July 31st, 2010 admin
“I brought 100 dollars to Johor Bahru, spent on food, drinks, petrol and shopping and at the end of the day, still brought 100 dollars back to Singapore”
The common metaphor above is probably true, if you consider the latter 100 dollars as 100 ringgit instead. With the current exchange rate of 1 Sing $ = 2.32 Malaysian Ringgit, Singaporeans can well afford to spend in Johor Bahru, and still keep the change.
First thing first – converting your Singapore Dollars into Malaysian Ringgit.
To one whom had roamed Johor Bahru well enough, the common observation is that almost ALL the money changers (or Tukar Wang) in display the same exchange rate, in either white or yellow background with red fonts. This seem to make the process of converting your Singaporean dollars (containing the face of former president Yusof Bin Ishak) into Malaysian Ringgit (containing the face of Malaysia’s first King, Tuanku Abdul Rahman) easy, since you do not really have to hunt for the money changer with the best rates.
In the rest of our post below, we adopt a Q&A approach to address some of the most common queries regarding Money Changers in Johor Bahru.
Q: Is the rates at Johor Bahru better than Woodlands/Singapore?
A: General consensus is that the rates in Johor Bahru are similar to that in Woodlands Central. Of course, if you go anywhere else in Singapore, you will get lower rates compared to Johor Bahru.
Q: Why does all the money changer in Johor Bahru seems to display the same rate?
A: The money changers in Johor Bahru are not really a cartel. However, the “Tukar Wang” business in JB had evolved over the past 2 decades such that everyone realise that it is better not to compete based on rates and force cutthroat prices where the margin is reduced. Thus, the published rates are all pretty much standardised.
Q: Is there a “better” money changer in Johor Bahru?
A: The better money changer is the one whom you always patronise. He can offer up to a max of published rate + 2.2. And note that if you are changing a wad of cash (about S$500 and above), you should always ask him how much he can offer. Minimally, get published rate + 2.0.
Q: How else can I get a better conversion from Singapore Dollars to Malaysian Ringgit?
A: The best way, really, is to convert with your Malaysian friends – those who need to buy into Singapore dollar using the Malaysian Ringgit (for example, they need to buy into Singapore Dollar to pay tuition fees for their kids studying in NTU/ NUS/ SMU, or maybe, to have a hand in RWS and MBS casinos).
Q: When is the best time to convert my Singapore Dollars into Malaysian Ringgit?
A: If you need to spend using the Ringgit, note that the Singapore Dollar has been trading within a general band of 1 Singapore Dollar against RM$2.20-RM$2.40 for the longest time. It might be prudent to do a “mass” conversion when the rate hits RM$2.40 and deposit the Ringgit into a Malaysian Bank - if you need to spend to Johor Bahru persistently (need to pay a housing loan, go shopping/pump petrol every weekend, or if you have a mistress in Johor Bahru!).
Q: I do not feel safe to carry wads of cash, especially everytime I leave the money changer.
A: Again, try to open a bank account in Malaysia. There is usually a money changer next to every bank branch in Johor Bahru, so you can immediately deposit the cash into your account.
Q: Is there a NETS equivalent in Johor Bahru so that I do not need to carry so much cash?
A: Yes. If you open a Maybank account, you can use your Maybank ATM card to make payment at petrol stations and supermarkets. Watch out for the Maybank logo.
For more information, refer to our forum discussion thread here:
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