To transfer money in, out, and within Thailand is pretty straightforward, and very similar to banking practices world wide. But before you venture out of your room to make a transfer of any kind here are some useful tips to make the process go smoothly and to minimize any frustration or aggravation you can encounter because of a language barrier, or the unwillingness of a bank clerk to think outside the box.
The first thing you need to do when considering to transfer money between banks is put ‘a’ passport in your pocket. The reason I advise to put ‘a’ passport in your pocket is because with any financial transaction involving a bank, except deposits, the customer must present a government issued form of identification. That means a driver’s license issued by the Government of Thailand is acceptable. although usually only the senior bank clerks will accept that form of ID or a bank officer you have a longstanding relationship with. Any other bank clerk has been told customers must present ‘a’ passport and they will refuse any service that involves withdrawing or transferring money, a perfect example of unwillingness to think outside the box. For you multinationals, if an occasion arises where you need to transfer money between Thai banks or send money via Western Union and your stamped passport with your date of entry into Thailand is not available, because of processes where it needs to be held by Immigration officials, another current passport will be sufficient for you to do the transaction. The banks are not immigration officials and they don’t check your visa status, they just need to show that you verified who you are with government issued identification, preferably a passport. A withdrawal from your own bank account may require the passport you opened the account with and if that passport expires pleases alert the bank officers with the new passport number. The clerk may refuse the withdrawal if the passport number doesn’t agree with what’s on file, but once again you may be able to make the transaction with another passport if you are well known by the employees of the bank or you have the expired passport and the new one presentable at the same time.
Now that the form of identification is established, there are still some things you need to be aware of to make sure your transaction is optimized monetarily. If you plan to transfer money or receive amounts of money worth €1,000 or more internationally, Western Union is not the best agent for this transaction. It would be better to open a bank account and transfer the money through a bank. The reason being banks offer a better Exchange rate than Western Union. Western Union’s rates are amongst the highest and may not be the most competitive. The transaction fee is usually the same, about €30, so it will benefit you and the recipient if you use a bank. Americans may find it difficult to open a bank account in Thailand because of American legislation introduced by Representative Rangel of New York and Senator Max Baucus of Montana. This legislation requires international banks with accounts owned by Americans to report the holdings of that American citizen to the U S government. So now many banks are reluctant to open bank accounts for Americans because of the added paperwork for that one nation only. Americans who are under banking duress because of this may consider writing to the American government officials I mentioned and informing them about the inaccessibility you have to international banking because of their legislation. The record number of Americans renouncing their citizenship, Mark Zuckerberg CEO of Facebook one of the more famous people that has recently renounced his American citizenship, maybe a good reason to rethink that law. Along with the fact that no other nation requires that of its citizens. For our American friends Bangkok Bank still accepts new accounts from Americans, knowing that should save you time and free you from stress when opening a bank account in Thailand.
One more note, not all the branches of banks in Thailand are able to do international transfers so check into which branch of your bank handles those types of transactions so you don’t waste time in a long queue only to be told that you are unable to get your transfer done at a particular branch.
With the proper identification and a bank account with a Thai bank, you will be able to send money and receive money from inside, outside, and within Thailand at the best rates.