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BANGKOK 21 April 2019 01:35
Pib

Major Change Eff 1 Apr 19 in Bangkok Bank ACH Transfers

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Well, Bangkok Bank has now changed the wording on their website regarding U.S. govt and private pensions via direct deposit talking required use of the IAT format also.  I don't know if U.S. govt agencies paying benefits such as social security, military retirement, etc., use the IAT format....my gut is telling me they do not.

 

https://www.bangkokbank.com/en/Personal/Other-Services/Transfers/Transferring-Into-Thailand/Transfer-money-from-US-to-Thailand-via-Bangkok-Bank-NewYork-branch

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Advice to Bangkok Bank customers receiving payments from US government agencies or private organizations (Direct Deposit)

The US Treasury Department has ceased issuing paper cheques for the payment of Federal retirement benefits such as pensions, annuities or payroll, including Social Security and Veterans Affairs payments, and now requires direct deposit of your benefit into your bank account. You will therefore need to notify the US government agency providing your Federal benefit how you wish to receive payments.

As Bangkok Bank is the only provider in Thailand offering a direct deposit services into a Thai bank account, you can ask the relevant US government agency to route your payments into your Bangkok Bank account via Bangkok Bank’s New York branch. If you reside in Thailand, you can apply for the service in person at any Bangkok Bank branch (except for micro branches).

Since your transactions are transmitted to us as an ACH transaction and process the bank is required to comply with the rules and formats developed by the Electronic Payments Association (NACHA).  The International ACH (IAT) is a special code (a Standard Entry Class or “SEC Code”) for ACH payments that enables financial institutions such as Bangkok Bank to identify and monitor international ACH payments and to screen them in compliance with Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) requirements.  The NACHA rules require Bangkok Bank’s New York branch, which serves as an intermediary, to ensure that payments that we receive and that are transmitted to the account of a beneficiary in another country are appropriately classified as IATs. To do this we need to obtain information as described below to the relevant US government agency to your transactions in the IAT format.

Important Note
1.Your name and physical address in Thailand;
2.Your bank account number and the name and address of your  Bangkok Bank branch in Thailand; and
3.The 9-digit routing number of Bangkok Bank New York branch, which acts as the intermediary in the transaction, which is 026008691

Effective from April 1, 2019, Bangkok Bank, New York branch will fully comply with the NACHA rules and will return all ACH received which do not comply with the IAT format.   

If you wish to enquire more information, please contact Bangkok Bank, New York on (1-212) 422-8200 or E-mail: helpdesk.nyb@bbl.co.th

 

 

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Talked to the NY branch last night...confirmed SS payments are "not" currently received from the SSA in the IAT format and the rep reviewed some of the latest payments during our call to confirm.  The payments were in the Domestic ACH Transaction format which Bangkok Bank will reject effective 1 Apr 19.   The rep said they are still working a resolution but none had been found so far.   And I expect none will be found other than whatever govt agency (or civilian company) you get your govt benefit payment from is to transmit your payment in the "International ACH Transaction (IAT)" format vs the current current Domestic ACH Transaction format also referred to as the "PPD" format.   IAT for international; PPD for domestic.  The NY branch rep recommended I contact the SSA or appropriate govt agency like DFAS for military retirement pay for additional guidance.  For many folks here in Thailand receiving a SS payment that would be the Manila FBU.  The NY branch rep was very professional, polite and knowledgeable on the subject....it's just their hands are bound by the U.S. govt and NACHA requirement to use the IAT format for funds leaving the U.S. using the ACH system.

 

 

 

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17 hours ago, Pib said:

Well, Bangkok Bank has now changed the wording on their website regarding U.S. govt and private pensions via direct deposit talking required use of the IAT format also.  I don't know if U.S. govt agencies paying benefits such as social security, military retirement, etc., use the IAT format....my gut is telling me they do not.

 

https://www.bangkokbank.com/en/Personal/Other-Services/Transfers/Transferring-Into-Thailand/Transfer-money-from-US-to-Thailand-via-Bangkok-Bank-NewYork-branch

 

Pib, thanks for the additional info. Previously when I had gone to the BKK Bank website, I had skipped down to the part about “If receiving payments from a private organization”, read that part, and thought I would be OK since it doesn’t say anything about IAT. After reading your post I went back to take a look and saw the part you had posted. ?

None of my banks have ever heard of this IAT format. Anyone have any idea where to find the information the bank would need to know? I’d like to go in to the bank with the info, or be able to point them to the info and see if it’s something they will be able to do.

Edited by srowndedbyh2o

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Navy fed told me that they receive IAT format ACH's but have no ability to send them nor are they planning to in the future.  Back to the ATM I guess or SWIFT transfers. 

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2 minutes ago, srowndedbyh2o said:

None of my banks have ever heard of this IAT format. Anyone have any idea where to find the information the bank would need to know? I’d like to go in to the bank with the info, or be able to point them to the info and see if it’s something they will be able to do.

Your bank can either do IAT or it can't.   There is no info to provide them that magically allows them to transmit in IAT format.  Chances are close to 100% your bank only does "Domestic ACH Transactions" like you can currently use to get money to Bangkok Bank and/or they offer International Wire (a.k.a., SWIFT) transfers.   Not surprised you got a Deer in the Headlights type response from your bank regarding IAT as it just not offered for retail accounts; only for certain BIG business accounts for payment of foreign goods/services, foreign payroll, etc.  

 

And for U.S. govt payments they primarily use the Domestic ACH Transaction format or if a country is part of their International Direct Deposit (IDD) program (Thailand is not) the govt could send payment via IDD...but as mentioned Thailand is not part of IDD program as apparently their banking system does not meet U.S. govt requirements...plus, I expect Thailand banks would need to apply to be part of IDD.   The fix would be for Thailand to be part of the IDD, but they are not.  You can look at this Social Security webpage which shows countries that are and are not part of their IDD program...notice the league of countries Thailand is in...the countries "not" part of IDD.  And I expect the almost 7000 social security recipients in Thailand as shown on the chart are currently using a Bangkok Bank Direct Deposit account via the New York branch (that's the U.S. bank) which will not do them any good come 1 Apr 19 since the NY branch will reject any ACH payment not sent in IAT format.

 

An Int'l Wire requires basically the same info as an International ACH Transaction (IAT) such as the recipients address, name, phone number, etc.., so an Int'l Wire will work fine to send money from your bank but it can be pricey and at some banks not easy to setup or you always have to call in the request....can not do it online.   

 

It's not a pretty situation.   If drawing social security probably best to contact the Manila FBU to talk the issue...see what they have to say.

 

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If Direct Debit somehow evaporates, those receiving their Social Security (and/or other Federal payments) via the BB NY ACH system will have two options: Receive their direct debit into a US financial institution; or receive their payments as credits to a Treasury issued ATM/Debit card -- the Direct Express card (DEC). For those without a US financial institution, it will have to be a DEC, as the option to receive a paper check (no great option in itself) requires a waiver to explain why a DEC won't work, e.g., because you live in a world without ATM machines or banks (but maybe some parts of the NE would qualify.....dunno).  Anyway, the following link explains the DEC:

 

https://www.usdirectexpress.com/faq.html

(Note the 3% foreign transaction fee, plus $3 ATM fee.)

 

As an example of fees, let's compare a monthly SS of $1,600, either direct deposited into a US financial account, then sent to Thailand via TransferWise (TW); or credited against a DEC, then removed in two pulls from an ATM machine.

 

Today, a TW bank debit (or debit card) transfer would cost $17.85 to send $1,600 to your bank in Thailand. And the cost to remove that money from your Thai bank account would be zip ( unless you figure in the token 200 baht, or whatever, ATM card cost).

 

With a DEC, two 25,000 pulls from a Thai ATM machine -- using a 33 FX rate -- would debit your DEC for $1,528 -- which includes $13 for the two 220 baht owner ATM fees. But, it ain't over yet: Add two $3 each DEC ATM fees, plus 3% of the $1,528, or $46. So, the total cost to get 50,000 baht, or $1,515 equivalent, is a whopping $65!  And even if you could do an over-the-counter, you're still stuck with the 3% fee, which would amount to $45 -- cheaper, but no bargain.............

 

......when compared to the $17.85 TW cost.

 

Sadly, many of the folks now getting a Direct Deposit via BB NY no longer have a US financial account, nor an easy means to reestablish one. So, for them, it looks like DEC is in their future. Sucks.

 

 

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The Direct Express card is fine for stateside use, but as Jim says it sucks for use outside the U.S. due to it's 3% plus $3 foreign transaction fee and there is no reimbursement of ATM fees such as the Thai ATM Bt220 fee.   Just painful thinking use of the card outside the U.S.  

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8 hours ago, JimGant said:

If Direct Debit somehow evaporates, those receiving their Social Security (and/or other Federal payments) via the BB NY ACH system will have two options: Receive their direct debit into a US financial institution; or receive their payments as credits to a Treasury issued ATM/Debit card -- the Direct Express card (DEC). For those without a US financial institution, it will have to be a DEC, as the option to receive a paper check (no great option in itself) requires a waiver to explain why a DEC won't work, e.g., because you live in a world without ATM machines or banks (but maybe some parts of the NE would qualify.....dunno).  Anyway, the following link explains the DEC:

 

https://www.usdirectexpress.com/faq.html

(Note the 3% foreign transaction fee, plus $3 ATM fee.)

 

As an example of fees, let's compare a monthly SS of $1,600, either direct deposited into a US financial account, then sent to Thailand via TransferWise (TW); or credited against a DEC, then removed in two pulls from an ATM machine.

 

Today, a TW bank debit (or debit card) transfer would cost $17.85 to send $1,600 to your bank in Thailand. And the cost to remove that money from your Thai bank account would be zip ( unless you figure in the token 200 baht, or whatever, ATM card cost).

 

With a DEC, two 25,000 pulls from a Thai ATM machine -- using a 33 FX rate -- would debit your DEC for $1,528 -- which includes $13 for the two 220 baht owner ATM fees. But, it ain't over yet: Add two $3 each DEC ATM fees, plus 3% of the $1,528, or $46. So, the total cost to get 50,000 baht, or $1,515 equivalent, is a whopping $65!  And even if you could do an over-the-counter, you're still stuck with the 3% fee, which would amount to $45 -- cheaper, but no bargain.............

 

......when compared to the $17.85 TW cost.

 

Sadly, many of the folks now getting a Direct Deposit via BB NY no longer have a US financial account, nor an easy means to reestablish one. So, for them, it looks like DEC is in their future. Sucks.

 

 

Re "nor an easy means to reestablish" a US financial account...quite true but it still can be done...new accounts can be applied for an opened online (my credit union for example does). Just need to spend time researching for these institutions.....

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.new accounts can be applied for an opened online (my credit union for example does). Just need to spend time researching for these institutions.....

Probably, however, requires some kind of US address -- and probably not a mail forwarding address (the know-your-customer rules have tightened up on this). But, your experience surely welcomed by those feeling cut adrift.

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Seems financial companies are getting better at spotting commercial mail forwarding addresses based on several posts and emails regarding how a person's account opening application was flagged. Then the financial company you are trying to open an account at starts asking for more info, specific docs to validate your physical address, etc.

And there is expanding use of "got a have a U.S. mobile number" to complete some portions of account validation...a mobile number which can be bucked against the mobile company's address info they have for you...and it usually has to be a postpaid account; not a prepaid mobile account. While some non-postpaid numbers or VOIP type numbers may work to receive one time security code they do not work to validate a person's residence.

Durn IT systems, ever expanding databases of info, and even emerging artifical intelligence systems are making it tougher to just use a previous address, a friend/family member address, or certain addresses to open a new account.

But it definitely varies from company to company as to the Know Your Customer policies used for new applications and even established accounts. Some financial companies are definitely less expat friendly than others.

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On 8/31/2018 at 8:36 PM, Pib said:

The Direct Express card is fine for stateside use, but as Jim says it sucks for use outside the U.S. due to it's 3% plus $3 foreign transaction fee and there is no reimbursement of ATM fees such as the Thai ATM Bt220 fee.   Just painful thinking use of the card outside the U.S.  

I suspect you could use card to pay Transferwise as a domestic transaction to avoid that 3% fee (have not checked their fees to use card however) and if you have a US account have found Transferwise to be competitive to actual domestic ACH/Bangkok Bank transfer (and very reliable).  

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On 9/1/2018 at 12:55 PM, JimGant said:

Probably, however, requires some kind of US address -- and probably not a mail forwarding address (the know-your-customer rules have tightened up on this). But, your experience surely welcomed by those feeling cut adrift.

 

Hasn't been a problem lately, with my address and that address matching the entry on my state DL.

 

In my case, without the address and matching DL, there definitely would have been problems.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Pib said:

And there is expanding use of "got a have a U.S. mobile number" to complete some portions of account validation...a mobile number which can be bucked against the mobile company's address info they have for you...and it usually has to be a postpaid account; not a prepaid mobile account. While some non-postpaid numbers or VOIP type numbers may work to receive one time security code they do not work to validate a person's residence.
 

 

I haven't run into that problem as yet with various new account openings. Between Magic Jack, Google Voice, FreedomPop, and a prepaid TM number, one or the other of them has always seemed to work when needed.

 

But in my experience, the mobile number has only been requested or required as a means of receiving their banking SMS messages or 2nd factor authentication codes for access to online banking. I've yet to run into any institution in the new account opening process that required me to produce a postpaid U.S. mobile number account in order to gain approval for a new account.

 

Not saying there aren't any doing that. Just saying, I'm probably more active in this area than most here, including multiple in the past year, and I've yet to run into it.

Edited by TallGuyJohninBKK
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11 minutes ago, TallGuyJohninBKK said:

 

Hasn't been a problem lately, with my address and that address matching the entry on my state DL.

 

In my case, without the address and matching DL, there definitely would have been problems.

 

 

And this could become problematic as states seem to be changing to only one renewal (if any) without physical presence for DL.  

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16 minutes ago, lopburi3 said:

And this could become problematic as states seem to be changing to only one renewal (if any) without physical presence for DL.  

 

I think I happen to live in a lucky state, at least for the time being.

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