Withdrawing Funds Using RCBC MyWallet Overseas

When traveling overseas we may overlook the fact that not all debit cards can be used in a lot of ATM machines. I would always recommend to bring two or more debit cards. I currently have the GCash MasterCard and RCBC MyWallet for the meantime.

I also have my PayMaya physical card which is already linked to my verified PayMaya virtual card account but I am excluding it for now because of the Ph500 roaming fee my Smart postpaid account would automatically charge me once I insert my SIM to a working phone here while being overseas. As PayMaya now requires a text verification upon logging in to the PayMaya mobile app, I don’t think it’s worth it using my Smart postpaid SIM when I have two other debit card alternatives.

In Thailand, I could withdraw funds from my GCash MasterCard in most ATM machines. Most 7-Eleven stores in Thailand have ATM machines outside the premises but you have to also make sure the ATM machine is not that of a local bank. As for the RCBC MyWallet, I have tried withdrawing cash from it in both Siam Commercial Bank and Krungsri ATM machines and have been able to transact successfully.

I should also like to mention that solely depending on GCash MasterCard is not a good option because of the monthly withdrawal limit. There were times when I’ve reached my limit in GCash on the last day of the month and I had to wait for the next day, the first day of the next month, to do a withdrawal. In case waiting might pose a hassle for you, it’s good to have other options too.

It gets tricky here in Vietnam for the RCBC MyWallet. Techcom Bank, BIDV Bank, Lienviet Post Bank, Vietcom Bank and Maritime Bank are the most common ATM machines I could run into and GCash would be accepted in all of these. The only ATM where I found I could use my RCBC MyWallet is that of VP Bank. Unlike Vietcom and Techcombank, you won’t come across VP Bank ATM machines in most big malls. I had to research VP Bank ATM locations online.

I do find my travelling situation to be unique but I hope this has helped anyone who has trouble finding a bank in Vietnam they can withdraw their funds with using RCBC MyWallet.

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Coins.ph and Mobile Recharge

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If you’re a frequent traveler and you need to change SIM cards wherever you go, I recommend the mobile apps Coins.ph and Mobile Recharge. I alternate between the two mobile apps as each has unique services to offer.

I signed up with Coins.ph a few years back and completed the profile verification steps quickly. I knew Coins.ph dealt with Bitcoins primarily and they only extended their services to include mobile top-up not only for Philippine mobile numbers but also for international numbers. I have tried their Buy Load feature with my Philippine mobile numbers and also for my Vietnamese and Cambodian SIM cards and the top-up was successful.

You can top up your international mobile numbers with Mobile Recharge as well. In fact, M-Recharge mobile app is mainly for that purpose. I have used it in the past to top up my Malaysian and Thailand SIM cards. The only reason I keep Coins.ph as an alternative for mobile top-up is that the available denominations Mobile Recharge top-up are higher compared to that of Coins.ph. The minimum amount for mobile top-up with Mobile Recharge is at $10 which you can conveniently purchase using your PayPal account. Coins.ph does not have the option to purchase via PayPal as users would have to top up their Coins.ph Wallet first before they can purchase using their Coins.ph account.

Where To Buy Cheap Luggage in Bangkok

If you’ve come to this page for information on where to buy cheap (but quality) luggage in Bangkok, then I am sure you’ve also encountered other Google search results about travel forums talking about the same topic. I also know that one of the advice you read from those travel forums mentions MBK as one of those places where you can buy cheap luggage in Bangkok. I did go to MBK my first time here in Bangkok and even though you can haggle with the small store owners, I would not recommend it and I am writing this to give you, readers, another convenient option.

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There is no shortage of buying cheap luggage in Bangkok and hailing from the Philippines myself and once in a while trying to convert my baht into pesos in my head, I have come to know the difference. My first stay in Bangkok was in May this year for two weeks and I arrived here in Nonthaburi (same place I stayed at before) on July 2nd and am about to leave on July 30th, that’s in two days from now.  During these two separate visits, I have bought 2 luggages.

When I tried going to MBK because Caucasian and European travelers alike deemed it as one of the best places to buy cheap luggage in Bangkok, I was questioning myself whether or not it was worth heeding that travel forum advice. Since I stayed in Nonthaburi in May, it was quite a travel by taxi to get to MBK. I had to pay for the toll fee once, which the Grab driver was kind enough to let me know. MBK is huge and I did scout each floors for stores selling luggages and after two hours I was not so impressed. So, yeah, you better think twice about what you read on travel forums these days.

I did find a decent page to buy cheap luggage in Bangkok, though. I tried browsing through Lazada.com’s Thailand page. I already have a Lazada account from the Philippines and I did have to sign up again by using my Google sign-in credentials, too. It was shipped to my apartment within two days and best of all, delivery was free. I bought it for 999 Baht; the ones I found in MBK were around 1500 Baht. I did get a better deal and I did not have to go out, pay for the fare and toll fees because the luggage was delivered right to my doorstep.

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My second luggage purchase from Lazada Thailand was priced at 890 Baht. I bought it just this month. You have to be aware of the dimensions you want in a luggage. The item description in the website is not lacking in that info. And, yes, I also did get it within two days from ordering it at Lazada Thailand’s website.

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If you’re staying more than a week in Bangkok and need to replace your luggage, try to browse through Lazada Thailand. Make sure you tick the option “Ships from Bangkok/Thailand”.

 

Grab vs Uber in Thailand

I have only ever used the Uber mobile app for the first time when I arrived here in Bangkok a week ago. I had Uber downloaded on my phone about a year ago but could only use GrabTaxi in my hometown.

Upon clearing immigration at the Don Mueang International Airport, I opened Maps to ask for directions from the airport to the place I was staying. Under Ride, UberX mainly comes up along with the fare information. I paid ฿300 for the 20-minute UberX ride. I didn’t even think of comparing the fare with the Grab mobile app as I was in a hurry to leave there. The fact that Uber was integrated within the Maps app is an advantage for Uber.

Seven days, 2 Grab rides and 7 UberX rides later, I can say I’ve mostly had a more pleasant experience with Grab than Uber. Don’t let the quantity fool you. I’d had to raise the issue to Support about being prompted to pay ฿300 again for that first UberX ride. As explained in their Help section, I was apparently overcharged because of a technical issue:

For compensation, we’ve added THB 300 Uber credit to your account to reflect the difference in the amount you paid and what the trip fare should have been. Please note this Uber credit will automatically apply to your next trip fare.
However, In order to make an adjustment for a cash fare, we need you to first settle this outstanding balance. Please note that you will be unable to request rides until this balance is paid.
To pay your account balance, please sign in to your account. You can use a payment method on your account to pay your balance before you request your next trip. Here’s how it works:
1. When you try to request a trip, your app will notify you that your account is in arrears.
2. You’ll be prompted to add a credit or debit card to your Uber account.
3. After you’ve added a card, you can select it as your payment method to pay your arrears in full.

It makes sense to use up my Uber credits than to use Grab more.

What I don’t like about the Uber mobile app, though, is the inability to change my cellular number on file. When I tried to change it, it prompted me to make another account which is totally unnecessary. I don’t know why it would not recognise my Thailand cellular number, even if it’s just a traveler’s sim card. With Grab, I could switch my number on file to the Thai number, despite the latter being a traveler’s sim. Just had to emphasize that.

I also notice way too many glitches with the Uber mobile app. This resulted in so many cancellations by Uber drivers. For a 10-minute walk back to the hotel, it would take me an hour or so to successfully get an Uber ride. I could walk the way back, if only I weren’t carrying some groceries.

Booking.com and Agoda

Lately I have been frequenting Booking.com and Agoda mobile apps because of my upcoming trips. Both mobile apps as well as their web versions are awesome to use. I first started using Booking.com last year but have only thought of considering Agoda lately at the suggestion of a friend. Here’s what I think about Booking.com and Agoda mobile apps:

1 – I like hotel stay prices to be displayed as the final amount I would be paying. In this regard, Booking.com would take the most points. With Agoda, I would only see the partial price and the breakdown of the price would be seen a few pages later.

2 – When it comes to newsletter subscription headings, I noticed I would tend to ignore and delete Booking.com e-mails on hotel deals because they don’t usually come off  as a “call to action” kind of heading. They generally are about the hotel deals of a specific city you were last recorded browsing using your account. Agoda, on the other hand, has headings about a specific discount. I often find myself clicking through the Agoda e-mails because of the tempting deals. The headings draw me in to check out how I can get the 10% discount as promised within a limited time period.

3 – I recently booked via Agoda at one hotel three times within a week and two times out of those I had to do cancellations. Luckily it was the same room and it was still available for the same dates. When I click on Bookings, there isn’t really much you can change from there even though, for example, the special requests drop down menu and the submit button are still active. This seems to me as somewhat rigid. When I initially booked the room, I set it to pay later and had only 1 card saved. When I wanted to change the card under the saved payment method within the booking itself, the system won’t let me do it. Overall, there is not much change you can do within the booking itself. I had to e-mail customer support regarding the availability of changing the payment method once I’ve made my decision to pay for the booking. After almost two days, I got the reply that changing the payment method was not possible and that I had to re-book. How cumbersome. When I cancelled, I received an e-mail confirmation and it had an invitation to take a survey and leave a feedback regarding the said booking. I certainly hope they take my suggestion seriously to be flexible with making changes to a booking within the particular reservation itself.

4 – What really attracted me to Booking.com in the first place was the fact that they enable the “pay at the hotel” feature in most reservations. Although free cancellations can also be found in Agoda reservations, there’s a catch called prepayment. Because things sometimes get shitty between GCash (the main card I use) and PayPal instant withdrawal transfers, I cannot always guarantee I can do an automatic prepayment using my GCash MasterCard when PayPal and GCash delay my funds for all the sluggish reasons just because they can.

5 – Both Booking.com and Agoda mobile apps load pretty quickly.

6 – I use AirAsia and Tiger Air as alternatives to Cebu Pacific. AirAsia and Tiger Air sometimes have special hotel deals when you book with them and I have been able to apply these discounted rates because of their affiliated promos with Booking.com. Agoda offers Point Max where you can choose to earn miles for a particular booking. It’s not retroactive as you would have to determine your rewards program first. Only when you come to the select rooms section will you be able to view deals like how many miles you can earn with your already chosen rewards program if you book a particular room.