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BANGKOK 25 May 2019 16:19
TallScot1

Money transfer services for USA travelers

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Posted (edited)

 

9 hours ago, jmd8800 said:

While this is not a transfer service I have a Capital One checking account with an ATM card that has no transaction fees. When I need money I go to Bangkok Bank with a foreign exchange desk (don't use a regular teller) and make a withdrawal in Thai Baht. It is listed as a purchase on my statement. No transaction fees and I get Mastercard fx rate.

I do the same with my N26 debit card (Mastercard), but I always use a regular desk in Thai banks, not the currency exchange one. They simply treat it as a cash advance denominated in baht, you get the current interbank rate of exchange (what Google shows when you do an exchange query) and no cash advance fee or any other fee.

This is always better than Transferwise because, although they, too, offer roughly the interbank rate, they also charge you a fee. With N26 and similar new online banks, there is no fee, either for cash withdrawals or card purchases. The Transferwise fee isn't terrible - on a 50,000 baht transfer, you will only lose around $24, or €7, or £10 - but, yeah, I would rather spend that on a meal or massage.

The more important advantage of N26 is that it is immediate: you walk in with your card and passport, and you walk out five minutes later with your money, no fees, no deductions, you get exactly what Google said you would.

With Transferwise, you have to wait for their process and, then, for the bank transfer to complete. I don't want to have all that hanging over me for half a week. I am surprised that more expats and regular visitors to Thailand don't use the new online banks, especially as they are free.

You can find out more on the N26 site (here is a link to it), just select your country: Ireland, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Spain, and early access registration is now available for residents of the United States.

You can complete the entire registration from anywhere, I did mine in Thailand, and you can use any passport as ID, but they will need to send your debit card to a postal address in one of those countries.

America might be tougher but, for the European countries, you do not need to prove residency, and you can use a forwarding service or get a friend who will mail it to you. All my close Thai friends have their own accounts now.

Edited by donnacha
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, donnacha said:

 

I do the same with my N26 debit card (Mastercard), but I always use a regular desk in Thai banks, not the currency exchange one. They simply treat it as a cash advance denominated in baht, you get the current interbank rate of exchange (what Google shows when you do an exchange query) and no cash advance fee or any other fee.

This is always better than Transferwise because, although they, too, offer roughly the interbank rate, they also charge you a fee. With N26 and similar new online banks, there is no fee, either for cash withdrawals or card purchases. The Transferwise fee isn't terrible - on a 50,000 baht transfer, you will only lose around $24, or €7, or £10 - but, yeah, I would rather spend that on a meal or massage.

The more important advantage of N26 is that it is immediate: you walk in with your card and passport, and you walk out five minutes later with your money, no fees, no deductions, you get exactly what Google said you would.

With Transferwise, you have to wait for their process and, then, for the bank transfer to complete. I don't want to have all that hanging over me for half a week. I am surprised that more expats and regular visitors to Thailand don't use the new online banks, especially as they are free.

You can find out more on the N26 site (here is a link to it), just select your country: Ireland, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Spain, and early access registration is now available for residents of the United States.

You can complete the entire registration from anywhere, I did mine in Thailand, and you can use any passport as ID, but they will need to send your debit card to a postal address in one of those countries.

America might be tougher but, for the European countries, you do not need to prove residency, and you can use a forwarding service or get a friend who will mail it to you. All my close Thai friends have their own accounts now.

From the N26 website link you provided ... "Make international transfers right from your phone in 19 currencies using TransferWise—and save up to 6x more"

 

...And, by the way, MasterCard and VISA both incorporate a percentage transaction charge for using their network. Even when you take money over the counter at a bank.  Check real closely and you'll see it reflected in either the exchange rate you actually get or it will be deducted from your amount at the sending or receiving end of your transaction (it's not always transparent, but it is there).

 

https://docs.n26.com/legal/06+EU/01+Account/en/13account-pricelist-en.pdf?utm_source=affiliate&utm_medium=cpo&utm_campaign=ho&utm_term=1830

Edited by mosan
Added Fee Schedule
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8 hours ago, orang37 said:

Thanks, Dante !

 

In this case. the source of funds is my own BB saving acct., and the destination is in the US.

 

cheers, ~o;37;

You can't use it to transfer out of Thailand. Only in.

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38 minutes ago, mosan said:

From the N26 website link you provided ... "Make international transfers right from your phone in 19 currencies using TransferWise—and save up to 6x more"

 

...And, by the way, MasterCard and VISA both incorporate a percentage transaction charge for using their network. Even when you take money over the counter at a bank.  Check real closely and you'll see it reflected in either the exchange rate you actually get or it will be deducted from your amount at the sending or receiving end of your transaction (it's not always transparent, but it is there).

 

https://docs.n26.com/legal/06+EU/01+Account/en/13account-pricelist-en.pdf?utm_source=affiliate&utm_medium=cpo&utm_campaign=ho&utm_term=1830

I experimented using the foreign exchange counter at BBL in KSK that many have recommended. Yes, I saved the 150 Baht fee I would have paid at the ATM, but this experiment ended up costing me US $17.80 by my bank. So never again...

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, mosan said:

From the N26 website link you provided ... "Make international transfers right from your phone in 19 currencies using TransferWise—and save up to 6x more"

 

...And, by the way, MasterCard and VISA both incorporate a percentage transaction charge for using their network. Even when you take money over the counter at a bank.  Check real closely and you'll see it reflected in either the exchange rate you actually get or it will be deducted from your amount at the sending or receiving end of your transaction (it's not always transparent, but it is there).

 

https://docs.n26.com/legal/06+EU/01+Account/en/13account-pricelist-en.pdf?utm_source=affiliate&utm_medium=cpo&utm_campaign=ho&utm_term=1830

Mosan,

The rate charged by Visa (I don't know about Mastercard) is a charge to the card issuing financial institution. It actually consists of 2 charges and the last time I checked it totaled 1 percent.  It is up to the financial institution and its regulators if it is passed on to the cardholder.  In the regulations MAY also be allowed adding a percentage amount to the amount charged to the cardholder.

 

As for what one gets here on an over the counter cash advance: for years I have been getting cash advances from my Visa branded credit card with no cash conversion fee at all, including not even the percentage charged to the financial institution, and no fees charged by the card issuing financial institution.  I get the rate that is quoted on the US Visa Corporate exchange rate for the date the transaction is settled. If I use an ATM, then I must pay the Thai fee, which was 220 baht just the other day.  After the cash advance is posted to my account I transfer the amount from checking to my credit card account, so I don't even pay a finance charge.

 

There are cards in the US which do not have a currency conversion fee.  I have another Visa card which does not have a conversion fee, however, that card has a cash advance fee - I don't use that card for cash advances.  

 

 

Edited by hml367
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4 hours ago, hml367 said:

Mosan,

The rate charged by Visa (I don't know about Mastercard) is a charge to the card issuing financial institution. It actually consists of 2 charges and the last time I checked it totaled 1 percent.  It is up to the financial institution and its regulators if it is passed on to the cardholder.  In the regulations MAY also be allowed adding a percentage amount to the amount charged to the financial institution.

 

As for what one gets here on an over the counter cash advance: for years I have been getting cash advances from my Visa branded credit card with no cash conversion fee at all, including not even the percentage charged to the financial institution, and no fees charged by the card issuing financial institution.  I get the rate that is quoted on the US Visa Corporate exchange rate for the date the transaction is settled. If I use an ATM, then I must pay the Thai fee, which was 220 baht just the other day.  After the cash advance is posted to my account I transfer the amount from checking to my credit card account, so I don't even pay a finance charge.

 

There are cards in the US which do not have a currency conversion fee.  I have another Visa card which does not have a conversion fee, however, that card has a cash advance fee - I don't use that card for cash advances.  

 

 

I'm not going to doubt what you say, many on here claim they are paying no fees, however unlike the guy above, you do not want to or forgot to say which institution you use, so that others may verify what you say is true.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not picking a fight, it's just that if you say you've never paid fees, then go the extra step and tell us exactly what card and financial institution.  It's kind of like someone saying my brother-in-law is a policeman so I don't have to pay for my traffic tickets... 

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5 minutes ago, mosan said:

I'm not going to doubt what you say, many on here claim they are paying no fees, however unlike the guy above, you do not want to or forgot to say which institution you use, so that others may verify what you say is true.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not picking a fight, it's just that if you say you've never paid fees, then go the extra step and tell us exactly what card and financial institution.  It's kind of like someone saying my brother-in-law is a policeman so I don't have to pay for my traffic tickets... 

My Visa Platinum credit card is from a credit union.  My income is direct deposited into my checking account there.

I don't care if anyone "verifies" - I know what I get.  However, if you search the internet there are credit cards available with the same as mine.  Then you need to be sure when finances charges are calculated and you have to be able to do online banking to pay the credit card balance before finance charges are levied.

 

If you want to verify something, you can check credit cards available from USAA Bank in the USA.  As I posted, it is zero conversion fee or transaction fee, but for cash advance there is 3% fee.  So, also as I mentioned, it would take moving monies around to different accounts.

 

In addition, there have been posts about Charles Schwaab accounts reimbursing ATM fees and possibly no conversion fees. I don't recall discussion of over the counter cash advances.

 

 

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17 hours ago, mosan said:

From the N26 website link you provided ... "Make international transfers right from your phone in 19 currencies using TransferWise—and save up to 6x more"

Mosan, you are confused.

You are referencing a different service that is available within the N26 app. They allow you to convert currencies and send them to other people. That will cost you EXACTLY the same as using Transferwise directly. Essentially, N26 are funneling new customers to Transferwise. It is a form of marketing, and N26 make a commission from that.

I am talking about using your N26 debit card to withdraw what the Thai banks consider to be a cash advance. You, as the card-holder, are not opting to use Transferwise, you are simply using your debit card. The bank charges your withdrawal to N26 in baht and they convert it to your currencies using the current Mastercard rate.

Again, although N26 do offer a Transferwise service, there is no involvement by Transferwise a normal debit card withdrawal. Both things can be true at once.

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, mosan said:

..And, by the way, MasterCard and VISA both incorporate a percentage transaction charge for using their network. Even when you take money over the counter at a bank.  Check real closely and you'll see it reflected in either the exchange rate you actually get or it will be deducted from your amount at the sending or receiving end of your transaction (it's not always transparent, but it is there).

Of course Mastercard and VISA run their network at a profit, but their base rate is pretty much always the same as the rate Google will display*.

Over at least the past two decades that I have lived abroad, that base rate has always been slightly better than the exchange rates available for cash within a country, or the rates available from any other form of exchange. You can test this for yourself by querying an exchange rate on Google and then checking Transferwise, Superrich or any other exchange service you use.

The difficulty, until recently, has been getting that base rate. Mastercard or VISA charge your bank for your withdrawal at that exact rate in your currency. Most traditional banks then charge an additional fee on top - for example, in the case of Bank of Ireland, they charge an additional 2.25%, for doing pretty much nothing.

If you look at Mastercard's online currency converter (https://www.mastercard.us/en-us/consumers/get-support/convert-currency.html), you will see that they even have a field where you can insert your particular bank's fee, to figure out exactly what you will be charged. VISA do the same for their online converter (http://www.visaeurope.com/making-payments/exchange-rates).

This is what initially made Transferwise and similar services so attractive, because they charge roughly the same base rate but their fee generally works out at less than the fees charged by the traditional banks.

The new online banks, however, changed the game by using the same card networks (Mastercard or VISA) but choosing to NOT add any fee. They simply pay Mastercard or VISA from your account and that's that. You get the current Google rate for card purchases and cash withdrawals.

* My presumption is that Google derives its real-time rates from the VISA and Mastercard base rates, as those would be pretty much the lowest rates available to a regular consumer. It would not make much sense for them to display the actual interbank rates, but the difference would not be much anyway, the spread between the card network rates is already tiny (you can test that flipping between currencies on their online converters).

Edited by donnacha

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Posted (edited)
 
 
1
17 hours ago, elektrified said:

I experimented using the foreign exchange counter at BBL in KSK that many have recommended. Yes, I saved the 150 Baht fee I would have paid at the ATM, but this experiment ended up costing me US $17.80 by my bank. So never again...

I do not know what happened in your case but, as general advice, you have to use a debit card (with no cash advance facility), so there is no way that the transaction can be classed as a cash advance, so that the money is coming directly out of your account.

You also have to make sure that your home bank do not have some sort of set fee for foreign transactions. Ideally, they should also not apply any % fee. You should aim for the card network's base rate.

I also recommend doing it at a normal counter because it is too easy for the forex counter to press the wrong button (deliberately, by accident, who knows?) and process it as a currency conversion on their end. That makes them a lot more money, so, you need to be absolutely sure that the amount you are confirming is in baht and not your own currency. The same goes for any other card transactions, don't let anyone slip an unwanted currency conversion by you.

Edited by donnacha
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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, mosan said:

I'm not going to doubt what you say, many on here claim they are paying no fees, however unlike the guy above, you do not want to or forgot to say which institution you use, so that others may verify what you say is true.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not picking a fight, it's just that if you say you've never paid fees, then go the extra step and tell us exactly what card and financial institution.  It's kind of like someone saying my brother-in-law is a policeman so I don't have to pay for my traffic tickets... 

Why, exactly, would anyone lie about any of this stuff?

I am sorry Mosan but you are, very clearly, picking fights.

If you are happy with your current method of transferring money to Thailand, terrific, keep doing that. The difference is only a thousand baht or so per month.

Personally, I am glad when someone on this forum reveals a more efficient way to do things, I always welcome more options, and folks have outlined quite a few options in this thread. My currency has fallen relative to the baht in recent years, so, for me, that saved money fills a gap.

Edited by donnacha

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On 3/21/2019 at 4:02 AM, donnacha said:

Why, exactly, would anyone lie about any of this stuff?

I am sorry Mosan but you are, very clearly, picking fights.

If you are happy with your current method of transferring money to Thailand, terrific, keep doing that. The difference is only a thousand baht or so per month.

Personally, I am glad when someone on this forum reveals a more efficient way to do things, I always welcome more options, and folks have outlined quite a few options in this thread. My currency has fallen relative to the baht in recent years, so, for me, that saved money fills a gap.

Call it what you want. I don't ever claim to be happy. But I do see a problem with people not exactly telling the whole story behind their "great" way of doing things. Blog and forum posts make it easy to spout off great feel good phrases without providing substance. I'd like to think I'm digging for more substance--we don't have to agree about how that happens.

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50 minutes ago, mosan said:

Call it what you want. I don't ever claim to be happy. But I do see a problem with people not exactly telling the whole story behind their "great" way of doing things. Blog and forum posts make it easy to spout off great feel good phrases without providing substance. I'd like to think I'm digging for more substance--we don't have to agree about how that happens.

       02-02 02-03   BBL.BIG-C HANGDON*CASH   CHIANGMAI    TH           3528.23

                    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

             02-03   TRANSFER                                          -3528.23

 

31.17692907248636   Visa Corporate exchange rate on 2 February, 2019

 

Deposit in my bank account in Thailand on 2 February was 110,000 thb

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Thanks hml367

All one can ask for is a little evidence...

 

As you can see by this snapshot of historical rates, we get caught by the prevailing exchange rate. Others say they are not worried about a few Baht.  But common sense says to shoot for the highest rate available...

BahtDollar Historical.jpg

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Mosan,

I use a Visa branded card, so that is the rate I use to determine if I want to transfer money (which is why  am switching off of the income method for my extensions).   These are the rates I got just now:

XE                                                             31.67

Visa                                                          31.57662067005589

Mastercard                                              31.67363486633726

 

As I said, my credit union does not levy ANY fees.... so effectively I get my money immediately and at the rate indicated by Visa... The only time it is different is if, because of the time of day, the transaction is settled at a day or 2 later.  If I use an ATM, it is settled immediately.... but there is the 220 thb fee.  Sometime I do go to an ATM for convenience.... but only one withdrawal.

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