Transferring Money to Thailand – Thanksgiving in Japan – On Sabbatical

December 2, 2013

I am currently in Okinawa spending the Thanksgiving holiday with my son Warren, a U.S. Marine major coordinating the Marine relief effort for the Philippines, his lovely wife Sonya, holding down the fort at their Japanese home (on a U.S. base of course), and our 3 (count them, 3) grand children, Natalie, Brandon, and just born, Ethan. (My other son Darin will be visiting us in Chiang Mai next month so everything is copacetic in the Leong family.)

This is my 73rd “Retire 2 Thailand” blog posting without a break.  So, I am going to take some time off from writing and try to recharge my batteries and play with and sing lots of songs and Christmas carols for the little ones and for a bunch of Marines sans family coming for Thanksgiving dinner. There’s no place like home for the holidays.

I’ll be back next month.

The Leongs at Surijo Castle on Okinawa

The Leongs at Katsuren Castle on Okinawa

Grandma Pikun with Nathan Wayne Leong, born in Japan, 2 months old.

Grandma Pikun with Ethan Wayne Leong, born in Japan, 2 months old.

Transferring Money

But I did want to share a new way I found to transfer money from the U.S. to Thailand. It’s much easier than the way I was doing it before.

Note that I bank with J.P. Morgan Chase in the U.S. and get my Social Security automatically deposited there. But I am sure other international banks do the same thing. My bank in Thailand is Bangkok Bank.

  1. Go on to your U.S. bank’s website.
  2. Go to the Payments and Transfer Page.
  3. Select Transfer Money, Add External Account.
  4. Fill out the form – The Bangkok Bank (New York Branch) Routing Number is 026008691. Every bank has its own routing number. Just look it up on Google. Then add your account number and other info they ask for.
  5. If all goes well they will then tell you that they will make 2 small deposits into your Thai bank.
  6. Check your bank account (use the Update Passbook feature at the ATM machines, or go onto your Thai bank’s website) in about 3 days. If everything works out OK and your banks communicate with each other then you’ll see 2 small deposits.
  7. Go back to the U.S. bank’s website and go to the page to verify your External Account. It will ask you to tell them the amount of each deposit.
  8. Small problem here. The U.S. bank wants the amount in dollars but the deposits shown in your bankbook will be in Baht.
  9. Easy to fix. Find out what the exchange rate for today is. Take the deposit amount and divide it by today’s exchange rate.
  10. Example: One of my deposits showed 2.76 baht. The exchange rate for that day was 31.19 baht per dollar. Take 2.76/31.19 = 0.088. The other deposit was .36 baht. .36/31.19 = 0.011.
  11. Round the numbers off 0.088 = 0.09, or 9 cents; 0.011 = 0.01 or 1 cent. These are the amounts you enter on the Verify page.
  12. If all goes well the page will tell you that your external account has been verified

You now can make wire transfers up to $25,000 per day from your U.S. bank to your Thai bank right from your U.S. bank’s website.

Let us all know if you have any problems and maybe if your U.S. bank does things slightly differently, and if your Thai bank accepts these kinds of transfers. One problem I had was that my long-term Thai account (4 month fixed; the one I use to show Immigration) did not accept the deposits so I could not verify that account. But I also have a regular savings account where the deposits were accepted and that account worked out fine.

I would be interested to know what other Thai banks beside Bangkok Bank this works for and which it doesn’t work for. That would be very helpful to our readers.

Lots of luck.


Update on bank transfers

Social Security Direct Deposit

A reader has this info on Social Security direct deposits. He sat down with the Bangkok Bank branch manager and had her explain the fee structure in detail, so I think this one is pretty accurate. But this being Thailand the system is subject to frequent and unannounced changes.

For those who have a direct deposit account with any Bangkok Bank branch in Thailand, and want to have their Social Security payment directly deposited, the money will originate with the Dept. of Treasury who will send it to the New York branch of Bangkok Bank.  This transaction will cost you a flat fee of $5.00 off the top. So in his case his $399/mo is now $394.  This $394 is the base amount which is sent from Bangkok Bank New York to Bangkok Bank Thailand and the exchange rate used is the Telegraphic Transfer (TT) on the day of deposit.  For my last deposit this was THB 32.03 per $US.  Then, Bangkok Bank in Thailand charges another fee or “commission” of 0.25% of the amount OR a minimum of THB 200 or a maximum of THB 500.  After the commission is deducted, the remaining amount is deposited into your account. In his case, he paid THB 200.  So for his monthly deposit the fees ( TT fee, exchange rate and commission deducted) amount to $11.24.

U.S. Bank to Thai Bank transfers

I myself just did a Bank transfer using the Bangkok Bank website. This is the first time trying the website transfer service. I usually only transfer money once or twice a year. Since the exchange rate is getting higher I thought I would transfer some now. The website was very easy to use and the money was gone from my U.S. account very quickly. Three business days later (really 5 calendar days which included 2 weekend days and a Thai national holiday). I checked my Bangkok Bank account here in Chiang Mai and the money was there.

The current exchange rate stated on the Bangkok Bank’s website was 31.75 but I was given 31.81. Don’t know why. There was no notation about what fees I paid so I asked my branch manager here and she said for this kind of transfer there were no fees from the Bangkok Bank. There was a $5 fee from the U.S. side.

So, looks like I will be transferring money using this system from now on.

Have a great Holiday Season.

14 Responses to “Transferring Money to Thailand – Thanksgiving in Japan – On Sabbatical”

  1. tom macbeth said

    Hugh, Glad to see that you are enjoying the holidays with the family!
    My pension check is sent to my U.S. bank (Citibank). I let the money build up for a while and then make an online wire transfer to my Bangkok Bank account, but they charge me $30US to make the transfer and an additional $10US to Bangkok Bank. Are you saying that by your method you don’t pay a wire transfer fee?
    Regards, Tom

    • Tom,

      I haven’t done the transfer yet. Waiting for the baht to get a little weaker. I do the same as you and usually transfer once or twice a year. For every 1 baht difference in the exchange rate that is 1 baht for every dollar you transfer. A $25,000 transfer gives you 25,000 extra baht. So I haven’t seen the charges yet but I think Chase has about the same rate as Citi. Thanks for the update.

  2. Lani said

    Happy Holidays Hugh! Thanks for the info, will pass along. Cheers!

  3. If you do not know the baht/dollar conversion rate at the time of deposit, or you don’t know whether to use the buy or sell rate, you should get an SMS message from Bangkok Bank for each transfer. This message should tell you the amount of the transfer in both dollars and baht and the conversion rate.

    One problem is that Bangkok Bank charges you $5 on the New York end for each deposit under $500 ($10 over $500). I don’t know how this is collected if the deposit is $.01 thru $.09. Setting up a direct deposit account with BB would probably be easier, then you do not have to worry about the 2 little penny deposits. However, doing it this way, you have to go to any branch of BB with your direct deposit pass book and your passport to get access to your money. They want to be sure you’re still before giving you your money.

    Life is more complicated as an expat in the LOS.

    • Thanks David,

      I did look into a direct deposit to Bangkok Bank for my Social Security but that would occur once every month and the charges would then be 12 times a year. Since I only transfer once or twice a year I save quite a bit of money that way. But I always recommend to do what works for you.

  4. BTW, Thanksgiving dinner: A 17 lb deep fried turkey (the Marines seem to love it this way and in fact it was the best turkey I ever had), mashed potatoes, candied yams (yams imported for the U.S.), string bean casserole, A blackberry, a pecan, and a pumpkin pie, and all the Brayers butter pecan ice cream I could eat (1/2 gallon in 3 days – I went light on it). On the trip I also ate Hebrew National Hot dogs (6 of them), Popeye’s Chicken, Taco Bells Chalupas, some American pizza, a huge rib eye steak, and lots and lots of sushi and sashimi, some porcupine fish noodle soup, and stuff I have no idea if it were vegetable or animal. Looks like I am back on my diet once again.

  5. Update on transfers to Bangkok Bank. One of my loyal readers just sent me this

    “Oh quick point on the BKK bank NY transfers which I have used for many years. It is free but can take time often a week especially if there are holidays on either the Thai or US side.”

    Hope this info helps.

  6. Michael said

    Hi! I am expat living in Amphur Mae Rim w/ Thai wife (married 7 years today: 12/26/13). We are also living in New York City. It has taken a while to figure out when to be here & when to return to NYC. This last trip has been the best and will continue to do July to mid January in Mae Rim. The biggest factor being the burning. All other issues are tolerated as they are dealing w/ life in The Big Apple. Regarding the transfer of funds from the USA to Thailand, I have a Schwab Brokerage IRA account. With it I have a Schwab checking account and they allow unlimited ATM withdrawals ( I can withdraw a maximum of one withdrawal of 25,000 Bht per day) waiving the credit card fee charged by the Thai Bank & the exchange rate charge. The effective exchange rate beats any of the posted rates by Kasikorn Bank rates on the website by .10 Bht and I can check my account balance immediately on the Scwab website. I have noticed recently that more and more USA financial institutions are offering this service. I am using Skype to call the USA (about 5 cent average/minute) and toll free phone numbers are also no charge by Skype. This allows me to make most business calls for free while I live in Thailand and the sound quality is excellent. Now if we “Farangs” could only get Thai passports when their Thai wives get US Passports and the locals stop burning then we would have ‘beyond paradise’ here in The North. Thanx for your blogsite and have a healthy and happy 2014

    • Michael,

      Thanks for the new info. That sound like a good way to go. And with the exchange rate the way it is this is probably a god time to do some transacting. I did mine too early. It is .6 better today than when I did it. But I am satisfied.

      New York, huh? That is where I grew up (Canal and Mott Streets). And happy I am that that is way in the past. Keep wishing on Thai citizenship for us. Ain’t gonna happen sorry to say. But I am ok with how it is.

      Plans for the smoke times: Take the next plan for Krabi and wait it out down there.

      Cheers and Happy Festivus.

      • Michael said

        Mott & Canal???? The wife thinks that is the best part of town. A # 1 source for her Lanna cuisine addiction. Good news: I will be gone before the smoke descends on Mae Rim. Bad news: I will have to buy the wife a Mink coat for the NYC winter. The best in the year of the Horse

  7. Keith said

    Thanks for posting this way of transferring money. I just used it and think it will work well for my current needs. I thought someone might be interested in my specifics so am including them in this comment.

    I set this up and attempted a transfer from my US bank on the 13th of February. My bank charges $3 for the external transfer. I transferred $2,000 which I believe is my limit on my US bank account. On the 20th of February I received 64,617 THB for an exchange rate of 32.3085. had the mid market rate at 32.5883 and Bangkok Bank had a USD buy rate of 32.24 on their main webpage.

    Since I just did this it is possible there are other charges that I have just not received yet.

    This is the first time I have transferred money to Thailand so do not know if this would be considered good or bad. I am in Thailand on a tourist visa and for for me it is going to work out better than just using my ATM for getting money. I also will be leaving the account open for use in the future.

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