I finally found the best money changer in Macau. Earlier, I had visited Macau several times but never took the trouble of trying to find the best place to exchange money. Bank ATMs and foreign exchange counters inside casinos have been my money changers. I Know I have been losing money due to bad exchange rate even before I could lose it at the casino tables. I have also known the fact that the local currency - Macau Pataka (MOP) has a little less value than Hong Kong Dollar. One Hong Kong Dollar is roughly equal to 1.03 Macau Pataka. Most of the restaurants, shops, and cab drivers quote prices in MOP and exchange HKD with MOP at the rate of 1:1. Worse still, if you pay someone in HKD, they always return your change in MOP making a cool 3% profit even on the change. Finally, saying enough is enough, I decided to be smart with my money in Macau, at least when I was not gambling. At first, I stopped using bank ATMs in Macau for withdrawing money, except in an emergency. Bank ATMs charge a per transaction fee if money is withdrawn using ATM cards issued outside Macau. Per transaction and per day withdrawal limits at Macau ATMs are quite low, irrespective of the account holder's limits back home. Resultantly, to withdraw 10,000 HKD/MOP, one needs to do approximately four or five ATM transactions and pay transaction fee an equal number of times. The card holder's bank charges a transaction fee too and also adds a mark up of 3.5% over and above the prevailing exchange rate. It may sound harsh, but the average cost of an ATM withdrawal in Macau using an international ATM card is between 5 and 7%. It is, therefore, best to buy USD in home country and change them into MOP and HKD in Macau. But where? Read on...
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Best Money Changer / Money Exchange in Macau
|Casa De Cambio - Money Changer in Macau|
I know from experience as a traveller that airport exchange counters offer the worst possible exchange rates anywhere in the world. Upon arrival at Macau airport, I noted the USD - HKD rate. It was 7.55, meaning one USD was equal to 7.55 HKD. Inter-bank exchange rate that day was 7.77. After entering the city, I went to a few casinos and learnt that the rate varied from 7.54 to 7.60 with the American casinos - Wynn, MGM, and Sands offering a better rate than Chinese casinos. It is generally believed that casino exchange rates in Macau are good. But, was anyone offering better than 7.60? After a bit of asking around, I was told by a restaurant staffer that money changers at Senado Square are the best. I liked the suggestion. On the way to Senado Square, I came across this exchange counter called "Money Exchange Casa De Cambio Mundo Limitada" and saw them offering 7.64. (See picture above) I was certainly on the right track. At Senado Square, I had to look at the rate display boards of several money exchange shops to find the one that would beat Casa De Cambio. There was 7.63 and 7.64 in many shops. I kept looking and finally spotted the one proudly displaying 7.65. They had a green sign board with "Money Exchange" written in English. The rest was in Chinese (See picture below). If you are going towards Senado Square from Grand Lisboa side, this Money Changer is on the right side of the road after crossing Senado Square. I tried to take a picture of their rate display but was immediately stopped by their security man. At the counter they asked me if I wanted HKD or MOP. I already had a few MOP bills in my pocket and since it was the second last day of my holiday in Macau, I opted for HKD only. (update Nov 2015: This shop is perhaps closed now but there are several others around in this area)
|Best Money Exchange Shop at Senado Square Macau|
My resolve for the future: Always change money in Macau at Senado Square and never forget to take a few hundred Macau Pataka for spending on food, local sightseeing, and conveyance. While shopping, it would be best to ask the price in both HKD and MOP, particularly when buying expensive stuff.
|Posted by Narinder Singh|