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.
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.
- Go on to your U.S. bank’s website.
- Go to the Payments and Transfer Page.
- Select Transfer Money, Add External Account.
- 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.
- If all goes well they will then tell you that they will make 2 small deposits into your Thai bank.
- 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.
- 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.
- Small problem here. The U.S. bank wants the amount in dollars but the deposits shown in your bankbook will be in Baht.
- Easy to fix. Find out what the exchange rate for today is. Take the deposit amount and divide it by today’s exchange rate.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.