Carry a combination of cash, travelers’ cheques and credit card when you are traveling in Malaysia. Cash is mostly used in rural areas but you can change travelers’ cheques and use credit cards in urban areas and established tourist areas.
You are advised not to bring large amount of cash such as a few thousands of ringgit as it will attract attention from unscrupulous people. Usually 500 ringgit Malaysia is enough to last you several days. Things such as food and drinks are cheap in Malaysia and can be paid by cash. Most hotels and budget inns accept credit card and travels’ cheques as payment. Most stores selling souvenirs at established tourist places also accept credit card payments. Cash are usually used when you purchase items from petty traders and hawker stalls.
Most currencies can be exchanged for Malaysia ringgit, but the popular ones are US dollars (to which ringgit is pegged), British sterling and Singapore dollars. Licensed money changers (open from early morning until late at night) offer better rates than banks, while hotels and shopping centers levy a service charge (usually 2-4 percent).
Local and international banks handle the gamut of transactions, and automated teller machines, from which you can use your credit card to withdraw cash, are widely available in towns.
In larger towns such as the state capitals, department stores, shops, first class restaurants and hotels all accept travelers’ cheques. Have your passport ready when cashing your cheques.
Here are some information on banks, credit cards and taxes in Malaysia.
Malaysia Banking Hours
Banking hours are Monday to Friday from 9:30am to 4pm, Saturday 9:30am to noon (closed on first and third Saturdays of the month).
The most widely used credit cards are Visa and Mastercards. Diners Club and American Express are not so widely accepted, but most large department stores and shopping malls accept it too. Make sure you have enough cash when you leave a city.
There is no general sales tax on items purchase, but there is a government tax of 10 percent at some restaurants. Moreover, some restaurants do charge an extra service charge of 5 to 10%. Hotels are required to list net prices but restaurants are generally not required to do so.