht per month (figures for 2009).
Most credit cards have a withdrawal limit of approx. 2,000 – 4,000 Baht per day. There is also a monthly limit which varies between banks. The interest rate will also vary depending on the bank.
Debit cards in Thailand
Once you have opened an account, you will receive your debit card. The debit card will allow you to deposit and withdraw funds from your account at ATMs/cash machines.
Traveller's cheques are widely accepted in many Thai hotels, major shops and restaurants. You can convert traveller's cheques into Thai Baht at a bank or a similar foreign exchange facility. To exchange cheques, you will need your passport.