Want to know more about the currency in Malaysia? They use Malaysian Ringgit (MYR), and here’s more info about ATMs, money and exchange rates before your trip.
I will also answer some of the most frequently asked questions about money and currency in Malaysia.
Quick facts about Malaysian Ringgit (MYR)
- Name: Malaysian Ringgit
- Year of introduction: 1967.
- Coins: There are no Ringgit coins
- Subunit: 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 sen
- Banknotes: 1, 2, 5, 10, 50 and 100 MYR
- Abbreviation: RM
- Currency Code: MYR
Can you pay by card in Malaysia?
Yes, VISA and Mastercard are widely accepted in Malaysia, especially in the larger cities. However, there are still street vendors, small shops, local restaurants, etc that don’t accept card payments.
You should notify your bank about your travel plans to ensure that they don’t find it suspicious when you suddenly use your card in Malaysia. I always recommend carrying two different cards in case something happens.
Should you exchange money before your trip?
There is no real reason to exchange money before your trip to Malaysia. Most shops, restaurants, and hotels will accept payments by card, and the few cash that you’ll actually need is better taken out via a local ATM rather than paying expensive currency exchange fees.
Exchange currency in Malaysia
It’s easy to exchange your money in Malaysia, and you’ll find exchange offices in the airport, shopping centers, and major transportation hubs.
There is also the possibility of exchanging foreign currency in a local bank, however, if you want to save money, it’s better to take out cash from a local ATM.
ATMs in Malaysia
ATMs are widely available throughout the country in major cities as well as smaller towns. All major international debit- and credit cards are accepted by Malaysian ATMs and once you insert a foreign card, the display will automatically be in English.
Most of the banks operate 24/7, and you’ll always find ATMs in the shopping malls or in adjacent to bank offices. Malaysian ATMs usually don’t charge a local atm fee, but your own bank will likely charge you €5 + 2-3 % foreign transaction fee.
Luckily, you can avoid this by using a travel card without foreign transactions fees and free atm withdrawals.
- Choose to be charged in the local currency without conversion, otherwise, you’ll get dynamic currency conversion.
- Use a travel card without fees for ATMs and foreign transactions.
List of Malaysian Banks
- Public Bank Berhad
- Hong Leong
- Ambank Group
Using Credit Cards in Malaysia
Debit- and Credit Cards issued by VISA and Mastercard are widely accepted in Kuala Lumpur as well as other larger cities. On the countryside, you might have difficulties using a credit card in Malaysia.
Smaller shops and local restaurants are likely not accepting card payments as well.
More about Malaysia’s currency (MYR)
The Malaysian Ringgit has been the currency of Malaysia since 1967. It has the currency code MYR but is also abbreviated as RM, which is short for Ringgit Malaysia, which is also what will be listed next to prices on products.
The Malaysian currency is given out by Bank Negara Malaysia – BNM which was founded the 26 January 1959 with headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. Before 1967, a currency known as Malaya and British Borneo dollar was used.
When Malaysia introduced its own currency in 1967, it was first called the Malaysian Dollar (M$), and it wasn’t until 1993 that the name was changed to Ringgit with the new abbreviation RM.
Malaysian currency in various denominations
The Malaysian currency is available in both coins and banknotes. However, it’s only the subunit “sen” that exists in the coin version. 1 MYR = 100 sen (equivalent of cents).
- Malaysian Banknotes: 1, 2, 5, 10, 50 and 100 MYR
- Malaysian Coins: 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 sen
The Malaysian Ringgit
Ringgit means “jagged” in Malay, and it’s a reference to the currency used during colonial times. The Malaysian Ringgit used to be pegged to the USD until 2005 when Malaysia followed China and their decision to un-peg the Renminbi from the US dollar.
It’s not traded internationally, but you can get hold of it in some countries and foreign exchange offices.
Frequently asked questions about Money in Malaysia
Yes, RM is short for Ringgit Malaysia, and MYR is the currency code of the Malaysian currency.
No, US dollars are not accepted as payment in Malaysia. However, you can easily change them in banks or exchange offices. The rate given will likely not be very good though.
If you want to change money in Malaysia, it’s best to bring some of the major currencies, such as Euros, USD, Pounds, or Canadian dollars.
There is no limit on how much cash you can carry to Malaysia, but if the amount exceeds USD 10,000 or equivalent in other currencies, you need to fill in custom forms 22 upon arrival.
You can exchange Singaporean Dollars (SGD) to Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) in most exchange offices and banks, but you can’t use them as payment.
The best currency to use in Kuala Lumpur is the Malaysian Ringgit, which is the official currency of Malaysia.
The Malaysian Ringgit is no longer pegged to the US dollar since 2005.
Do you have more questions about the currency in Malaysia? Leave a comment below!