Do exchange rates vary from machine to machine?  NO

Does the ATM set the exchange rate?  NO.   The ATM Does NOT Set The Exchange Rate.

On one of the forums I participate in, I had a mild “argument” over the fallacy that “ATMs set the exchange rate for all transactions”.  If you have read anything on my site, you know this argument drives me crazy and I’ll go to extremes to prove the statement wrong.

Up to now, I had never made multiple withdrawals at different ATMs all within 5 minutes of each other.  I decided that to really prove my point, I would need to do just that:  withdraw the same amount of money from different bank ATMs.

I needed 30,000-baht today, so I went to Krungsri Bank, KrungThai, and Government Savings Bank — all banks/ATMs that I rarely, if ever, use to withdraw money.

The rate I received was 32.49 from EACH ATM.  I verified the amount I received was correct with VISA’s exchange service and it was (actually, Visa shows I should have received \$313.29968, which rounds to \$313.30, which is what was taken from my account three times)!

Doesn’t matter which ATM you choose.  As long as you do NOT CHOOSE DYNAMIC CURRENCY CONVERSION, or “Pay in your Home Currency” or whatever else they choose to call it, the ATM does not and will not set the exchange rate.

After withdrawing this cash, I went to my favorite hamburger restaurant, Carl’s Jr, and bought lunch on my credit card, to show the rate I would receive on Credit Card vs Debit Card.  You can see below, that I received 32.49 baht/USD — the same rate I received on my ATM cash withdrawal!

In the below photo, you can see that the best rate today on the street was 32.37 baht/USD.

The confirmation from VISA that I received the correct daily rate.  The rate is shown as the inverse (which for a dummy like me) always confuses me!   Look at the rate .030776.  Multiple this rate times the amount of Baht I received (10,000+180baht fee = \$10,180).  That will show the USD to be withdrawn of \$313.29968.

I received 32.49 baht/USD.  The best street rate was 32.37 baht/USD.  And the prime YAHOO rate was 32.54 baht/USD.  I received 5 points less than the BEST Yahoo rate using my debit and credit cards in Thailand.

As part of this “discussion” or “argument” — depending on your opinion, I was being told that the Thai banks give you the DCC option and confuse you into using their rip-off transaction fee.

In the above example, I used Krungsri Bank, KrungThai, and Government Savings Bank.  I use Bankgkok Bank regularly and knew that it didn’t offer DCC to me; I used Siam Commercial Bank and wasn’t offered DCC.

Later, I went to Thai Farmers Bank, and Thanachart Bank ATMs.  Neither offered me the chance to use DCC.