Sending money to South East Asia is easy, affordable and convenient when you find the right money transfer company.
South East Asia refers to a huge and diverse region of the world that covers more than 1.7 million square miles. It encompasses Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, East Timor and Brunei.
Whether you need to send a remittance for travel purposes, such as to offer financial help to a friend travelling in South East Asia, or if you just want to send money from the United States to your family in South East Asia, there are plenty of money transfer options to choose from. You just need to find the one that’s the most affordable.
Banks versus money transfer companies
Banks will happily handle an international wire transfer to South East Asia for you; the problem is that they won’t do it cheaply. Banks offer disappointingly low exchange rates and frustratingly high fees on international transfers, which usually leads to an end result of you and your recipient being significantly out of pocket.
There’s a much more affordable solution, however, in the form of money transfer companies. From WorldRemit and USForex to Western Union and MoneyGram, these companies offer better exchange rates and lower fees (for online transactions) than the banks. They also offer secure transfers and some even allow you to make your money available for collection within minutes.
Matt’s brother John is travelling through Thailand for a week-long bachelor party adventure. But when John wakes up in Bangkok after a big night with no wallet, no luggage and no shoes, he realises he only has $100 back in his hotel room safe and he needs some cash urgently. He phones Matt and asks his brother to send him $1,000, so Matt compares two money transfer companies to see which one can provide the best transfer deal.
|Money transfer company 1||Money transfer company 2|
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 35.37 THB||1 USD = 34.74 THB|
|Transfer method||Bank account deposit||Cash pickup|
|Processing time||1-3 business days||10 minutes|
|Amount received (in THB)||35,370 THB||34,740 THB|
As you can see, although the second transfer company provides much faster transfers, Matt can send an extra 630 THB by using the services of the first company.
How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to South East Asia
- Exchange rates. How do the exchange rates offered by each company stack up against the competition?
- Fees. How much will it cost you to send a transfer? Will you avoid any fees if you transfer a large amount?
- Transfer methods. What methods are available for placing transfers? Can you only place them online or are there other options offered?
- Transfer options. Can you schedule recurring transfers in advance in order to save time? Can you lock in a great exchange rate for a future transaction with a forward contract?
- Turnaround time. How long will it take for the funds you transfer to be made available to your recipient?
- Minimum amount. Is there a minimum limit per transfer? Will this be manageable for you?
- Pickup methods. Can you pick up the funds from an agent location or will they be sent straight to a bank account?
- Customer service. Will phone, email and/or live chat support be available when you need it? Is there an online help centre and FAQ section?
How to send money to South East Asia from America
- Bank transfers. Bank-to-bank transfers are reliable but can be quite expensive.
- Online money transfer providers. Companies such as USForex and WorldRemit offer secure and affordable online transfers.
- Money transfer companies with cash pickup options. MoneyGram, Western Union and Ria offer this service to customers.
- PayPal. Check with PayPal to see if it offers international transfers to your chosen South East Asian destination.
- Checks. Ask your bank if you want to use this slow but reliable transfer method.
Emergency cash transfers in South East Asia
If you ever need to send an emergency transfer to South East Asia, just be aware of the fact that you will need to pay extra for the transfer. High fees and low exchange rates typically apply to instant (allow 10 minutes) transfers, so it pays to check the full details of your transaction before you hand over your cash. Otherwise, you could end up paying a whole lot more than you need to in order to send your money overseas ASAP.Back to top
Cash pickup locations in South East Asia / Western Union / MoneyGram / Ria branches in South East Asia
Western Union, MoneyGram and Ria operate extensive transfer networks across South East Asia, so visit each provider’s website for a full list of its locations in your destination country. Some popular cash pickup locations are listed below – make sure your beneficiary takes along the transaction details and photo ID when they go to collect the funds.
The Philippines – Western Union
Prime Block Podium Level
Manila, Metro Manila 1013
Philippine Business Bank
Carmen Planas Street 869
Manila, Metro Manila 1006+63-2-6202360
Open 8:30am to 3:30pm Monday to Friday
Bank of Commerce
609 Sales St.
Open 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday, 10am to 3pm Saturday
Banco de Oro ATM
132 Carlos Palanca St Quiapo
Open 8:30am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday
The Philippines – Ria
Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company (A. Lacson Ave-Sampaloc)
1243 A.H. Lacson Ave., Sampaloc Manila
Open 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday
China Banking Corporation (Arranque)
Don Felipe Building 675 Thomas Mapua Street
Open 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday
Thailand – Western Union
MoneyGramKrung Thai Bank
173 Dinsor Rd
Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200
Open 8:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday
BBL Booth Khao San Rd Exchange
183 185 Centerpoint Plaza And Hotel
Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200
Siam Commercial Bank
522 Mu 18 Minburi
Open 8:30am to 6:30pm seven days
Government Savings Bank
40 Ratchadamnoen Klang Rd
Phra Nakhon, 10200
Open 8:30am to 3:30pm Monday to Friday
Thailand – Ria
Bangkok Bank Public Company Limited
Government Savings Bank – Oom Sin
2nd Floor, CRC Tower, All Seasons Place,
No information on opening hours available
Tips for picking up cash in South East Asia
- Make sure to only visit a transfer agent in a safe location
- Take a friend along for assistance and security
- Don’t flash your cash around in public
- Don’t carry large sums of money on your person
- Deposit the money into your bank account as soon as possible
How to send money to South East Asia
The first thing you’ll need to do when you want to send money to South East Asia is provide a few key details about yourself – your name, your address, your contact information etc. A valid form of photo ID will also be required.
Next, supply any relevant details about your recipient (their name, contact details and country of residence), before providing all the information about your transaction. This will include the amount of money you wish to send and where you would like to transfer it to.
Once you’ve paid for your transaction, keep hold of any transaction reference number you receive so that you can check on the progress of your funds.