In 2017, Thais living in the United States sent home $1,859 million. This amount, added to what gets sent from other busy remittance corridors like Germany, Malaysia, Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom, accounts for approximately 60% of the total remittance to Thailand.
Globally, Europe has the highest number of diaspora Thais followed by East Asia and North America. Some of the Thais are fully registered as workers in their host countries while others are there as illegal immigrants looking for ways to fend for their families back home.
Whatever their immigration status, one thing remains constant for all Thais, the need to send money to their families from time to time. International bank transfers are still a preferred way of sending especially for the registered immigrants, but there is a gradual shift to other channels such as online money transfers.
This guide aims at shedding light on the various ways of sending money to Thailand from host countries, the pros and cons of these channels, the information you need to provide and factors to consider when sending the money.
Sending money to Thailand is simple and easy. Follow these steps to get started.
There are multiple ways to easily send and receive money in Thailand but these will largely depend on the provider you decide to use. Below you will find everything you need to know about sending and receiving money.
When sending money to Thailand, getting the right mode of transfer can save you hundreds of dollars in transfer fees and exchange rate differentials. You can decide to send money through the interbank transfer or online money transfer services. Your decision will depend on a number of factors, most of which will be discussed in the sections below.
Many Thais in the diaspora have been using international wire transfers for sending large amounts of money. These transfers are safe and secure. Depending on the country you are transferring from, you may find a bank that has a subsidiary in Thailand such as Standard Chartered. In this case, your transfers will be much faster.
However, if you are transferring through banks that have no relationship with the recipient banks, you’ll have to go through correspondent banks. This lengthens the transfer process and makes it expensive.
On average, it takes about 4-5 business days for your transfer to be completed. If there is no urgency on the part of the recipient, you could choose this mode of transfer. For the best rates, send the money in foreign currency and let the receiving bank convert it for you instead of converting before you send. Banks such as the Bank of Bangkok has branches overseas you can use to transfer.
Apart from international wire transfers, you can opt for online money transfers to Thailand. Money transfer providers such as Western Union, Ria, MoneyGram, Xoom, TransferWise and WorldRemit can help you send money to your family.
The advantage of using money transfer providers is that they offer affordable and faster transfers. For instance, if you are to send money using Xoom, TranferWise or WorldRemit, you’d have to first sign up for an account, this could take about 5 minutes and then pay for your transfer.
Based on your host country, you’ll have different ways of paying for your transfer. The main payment methods are a debit card, credit card and bank debit. If you are sending from Europe or North America, your money will get to the recipient in 2 to 3 days for transfers to bank accounts. Cash pickups are done instantly and within 2 to 3 hours, the recipient has collected the money.
There are three ways of sending money using online money transfer providers.
Bank Transfers- If the recipient has a bank account, you can transfer directly to them. Ensure you get the bank details right to avoid bounced payments. As the sender, you don’t need to have a bank account. Transfers can take 1 to 3 days.
Cash Pickup- This mode of transfer allows the recipient to collect the money in cash from their nearest payout location. In Thailand, WorldRemit has partnered with Government Savings Bank to use its branches as pickup locations. Cash pickup transfers are instant.
Airtime Top-up – You can also send airtime top-up to your family for free to allow them to text and make calls. The three major telecom operators who have partnered with money transfer services in Thailand are AIS, DTAC, and TrueMove H.
When sending money through Western Union or MoneyGram, you can either send online or visit a store in person and send from there.
If both you and the recipient have PayPal accounts, you can transfer money from your account to the other. You can use this method for amounts less than $1,500. As the amount you are sending goes up, the sending fees also increase. This is because they are calculated in percentage terms.
Whether you are sending money in person at a store or online, there is some information you’ll have to provide. This will help get the transfer to the right person and enable the recipient to access the money.
When signing up for an online money transfer account, some of this information will be captured in advance thus making it easier for you to make your transfer.
Your family in Thailand can receive the money you are sending in a number of ways. The following are the two main channels Thais can use to receive remittances from abroad.
When choosing the money transfer provider to use, the guiding factors should be proximity, reliability and affordability to both you and the recipient.
Receiving money in Thailand is simple. If the money is deposited in the recipient’s account, there is nothing much they need to do apart from notifying the sender. On the other hand, when the money is sent through cash pickup, they will receive an SMS or email notification.
The following information will be required to receive money at any payout location. Just a quick note, Western Union will ask you to fill out a form in which you provide the information.
Some providers have test questions that you must answer to complete the verification process. Once the confirmation process is complete, you’ll be asked to sign the receipt and collect the money.
Thais in the diaspora have some sort of an unwritten social contract with their families back home. Whenever their conditions abroad become favourable and they start earning, they apportion part of earnings and send it home. The following are some of the reasons why Thais send money to their families.
Remittances in Thailand households account for up to 40% or more of the overall household income. Some families in rural Thailand are totally dependent on remittances for basic necessities such as food, clothing and shelter.
Once the basic needs are covered, remittances may be allocated to education. With a literacy rate of 92.87%, Thais value quality education and won’t hesitate to send money home to fund their sibling’s tuition fees and other related expenses.
Thailand has one of the best health care system in Asia. The Universal Care Scheme also known as 30 Baht Health Care scheme, gives Thais medical care at a cost of 30 bahts equivalent to USD 1. However, for specialized care, households may require financial support to access private facilities.
Hundreds of thousands of Thais send money home regularly for savings and investment. Despite the opportunities abroad, many of them still see their country as the ideal and safe place to build a nest egg. Some of the money is invested in financial products and real estate.
Though living in the diaspora, Thais have strong linkages back home. They regularly call, visit and send money to their families for festivals such as Songkran Day, Wan Payawan, Wan Parg-bpee and many others. During these festivals remittances to Thailand record an upsurge.
Money transfer services are preferred because of their unique advantages. They complement and even substitute banks as the choice method for Thais abroad sending money to their families. The following are the reasons why you should consider money transfer providers in your next remittance to your family.
Now that you have almost all the information you need to send money to Thailand, you may want to quickly jump onto your phone or computer and initiate a transfer. Of course, nothing can stop you, but you may need to think through the following before you hit the ‘send’ button.
There you go! Sending money to Thailand can be quick and affordable when you use money transfer service providers. Your family will receive cash payouts or bank deposits faster to help them sort out their needs.
Sending money anywhere else in the world is as easy as sending money to Thailand. If you’re looking to send money to another country, here is the list of the most popular destinations.
Jonathan is the founder and editor of MoneyTransfers.com. Jonathan is highly experienced in the currency transfer market, having previously worked in the FX trading industry, alongside being an avid traveller. Using his knowledge he identified a need for transparency and further education to help people save money on their money transfers, leading to the creation of MoneyTransfers.com