Money & Exchange Rates

Money & Exchange Rates

Postby Maung Maung » Tue 18 Apr 2006 14:29

Credit cards are useless here, they are not accepted because of US Sanctions. US$ is the currency of choice and there are signs that people are switching over to the Euro, the Euro is certainly not mainstream yet. It is also possible to change Thai Baht and Chinese Yuan into Kyats. It's a little more difficult (but possible) to change other currencies.

Cash is King! But your cash may not be king if you don't have large denomination notes. Below I mention exchange rates, the cash rates I have quoted assume you are changing US$100 bills, you will get a reduced rate if you're changing 50's, 20's, 10's, 5's and 1's. Most people bring US$100 bills.

They must not have serial numbers begining with "CB". There were many fake notes floating around sometime ago with "CB" serial numbers, now nobody will touch them. Notes that are badly worn, creased (badly) or ripped will not be accepted as the money changers can't pass them on.

There's a lot of exchange rates :cry:

Officially there's an exchange rate of approx. Kyats 6-7 for US$1. Unofficially it is currently (as of today) Ks 1365 for US$1.

Changing money "unofficially" is illegal....but everybody does it.

Then there is the FEC; Foreign Exchange Certificate. One FEC officially is the equivalent to US$1, but not in reality....! If you change US$'s into FEC's you will also get a certain amount of Kyats. I.e. at the present moment in time US$1 = FEC1 + Ks20. Some places will not accept FEC's even though they are supposed to. Some bills that are payable to the Govt. like telephone must be paid in FEC's.

Technically it is illegal for locals to have US$ (or foreign currency) in their possession although many ignore this, they are supposed to have FEC's instead.

There are other exchange rates too, i.e. the Hondi rate. This is where you transfer money from your a/c overseas to another a/c overseas that belongs to the individual/company with whom you are transacting with. If you exchange money using this route you will get more for your US$, normally the difference (or premium) is paid in Kyats. i.e. you transfer money from your a/c in the UK to their a/c, they give you the US$ and Kyats (premium) in Myanmar.

For those doing business there are other exchange rates to consider, i.e. export earnings. In order to import you must have "export earnings", these you can buy from an exporter at a premium, export earnings fetch around a 10% premium.

Customs rate is US$1 = Ks450, any customs duty is calculated on this rate. Applies to business people.

If you want to send US$ out of the country they (money changers) will generally charge you 1% for the priviledge.

The MFTB (Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank) is the only bank where a foreign individual can have a bank account, for a foreign business it must be with the MICB (Myanmar Investment & Commercial Bank). Trying to get money out them is like trying to get blood out of a stone! Most people use these accounts for transferring money within Myanmar, if you want your dollars they will give you a hard time unless you can show (and prove) that you are travelling, otherwise they will give you FEC's and you essentially lose money (see above). They tend to give you notes that you can't use here in Myanmar i.e. they are torn or old etc.

Just because the notes look good to you does not mean that they will accept them here, please do not make this mistake!
Maung Maung
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