Malaysia Money Matters and Business

 

Currency

Ringgit  (RM) = divided into 100 sen.

Ringgit is available in the following denominations:

RM 100  (Purple; biggest)
RM 50  (Green-blue)
RM 20 (Orange)
RM 10  (Red)
RM 5  (Green)
RM 1 (Blue)

Coins are in the following denominations

50 sen (gold;biggest)

20 sen (gold)

10 sen (silver)

5 sen (silver;lowest)

Currency Rules

Currency Import regulations:

Currency must be declared upon arrival, and is allowed for both RESIDENTS and NON-RESIDENTS, if carrying:

- local currency (Malaysian Ringgit-MYR): MYR 1,000.- or higher amounts;

- foreign currencies: USD 10,000.- (or equivalent in other foreign currency) or higher amounts.

Currency Export regulations:

Currency must be declared on departure, and is allowed for both RESIDENTS and NON-RESIDENTS, if carrying:

- local currency (Malaysian Ringgit-MYR): MYR 1,000.- or higher amounts;

- foreign currencies: USD 10,000.- (or equivalent in other foreign currency) or higher amounts.

Additional information: Travel Declaration Form (TDF) is required for passengers entering or leaving Malaysia, regardless of age. Foreign currencies include funds in the form of travellers’ cheques. Clearance from the Central Bank of Malaysia is required for amounts exceeding those stated above.

Foreign Currency Exchange

Foreign currencies can be exchanged at banks, airports or at licensed money exchange offices, often found in major shopping malls. The exchange offices typically give the best rates, that many times are negotiable, particularly if exchanging larger amounts.

Travelers should not exchange their currency for ringgit before arriving in Malaysia – the exchange rates outside of the country are much worse. Also, travelers to Malaysia should only take notes that are in good condition – notes that are damaged (torn, ripped) or marked may not be accepted.

ATMs

Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are widely available in cities. Most ATMs accept major international credit cards such as Visa or MasterCard.

Malaysia has a high rate of of credit and debit card fraud, often associated with skimming devices attached to some ATMs. Travelers should preferably use ATMs that are inside banks, during business hours and pay attention when using their cards.

Credit & Debit Cards

Major credit cards, such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express are widely accepted in cities. Some merchants also accept Diners Club cards. Outside of cities cash is often the only option to pay bills (sometimes traveler’s checks will be also accepted).

Debit Cards. On your arrival at the airport in Malaysia, you’ll be able to withdraw cash from an ATM using your debit card. There are ATM’s in nearly all areas in Malaysia, except in Taman Negara and on several small islands on the East Coast. ATM’s are operational 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Well known banks that allow you to withdraw cash using a debit card are Maybank and HSBC.

Note:  It is safe to use a credit card in larger hotels and for instance at diving schools on the small islands. We do however advice normal caution when using your credit card, don’t let the card leave your sight, we have heard of instances of credit card fraud.

Traveler’s Checks

Travelers’ checks are accepted by banks, hotels and large department stores. For best rates it is recommended that travelers to Malaysia bring checks in US dollars, Australian dollars or pounds sterling.

Business hours
Usual business hours in Malaysia:

Banks 10am to 3pm Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 11.30am Saturday

Department stores 10am to 8pm

Government offices 8am to 12.45pm and 2pm to 4.15pm
Monday to Thursday, 8am to 12.15pm and 2.45pm to 4.15pm
Friday, 8am to 12.45pm Saturday

Shopping malls 10am to 8pm

Shops 9am to 6pm Monday to Saturday

In the more Islamic-minded states of Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan and Terengganu, government offices, banks and many shops close on Friday and on Saturday afternoon.