The best credit card for thailand – withdraw money for free! (2019)

The best credit card for Thailand – withdraw money for free in Thailand and save! (2019)

With the right credit card for Thailand you can save a lot of money during a trip and even withdraw for free. Plus, you do not have to take in unnecessary cash, which is always a risk.

We ourselves have been in Thailand for over 14 months in the last five years, have tried a variety of credit cards, gained a lot of experience and also researched a lot of information about it.

At the end of this detailed contribution has arisen, which we regularly update and adapt. We present you the best credit card for Thailand, compare it with another alternative, answer important questions and reveal useful tips to withdraw money for free in Thailand.

Other important contributions for your trip to Thailand:

There are a few things that make up a perfect credit card for Thailand and which you should consider applying for:

  • Free pick-up in Thailand or worldwide possible,
  • Free foreign assignment (ie paying abroad is free),
  • Credit card for free,
  • no annual fee,
  • Third party fees will be refunded (more below),
  • a modern, easy and travel-friendly TAN procedure,
  • friendly, helpful and fast customer service.

Also we have oriented ourselves to all these criteria and thereby found the best Thailand credit card for us.

Comparison Chart: Thailand Credit Cards

In this section you will now find a small comparison table in which we compare or compare two credit cards: on the one hand our winner, the 1plus Visa Card of Santander Bank and on the other a useful replacement credit card of Comdirect Bank.

We travel with both credit cards and are very happy with it. However, the Santander has some big advantages that you can see well in the comparison table.

Santander 1Plus Visa Card
Replacement card:
Comdirect Visa Card
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Annual fee: € 0.00 € 0.00
Credit card type: Visa Visa
Withdraw money: free worldwide free worldwide
Pay: free worldwide 1.75% of sales
Refund of
Foreign Fees:
TAN procedure: mobileTAN
appTan (soon)
Bonus program: 1% fuel discount 100 € bonus bonus
Apply for map Apply for map

Winner: Santander 1plus Visa Card

The Santander 1plus Visa Card * has been our main credit card for Thailand and all other travel worldwide for several years. It combines all the important advantages that make up an optimal travel credit card in our eyes.

The main advantages

  • Free cash withdrawals are possible worldwide.
  • The exhibition of the card is free.
  • There is no annual fee due.
  • The Santander reimburses the high foreign fees levied by Thai banks on withdrawal.
  • You can pay for it for free without additional fees. So no foreign assignment is due.
  • You can also request the credit card individually and therefore without a checking account of Santander Bank. You must then specify another account from which the amounts will be deducted.
  • Bonus: There is a one percent discount on all gas station bills up to a turnover of 400 euros a month.

The disadvantages

  • The withdrawal limit is 300 euros per day – perfectly adequate for normal use.
  • For low income self-employed and students can be rejected when applying – just try!
  • There is a high debit rate of 13.6 percent per year. Pay therefore your credit card statements every month in good time.

TAN procedure of Santander

Currently, there is only one TAN procedure for online banking: mobileTAN. Here you will get the required TAN by SMS to your mobile number.

Soon there will also be a second option: the “SantanderSign” app with which you can do your banking jobs by fingerprint, face recognition or PIN – especially useful when traveling!

Partial payment method

The 1plus is a fully fledged Visa Card and you will receive a credit card statement once a month. The problem is that only five percent of the amount will be automatically deducted from the deposited account. The remaining 95 percent you have to to transfer independently to the credit card.

If you forget to transfer the remaining amount to the credit card in good time, interest will be charged on the negative amount. You can work around this as follows:

Possibility Number 1: You immediately transfer the remaining 95 percent of the money after the credit card bill has arrived.

Option 2: You regularly transfer a certain amount to the credit card. This is stored as a credit. If you withdraw, the money will be deducted from your balance and you will not slip into the minus. As a result, you use the 1plus as a so-called prepaid credit card.


You can apply for the credit card online. There you have to choose one of two identification methods:

  • Video ID: A bank employee identifies you via webcam.
  • Post-Ident: You have to go to a post office and be there identified by an employee.

If the application is approved by Santander Bank, you will receive your Thailand credit card within a few weeks.

Alternative: Comdirect Visa Card

As a replacement we always have the free Comdirect Visa Card * in our luggage. It is our backup credit card if anything should happen with the 1plus Visa Card. However, you only get the credit card in combination with a checking account of the Comdirect.

The main advantages

  • Credit card, girocard and checking account are completely free.
  • There are no annual fees.
  • Outside the EU, you can use the credit card to withdraw money worldwide.
  • Within the EU you can withdraw with the Girocard for free.
  • The checking account does not require a minimum deposit per month.
  • There is a bonus of up to 100 Euros when opening an account with credit card.
  • It is easier to apply for students and self-employed.
  • Mobile payment with Apple Pay or Google Pay is possible.

Disadvantages of the credit card

  • Foreign fees from Thailand have not been reimbursed since February 2016.
  • For new customers is often issued “only” a prepaid credit card. So you always have to transfer funds to the Visa Card in order to withdraw.
  • Payments by credit card in Thailand will incur a fee of 1.75 percent of sales (foreign assignment).
  • The credit card can only be applied for in connection with a checking account (which does not have to be bad).

TAN procedure

Comdirect offers you two TAN procedures:

  • photoTAN: During a transfer a colored QR Code will be displayed. You then scan this with the photoTAN app, which now converts the code into a TAN number for the transfer – super intuitive!
  • mobileTAN: The required TAN will be sent to your smartphone via SMS.


As with Santander, you can apply online at Comdirect. Afterwards the two same identification methods are available:

Foreign fees in Thailand

One point that is unavoidable in Thailand, are the foreign fees already mentioned several times. But what is that anyway? A short explanation:

Third-party fees are fees that are charged by all banks in Thailand with each withdrawal with the credit card. Currently there are 220 baht (about 6 euros), which is not very little. The amount of the withdrawn amount does not matter. There are always 220 baht, which the bank cashed.

However, with the right Thailand credit card you can bypass these foreign fees or let them reimburse you. The only bank currently offering this service abroad is Santander.

Unfortunately, other financial institutions that offer travel credit cards, such as Comdirect, DKB or Norisbank, have stopped paying the fees for a long time.

It is important that you print out the individual withdrawal documents from the ATMs, take pictures of them and send them to Santander within weeks by e-mail.

Santander’s email address: [email protected]

Important: pack a replacement credit card!

In our opinion, a replacement credit card for Thailand is a must. It can always happen that something happens to the main card and you should keep a replacement in the hindquarters.

We have already lost two credit cards on our travels: once they were confiscated without reason by a vending machine and once we lost them. But as we had a second card to secure, we were still liquid.

Tip: Stowed the second credit card always separate from the first. For example, if the purse with both cards is lost, the replacement credit card will not bring you much. :)

You can apply for the replacement credit card here:

Security: Use the Thailand credit card properly

Spare credit card or not – it is just annoying if the main card is lost or has to be blocked for any other reason. To keep this risk as low as possible during your trip to Thailand, we’ve put together some useful tips and important information for you that we’ve gathered in recent years.

Credit card fraud in Thailand

Yes, like everywhere else in the world, there are credit card frauds in Thailand. Most important data of your card such as PIN, credit card number and CCV are scanned by manipulated ATMs. This works with attached magnetic card readers, hidden cameras and affixed keyboards.

To circumvent such rip-off attempts from the beginning, we proceed as follows:

  • We briefly check the keypad and the card slot module of the respective ATM.
  • During the pin input, we cover the keypad very well.
  • We only pick up machines that are part of banks, supermarkets, gas stations or shopping malls.
  • Cash dispensers (ATMs) that are left at the wayside or in dark corners, we completely avoid.
  • We use RFID Blocker * for all our credit cards.

Of course, these points do not guarantee that you are on the safe side when taking off in Thailand. Scammers are constantly coming up with new stitches! However, we ourselves have never been the victim of credit card fraud through these small measures.

Never let Thailand’s credit card out of sight!

Another important point: Never lose sight of your card when paying in shops, restaurants or other shops! If the service person tells you that the card reader is broken and they need to get another one quickly, they insist that the credit card stays with you.

If it disappears with the map into another room and thus out of your field of vision, it may be that she copies the data of your map there and steals it. You will notice that only weeks later, when suddenly unknown charges appear on your credit card statement.

Take small amounts off

Despite third party fee we raise in Thailand only small amounts – usually never more than 100 euros. A pickpocketing or the loss of the purse is a little less serious.

Big amounts are only let out if we need them right away, for example to pay for accommodation or something else.

Loss, theft or the like – what now?

But what happens if all else fails and something really happens to your credit card? After all, despite all precautions, it may be lost, withdrawn from an ATM, or you may be the victim of credit card fraud.

In the end there is only one possibility:

Call the bank’s emergency hotline, describe your case, and discuss the next steps with the consultant. In most cases, the card is immediately blocked and thus unusable for others.

These are the emergency hotlines and blocked numbers of the two credit card providers:

  • Santander: +49 (0) 21 61 27 29 889
  • Comdirect: +49 (0) 41 06 708 25 00

Visa or Mastercard – what makes more sense in Thailand?

In principle, it does not matter, as both Visa and Mastercard are accepted by most ATMs, hotels and booking portals.

The two credit cards we recommend for Thailand are Visa Cards and so far they have never been rejected by an ATM.

Apply for credit card for Thailand on time

The processing time of the bank, the production of the credit card and the duration of the final delivery is often underestimated. Depending on the order volume at the bank, it may take two to three weeks for the card and all important documents to land in your mailbox.

So order your Thailand Travel Credit Card a little earlier to be on the safe side. Our recommendation: at least one month in advance, if not two!

Banks in Thailand

The selection of banks in Thailand is relatively large. The most famous five financial houses are these:

  • Bangkok Bank
  • Krung Thai Bank
  • Siam Commercial Bank
  • Kasikornbank
  • Bank of Ayudhya (Krungsri)

All of these banks have ATMs where they can withdraw money, and in tourist areas they often have bureaux de change to exchange their money in Baht.

Take cash – yes or no?

Now we’ve talked so much about credit cards – but what about cash? Should you even take any money from home or prefer to take off on arrival at the airport in Thailand?

You should definitely pack some euros! This is because at the time of entry, the respective immigration officer can demand a proof of money of 20,000 Baht (about 580 Euro) per person. This happens very rarely, but you can be denied entry, if you can not show the cash.

By the way, it does not matter if you bring the money in euros or another currency. It just has to be converted to just 20,000 baht.

Exchange cash

Then you can exchange the euro in Thailand in one of the many exchange offices. Do not worry, there is plenty of that – whether on the smaller islands or in larger cities. The important thing is that you can show your passport. He is going to change money, namely needed.

Note: Change at the airport only the bare necessities, since the exchange rate is often worse than outside. By contrast, you can get the best courses in bank branches that have their own money exchange.

If you travel low budget, but the comparison is worthwhile here: the rates of each bank differ from each other and you can thereby save some money.

Tip: We advise you Not to exchange euros already in Germany in baht, since the exchange rates in the home are often a joke.

Exchange rate in Thailand

At the end of the article we want to briefly say a few words about the exchange rate. Unfortunately, it has become lower and lower in recent years, making Thailand travel much more expensive.

The current exchange rate is the following: 1 Euro = about 34 Baht

Just to compare: In September 2017, you get for a euro almost 40 baht. That’s a drop in value of 15 percent in a pretty short time.

But alright, that does not change the fact that Thailand is still a cheap and beautiful destination! :)

Do you have any further questions about credit cards for Thailand or would you like to add something? Then just write us a comment!

Note: This post contains our personal product recommendations with so-called affiliate links. Do not worry, the products will not be more expensive. If you buy something via one of these links, we get a small commission. You help us keep Love and Compass alive and regularly publish useful content for you. A thousand thanks and a lot of love for it!

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