A practical foreign exchange and currency guide to Malaysia
What’s in this Malaysia currency guide:
The official currency of Malaysia is the Malaysian ringgit, with symbol RM and currency code MYR.
The word ringgit is an obsolete term for "jagged" in Malay and was originally used to refer to the serrated edges of silver Spanish dollars which circulated widely in the area during the 16th and 17th century Portuguese colonial era.
Between 1995 and 1997, the ringgit was trading as a free float currency at around 2.50 to the US dollar, but following the onset of the 1997 East Asian financial crisis, the ringgit witnessed major dips to under 3.80 to the dollar by the end of 1997 as a result of capital flight. During the first half of 1998, the currency fluctuated between 3.80 and 4.40 to the dollar, before Bank Negara Malaysia moved to peg the ringgit to the US dollar in September 1998, maintaining its 3.80 to the dollar value for almost seven years while remaining floated against other currencies. In addition, the ringgit was designated non-tradeable outside of Malaysia in 1998 to stem the flow of money out of the country.
On 21 July 2005, Bank Negara announced the end of the peg to the US dollar immediately after China's announcement of the end of the renminbi peg to the US dollar. The ringgit would experience more acute plunges in its value since mid-2014 following the escalation of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal that raised allegations of political channeling of billions of ringgit to offshore accounts, and uncertainty from the 2015–16 Chinese stock market turbulence and the effects of the 2016 United States presidential election results.
The Malaysian ringgit has remained below 24 US cents since the end of 2021 as a firmer US dollar kept Asian currencies subdued while escalating woes due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine switched markets to safe haven mode.
05 May 2022
18 Feb 2022
19 May 2021
20 May 2017
21 May 2012
24 May 2002
The below comparison table makes it easy to find the best exchange rates and lowest fees when you want to make a Transfer or Spend Malaysian ringgit.
You can read about the best providers and compare the latest deals for international money transfers to Malaysia in our Send Money to Malaysia guide.