Going Cashless aka living with digital money is the new hype! It's "kind of safer" alternative to be on the move with regular cash. Convenience and being hassle free is the main selling point of going Cashless! Governments and big enterprises are working to build a Cashless society everyday.
Here I'll outline how I went Cashless in a new City from some hundred dollars bills. Now money related things I carry in my wallet for day to day usage:
- One Credit Card
- One Rabbit Card1
- One Smartphone
- Minimum required Cash/Changes
Applications on my Smartphone
- Bank's mobile app
- Rabbit LINE Pay2
I do not carry any debit card or a big chunk of Cash unless absolutely necessary!
Day to Day expenses
From groceries to bigger purchases I try to pay it off with the Credit Card. For bigger payments if the company offers 0% installment, sometimes I'd grab that. In the process bank gives me some points which I can convert to airline milage or pay off another purchase. It's "almost" a win win situation.
Except when the merchant won't accept a card easily. Some merchant would charge plain 3% fee for paying with Card. Sometimes I'd pay even with that. But a lot of time I'd go with other ways. And some merchants (like 7/11) would accept Card only if the bucket size is over ฿300.
Some shops won't keep a POS machine to avoid the bank charges, but accept bank transfer / PromptPay3. In those cases I'd just pay it with PromptPay.
For some very small payments, like paying for a juice/tea, I sometime use the Rabbit Card.
I live by a BTS and my office is also beside a BTS. As a result majority of my traveling is on the BTS system. I normally get a 30 days, 50 trips pass with my Rabbit Card. When I'm refilling my Card, I also tend to add some extra balance to the card. This keeps my per trip cost to ฿26-฿41. Also I can pay for some small payments with the Rabbit Card. A lot of places accept the Rabbit Card other than BTS, including upscale super shops like Gourmet Market.
When the commute is a bit shorter on BTS (like 1-2 stations, which would cost below ฿25) I sometimes get a onetime pass if I have time. I pay for with with Rabbit LINE Pay app. I can also get a ontine pass this way if I forget the Rabbit Card at home.
Sometimes I get on a Bus/MRT. I also use bike taxi when I'm in hurry (like Jummah time every Friday). In those cases I pay with Cash. BRT accepts the Rabbit card as well.
I don't get on a Taxi normally.
For Petrol, most of the pump accepts Card. Some offers up to 3% cash back if you buy >฿800 per voucher.
Most of the Utility bills comes with a unique QR code, which I can scan with any Bank's mobile app and pay it. This is actually great, no need to queue up anywhere!
For electricity bill payment, I use the MEA Smart Life4 app. I pay it with the Credit Card.
Water bill, I paid with the Bank mobile app.
For mobile bill (AIS), first time I used Rabbit LINE Pay as they had some discount. Last month I paid it with Card.
For Internet bill (True), I used their iService app and paid with Card.
Minimum required Cash/Changes
I really don't like carrying Cash or changes, specially in Thailand. Here up to ฿10, it's all coins, bank notes starts from ฿20. And trust me it adds up very soon and makes you a big coin collector!
Still some places you'll need some Cash / Changes. Most frequent ones are street food vendors. 7/11 also don't accept card for smaller payments (Family Mart does on the other hand). There are some other places like open markets, local groceries, shopping center parking lots. For these places, I need to carry some cash, ideally less than ฿500.
Still I won't carry a Debit Card. If I need to take out some money from the ATM, I use the mobile app from the Bank. It works smoothly!
I also try to spend the coins as much as possible. For the ฿1 ones I use them at the water dispenser or any other automated coin collecting machine!
- For bank card, get one with Visa or MasterCard. These two are the most widely acceptable ones. JCB/Amex is also quite popular ones. I didn't see much DCI and other brands.
- If you don't want to carry a separate Bank Card and Rabbit Card, get a bank card from Bangkok Bank. Their debit/credit cards can double as a Rabbit Card as well!
- If you are using your home country card to take out money from the ATM, try to take out at bigger chunk. They'll charge ฿180-฿200 every time.
- PARANOIA ALERT: When you go Cashless, you're more trackable than ever. That's big reason Govt. and enterprises are pushing towards it!
- If you don't use carefully you're digital wallets are prone to hacking. (from very basic ones like getting the numbers, duplicating RFID/NFC cards etc)
- In remote areas!
If you have any other points, please let us know below.
1 Rabbit Card: You can get one from any BTS ticketing office. They also have dedicated booths in some places. Your Bangkok Bank Card also works as Rabbit Card.
2 Rabbit LINE Pay: Part of the main LINE app.
3 PromptPay: Normal bank transfer, but you can send money with just the mobile/NID number. Also works accross banks.
4 MEA Smart Life: Available on both App Store and Play Store.