Filipinos travelling to Taiwan have several options for changing their Philippine pesos to New Taiwan dollars. Which way is best?
If you have a Filipino friend working in Taiwan, ask if you can exchange your Philippine pesos with their New Taiwan dollars. This can be a win-win solution for both of you if your friend needs pesos — if they’re going home to the Philippines, say, and need to exchange their dollars anyway — and if you use the actual currency exchange rate. Just Google “1 TWD to PHP.” It will be somewhere between the “buying” and “selling” rates at the money changer’s, which means that you get more TWDs and they get more PHPs and everyone’s happy (except, perhaps, the money changers who miss out on their profit).
- The sign of the New Taiwan dollar is NT$ and the official code is actually TWD but NTD is also commonly used. In fact, if you Google “1 NTD to PHP” that will work too.
Buy Taiwan dollars here in the Philippines. This is what I often do when I travel out of the country as I’ve found that buying foreign currency in the Philippines will usually give me a better exchange rate for my hard-earned pesos. For our October 2017 trip, the rate I got was 1 TWD = 1.95 PHP — rather expensive considering the actual exchange rate hovered around 1.75 that month.
- If you’re in Cebu, you can buy New Taiwan dollars at the 4th floor of Ayala Center Cebu — there’s a currency exchange booth in the passageway between the mall and Metro Gaisano. I’ve bought foreign currency there many times and they usually have a decent rate. I’ve never gotten duds and you can ask them for a receipt.
- The money changer outside NAIA Terminal 2 offered the same exchange rate (1.95) when my friend inquired there before we left.
Bring Philippine pesos and have them exchanged in Taiwan. In my previous travels I’ve found that this method usually results in a poorer exchange rate; in this case, however, the rate offered by the exchange counters in Taiwan might actually be competitive with the ones here in the Philippines. You can check out the exchange rate here. If you decide to do this, try to have your pesos exchanged in the airport, as Taiwan law only allows a few institutions to change currency, and my friend had a hard time finding a money changer along our sightseeing route. Do note that the airport money changers charge NT$30 per transaction.
Secure US dollars/British pounds/euros and have them exchanged to TWDs in Taiwan. Some people recommend this — especially if you already have these third-country currencies on hand — as they will tend to command a better rate than Philippine pesos. However, if you have to convert your PHP to USD/GBP/EUR here in the Philippines, and then have those changed to TWD in Taiwan, keep in mind that you’ll then be charged in some way for two currency exchange transactions instead of just one…but that it might still be the better option.
- Update 11/14/2017 — A friend who has just been to Taiwan and used this method reports that she got a better exchange rate by first exchanging pesos to US dollars here in the Philippines, then changing the USD to TWD in Taiwan. Her effective exchange rate was 1 TWD = 1.73 PHP, better than the rate she got using a credit card (1.84 PHP) or at the money changer in the Cebu airport (1.90).
- You can estimate the exchange rate you will get using this method by checking out the USD selling rate at Philippine banks (like BPI) and then the USD to TWD cash buying rate at the Bank of Taiwan.
Withdraw Taiwan dollars from an ATM in Taiwan using your Philippine ATM card. This is probably the best way to get the most out of your Philippine pesos, although I wasn’t able to personally try this out when I was in Taiwan. Just remember to inform your bank ahead of time that you’ll be using your ATM card outside the Philippines so your account doesn’t get frozen.
- GuideToTaipei.com says: “There is an NT$100 surcharge for 7/11 CTB ATMs, while the Family Mart ATMs do not appear to have a surcharge, however 7/11 ATM seems to be more reliable for foreign cards. All ATMs dispense NT$1,000 banknotes, and some may also dispense NT$100 banknotes.”
Use a credit card whenever you can. I know this isn’t usually the smartest thing to do in terms of getting a good exchange rate. Surprisingly, however, my Citi card purchases worked out to an exchange rate of 1.77 PHP to 1 TWD, which was actually better than what I got from the money changer here in the Philippines. You do need to have cash for the night markets and such, but there are expenses you can charge to your credit card, such as:
- Hotel – We charged our family room at Miniinn to my card on the day of our arrival.
- Tours – We were actually able to pay for our three tours with Edison Tours while we were still in the Philippines. (Don’t worry, they’re completely reliable.)
- Pocket WiFi or 4G SIM Card – Instead of renting/buying upon arrival at the airport, you can prebook (I used Klook).
- Hot spring experience – Marshal Zen Garden, the hot spring we visited at the end of our MyTaiwanTour private guided tour, accepts credit cards.
These are the various methods you can use to exchange Philippine pesos to New Taiwan dollars for your trip to Taiwan. I personally used #2 and #6 and it wasn’t too bad. That said, I would definitely use #1 if I could; use #4 if #1 is not an option; and the next time I go to Taiwan, I will also try #5 as well, for comparison.
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