August 2, 2022
Transferring money out of Thailand: Seven ways to send your Thai funds overseas
In the article, I will give you an overview of several options for sending your money out of Thailand. The most cost-effective option will depend on your situation and needs, such as whether you have a local bank account and work permit, sending it online versus in person, etc.
August 2, 2022
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You have probably noticed that sending money out of Thailand isn’t as straightforward as sending it in. Services like Wise or XE work only one way – from overseas to Thailand. This is because of the strict regulations imposed on the currency outflow by the Bank of Thailand.
But despite the limitations, there are still several good options for sending money overseas, and the process has been getting easier in recent years.
The seven options are:
- Bank transfer
- Western Union & MoneyGram
- Cash conversion (physical cash)
1. Bank transfer
A direct bank transfer is a reliable and easy way to transfer money abroad if you have a local Thai bank account.
Registration for outward remittance
Because banks are quite tightly regulated in Thailand, many will require you to first register for their outward remittance service. Foreigners are asked for the source of income documents; Thais need supporting documents specifying the purpose of remittance.
The registration is typically done in one of their branches or, in some cases, online. But recently, some banks have stopped asking for this altogether for transfers in selected currencies. Once registered, you can send money abroad from their application or website at any time without having to go to the bank.
To make a transfer, you will need:
- Recipient’s account number
- Name & address
- SWIFT code
- Additional information – you may be asked for additional information, such as IBAN for European banks or routing number for transfers to the US banks, depending on where you are sending the money
1-5 business days in most Thai banks.
The limit depends on the nature of your transaction (e.g. repatriating income), which country you are sending money to and most importantly, the bank you are using. In most banks and use cases, the limit is $50,000 or equivalent per transaction.
Fees & exchange rates
Likewise, the transaction fees vary from bank to bank. Some can charge upwards of 1,000 THB (Bangkok Bank), while others charge less than 500 THB (SBC, Kasikorn…). This fee is a fixed amount charged irrespective of the amount being sent, which can be advantageous when making large transactions but prohibitively expensive for the smaller ones.
Banks use their “Selling Rate – TT” exchange rate for international transfers. You can easily find each bank’s rate on their respective websites. When it comes to the best exchange rates, no one bank seems to stand out. Most of them offer very similar rates that are pretty competitive compared to those of other options on this list.
Fundamentally, you can expect a flat fee for transferring funds plus a currency conversion spread (whatever banks mark up on top of the rate they are getting). Some banks also can’t guarantee the recipient will receive the full amount.
Your mileage may vary depending on your bank in Thailand. Personally, I’ve had a good experience with Kasikorn Bank and SCB. Also, note that you can only do international transfers during business hours.
Below I included specific information for two most popular options:
1.1 Kasikorn Bank (KBank)
You can do international transfers easily and conveniently from KBank’s mobile application without any upfront paperwork.
Bear in mind that you may be required to submit some documents later when you reach a certain threshold, as was in my case. If that happens, you will just need to submit the requested documents (it will most likely be a work permit and a payslip). Your transfers will be reenabled within three business days.
Important information when sending money to your brokerage – KBank uses a third-party partner (Instarem PTE Lim) to make the transfers (at least it is for transfers from THB to USD). As some brokerages are sensitive about receiving funds from an account in a name different than yours, it might be worth checking with them first before wiring money to your account through KBank’s app.
- Fee250 THB per transaction until the end of 2022 and 450 THB afterwards. In the mobile application, you need to choose the amount you want to send in a receiving currency rather than the sending one. It’s not a big deal; it just requires some extra math.
- Sending limitCurrency-specific according to their website but 50,000 USD for USD transfers
- Lead time1-3 business days
1.2 Siam Commercial Bank (SCB)
Currencies: USD, EUR, GBP, SGD
- Fee399 THB per transaction
- Sending limit50,000 USD or equivalent
- Lead time
1-5 business days, depending on the currency.
Recipients get the total amount. No paperwork is required to get started.
- Fee550 THB fixed fee + 800–1,200 THB depending on currency
- Sending limit50,000 USD or equivalent
- Lead time
1-5 business days, depending on the currency.
The recipient won’t get the total amount (amount sent minus inward remittance fee). Outward remittance registration is required.
DeeMoney is a dedicated Thai remittance service. It allows you to send your Thai funds to 37 countries through their website and app or 180 countries when visiting one of their branches. However, they partner with MoneyGram to cover the remaining countries.
As with banks, a one-time document registration is required before you can use the service (when I registered, they requested a copy of my passport, work permit and a selfie). It may take a few business days to get approved, but the process is pretty straightforward.
Next day for 29 countries where DeeMoney Next is available.
3-5 business days for remaining countries.
Their website says the transfer limit is 800,000 THB per day, while you can only send 690,000 THB per month via the DeeMoney app. There’s apparently no limit if sending money via any of our DeeMoney branches.
Fees & exchange rates
DeeMoney touts better exchange rates than banks, but in my experience, that’s not always the case. On some days, you will find banks to have better rates, so it’s worth checking before you make a transaction.
The service charges a flat fee of 250 THB (there’s special pricing of 125 THB until March 31st 2022), and recipients get the full amount. DeeMoney also charges 7% VAT on top of their fee.
Besides the occasional exchange rate hick-ups, DeeMoney also has a couple of weird quirks. One of them is somewhat sloppy forms. For example, setting up a recipient for a USD transfer requires a US state in the address. However, DeeMoney happily accepts a different country (for example, you can select New York as a state and UK as a country). Also, my country (Slovakia) is missing from the list of nationalities (it’s still missing despite me already emailing their support twice).
Moreover, logging in to their website can sometimes be finicky. You will need to get an OTP code to your Thai mobile number every single time, but occasionally there’s a 1-2 minute delay in receiving it. Besides the minor issues above, the service works quite well and can often outperform banks.
3. Western Union & MoneyGram
Western Union and MoneyGram are other established & widespread remittance services in Thailand. Western Union offers a lot of flexibility in sending (credit/debit card, direct debit, QR code, or pay cash in-store) and receiving money (bank transfer, get cash in-store). With MoneyGram, you can only make payments in-store.
To use the services online, you must first create an account. When making a payment in person, you will need to complete the money form, show your passport and provide the recipient’s information. Upon payment, you will receive a tracking number.
Immediate transfers for cash.
1-3 business days for most bank transfers.
There’s a limit of 250,000 THB for online transfers with Western Union, but you can make multiple transactions per day. MoneyGram’s sending limits are dependent on the country where you are transferring your money.
Fees & exchange rates
The fees are relative to the amount sent. But in general, they are higher than those of the previous two options (bank transfer and DeeMoney).
Western Union also charges an extra fee for payments with a credit card. The exchange rates are not the best in the industry either.
With the increasing speed of previously mentioned services, the advantage of using Western Union and MoneyGram is slowly disappearing. Higher fees and a fairly low sending limit make it most suitable for occasional transfers or if you don’t have a local bank account in Thailand.
If you understand and know how to use cryptocurrencies, converting them into another currency is a viable option. You can exchange your Thai funds into a stable coin, such as USDT (pegged to the US dollar) and sell that amount to another trader in your desired currency.
There’s no paperwork, and the entire process can be done online, but there are also drawbacks – it can take some time, and the funds could lose value. Since the conversion process requires you to sell your cryptocurrency of choice to another trader, the sale could take anywhere from a few minutes to days. During this time, the value of your cryptocurrency can significantly change (for the better or worse).
With Thailand introducing more restrictions on cryptocurrencies, potential capital gains tax on your proceeds and other legal barriers when sending money to the US, the process can get even trickier over time.
From minutes to more than a day.
5. Cash conversion
Converting and carrying physical cash is slightly less conventional these days. Still, it’s the most cost-effective way to take money out of Thailand when you have to travel to the destination anyway. Because of its physical nature, it’s ideal for one-off or infrequent transactions.
Local currency exchanges, especially SuperRich, offer excellent exchange rates with no extra fees. The obvious downside is the inconvenience of carrying physical cash on you and the potential problems at customs when the carried amount exceeds a certain threshold. You will just need to bring your passport to the exchange.
No service fee when paying with cash (just the currency spread); however, there’s a 2.5% fee when paying with a credit card.
However long it takes for you to convert cash at one of their many branches and get to your destination.
800,000 THB per passport per day.
Skrill charges two types of fees – one for making the payment (0-2.99%; paying with a debit card is free, but paying with a credit card incurs a fee) and an exchange rate markup (up to 4.99%).
Whilst cheaper than PayPal, it’s still one of the most expensive options.
Debit and credit cards are the quickest methods, as payments typically arrive in the recipient’s account the same day. If you opt for a bank transfer, it can take anywhere between two and five days for the money to arrive.
On their website, they only list limits for transactions inside the US.
PayPal charges 4% for most currencies, making it the most expensive option on the list
Instant transfers arrive in minutes (subject to a fee); standard transfers take 1 – 5 business days
Individual transactions limited at 10,000 USD or equivalent
PayPal undergoing changes in Thailand ⚠️
There will be significant changes to Paypal’s service in 2022, affecting some individual and business users. Read more about the upcoming changes here.
You may be asking which method is most cost-efficient? As previously mentioned, it depends on your individual circumstances and what resources you have access to. But when we compare all options head to head, this is how they stack up:
Transferring 50,000 THB to USD
Method FX (USD-THB) Service fee (THB) Recipient’s fee (THB) Amount received (USD) Total spent (THB) Bank transfer (KBank) 🎉 33.36 250 0 1,498.80 50,250.00 DeeMoney 33.65 133.61 0 1,485.88 50,133.61 Western Union 33.92 115.05 0 1,473.84 50,115.05 Cash conversion (SuperRich) 33.32 0 0 1,500.60 50,000.00 PayPal 34.48 0 0 1,449.06 50,000.00 Skrill 34.25 0 0 1,461.86 50,000.00
Transferring 500,000 THB to USD
Method FX (USD-THB) Service fee (THB) Recipient’s fee (THB) Amount received (USD) Total spent (THB) Bank transfer (Kasikorn) 33.36 250 0 14,988.01 500,250 DeeMoney 33.65 133.61 0 14,858.84 500,133.75 Western Union 33.92 N/A N/A N/A N/A Cash conversion (Superrich) 33.32 0 0 15,006.00 500,000 PayPal 34.48 0 0 14,490.59 500,000 Skrill 34.25 0 0 14,618.61 500,000
Transferring 800,000 THB to USD
Method FX (USD-THB) Service fee (THB) Recipient’s fee (THB) Amount received (USD) Total spent (THB) Bank transfer (Kasikorn) 33.36 250 0 23,980.82 800,250 DeeMoney 33.65 133.61 23,774.15 800,133.75 Western Union 33.92 N/A N/A N/A N/A Cash conversion (Superrich) 33.32 0 0 24,009.60 800,000 PayPal 34.48 0 0 23,184.94 800,000 Skrill 34.25 0 0 23,389.78 800,000
Transferring 1,500,000 THB to USD
Method FX (USD-THB) Service fee (THB) Recipient’s fee (THB) Amount received (USD) Total spent (THB) Bank transfer (Kasikorn) 33.36 250 0 44,964.03 1,500,250 DeeMoney 33.65 N/A N/A N/A N/A Western Union 33.92 N/A N/A N/A N/A Cash conversion (Superrich) 33.32 N/A N/A N/A N/A PayPal 34.48 0 0 43,471.77 1,500,000 Skrill 34.25 0 0 43,855.83 1,500,000
If you only care about speed, the fastest way to transfer your money out of Thailand is to send it via DeeMoney, direct bank transfer (although it depends on your bank & currency) or Skrill. All three of these options can deliver your funds in one business day or sooner. That is if you have a local bank account in Thailand.
If you don’t have a bank account and pay in cash, Western Union or MoneyGram are good options, too, since they can deliver cash in minutes. The same applies to Western Union transfers from a bank account where money is picked up in cash.
Cash conversion is the cheapest in terms of services fees and currency conversion spreads. Its limitation is just the physical process, and the time it takes. Therefore, it’s recommended if you are not in a hurry and travel to the destination anyway.
Bank transfers and DeeMoney are fighting for a close second place. On some days, DeeMoney offers better exchange rates, on other days, banks win (specifically KBank). It’s best to compare the two when you make a transfer. Additionally, the bank of your choice will play a significant role – KBank and SCB seem to have the cheapest international transfers at the time of writing.
Highest sending limit
If you want to send more than 800,000 THB in one transaction in a day, a bank transfer is a way to go. You can send as much as 49,999 USD or equivalent in one transaction in many banks.
Best options with a local bank account
Bank transfer or DeeMoney.
Best options without a local bank account
Western Union for regular transfers or cash conversion if you transfer a lump sum irregularly or just once.
Avoid PayPal and Skrill if you can. What they make up with transaction speed, they lose with their exorbitant currency spreads.
Even though international transfers in Thailand are still a far cry from the standard solutions in Europe or the USA (services like Wise, OFX, Revolut, XE, etc.), things have improved significantly in recent years.
With reasonably low services fees across the board, especially when sending larger amounts, it comes down to the currency conversion spread – how much margin the service adds to the exchange rate. As you can see in the comparison table, the fees don’t make nearly as much difference as the exchange rate.