Finance in Malaysia

admin June 26, 2015 0

Money always matters, especially if you’re living out of your retirement fund. Having a clear idea of the state of finances in Malaysia will help you make an informed decision while choosing the country as your retirement home.



The currency of Malaysia is the Ringgit (RM). It is also known as the Malaysian Dollar by locals.


  • 1 US$ = 3.57 Ringgit
  • Until 2005, the Ringgit was pegged to the US dollar. Currently, it floats against an undisclosed group of currencies.
  • 1 RM = 100 sen
  • Bank notes are available in denominations of RM1, RM2, RM5, RM10, RM50, and RM100.
  • Coins are available in denominations of 1 sen, 5 sen, 10 sen, 20 sen, and 50 sen.

Carrying cash


Always ensure that you have enough cash with you when traveling. You may find that ATMs are out of order frequently.

  • Carry around US$ 200 in small denominations.

Banks and hotels offer to exchange currency. However, you can get a more favorable currency exchange rate at smaller exchange counters at shopping centers.

Although they look unreliable, they are the most commonly used counters in Malaysia for exchanging currency.

Debit cards


You can withdraw cash from ATMs at Malaysian airports using your debit card.

  • ATMs are located in most parts of Malaysia, except in certain small islands on the eastern coast of the country and in Taman Negara.
  • ATMs operate 7 days a week and 24 hours a day.
  • Maybank and HSBC allow you to withdraw cash from ATMs.

Credit cards


Credit cards can be used safely in big hotels and at diving schools on the small islands.

  • However, it is always good to stay cautious and not let the credit card go out of your sight.

Traveler’s checks

Most banks in Malaysia will give you cash against your traveler’s checks.

  • In smaller cities, traveler’s checks can be cashed at currency exchange counters.
  • Traveler’s checks are insured and if you lose one or it gets stolen, you will get a replacement within 24 hours.



Tipping is not a common practice in restaurants in Malaysia. A service charge will be included in your bill.

  • In areas that are frequented by tourists, tipping has become an accepted practice.



It is acceptable to bargain with vendors for the prices of products and services. However, it is important to do it respectfully.

  • Do not raise your voice or walk away angrily while haggling for prices.
  • While there are no set rules for haggling, decide the amount that you are willing to pay and try to get as close as you can to that figure.
  • The final price should meet with satisfaction by both you and the vendor.

Dealing with money in Malaysia is easy and efficient – be it cash, cards, or checks. We recommend that you give this beautiful country due consideration.

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