2014年2月4日 星期二

[Travel Taiwan] Money Matters

Travel Taiwan is a series that covers any information related to traveling in Taiwan.



Hello world! This is Lenny, reporting from Taiwan J

When traveling abroad, whether you’re a champagne and yacht kind of person, or someone with the backpacker’s spirit, it’s always better to carry some cash with you, and today I am going to talk about some frequently asked questions about money in Taiwan.

What is the currency used in Taiwan?

The currency we use in Taiwan is New Taiwan Dollar, or NTD. Bills come in  NT$100, NT$200, NT$500, NT$1000, NT$2000; coins come in NT$1, NT$5, NT$20, NT$10, NT$50. 

The currency rate is about NTD : USD = 30 : 1, or NTD : EUR = 40:1.

NT$20, NT$200 and NT$2000 are relatively uncommon, and on the rare occasion, some shops might not accept them, so keep this in mind when exchanging currencies. Don't fret when you get them though, they are probably legit! Very few counterfeit currency issues here. 

The best thing about NTD is that the size of the coins are in accordance to the value, with NT$1 being the smallest one, making it easy to differentiate the coins when you are caught at the supermarket with 20 people lined up behind you. (I'm looking at you Canada! what's up with dimes smaller than nickels?!) If all else fails, spread all your money on the counter and give the cashier a clueless look and they will help you, 99.9% chance they will not swindle you and take more than they should. (no promises though, don't sue me if they do) 

NTD is used only in Taiwan.
Picture courtesy of Taiwan.net.tw


Can I use USD or other foreign currencies in Taiwan?

In almost all parts of Taiwan, only NTD is accepted. However, in some popular tourism spots where the competition between shops is intense, e.g. Alishan or Sun Moon Lake, some shops will take USD, RMB, or HKD. This is illegal, and I won't advice running around with only USD or RMB. Other currencies are not accepted anywhere.


Where can I exchange money? 

Money exchange is only available at government-designated banks and hotels. (Click here for list of designated banks) Contact your hotel/hostel and ask them if they have the service.

IMPORTANT TIP : Most banks are only open Mon-Fri 0900-1530, so I would advise travelers to exchange at least some money before they depart for Taiwan, or, you can exchange your money at the airport, Bank of Taiwan(台灣銀行) and Mega International Commercial Bank(兆豐銀行) have booths at airports, but do take note of the operating hours if your flight has a extreme arrival time.
A common traveler's myth(?) is that banks have the worst exchange rates, but since there are NO private exchange facilities in Taiwan, there is not much difference. 

Airport currency exchange operating hours and map: (click them!)

ANOTHER IMPORTANT NOTE: NOT ALL CURRENCIES ARE ACCEPTED. USD is widely accepted, other currencies only accepted at aforementioned two banks (台灣銀行/兆豐銀行), and a few currencies are only accepted at the airport, such as Rupee. I have a ridiculous story on trying to exchange rupee in Taipei, and I hope no one will ever have to go through that again!

Older version of USD bills or stained bills might be charged a handling fee. (What's an old version? I have no idea. Check with the bank.)

Is there other currency exchange places available?

There are NO private money changers in Taiwan. If someone tells you otherwise, be suspicious. (or get some hard evidence to convince me, and I'll edit this post.)

How much money should I exchange? 

It all depends on your travel style and number of staying days. You can always exchange more later, or use other means of payment. Some necessary spending from landing to getting to the city:
Bus fare from Taoyuan Airport to Taipei: NT$125
Taxi fare from Taoyuan Airport to Taipei: around NT$1000 
Taipei MRT: around NT$25/ride
Taipei Public Bus: NT$15/ride

For further information on costs of Taipei please see Money Matters part 2. (coming soon!)

Can I use Credit Cards in Taiwan?

Yes! major credit cards like American Express, VISA, Master Card and JCB are all widely accepted. Obviously street vendors don't take credit cards, but convenience stores, some shops and restaurants don't take credit cards either, be sure to ask before you make a purchase. If you are caught at the counter with no cash to pay with, politely tell them so and ask where the nearest ATM is, then come back with the money after you make an withdraw from the ATM. (If you don't go back to pay then shame on you!)

TIP: An alternative to exchanging money at the bank is utilizing credit cards and ATMs. You can withdraw the amount you need whenever you wish, taking away the stress of carrying around lots of cash. There are ATMs in almost all convenience stores and all banks, so it's very convenient.
Check with your bank beforehand:
if it provides international withdraws;
if there are any additional handling fees;

it a different password is required to make withdraws.
Also take note of the daily withdraw limit of ATMs.
Bonus: Some travelers have noted that the ATM withdraws gives a better rate than exchanges at the banks!


What about Traveler’s Check?
Most stores in Taiwan do not accept traveler's check, please exchange it to NTD. Stick to cash and credit cards!

Conclusion

All in all, Taiwan is a pretty convenient place, (convenience is key) as it is highly modernized and international. Also the crime rate in Taiwan is pretty low compared to other countries, so I won’t worry about getting robbed. But don’t go around showing off your money either! If you are so unfortunate to get robbed or stolen from, report to the nearest police station immediately and those friendly non-English speaking policemen will do everything they can to help you. This is where a Chinese/Taiwanese-speaking friend will come in handy, so try to make friends when you're here!



Do you have any NTDs in your traveler’s trophy collection?
Do you have any money-related stories, good or bad, that happened in Taiwan?

沒有留言:

張貼留言

Disqus