One question we’re always asked by those coming to teach or volunteer in Thailand is “how can I transfer money between Thailand and my home country?” There are a number of different services and institutions for making international money transfers, and finding which is “best” is easier said than done. Each transfer method typically has a base fee associated with it, plus “hidden fees” which arise from the exchange rate between Thai baht and your home currency. The exchange rates utilized by different companies are always changing and can be very difficult to obtain.
The first step, in any case, is to open a Thai bank account. We typically assist our students in opening accounts with Kasikorn Bank because we are familiar and satisfied with their services and benefits. You may choose to shop around a bit and ask other banks about their international money transfer procedures and fees. Different banks employ different means of transfer, so you may find that one will best suit your specific needs, depending on the frequency and value of your transactions.
Sending money to your home bank account
Regardless of which Thai bank you choose to open an account with, each one will require information and materials similar to the following in order to send money internationally:
-Recipient bank account number
-Name associated with the recipient account
-Billing zip code (and possibly address) for the recipient bank account
-Reason for transferring funds
Some banks will charge a flat rate fee, typically on the order of 1,000 – 1,800 baht. Other banks will charge a fee dependent on the amount of money to be transferred. TM Bank, for example, may be a better choice for making smaller money transfers, as sending amounts of 15,000 baht or less will probably cost you less than 1,000 baht. It usually takes about 7 days for the money to appear in your home bank account. Depending on what bank you are a member of at home, your home account may also be subject to a transfer fee.
Sending money to your Thai bank account
To send money to your Thai bank account, a person in your home country will likely need to provide their bank with the following:
-Thai bank account number
-Thai bank SWIFT code
– billing zip code
– reason for the transfer.
– transfer fee
You may also be able to do this yourself if your home bank allows international transfers to be made via an online banking platform. Fees are determined by your home bank. Transfers take about 7 days.
Bangkok Bank now offers Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers for those with U.S. or U.K. bank accounts. This is a great option, as ACH payments are typically quicker and cheaper than wiring services. Follow this link for more information: http://www.bangkokbank.com/BangkokBank/PersonalBanking/DailyBanking/TransferingFunds/TransferringIntoThailand/ReceivingFundsfromUSA/Pages/ReceivingFundsfromUSA.aspx
Other options: Withdraw directly from your home account at an ATM
You can withdraw funds directly from your home bank account using just about any ATM in Thailand. There will typically be a fee of 150 baht, plus an additional cost due to the exchange rate and further currency conversion fees. This is a good option so long as you aren’t making frequent withdrawals.
Upon arriving in Thailand, many people will make a couple large withdrawals (enough to last until their 1st paycheck), and then deposit the money into a Thai bank account. Just make sure you notify your bank that you will be travelling abroad, or your account could be frozen for suspected fraudulent activity!
Other options: PayPal
-You (or whoever will be transferring money for you) must have a PayPal account linked to a bank account or card in your home country.
-Open a bank account in Thailand
-Link your PayPal account to your Thai bank account
-Transfer money from your home bank acct to your Thai bank account via PayPal
-You’ll instantly receive the money in your PayPal account, but you must then withdraw it from PayPal and deposit it into your Thai bank account. This is done with the click of a button online. It usually takes 2-3 days for this transaction to complete. It can sometimes take up to 9 days, however.
-You’ll be charged a fee of 0.5%, plus a currency conversion fee.
-For a more in depth look at the associated costs, follow this link and check out Schedule 1: Table of PayPal fees: https://www.paypal.com/uk/webapps/mpp/ua/useragreement-full?locale.x=en_GB#Schedule_1
Other options: Travel with cash
Travelling abroad with cash-in-hand has the advantage that you can avoid transfer fees and you can exchange your money in person. The obvious disadvantage is that you have no protection against loss or theft. If you choose this option, do so at your own risk.