Using The Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) in Malaysia

Using The Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) in Malaysia

The Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) is the official currency of Malaysia, a Southeast Asian country known for its rich culture, delicious food, and stunning natural beauty.

Malaysia is a fascinating country that attracts millions of tourists from all over the world.

The Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) is used by locals and tourists alike.

As a tourist, please get to know the Malaysian Ringgit and understand its value, exchange rate, and usage before traveling to Malaysia.

This article will explore everything tourists need to know about the Malaysian Ringgit – including its history, value, denominations, exchange rates, where and how to get it, and tips for handling money in Malaysia.

History of the Malaysian Ringgit

If you’re planning a trip to Malaysia, it’s essential to understand the local currency and how it works.
Here’s what you need to know about the Malaysian Ringgit as a tourist.

The Malaysian Ringgit has a fascinating history that dates back to the colonial era.

Before Malaysia gained independence from Britain in 1957, the Malayan dollar was the official currency.
The Malaysian Ringgit has a relatively short history compared to other currencies.

In 1967, the Malaysian dollar replaced the Malayan dollar to replace the Malaya and British Borneo dollar.

It was later changed to the Malaysian Ringgit in 1975.

The name “ringgit” means “jagged” in Malay, referring to the serrated edges of the Spanish silver dollars that were widely used in the region during the 16th and 17th centuries.

In the early days of the Malaysian Ringgit, it was pegged to the US dollar at 2.50 MYR to 1 USD.

However, the peg was abandoned during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and since then, the Ringgit’s value has been determined by market forces.

Value and Exchange Rate

The Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) is divided into 100 sen (cents), and the currency symbol is RM.Th

e Malaysian Ringgit’s value fluctuates based on market conditions depending on factors such as the country’s economic performance, political stability, and global market trends.

Check the current exchange rate before traveling to Malaysia to know how much you will spend.

MYR Exchange Rates

The exchange rate of your home currency and the Malaysian Ringgit will vary depending on the currency market.

You can check the current exchange rates online or at a money exchange counter.

It’s always a good idea to exchange your money before arriving in Malaysia.

Still, if you need to exchange money in the country, plenty of money exchange counters exist at airports, banks, hotels, and shopping centers.

In Malaysia’s shopping malls, there are often several licensed money changers.

However, be cautious of unlicensed money changers who may offer better rates but could potentially scam you.

You can check a few to decide on the best rate, as the exchange rate between your home currency and the Malaysian Ringgit can significantly impact your travel budget.

As of March 2023, the exchange rate of the Malaysian Ringgit is around 1 USD = 4.15 MYR.

However, exchange rates can fluctuate, so watching them as you plan your trip is a good idea.

Currency Denominations

The Malaysian Ringgit is available in both coins and banknotes and comes in several denominations, including:

RM1 (one Ringgit)
RM5 (five Ringgit)
RM10 (ten Ringgit)
RM20 (twenty Ringgit)
RM50 (fifty Ringgit)
RM100 (one hundred Ringgit)

The coins used in Malaysia are five sen, ten sen, 20 sen, and 50 sen coins.

The one-sen coin is no longer in circulation.

Some merchants may not accept coins, especially in larger transactions.

Tourists should note that some vendors may only accept small denominations, such as RM50 and RM100 notes, due to the risk of counterfeit bills.

Familiarizing yourself with these denominations and their corresponding values ensures you receive the correct change.

Therefore, carrying small denominations, such as RM10 and RM20 notes, is a good idea when shopping at local markets and street vendors.

Using The Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) in Malaysia

Where and How to Get Malaysian Ringgit

There are several ways to obtain Malaysian Ringgit, including exchanging currency at a local bank or money changer, withdrawing cash from an ATM, or using a credit card.

It is important to note that some smaller shops and restaurants may not accept credit cards, so carrying cash in smaller denominations is always a good idea.


As a tourist, you can obtain Malaysian Ringgit from various sources, including banks, money changers, and ATMs.

Banks are the most reliable and secure option as they offer competitive exchange rates and charge minimal fees.

However, they may require some form of identification, such as a passport or a valid visa.

You can check Bank Negara Exchange Rates here.

Licensed Money Changers

Money changers are also available and can be found in tourist hotspots, but they may charge higher fees and offer less competitive exchange rates.

ATMs in Malaysia

Another option for obtaining Malaysian Ringgit is to use an ATM.

Most ATMs in Malaysia accept international cards such as Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.

However, they may charge additional fees and offer less competitive exchange rates than banks.

If you are using foreign cards but be aware that you may be charged a fee for using an ATM that’s not affiliated with your bank.

You can also withdraw cash using your Visa or Mastercard.

However, it is recommended that you check with your bank regarding international transaction fees and currency conversion rates.

You can withdraw cash in Malaysian Ringgit or your home currency, but be aware that you may be charged a fee for using an international card.

Additionally, some ATMs may have withdrawal limits, so it’s a good idea to check with your bank before you travel.

Using The Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) in Malaysia

Credit Cards in Malaysia

Credit cards are widely accepted in Malaysia, especially in larger cities and tourist areas.

Visa is the most commonly accepted, followed and Mastercard, American Express, and Diners Club.

Be aware that some merchants may charge a fee for credit card transactions, and it’s always a good idea to notify your bank of your travel plans to avoid any issues with your card.

Some smaller businesses may not accept credit cards, so always carry some cash with you.

It is important to note that some vendors may add a surcharge for credit card transactions, ranging from 2-3% of the total purchase amount.

Therefore, checking with the vendor before purchasing with your credit card is always a good idea.

In a rural area, cash is best.

Using Traveler’s Checks

While traveler’s checks were a popular form of payment, they have yet to be widely accepted in Malaysia.

It is recommended to carry cash or use a credit card instead.

However, comparing exchange rates and fees before making a transaction is important.

Tips for Handling Cash

When handling the Malaysian Ringgit, it is essential to observe a few tips to avoid getting ripped off or losing money.

1. Always check the exchange rate before exchanging your currency and ensure you get a fair deal.

2. Only use reputable money changers and banks to avoid being scammed.

3. Carry smaller denominations of the Malaysian Ringgit to ensure the ability to get change, especially when purchasing from smaller vendors.

4. Be wary of counterfeit currency and learn to identify genuine notes by checking the security features such as the watermark, security thread, and holographic strip.

5. Observe Malaysian cultural norms in handling money. For example, taking money with your left hand is considered rude, as it is traditionally seen as the “dirty” hand. Instead, use your right hand to give and receive money.

Here are some tips for handling money in Malaysia:

  1. While credit cards are widely accepted, some places may only accept cash.
  2. Always carry some cash with you, especially when shopping at local markets and street vendors.
  3. Only carry small cash with you, especially in crowded areas.
  4. Keep small denominations of banknotes: Some smaller businesses may not have change for larger denominations, so keep some small notes and coins on hand.
  5. 5. Be cautious of pickpockets and thieves: Keep your money and valuables secure, and avoid flashing large amounts of cash in public places.
  6. Use a reputable money changer or local bank to exchange currency.
  7. A void exchanging money on the street: Use licensed money exchange counters at airports, banks, or shopping centers.
  8. While the exchange rates at airports and hotels may be unfavorable higher, it is better than getting scammed.
  9. Check your change: Make sure to count your change carefully and examine the banknotes for any signs of counterfeits.
  10. Check international transaction fees and currency conversion rates with your bank.
  11. Monitor your credit card statements to ensure no unauthorized charges.
  12. Be aware of the denominations of Malaysian Ringgit to ensure everything is clear when purchasing.
  13. Always check the exchange rate before purchasing MYR to avoid overpaying.

Carry Small MYR Denominations

Additionally, it’s a good idea to carry small denominations of cash with you, especially if you plan to take public transportation or make small purchases.

Some merchants may not have change for larger bills, and it’s generally easier to use smaller bills and coins for these types of transactions.

Using The Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) in Malaysia

Counterfeit Currency

As with any currency, there is a risk of encountering counterfeit Malaysian Ringgit.

Additionally, be aware of the security features of Malaysian currency, such as watermarks, security threads, and holograms.

Only change currency at reputable locations, such as banks or exchange bureaus, is essential to avoid this.

Make sure to examine the banknotes closely to ensure that they are genuine.

If you suspect a bill is counterfeit, do not accept it and report it to the authorities.


In conclusion, understanding the Malaysian Ringgit is integral to traveling to Malaysia.

You can ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip without currency-related issues by familiarizing yourself with exchange rates, where to exchange currency, denominations, and cultural norms.

While credit cards are widely accepted, it’s always a good idea to carry some cash with you and be cautious of unlicensed money changers.

As a tourist visiting Malaysia, it is crucial to understand the country’s currency, the Malaysian Ringgit (MYR or RM), to ensure a hassle-free and enjoyable trip.



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