Send Money to South East Asia Cheaply

Information verified correct on December 10th, 2016

Sending money to South East Asia is easy, affordable and Southeast asiaconvenient 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.

Case Study: Matt Sends Money to Thailand

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 1Money transfer company 2
Exchange rate1 USD = 35.37 THB1 USD = 34.74 THB
Transfer fee$5$16
Transfer methodBank account depositCash pickup
Processing time1-3 business days10 minutes
Amount received (in THB)35,370 THB34,740 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?
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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.
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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.

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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

MoneyGramAguirre Pawnshop

Prime Block Podium Level

Tutuban Center

Manila, Metro Manila 1013


Philippine Business Bank

Carmen Planas Street 869

Pbb Building

Manila, Metro Manila 1006+63-2-6202360

Open 8:30am to 3:30pm Monday to Friday

Bank of Commerce

609 Sales St.


Manila, 1001


Open 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday, 10am to 3pm Saturday

Banco de Oro ATM

132 Carlos Palanca St Quiapo

Manila, 1000


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

Manila NCR

Open 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday

China Banking Corporation (Arranque)

Don Felipe Building 675 Thomas Mapua Street

Manila NCR

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

Khaosan Rd

Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200


Siam Commercial Bank

522 Mu 18 Minburi

Bangkok, 10510


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

333 Silom Road, Bangrak Bangkok 10500Bangkok BKOpen 8:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday

Government Savings Bank – Oom Sin

2nd Floor, CRC Tower, All Seasons Place,

Bangkok BK

No information on opening hours available

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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
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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.

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