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Finally found a way to send money online FROM Myanmar


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If you work in Myanmar (as I do), it is very difficult (almost impossible) to send money online, in order to export your funds from the country.  Although one can now access Paypal from within Myanmar, it is still not possible to link a Myanmar bank account to your Paypal account.


Western Union theoretically allows outbound fund transfers, but in practice I have personally been unable to convince the Myanmar bank to do this! (Anyway, the commission fees are high).


A few months ago, I tried to solve this problem by applying for a 'World Traveller' Visa debit card from my bank - AYA Bank. This card can be topped up with USD funds (either with cash payment in Kyat, USD or debited from my bank account).  I can then use this card for international, online purchases.


Well, the card usually works OK for online purchases of books, services etc.  Occasionally, the web-site rejects the card because it is registered with a Myanmar bank, and that web-site has not yet updated it's policy regarding the country (Myanmar used to be sanctioned, similar to Iran and DPRK).


So I thought that I could use this card to send funds to 'myself'.  I have 2 Paypal accounts, one linked to my Bangkok Bank account in Thailand and the other not linked to any bank.  I sent myself an invoice for $100 from the first account to the second, and then tried to pay for it from the second account, using my new World Traveller Visa card.


Well, my wonderful idea failed, because although all the other websites only ask for my card number, CVV and expiry date, Paypal also asked for the country of issue of the card.  Their drop-down list of countries didn't even include Myanmar (or Burma), so my payment was rejected.


The long story is that I have found a safe way to transfer funds online.


Years ago, I registered for an account with Moneybookers, which is now called Skrill.  I reactivated that old account, and then linked it to my Bangkok Bank account.  Then I was able to register my AYA Bank Visa card as a method to deposit funds into my Skrill account.


I can now send funds online from my Myanmar bank account to my Bangkok Bank account by:

- Top up my World Traveller card with $1,000 USD

- Upload $1,000 to my Skrill account

- Withdraw $1,000 to my Bangkok Bank account.


This works!


The Skrill commission fee is 1.9%.

My Bangkok Bank account is in THB, so there is the USD/THB exchange rate to apply.

There is a flat, low fee to top up my AYA card.


Anyway, it works.  I usually hand-carry USD each time that I visit Bangkok.  Since that is now perhaps twice a year, this online method at least allows me to send funds by an alternative method.


I think the 'Hundi' system that I used to use in Yangon 5 years ago was cheaper, albeit more risky!

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Now if you find a way of opening a high interest bank account, please send me a PM


LoL, I think you need to become a Myanmar citizen to achieve that :)


It isn't mentioned, but perhaps PR status will allow foreigners to open interest-bearing accounts.  You only need 3 years living in Myanmar to apply for PR

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  • 2 weeks later...

But wondering why you need to send your money. You do not plan any future at Myanmar?


Mainly because of my post #3.  As a foreigner, I am not allowed to open an interest-bearing bank account in Myanmar, (and the interest rates for MMK accounts are high!).  I therefore send my hard-earned cash to my Thai bank account and invest in relatively safe Thai ETFs using my Thai broker.  That's better than just leaving my salary to be eaten away by inflation.


As to a long-term future in Myanmar, that's not possible because there is no retirement visa.  When I decide to finish my teaching job, I have to leave Myanmar.

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  • 2 months later...

Update January 2018:

For some unknown reason, my method of sending money to Bangkok Bank via Skrill has stopped working.

I can upload from my Myanmar Visa card to my Skrill account, and I can request a withdrawal of these funds to my Bangkok Bank account. But now Skrill report that the Bangkok Bank account details are incorrect, (which they are not), and that Bangkok Bank refuses my transfer.

I tried this 2 times with the same result.

No idea if Skrill are telling porkies on this, and I'm sure it will be impossible to investigate the problem from Bangkok Bank's side.

Ah well, back to carrying loads of USD....

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