Money & duty free for Malaysia

Exchange rates:

C$1 = RM3.34
€1 = RM4.66
£1 = RM5.55
US$1 = RM4.48

Currency & Money

Currency information

Ringgit (MYR; symbol RM) = 100 sen. Notes are in denominations of RM100, 50, 10, 5 and 1. Coins are in denominations of 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 sen. The Ringgit is often referred to as the Malaysian Dollar.

Credit cards

Mastercard, Visa and American Express are widely accepted. Diners Club is accepted at larger department stores and shopping centres and some upmarket restaurants and hotels. Credit cards are less widely accepted in rural areas – carry cash or travellers cheques as a back up.


ATMs are found in all cities and most accept international cards from Visa, Mastercard and other major card issuers. Because of the high incidence of credit card fraud, banks may put an automatic block on your card unless you notify them first that you are travelling to Malaysia.

Travellers cheques

Accepted by all banks, hotels and large department stores. Most major brands of travellers cheques are accepted, but travellers are advised to carry cheques in Pounds Sterling, US Dollars or Australian Dollars.

Banking hours

Mon-Fri 0915-1630 (some branches close at 1600 on Friday and some open on Saturdays). Banks in Kelantan and Terengganu open Sun-Thurs 0915-1630 (till 1600 on Thursday).

Currency restriction

The import and export of the national currency (Ringgit Malaysia) is limited to the value equivalent of US$10,000. For higher amounts a written approval is needed of the Bank Negara Malaysia (Central Bank of Malaysia) (“BNM”). There are no restrictions on the import and export of foreign currency, however amounts equivalent of US$10,000 or higher must be declared. This customs declaration needs to be made prior to the trip.

Currency exchange

The best currency for exchange is the Pound Sterling, but US Dollars are also widely accepted. All commercial banks are authorised foreign exchange dealers; major hotels are only licensed to buy or accept foreign currency in the form of notes and traveller's cheques. It may be difficult to exchange foreign currencies outside the main tourist centres.

Malaysia duty free

The following goods may be imported into Malaysia without incurring customs duty:

• 200 cigarettes or 225g of tobacco.
• 1L of alcoholic drinks.
• Food up to the value of RM150.
• 3 pieces of new clothing and 1 new pair of shoes.
• in each case 1 portable electronic item for personal care.
• Other goods up to the value of RM500 for land or sea travellers and up to the value of RM1000 for air travellers.

Banned imports

Illicit drugs, counterfeit currency, indecent publications (books, films, paintings etc), anything considered prejudicial to the interest of Malaysia, piranha fish, turtle eggs, cocoa pods, daggers or flick knives, articles resembling syringes (eg pens or pencils), and poisonous chemicals. 

Also prohibited unless accompanied by an import licence are animals, fish, meat, plants, eggs in their shells, explosives and fireworks, arms and ammunition, imitation arms, soil, rice, coral and pharmaceutical products.

The penalty for drug trafficking is death by hanging.

Banned exports

Illicit drugs, turtle eggs and rattan from the Malaysian peninsula.

Also prohibited unless accompanied by an export licence are animals, birds, poultry, meat, cockles, plants, over 3kg of vegetables, palm kernels and seeds, military clothing and equipment, arms and ammunition, antiquities, sugar, rice, coral, live prawns/shrimp/fish, and collections of cultural value (eg of zoological or archaeological interest).

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.