Best place to convert TWD to USD

I am in Taiwan now. I need to convert some TWD to USD for travel. Should I try the money exchangers or banks or other options? Generally, the line at the banks is really long so I tend to avoid them. But, if the rates are better I would still go for it. Let me know your thoughts and experience.

Bank of Taiwan is usually pretty decent. Bring passport.

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Yes.

In fact, the small branches at the airport (TPE) have always been fair enough for me (I think the most I’ve ever exchanged for USD was NT$40k). My wife insists I can do better, but it’s always minuscule and, imo, never justifies sacrificing the convenience of TPE. And you’ll have your passport handy, too.

eta: best to check the hours open first. The branches you encounter before inbound customs don’t open till 6am, and I’m not sure what time they close for the night.

Are you actually going to the U.S. or somewhere else? If the place you’re traveling to is somewhere regional and the amount is below the customs limit of NT$100k, you might be better off taking TWD and converting it there. That would apply to at least Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines IME.

Just mentioning that FYI, because you didn’t say where you’re going and some people seem to assume they need to convert TWD to USD as they’ll get a bad rate for TWD outside Taiwan, which isn’t necessarily the case and doesn’t always warrant the double conversion if traveling locally.

If you definitely want USD, I’d just go to whatever bank you have an account with. The rates seemed pretty similar among banks whenever I’ve checked. Or do it at the airport, if that’s a possibility.

Do you have an NTD account at one of the major banks (example: Mega Bank)? If so, my advice is to deposit your NTD into that account, then use one of the ATMs designated to provide foreign currency including—among other foreign currencies—USD. Doing so will not help to provide you with smaller denominations (these ATMs will pump out US$100 bills only) but it will provide a slighter better rate than dealing with a teller in that same bank.

Guy

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I think it depends? IIRC, the withdrawal limit for the Mega Bank multicurrency ATMs is fairly low and there’s a transaction fee associated with it too.

I only looked into doing it once (I think for US$1500 or thereabouts), but for that specific case it was slightly cheaper to go inside than make two ATM transactions.

I don’t remember the rate being better (I was just withdrawing directly from my multicurrency account with no conversion), but the Mega Bank app does claim to offer a slightly preferential rate (I’ve never verified that, but that’s what it says).

I did it yesterday at a Mega Bank in Taipei. The transaction receipt clearly noted that it provided a preferential rate, and there was no transaction fee, at least for me as an NTD Mega account holder.

These dedicated ATMs providing foreign currencies do however have a stated limit of providing 60 sheets of the selected foreign currency only, and will provide—as noted above—US$100 bills only.

Guy

Preferential compared with what though, and how preferential? I have the suspicion they might just use that for all customers, as a marketing term (like the preferential rate they claim to offer for conversions in the app).

They almost certainly charged you a fee, even if they incorporated it into the “preferential rate” and didn’t use the f word. I doubt they’re the first bank in the world to elect not to make money from a transaction.

To know how much, you’d need to compare the actual rate given with the other rates offered at the time of the transaction.

I couldn’t find the details for Mega Bank, but E.Sun seems to do it by using different rates/different differences from the spot rate for different withdrawal methods:

https://www.esunbank.com/en/personal/deposit/atm-service/fxatm

玉山銀行 - 外幣ATM提領現鈔享優惠 - 立即換馬上領.

The ATM withdrawal rate is more favourable to the client than the rate offered if you walk up and deal with a teller.

I don’t think anyone is suggesting that banks are charitable organizations providing services for free.

Guy

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Again, I’d need the specifics (actual exchange rates at a given time or the written policy) to be convinced of this claim.

There you go. That’s why there’s usually a fee, even if it’s not labeled as such. It’s necessary to consider the whole picture if aiming to compare different methods.

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I dont need to have an account there, right?

Nope. Just show up with passport

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