American express or not? hmmm....help me decide!


#1

I’m coming over to study in three weeks, should I leave my cash in the bank and use my cash-card to withdraw it, or should I get travellers cheques, which I can replace if lost or stolen. Last year, I had murder trying to cash travellers cheques in stirling, so would want to bring dollars. Will this cost me too much though in converting between GBP-USD then USD-NTD ?
Which will be most cost effective, considering I’m changing a few grand.
THanks in advance. Up the Toffees.


#2

Evertonexpat, not sure exactly how the Banks opperate in the UK, but if they are similar to Aussie banks you will be charged an internal trans-action fee if you withdraw from a ATM. Which is quite costly if you make alot of transactions. I suggest you bring travellers checks rather than cash, as you can replace if lost or stolen. From my experience I have had no trouble exchanging foriegn currency (australian or HK ) to $NT. Some banks charge a fee to convert foriegn currency and some do not. I know at the airport you are charged about NT20, which is not much. If the cost is minimal to change stirling to $US, go with $US, as the US dollar is usually quite strong and you get a good conversion rate when converting to $NT. I think the US$1 =NT$34 now. not sure about the stirling. Hope this is helpful. Have fun in taiwan, you’ll really like it!


#3

Hi Evertonexpat,

I totally agree with what HYBRID says here. A couple of things I want to add is that while you are in Taiwan, try to use credit card (you do have a couple of them, don’t you?) as much as possible, as the NT dollars are quite weak against US$ or UK sterling pound, assuming you can pay your credit card bill while you are in Taiwan (I have automatic withdraw from my bank account to pay for credit card bill). Also, when you convert to local currency (NTD), you want to do it altogether so you don’t get charged (if there is any) for the processing fees more than once. However, you might want to get NT$500 (US$15) or so in your pocket before you board the plane in UK, just in case you might need it before you get to the bank in Taiwan.

Have a great trip. You’d like it here.

Ta-ta


#4

I’d bring checks, as I’ve never had good luck with foreign cash cards here. Also, if you have Amex, you won’t be able to pay the bill here unless you have an ARC. (Unlike other countries.)


#5

Totally agree with the previous replies. I highly suggest bring travelers cheques, and in fact totally discourage bringing cash if possible. Taiwan is relatively safe, but it would certainly suck if your cash were lost or stolen. With cheques you can have peace of mind that you can recover your funds should something unexpected happen. Also, bringing a few bucks in $NT is great advice. If you don’t have a place to stay already and will need to stay in a hotel or hostel the first night or few, you might want to bring a bit more (NT$1000 should be sufficient if you can handle hostels over pricey hotels) or change it at the airport once you arrive in Taiwan.

Good luck to ya!


#6

Disagree with Flicka regarding the ARC requirement when paying the AMEX bills - the American Express Bank lets you lodge wads of cash against the card without the ARC.
However be warned that American Express is the most inefficient bunch of … anyway turns out that they are not a single company and it can take up to 5 weeks, yes, 5 weeks, to move the cash from AMEX in Taiwan to AMEX in your home town. In that time they, no doubt, have charged you interest, the exchange rate has changed and you owe more money - so you pay again and in the next 5 weeks they charge you interest, the exchange rate changes and …ad infinitum.

By this time you have got your ARC due to the citizenship of your grandchildren - so you suggest they issue you with a local card and trasfer the balance so you can pay this thing off in full. But you can’t … they can’t do that until you clear your outstanding balance with the other American Express company … so you pay your bill and etc etc etc.

That felt better … I’ll take my tablets now please
And then when you helpfully suggest that they issue


#7

BKH, hope you didn’t run out of your tablets! :mrgreen:

I was never a fan for AMEX unless my company gave me one. I use VISA for my personal shopping spree. This is what I’ve been doing (I probably didn’t make myself clear in early response). I have a bank account in the States and got the credit card in the States too so when I use my VISA card in Taiwan, the charged amount convered into US$ and goes to my credit card company in the States. At the end of each month (or whenever the credit card balance is due), my bank automatically deduct the balance from my account so I always have a zero balance on my card to avoid the interest charge.

Anyone out there has tried this? I am not sure how you apply a credit card here as I don’t see the benefits of doing it.

A side note - I’d be a bit careful about living in your girlfriend’s niece’s place. I stayed with a family I know for a long time for two weeks and couldn’t wait to move out to be on my own. Apart from I’ve been living by myself since I got out of high school, the obligation and baggages are a little bit too much for my big head. Don’t get me wrong, I visit the family at least once a week to these days, but I am not able to handle living with them day in and day out if you know what I’m talking about. :unamused:

Peace out,

Cheers,


#8

Use both local and foreign credit cards here, though try to use the local ones as much as possible. Like crunchnumber then my foreign cards are paid direct from my bank account in my home country, no need to try and pay them from here.

As far as Cash or Travel Cheques are concerned then bring Chq’s, NT$ are not normally available in the UK unless you preorder them with your bank, or at least that is my experience.


#9

I’m surprised - there are loads of banks in Stirling. Perhaps it was the accent ?