Exchanging Dollars in Thailand

This is just a short topic I wanted to write down for future reference.
Anything older than the very newest US dollars can be a real pain in the ass to exchange in Thailand.
– I was flat out refused at one major bank and two exchange booths trying to exchange $100 bills.
– One bank had a note written on the window saying that US currency from 1990, 1993, 1996, and 2002 of any denomination, could not be accepted. (I suppose we have Kim “supernote” Jong Il to thank for that.)
– To determine if a note is real or counterfeit, the following procedure is used by the cashier:
1. Hold the bill up to ceiling light and squint at it for a while.
2. Straighten out the bill against the edge of the counter; reversely, if bill is new, crumple it up a bit and mumble something about it being “too old” or “too new.”
3. Call over the next cashier and let them squint at it against the ceiling light for a while.
4. Pass it under a UV lamp (presumably in case “COUNTERFEIT” has been stamped across it with lemon juice).
5. Call over the manager. He will take the bill and executively squint at it against the ceiling light for a while.
6. Test it with a counterfeit detecting pen.
7. Collectively squint at the bill against the ceiling light with every staff member in the bank, up to and including the branch president, and his pet poodle. Pretend you all know little details to look for like the booger in Andrew Jackson’s nose, etc., and have a little powwow about it.
8. Once you have cleared the first bill, start from step one to check any additional ones.

3 Replies to “Exchanging Dollars in Thailand”

  1. Next time, I’ll take over enough bhats so that I don’t have to worry about “too old, too new, too big a bill”, etc. It was very strange to see how even Travellers Checks were denied by some “I don’t want to deal with the responsibility” issue, and this was at tourist spots. What do they do with French, Chinese or Japanese currency?

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