What's the best way to transfer money to and from Thailand ?
There's plenty of options to send money to and from Thailand.
But depending on your situation, the amount and if you have a Thai bank account or not, you might access to only a few of them.
That's why today we go through all the different options you have to send money TO and FROM Thailand to find what's the best one for you.
- What you need to consider :
- Send money to Thailand :
- Send money from Thailand :
What you need to consider :
Each method have their own pros and cons.
But in order to keep it simple to compare them I will use 3 main factors that you need to keep an eye on when you need to send money abroad.
The exchange rate can vary a lot from one service to another.
Not only the market fluctuate all the time but most services and banks use their own exchange rate.
So keep an eye on that to make sure it's as close as possible to the market and you're not paying extra hidden fees because of a bad exchange rate.
It's the jungle out there when it come to transfer fees so pay close attention.
Some services offer a flat fee, other a percentage, and some a combination of both.
But it's not always clear and transparent, so make sure you read the small lines.
The price will often vary with the speed.
Services like Western Union or Deemoney offer instant transfers, but they take a big fee for that service.
Depending on when you or the recipient need the money, some solutions will be better than others.
Send money to Thailand :
Sending money to Thailand is way easier than to get money out of the country.
That also mean you have more options to transfer money to Thailand.
Transferwise is my default go to option to transfer money to Thailand.
That's because their service is cheap, fast and easy to use.
They convert money at the mid market exchange rate, charge a reasonable fee and they also give you an estimation of when the money is gonna arrive on your account.
If you are transferring money to a Thai bank account, that's the best option and my personal favorite.
🤑 Exchange rate : the best you can get (mid-market)
💵Fee : reasonable fixed fee
🚀Speed : a day or two for most transfers
👍 : Transferwise is transparent and easy to use, have the best exchange rate and offer fast transfers
👎 : Only work if you send money to a Thai bank account
Paypal and Xoom
The main advantage of Paypal is the transfer is done instantly.
Now when you need to transfer the money to a Thai bank account, it usually take an extra few days but can take up to a week sometimes.
But the biggest problem with Paypal isn't only the time you have to wait to get the money on your bank account.
The exchange rate they offer isn't at your advantage.
That's where they take a big cut of your money.
Between that, the fee they take if you got a business account and the time it takes to transfer the money to a bank account, I wouldn't recommend it.
Unless you're receiving Thai baht and plan to keep the money on Paypal.
Paypal also launched a service called Xoom for international transfers, similar to what Transferwise offer.
But like in Paypal, the fees are still high and the exchange rate isn't as good as banks or other methods like Transferwise.
🤑 Exchange rate : bad
💵Fee : only for business accounts, no fee to transfer money to your bank account over a few thousand baht.
🚀Speed : instantly arrive to your Paypal account. Takes a few days to withdraw to a Thai bank account.
👍 : Great for business. Instant transfer to Paypal account.
👎 : Bad exchange rate, high fees and it takes days to withdraw the money to a Thai bank account.
Western Union, DeeMoney, MoneyGram...
In case you need cash or the recipient doesn't have a Thai bank account, services like Western Union, Deemoney and Moneygram work great.
The three services are also super fast and you can get your money just minutes after it was sent.
Money can be sent in cash, by credit card or bank transfer and received by bank transfer or cash.
All this services have branches all over Thailand and are really simple to use.
But this service come at a high cost that translate into a fat fee and a bad exchange rate.
🤑 Exchange rate : bad
💵Fee : high
🚀Speed : Instantly for cash. Few days for bank transfers
👍 : All this services have tons of branches across Thailand, are easy to use and allow you to send money in cash, credit card or bank transfer to Thailand.
👎 : There's a high price to pay for this convenience.
Depending on the bank you use, it could be the best or the worst option.
In my case, with BNP Bank in France, it's not such a good idea.
They don't have the best exchange rate and take a fee and a percentage of the transfer on top of that.
It's better to send the money in the same currency (here euros) to a Transferwise account, convert it there in Baht and send it to your Thai bank account.
But for big amounts, that's the most secure and reliable option you have.
🤑 Exchange rate : depend on the bank you use
💵Fee : depend on the bank you use
🚀Speed : usually a few days
👍 : Bank transfers are safe and could be interesting depending on the exchange rate and fees offered by your bank.
👎 : Most banks charge a double fee, one through the exchange rate they fix and a fee on the transfer.
ATMs are always an option.
But even if your credit or debit card don't charge any fee to exchange money or to withdraw abroad, Thai ATMs charge around 200฿ for every withdrawal with a foreign card.
It's good option in case of emergency or when you visit Thailand for holidays.
Outside of that, I would avoid it.
🤑 Exchange rate : depend on your bank / credit or debit card
💵Fee : 200฿ from the ATM + bank / card fee
🚀Speed : instantly
👍 : You can get cash instantly.
👎 : Costly option.
Cash is for me the most convenient and cheapest option for small amounts.
Withdraw money before you leave your country and exchange it in Thailand at a Superrich branch to have the best exchange rate.
You can bring up to 20,000 USD into Thailand without declaring it to the customs.
🤑 Exchange rate : good
💵Fee : small
🚀Speed : instantly
👍 : Great for "small" amounts.
👎 : You need to be comfortable with a lot of cash on you.
Send money from Thailand :
As you can imagine, it a lot easier to send money to Thailand than is to send money from Thailand.
Some of the options above simply don't work the other way.
So what options do you have to get your money out of Thailand ?
Most major Thai banks offer international bank transfers with a really good exchange and at reasonable fees.
Banks like Kasikorn or Bangkok Bank let you do them directly from the app once you've setup the feature with them.
Western Union, Deemoney, MoneyGram...
It's not the cheapest way to send money from Thailand but it's the easiest.
All you need is the money and a passport.
All of them have tons of branches across Thailand and you can even send money directly from their app now.
If you have a Thai paypal account connected to your Thai credit card or bank account, you can always pay with Paypal and get it to use your money in Thailand.
But again the problem with Paypal is their terrible exchange rate. On top of the fees you might have to pay on the payment.
The payment will be made almost instantly but then it will take the recipient a few days to transfer the money to his bank account.
Cash is still a really good option for small and medium amounts.
Unlike a lot of countries, like France, in Thailand you can withdraw large amounts of money without having to justify why.
To avoid paying transfer fee that's usually my favorite option when I go travel.
I withdraw the amount of cash I need for my trip and go to a Superrich branch to exchange it into the currency of the country I'm going to visit.
In most cases, Transferwise is the cheapest way to send money to Thailand if you're transferring the money to a Thai bank account. If the recipient doesn't have a Thai bank account, Western Union and Deemoney are the most convenient way to send money instantly in Thailand. As soon as you've sent the money, the recipient can go get the cash at one of their shop.
The fastest ways to transfer money to Thailand, like Transferwise, only take about a day usually. You can find an estimation of the arrival date of the transfer directly in the app.
There's no limit to how much you can send to Thailand. But passed a certain amount you're gonna need to provide informations about the source of the money you want to send.
At the end of the day, the best option to send money to and from Thailand depend a lot on the amount and how long you can wait.
Personally, this days I always use Transferwise to send money to Thailand.
As for when I need to send money from Thailand, most of the time for me it's small amounts so I take cash and exchange it before I leave Thailand.
But for bigger amounts, I would use bank transfers from my any Thai Bank.
I've got an account at Kasikorn Bank and one at Bangkok Bank and they both have a good exchange rate and the fees are really reasonable (around 200 to 400฿ per transfer).
Thanks for reading til the end, really appreciate your time.
If you're coming to visit Thailand, check my travel guide here.
And if you're living or moving to Thailand, click here to find more tips and experiences about life as an expat in Thailand.
Now before you leave, let me know :
- What do you use to transfer money to and from Thailand? Why?
- Did you try any of the methods in this post? How did it go?
Tell us in the comments.