When you need to send money to Thailand, it can be difficult to know the best way to get the most out of converting your dollars to Thai baht. Whether you want to use a money transfer service or going through a bank, this guide will help you get your money where it needs to go.
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Online money transfer providers typically offer the strongest exchange rates and lowest fees on money transfers to Thailand. Some offer cash pickup in as little as a few minutes, while others seamlessly transfer to bank accounts. Sending money through PayPal or your bank is also an option, but you’ll typically face higher fees and weaker exchange rates when going that route.
Digital money transfer services
Companies like XE and OFX specialize in foreign currencies, making them some of the most cost-effective transfers. Most offer transfers directly to your recipient’s Thai bank account, often in as little as a day or two.
Services like MoneyGram and Western Union allow you to transfer cash for pickup at a local branch in Thailand— often in 15 minutes. While it’s a fast way to send money, you’ll pay for the convenience in weak exchange rates and high fees.
Thai baht are not a popular currency, but your local bank may be able to exchange them. If your bank supports Thai baht, beware of high fees and wide margins on the exchange rate compared to digital and other options when sending a wire transfer to Thailand.
Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending $1,500 to Thailand
Let’s say you need to send $1,500 to family in Thailand. Here’s what you might face as far as fees and exchange rates as of October 1, 2020.
Digital money transfer service
$50 + additional correspondent bank fees
1 CAD = 23.5154 THB
1 CAD = 22.8028 THB
1 CAD = 21.8341 THB
Slowest and most expensive
The bank option ends up being both the slowest and gets the smallest amount of money to your recipient in Thailand. If you go with the digital money transfer service, your recipient ends up with THB 3,614 more than the bank offers. The cash option will get your money there the fastest, often in a few minutes or less.
What are the other ways that I can send money to Thailand?
Bank transfers. Many major Canadian banks will allow you to send money to Thailand.
Money transfer providers. Providers like WorldRemit and TransferWise can help you quickly and easily transfer your money online.
Providers with cash pickup. Western Union and MoneyGram allow you to send funds for cash pickup at agent locations.
PayPal. Electronic payment giant PayPal allows you to send money from Canada to Thailand.
Checks and money orders. Although not a quick option, you could send an international check overseas, obtained from your bank or Canadian Postal Service.
How to send money to Thailand through an online service
Sign up and send money with a digital money transfer specialist in four steps:
Sign up for a free account. Pick a provider and sign up for a free online account using your contact information, proof of ID and preferred payment method.
Provide transfer details. Submit your recipient’s contact information and pick a delivery method. If transferring to a bank, you’ll need their Thai bank account details.
Confirm transfer details. Double-check your payment method, expected fees and destination.
Save your receipt. Record your receipt’s confirmation number to track the progress of your transfer to Thailand. Some money transfer providers send a text or email when your transfer is complete.
How to get the most out of your money transfer to Thailand
Weigh costs and fees against convenience to learn how to compare money transfer providers that send to Thailand to best meet your needs:
Exchange rates. The CAD-THB relationship fluctuates often, so using a service that allows you to lock-in exchange prices may help you save money down the line if the Thai baht rises against the Canadian dollar.
Transfer fees. Transferring money overseas nearly always requires fees, but they might be hidden in the exchange rate. When sending large amounts, it may be cheaper to pay a flat fee to secure a stronger CAD-THB exchange rate.
Transfer limits. How much you can send varies by company, and different amounts can attract higher or lower fees. Shop around for the best deal on the amount of Thai baht you’re sending to Thailand.
Turnaround. Transferring money through a local bank can take a business week or longer. If you need the funds delivered quickly, seek out a digital specialist that offers instant transfers to Thailand.
Sending limits. Comparing prices for one large transfer instead of many small transfers is typically easier, so picking the service you use based on how much you’re sending is a valid strategy for saving money.
Transfer methods. Whether you want money sent to a Thai bank account or picked up as cash at a local agent, narrow down a company that matches your preferred delivery method.
Emergency cash transfer to Thailand
When urgency trumps cost to get your money to Thailand quickly, look for money transfer companies that support cash pickup in minutes. You can pay with a credit or debit card for fast pickup, but fees are higher than other methods.
How to send money to Thailand without a bank account
Cash transfer services can help you if you don’t have a bank account, look for a local company that supports storefronts for cash payments. These services include agent locations in other countries that allow your recipient to pick up cash without a bank account.
Thailand’s exchange rates explained
The exchange rate determines how much one country’s currency is worth in another country’s currency. When a country’s currency is strong, it yields more money when exchanging it in a country with a weaker currency. Thailand’s exchange rate is flexible compared to the Canadian dollar. Because both are relatively stable, the CAD-THB relationship typically doesn’t make sharp movements. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.
Documents needed for sending to and receiving money in Thailand
To send money to Thailand from Canada, you’ll need government-issued ID and other documents, while documents needed to pick up money in Thailand may be different by company.
Documents to send money from Canada
To send money from Canada to Thailand, you’ll need documentation and details that include:
Identification. Most services require a driver’s license, passport or other government-issued ID. Some services allow you to send transfers without ID, but they may require your SIN.
Payment method. Your service may accept credit or debit cards, cash, bank accounts or personal cheques.
Recipient information. Submit your recipient’s name as it appears on their ID, along with their phone number, Thai bank account and routing number.
Documents to receive money in Thailand
To pick up money in person, documentation can include:
Transfer number. The person sending you money can forward the transfer’s confirmation details — called a PIN, a MTCN, a reference number or a tracking number, depending on the company.
Government-issued ID. A Thai Passport, Thai ID or similar official ID may be required to pick up your transfer..
Amount sent. You may need to know how much was sent, usually within 10% of the total.
Sender’s information. Take along your sender’s full name, the sending country and their address, if known.
What to watch out for
Sending money to Thai relatives or family members in Thailand may be subject to taxes on the money transfer, but it depends on a lot of variables. In general, any large transfers being sent from Canada to Thailand should be filed with the CRA to avoid any penalties.
Sending your hard-earned money to Thailand shouldn’t cost a fortune. Compare money transfer companies that specialize in foreign transactions for the strongest rates, lowest fees and flexible delivery. For transfers to other countries, rely on our country specific guides the next time you need to make a transfer.
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Zak Killermann is a writer at Finder. He’s ghostwritten hundreds of articles on fintech, finding his love for publication at St. Cloud State University. Traveling internationally for nearly half his life — and getting burned once by an OTC money exchange — Zak's vowed not to settle for anything short of the mid-market rate again.
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