For many expats, including myself, Transferwise has quickly become the best way to send money to Thailand.
During my first years in Thailand, I used my French credit card to pay for my expenses here.
Without a work permit, it was really difficult to open a Thai bank account and I just decided to withdraw cash to pay for everything.
But between the terrible exchange rate from my bank in France and the fees at the ATMs in Thailand (around 220฿ per withdrawal) it quickly became really expensive.
A year later I got a work permit with my company and I could finally open a Thai bank account.
Still, every once in a while, I have money coming in my French bank account that I want to spend in Thailand.
Unfortunately, international bank transfers are expensive and take my time with my bank back home.
So I needed another solution to send money to Thailand.
That's where Transferwise comes in.
- What is Transferwise?
- How Does Transferwise Work
- Signing up to Tranferwise
- Transferwise Exchange Rate
- How Much Are The Fees On A Transfer?
- How Fast Are The Transfers ?
- Transparent And Easy to Use
- Is Transferwise The Best Way to Send Money to Thailand?
- Is Transferwise Available in Thailand ?
- Pros and Cons
- Send Money to Thailand with Transferwise
- Get Wise in Thailand
What is Transferwise?
Transferwise is a fintech funded in 2011 by 2 guys working in London.
Where most of us just complain about the fees and how slow bank transfers are, these 2 guys decided to do something about it.
They created a service that allows exchanging money in over 750 currencies and a fast way to transfer money around the world with transparent fees.
Transferwise was born.
How Does Transferwise Work
Transferwise was built as an easy, fast, and cheap platform to exchange currencies and transfer money around the world.
Even though they're not a bank, they start to operate as such with their Borderless account that allows you to hold money in over 50 different currencies and to convert them in seconds.
In some countries, you can also get a Visa debit card with your Transferwise account and open a business account (but not in Thailand yet, more on that later).
Even though you can't get the card in Thailand (yet), it's the best and cheapest way at to send money to a Thai bank account at the moment.
Signing up to Tranferwise
If there's one thing to like about Transferwise, it is how easy it is to use.
And that's true for exchanging or transferring money as well as to open an account.
Creating an account only takes 4 steps :
- Sign up with an email, Gmail or Facebook account
- Choose between Personal or Business account
- Fill in your information
- Choose how much you want to send
Once you're done, you can connect your different bank accounts and start to exchange currencies and send money abroad.
Sign up with the link below to get a free transfer of up to 500£.
Transferwise Exchange Rate
One of the main advantages of Transferwise is the exchange rate.
Instead of fixing their own exchange rate, as most banks do, Transferwise uses the Mid Market Exchange.
That's the real-time exchange rate the banks and other financial services have access to (at least from what I understand).
In general, banks and other currency exchange services fix their own exchange rate to add their markup.
Instead, they offer you the mid-market exchange rate for free and only take a fee when you transfer money.
Oh, and the exchange rate is guaranteed when you press "convert".
So you know exactly how much you're gonna get when you exchange money, even if the exchange rate changes in the meantime.
One more tip, you can set up alerts to be notified when the exchange rate reaches your target price.
It's great when you can hold money for a while.
Just set up an alert on their website, and convert money with Transferwise when the price has reached your target.
I'm often doing that to exchange Dollars or Euros to Thai baht.
I set a reminder, forget about it, and convert money only when the exchange rate is interesting.
Oh, and now they accept Indian Rupee, which I know is a good news for a lot of Indians coming or living in Thailand who read this blog.
How Much Are The Fees On A Transfer?
Of course, the fees vary with the amount of the transfer.
But in its quest for transparency, Transferwise lets you calculate in advance on their website or app how much fee you will pay for a transfer.
Unlike most banks I used that make it difficult to know how much the transfer really cost, with Transferwise it's clear.
And don't forget, even if the fees can look similar or even sometimes higher than your bank, Transferwise is almost always cheaper when you take everything into consideration.
Because even if the fees are lower at your bank (and they probably aren't), they probably use their own exchange rate.
That means you get less money in the end and they probably, in a way or another, charge you for the currency exchange.
Again, Transferwise doesn't.
With them, you know how much you're sending, how much it cost for the transfer, and how long it will take.
How Fast Are The Transfers ?
From my experience and talking with other friends living in Thailand, it usually takes between a few hours and 3 days.
For 80% of the transfers I've done personally with Transferwise, it took a few hours or less than a day for the money to get from Transferwise to my Thai bank account.
But don't take my word for it.
Transferwise gives you an estimated date of arrival for your transfer when you calculate the fee on their website.
Transparent And Easy to Use
With fintech like Transferwise, N26, Revolut, and others, financial services are finally becoming more transparent and user friendly.
In my experience with traditional banks, I always felt like they were trying to hide something and made things complicated on purpose to confuse us and add unnecessary fees.
At least with Transferwise, you don't have any of that bullshit.
The app and the website are super clean and easy to use (so much that it feels a bit weird).
And it only takes a few seconds to convert or send money.
On top of that, you know right away how much it's gonna cost, how much you're getting at the end and how long it's gonna take.
Finally, international bank transfers don't have to be that complicated.
Is Transferwise The Best Way to Send Money to Thailand?
If you look at the options you have to send money to Thailand (see my full comparison), Transferwise clearly appears as one of the best.
You have :
- Bank Transfers. But most banks, especially local banks, are not the best when it comes to sending money abroad. They often have a bad exchange rate, high fees, and they can be really slow. Unless you've got enough money to use big international banks like HSBC or City Bank, Transferwise is probably better than your bank.
- Cash. Western Union and DeeMoney are both largely available in Thailand but they take a big fee on every transfer. You can also bring cash with you and find currency exchange with a good rate but there's a limit to how much you can carry with you.
- ATM. Withdrawing in Thailand with a non-Thai credit or debit card will cost you 220 or 250฿ per withdrawal. And the exchange rate will be fixed by your bank back home or the bank that owns the ATM. Again, not the best option.
- Online transfers. You think banks are bad? Look at services like Paypal and how much they charge for currency exchange and send money abroad. We used them for a while for our business in Thailand, and not only they're slow to transfer the money to your Thai bank account, but they also have the worst exchange rate. Avoid Paypal, Skrill, Payoneer and all othe others.
Easy to say Transferwise is the best option you have.
It's inexpensive, fast, and reliable.
Is Transferwise Available in Thailand ?
You can open a transferwise borderless account from Thailand but you can't get a Visa credit card or open a business account if you're a resident in Thailand.
Also, at the moment you can use Transferwise to send money to Thailand, but for now, you can't use them to send money from Thailand.
Hopefully, that will change soon.
Pros and Cons
Here's a quick overview of the reasons to use Transferwise to convert and send money abroad.
- Mid Market Exchange Rate
- Transparent Fees
- 700+ currencies
- Super Fast
- Easy to Use
- Clean Website and App
- Alerts on the Exchange Rate
- Cannot open a business account or have a Transferwise Credit Card in Thailand (yet)
- Can't send money from Thailand
Send Money to Thailand with Transferwise
- Register for free on wise.com
- Choose how much you want to send
- Add the details of your Thai bank account
- Verify your identity
- Pay for your transfer, by transferring money to your borderless account or pay by credit card
- Wait for your money to arrive in Thailand
It's super easy and once you've set up your account, it only takes a few minutes to convert and send money to your Thai bank or anywhere else.
Use the link below to get your first transfer for free (up to 500£).
Get Wise in Thailand
Yes you can use Wise in Thailand. You can use it to exchange currency to Thai Baht, hold Thai Baht and transfer money to a Thai Bank account.
Yes, you can withdraw at ATMs in Thailand with your Wise card.
Make sure you choose to be billed into the local currency to benefit from the best exchange rate from Wise, or exchange money to Thai Baht on Wise before you withdraw.
Note that most ATMs in Thailand charge 220 or 250฿ per withdrawal with an international card so withdraw as much as possible every time you use the ATM to avoid paying too many fees during your trip.
That's it for my review of Wise in Thailand, thanks for reading it til the end.
If you have any questions regarding Wise, ask me anything in the comments below.
I use the app at least once a month so I should be able to answer most of them.