Many unsuspecting tourists fall victim to Taiwan’s foreign currency exchange policy. Unlike other Asian countries, Taiwan doesn’t have an abundance of hole-in-the-wall currency exchangers throughout major cities. Instead, all foreign currency exchange must be conducted at government approved money exchangers.
Because Taiwan is a cash based society, there is still a need to carry around adequate amounts New Taiwan Dollars (NTD). Catching taxis, shopping at night markets, and dining at local restaurants still often require cash payments. Apart from only being allowed to exchange money at government sanctioned locations, government law requires all customers to present a passport for transaction record keeping.
If that wasn’t already complicated enough, not all banks accept every major national currency. Currencies such as the Australian dollar (AUD), British pound (GBP), Canadian dollar (CAD), New Zealand dollar (NZD), or the Swiss Franc (CHF) are often not accepted at smaller banks. On the other hand, currencies such as the United States Dollar (USD), Singapore Dollar (SGD), Japanese Yen (JPY) and Chinese Yuan (RMB) are the most widely accepted.
However, don’t let this deter you. Foreign exchange in Taiwan is a straight forward process if you’re aware of the process and know where to go.
Where to change money in Taipei
The key places you want to do currency exchange in Taipei are:
– Taipei Taoyuan Airport
– Bank of Taiwan (BOT) or other banks
– Taipei 101
#Taipei Taoyuan Airport
Taoyuan Airport is one of the most convenient places to change money once you arrive in Taipei. Currency exchangers offer competitive rates and can be found before and after immigration.
The best exchange rates are found at the Bank of Taiwan Forex counter before Immigration (look for the pink signage). Rates here are considered excellent and not subject to additional commission.
Shrewd travellers will exchange their entire budget here to avoid common foreign exchange pitfalls during their trip.
The Taoyuan Airport Bank of Taiwan (before exiting immigration and the arrival hall) is our pick of best place to conduct foreign exchange in Taiwan.
#Banks in Taipei
Once you’re in Taipei, the most accepting bank and best rates are found at the Bank of Taiwan branch. BOTs accept the widest range of currency and offer reasonable spreads. Banks have security (or staff) at the front door and will direct you to the foreign exchange counter. If they seem confused, simply show them your foreign currency you are trying to exchange and they will understand.
Things to know:
– Bank opening hours and bank holidays are inconsistent (check your nearest branches hours before visiting)
– Banks in Taiwan are open on Saturdays
– You’ll need your passport
Taipei 101 is not only Taipei’s most recognisable landmark, it’s also a convenient place to exchange foreign currency while in Taipei. On the B1 level of Taipei 101 (near the food court) is a “free” currency exchange desk for tourists. Quotations are used for “free” because although it considered free, it simple means no commission charged on top of the exchange rate.
Being a centrally located with reasonable wait times makes Taipei 101 a great place for currency exchange, however rates here are considerably worse than at the bank.
Don’t forget your passport
Just a reminder, bringing your passport is an absolute necessity for changing cash in Taiwan. Taiwanese are sticklers for strict process and requesting them to break the rules for you will not be received well.
Don’t go during peak times
If you’re used to the speedy service at 7 Eleven counters in Taiwan, you’re in for an unpleasant surprise once you step inside a Taiwanese bank. Unsophisticated online banking in Taiwan means there is a lot higher demand for in-house banking.
This along with a lengthy foreign exchange process can result in abnormally long waiting times during peak hours. Avoid lunch times and late afternoons for the quickest turn around.
ATMs in Taiwan
Using ATMs in Taiwan can be a mysterious and risky endeavour. When possible – make sure you use your bank or debit card – and avoid using your credit card to withdraw as you’ll incur foreign exchange fees as well as interest charges from day one.
China Trust ATMs can be found in most 7 Elevens and incur a NT$100 withdrawal fee as well as any additional overseas charges from your home bank.