Trying to transfer money from Thailand to another country can be a very annoying and expensive challenge. It doesn’t seem like it should be that difficult a task, does it?
You have an account with a Thai bank and one in your country of origin – all you want to do is to move a bit of your hard-earned money from one to the other.
How hard can it be?
Sadly, very hard.
Many of the available options are either slow, cost you a considerable percentage of your money, or both. And that’s assuming that you can get your head around the mountains of paperwork involved.
Can you transfer money from Thailand?
Yes, it is possible to send money from Thailand to an overseas bank account.
You’d be forgiven for believing that’s not the case since it can be quite a complex process, but it is achievable.
In fact, there are several options available, but each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.
What is the best way to transfer money from Thailand?
While getting money into Thailand isn’t especially difficult, transferring money out is a lot harder.
The options available are broadly the same for either direction, but there are more obstacles when it comes to outbound transfers. Those options are:
- Use a direct bank transfer
- Use a remittance service
- Send cryptocurrency
- Use informal channels
Using a direct bank transfer
The most obvious option is to ask your Thai bank to send your money to your account at home. This service is available from:
Banks use a system called SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) for international transfers.
It’s kind of an ironic name because it can take up to a week for your money to arrive in your home bank account. The reason being that banks are deeply distrustful of each other, and the process of checking and confirming the transaction takes time.
The benefit of a bank transfer is that it is direct – your money leaves one account and arrives in the other without having to pass through any go-betweens. On the downside, it’s nothing like as simple as it sounds for you.
For starters, you need to have a Thai bank account, which means you need to be living and working in Thailand, with a work permit. Getting hold of one of those can be challenging enough on its own.
Assuming that you have a Thai bank account, the process of transferring money out of it often involves a considerable amount of paperwork for just a single transfer, which you’ll need to collect and submit in person at a branch.
And good luck figuring out what information the forms are asking you for if you don’t have a degree in economics and can’t speak Thai.
To be fair to them, a couple of Thai banks are starting to figure out that it’s now the 21st century and that customer convenience is a thing – one that people increasingly demand.
Kasikornbank and SCB have developed user-friendly banking apps that let you set up international transfers, but there are some fairly arbitrary restrictions on these, such as only being able to submit transfer requests during business hours.
On top of that, the fees involved are often greater than 1,000 baht per transaction – a sizeable chunk of your money, particularly if you’re only sending a relatively small amount.
Put simply, it’s a system built to accommodate the needs of big businesses, making it extremely impractical for the average individual who wants to send a small amount of money on a regular basis.
Using a remittance service
Everyone’s heard of Western Union, right? Their name is practically synonymous with sending money from one country to another.
It’s much easier and cheaper than using a bank transfer: you fill in one form, show your passport, give them the cash and it’s done.
The transfer is instant because you’re not actually sending any money overseas. Instead, you pay money to Western Union in one country and they give you money back from their funds in another country.
You’ll lose some of the value of your money in the process, though, because the exchange rate used is never as good as the one you’ll find on Google. That, and a small fee, is how they make their money.
The basic process that Western Union is most famous for is to send money from a bricks-and-mortar WU office in one country for another person to collect from an office in their country.
It’s very convenient for sending money to a friend or family member in need, but not so much for sending your own money to yourself.
It’s the 21st century now, though. You don’t have to physically go to the office and the option is available to send the money directly to a bank account.
At least, it is in some countries, but not in Thailand. You can still send money online and even through their new app, but it still has to go to a Western Union office.
Maybe you can ask a friend to collect your cash and walk it down the street to deposit it at your bank, but it requires a friend who is both trustworthy and has plenty of free time on their hands.
But forget Western Union – Transferwise is the new hotness in the world of remittance services, right? The company was born from exactly the same frustration that you’re feeling while trying to figure out how to send money out of Thailand, and the founders came up with an impressive, innovative solution.
Unfortunately, it’s a solution that doesn’t work in Thailand. You can’t add Thai baht to one of their borderless accounts and cards from Thai banks will be rejected. Even the stellar success of Transferwise isn’t enough to punch through the mountains of red tape and regulations wrapped around Thai banking.
A further option for sending money into and out of Thailand is to use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
You’re spared the paperwork and long delays of bank transfers, you don’t lose the value of your money like you do with a remittance provider and you can do the whole process online.
The immediate problem with this approach is that the number of people who actually understand what a cryptocurrency is, let alone how to trade and transfer it, is relatively small.
For the average person wanting to repatriate their income to pay some bills back home, it’s a significant investment in time and learning to get to the point where this option becomes quick and easy.
It’s not an instant transfer, either. Converting a cryptocurrency into hard cash means selling it to another trader. If you need the cash right away to pay an urgent bill, you may have to sell your cryptocurrency well below its market value.
If you have some time on your hands, you can offer it at its true value, but there’s no telling how long it’ll take for someone to buy it. It could be less than an hour or more than a day, and the value of your cryptocurrency may have changed significantly in that time. Regardless of the value you get from the exchange, you’re also likely to have to pay capital gains tax on the money you get, too.
What’s more, if you’re sending money to the US, you might face some legal barriers. There are few enough exchanges in Thailand that you can buy cryptocurrencies through, and some of them can’t trade with exchanges in the States because of restrictive US laws.
Using informal channels
With so many hoops to jump through to send money back to your home country, the temptation is to find some unofficial method of doing so. At their most basic, this can consist of taking a load of cash with you next time you happen to be visiting or asking a friend to do the same for you.
What if no one you know is heading to your country any time soon? There are more complex options that use intermediaries acting as unofficial money transfer agents.
This approach certainly has the advantage of simplicity over any of the alternatives. It’s also often cheaper than any other method, particularly if your intermediary is a friend willing to take your money home for free.
However, this approach is entirely dependant on trust, with no legal recourse if that trust is broken. To put it simply, it’s entirely possible that the intermediary will walk off with your money and you’ll have absolutely no way to get it back.
A further problem with this method is that it’s very slow to physically take money from one country to another, particularly if your home country is a long flight from Thailand. If you need the money in your account immediately, this is not the approach for you.
You’ll probably have seen that, of the above options, remittance providers like Western Union and Transferwise have the most advantages. They’re simple, cheap, the transfer is instant and you don’t have to pay capital gains tax.
It’s only the fact that you’re sending money out of Thailand that makes them impractical since their more convenient services are unavailable in the Land of Smiles.
DeeMoney is the only remittance service specifically created to send money from Thailand to foreign bank accounts. You only have to fill in a form once to set up the service and you can then make quick and easy transfers at any time.
There’s a flat rate of 150 baht per transfer, with the chance of a slightly higher rate depending on the country you’re sending to.
For complete convenience, you can use the DeeMoney app to send money from Thailand to the following countries:
• Sri Lanka
What if the country you want to send to isn’t on that list? Thanks to our partnership with MoneyGram, you can send your money to a total of 180 countries around the world.
However, if the country isn’t listed above, you’ll need to come into one of our branches to send it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is DeeMoney a scam?
No, of course DeeMoney isn’t a scam. It may sound a little too good to be true, but it’s completely legit, legal and safe, with no hidden costs or subtle tricks.
DeeMoney is the first and only non-bank entity in Thailand to have obtained the necessary special international money transfer and money exchange licenses from the Bank of Thailand. These include an Authorized Money Transfer Agent License, an E-Payment Service License Type C (3), and an Authorized Money Changer License.
The level of difficulty involved with setting up international money transfers with Thai local banks is often due to the individual bank and their set bureaucracy. Many expats have experience with the time-consuming administration involved as well as flat-out rejections for their international bank transfer applications.
At DeeMoney, disruption and innovation are in our DNA. We use the latest cutting-edge technology to make international transfers simple and completely expat-friendly!
How do I register with DeeMoney?
It’s very simple. You can complete the whole process online or come into one of our offices and we’ll walk you through the whole process. We just need one identifying document – either your passport or Thai ID card.
You don’t need a work permit or proof of residence or anything else of the sort. You don’t even have to be a permanent resident of Thailand, so you can use the service even if you’re here as a tourist or digital nomad. Just go to the registration form page to get started and:
1. Enter your first name, middle name, last name, date of birth and email address.
2. Enter your phone number and we’ll send a one-time password to your phone. Enter the number into the Input OTP field and click send.
3. Select your gender, marital status and nationality.
4. Select the Thai province you’re staying in and enter your address.
5. Select your residential status, enter your occupation and select your average monthly income.
6. Upload a photo – either a selfie, a Thai ID or driver’s license, or your passport or pink card.
7. Tick the box to accept the Terms and Conditions and to confirm that the details you’ve entered are accurate and then click submit.
What does DeeMoney do with my personal data?
You can read DeeMoney’s Personal Data Policy for the full details on how we handle your personal data. However, the short version is that we fully comply with Thai data privacy laws.
We always handle your data with due diligence and the appropriate level of responsibility that you would expect from a Thai banking-licensed entity.
Where is DeeMoney located?
DeeMoney has 4 branches around Bangkok, with more opening soon around the city and the rest of Thailand.
Ocean Tower 2 Floor 31
Sukhumvit Soi 19
Sukhumvit Road, Klongtoey Nua,
Wattana, Bangkok. 10110
Open Monday – Friday
10.00 am. – 7.00 pm.
Tel. 02 821 5555
Tesco Lotus Mahachai Branch
1st Floor, Front PG001
119 Tesco Lotus Building,
Mahachai Moo 7,
Tambon Thasai, Muang Samut
Samut Sakhon 74000
Open Monday – Sunday
11.00 am. – 8.00 pm.
Tel. 02 821 5555
Sukhumvit Soi 8 Branch
168 Sukhumvit Soi 8,
Open Monday – Sunday
09.00 am. – 11.00 pm.
Tel. 02 821 5555
Imperial World Samrong Branch
1st Floor, SH-1-012,
Imperial World Samrong
999 Sukhumvit Road,
Samrong Nuea, Mueang SamutPrakan
Open Monday – Sunday
11.00 am. – 8.00 pm.
Tel. 02 821 5555
How do I use the DeeMoney app?
The DeeMoney app can be found in both Apple’s App Store and Google Play and works for both Apple and Android devices.
You can make payments through the app using Direct Bank, K-Plus Payment or QR codes.
How do I contact DeeMoney’s customer support?
You can contact DeeMoney’s support team on a variety of channels:
• Phone: 02821-5555
• Contact form
• Come and speak to us in person at a branch
Check our contact page for more options.
DeeMoney was awarded the Excellence in Retail Financial Services Award of the Asian Banker Awards 2019. Winning this meant passing a very stringent evaluation and still standing out from crowd of established names in the remittance industry.
It was the first time that these awards were opened for non-banks in the retail financial services category. Adding another first to our credit, DeeMoney was the first non-bank in Thailand to receive this award.
The Excellence in Retail Financial Services programme is among the most rigorous and transparent awards programmes for consumer financial services in the world, which naturally also makes it among the most prestigious.
It covers institutions across the Asia Pacific region, the Middle East and Africa. More than 300 banks and non-bank retail financial services players in more than 42 countries are evaluated in a thorough process every year.
DeeMoney in the News
DeeMoney shoots for 5m transactions
In this article, published on July 19th 2018, the Bangkok Post discusses the long-term aims of DeeMoney in terms of transaction volumes and geographic expansion.
In this article, published on March 16th 2019, the Bangkok Post announces that DeeMoney is seeking a partner for future expansion. It mentions how DeeMoney aims to increase its operating network of 17 countries up to 40 countries.
In this article, published on April 5th 2019, the Bangkok Post writes about how DeeMoney is at the forefront of remittances in Thailand and other southeast Asian countries.
SawasdeeShop boosts financial services with mobile app launch
In this article, published on July 19th 2018, The Nation announces DeeMoney’s new smartphone app launch and aspirations of processing over 100,000 monthly transactions.
Remittance provider DeeMoney’s launch pushes Thailand to be ASEAN’s financial hub (in Thai)
A general introduction to DeeMoney written in the Thai language.
Old money may talk but new money flies
A general introduction to the DeeMoney app.
Digital money transfer solutions: DeeMoney
A general introduction to DeeMoney.