Thai Bank Deposits for US Citizens

Thai Bank Deposits for US Citizens

Thai bak deposits for US citizens can seem a little tricky at first, but there’s a relatively easy way to handle them. If you’re a US bank account holder you can save international transfer fees via the US Automated Clearing House system (USACH) and Bangkok Bank’s New York branch. By stipulating the 9-digit routing number for Bangkok Bank’s New York branch (026008691) in your US transfer instruction, the funds will be transferred via the US ACH system directly to your Bangkok Bank account in Thailand. Your benefits for this extra hassle?

  • Fees for funds transfers via the US ACH system and Bangkok Bank’s New York branch are up to USD 20 lower than most other international wire transfer services in the US.
  • You can make transfers directly online via the internet banking service provided by your own bank in the US.
  • You will enjoy a better exchange rate because the USD amount will be converted to Thai Baht at the daily Bangkok Bank exchange rate in Thailand.

Even if you don’t have a U.S. bank account you can still get Direct Deposit in Thailand. Bangkok Bank – which I use and recommend – will accept U.S. government Direct Deposit. Here’s how to get it:

  • Complete Form SF-1199A, especially sections 1 & 2 on all three copies.
  • Get a certified copy of your U.S. passport from the Consulate.
  • Go to a Bangkok Bank branch and ask to open a Direct Deposit Account. Bring the completed Form SF-1199A, your passport and certified copy, the SSA or VA letter confirming your eligibility, and a small deposit to open the account.
  • Tell the bank the account will receive a U.S. government pension only.
  • Fill out an application for the bank’s Direct Deposit service.
  • Read the application terms and conditions carefully. Note the fees and restrictions

Social Security requires that you do not have an ATM card on the account they pay into, so you will need a second account with an local ATM card that you can transfer funds to from the account your benefits are paid into. The second account is for your normal daily use.

The 1st account, the one that SS pays into shows your incoming deposits as ‘Foreign fund transfers’. You will need that to prove to The Thai Bureau of Immigration that your funds are coming from outside of Thailand when you renew your annual retirement extension. It can take several months for Direct Deposit to kick in. Then, to access each deposit, just update the account at any Bangkok Bank branch office. You can then transfer the funds into your regular working account.

Comments

  1. ไมเคิล โมลิน่า says

    I read somewhere on Thai Visa that Bangkok bank: “To add, if your transfer method INTO Thailand from the U.S. is (as I suspect) via domestic ACH transfer to Bangkok Bank New York, that will be ending effective April 2019 as well. If so, How and what changes will need to be made?

    • Godfree Roberts says

      You are correct, but nobody knows how things will work yet. Here’s what we do know:

      The current BKKB system for domestic ACH transfers from the U.S. to Thailand via their NY branch is ENDING as of April 1, 2019. The online U.S. ACH domestic transfers you have been doing all along to BKKB NY will no longer function after that point.

      –The end of the current domestic ACH transfers system for the NY branch, according to BKKB, will have NO IMPACT on the current Social Security and any other federal government direct deposit arrangements already existing thru BKKB.

      –BKKB in their updated webpage is advising its U.S. customers that after April 1, 2019, they should use a different system with their U.S. banks’ online banking called IAT (International ACH Transfers). However, the apparent problem with that is, no one seems to know of any U.S. banks that currently provide consumers online access to IAT or any U.S. banks/CUs that have announced plans to support it for consumers.

      The current BKKB system for domestic ACH transfers from the U.S. to Thailand via their NY branch is ENDING as of April 1, 2019. The online U.S. ACH domestic transfers you have been doing all along to BKKB NY will no longer function after that point.

      –The end of the current domestic ACH transfers system for the NY branch, according to BKKB, will have NO IMPACT on the current Social Security and any other federal government direct deposit arrangements already existing thru BKKB.

      –BKKB in their updated webpage is advising its U.S. customers that after April 1, 2019, they should use a different system with their U.S. banks’ online banking called IAT (International ACH Transfers). However, the apparent problem with that is, no one seems to know of any U.S. banks that currently provide consumers online access to IAT or any U.S. banks/CUs that have announced plans to support it for consumers.

      For transfers of up to around $3K or less Transferwise puts more baht into your Thai bank account when both “exchange rate and fees” are considered. For amounts above approx $3K you will be a little better off using an Int’l Wire/SWIFT. And you can transfer to “any” Thai bank; not just Bangkok Bank which you are limited to if using the Bangkok Bank ACH method which for all practical purposes will end 1 Apr 19 since IAT is not offered by U.S. retail bank accounts…only Domestic ACH and Domestics/Int’l Wire (a.k.a., SWIFT) is offered. IAT transfers is primarily a corperate accounts thing used for international payment of goods/services, payroll, etc.

      Schwab would normally give you $1000 U.S. per day. But you might well raise some eyebrows there if you were to do 10 consecutive Thai ATM withdrawals and incur 2200 baht in ATM fee refunds in a matter of days. Schwab has modest fees for their wire transfers, including international ones. And even better rates if you happen to have a large balance with them.

      Specifically, $25 fee for either domestic or intl wire transfers. And, if you have a $100,000+ account balance with them, you get three free wires per quarter, domestic or intl.

  2. I opened Bangkok Bank account specifically for ach transfers from my US bank account. The trial deposits from Wells Fargo, PayPal and TransferWise never hit my Bangkok Bank account. I called customer support in the NY branch, and they said they were rejected because none of them used the IAT format.

    • Godfree Roberts says

      Yes, the US is in the process of switching to IAT. The good news is that IAT will make it easy to get Social Security directly deposited to your Thai account

Leave a Reply

Thailand Retirement Helpers