Throughout the major towns of Bhutan, you will find ATM kiosks of the major Bhutanese banks like the Bank of Bhutan, Druk PNB Bank and Bhutan National Bank. Money can be withdrawn from these ATM kiosks using some major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard. It is to be noted that ATMs in Bhutan do not use the digital chips. Instead, magnetic strips are used, which may not be permitted by some foreign banks to make withdrawals. Also, at times the government of Bhutan blocks international ATM transactions for a brief time interval to tackle scams or some kind of frauds.
Travelers can exchange cash at the foreign exchange desk at Paro Airport and Bank of Bhutan branches in major towns like Paro and Thimphu. As you travel into remote towns, ATM and banking facilities become almost non-existent. Some hotels also provide foreign exchange services; however, many of these are only limited to exchanging US dollars only. So, it is always advisable to do banking whilst in Paro or Thimphu, and take local currency before traveling to Bhutan’s countryside.
The use of credit cards in Bhutan has been widely acknowledged in the recent years. Except in some regions of central and eastern Bhutan, most of the larger hotels and major handicraft stores now accept some foreign credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard. The credit card transaction will however be charged a supplement of up to 5% of your operation.
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