Western Union : New Service : Tsf To Bank Account

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    Posted 2012-03-23 12:49:47
    Received an email today from Western Union (as I have an account there) - advising of a new service that for Aud$20 - will transfer funds internationally to a bank account in another country via their online money transfer service. As I regularly transfer funds from Australia to Thailand, I was interested to see what it was about. The bank account you are transferring to has to be in local currency. No conversion fees at receiving end. Might be a Thai bank fee for deposit out of province I guess if they deposit in Bangkok. Thailand is a nominated country that they will transfer to.

    Unless I am missing something, their current online setup for Thailand remittances, won't fly, as they have two mandatory fields "Bank Number" - maximum 3 - and "Branch Number" - maximum 4.
    The other fields on the screen are ok : Account Name, Bank Name, Bank Branch Name, Account Number.

    I have always transferred by banks in the past, and their requirements have always been SWIFT number and ACCOUNT number for transfers to a Thailand bank account. Whilst a Thai bank account number may well incorporate a branch identifier for their internal use, I dont think Thai banks use specific BANK NUMBER or BRANCH NUMBER as is done in places like Australia (called BSB number here : nnn : nnn)

    I rang WU and they confirmed that at the moment their manual / help advice / and online page, all state the above requirements. They couldnt tell me if anyone had actually managed to successfully use their online facility to transfer funds to a bank account in Thailand.

    Once this is sorted out, it may become a good alternative for a cost effective means of transferring funds to Thailand. The fixed fee (AUD $20 for me) - is better than my current bank rate ($25) - but the bigger benefit is no fees at all at the receiving end. No conversion fees theoretically by a Thai bank. And if I used my Visa Debit Card for the transaction in Australia, then I am not up for any other bank fees here.

    Whist the WU conversion rate today of 30.8 (AUD / THB) is a bit less than the Thai bank rate, that is to be expected as WU admits that they make a profit on the conversion rate. But its not a big difference. And not having to pay receiving end fees cancels out any conversion rate benefit.

    They claim a 3 business day service if transacted in Australia before 1:30pm. Four business days if after 1:30pm.

    I would be interested if anyone has actually been able to get this new WU online facility to work - and how you managed it, given the two mandatory fields as above, that neither I nor WU could figure out how to complete.
    My Thai account is with Kasikornbank.

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      Posted 2012-03-29 13:04:50

      I have finally managed to work this out. Have today used Western Union online to do a money transfer from Australia to Thailand - direct to my Thai bank account. Will post back here if the transaction didnt work - but as of now - it is on its way. Thai banks DO HAVE a bank code and a branch code. Dont bother to ask a thai bank - they dont have a clue what you are talking about. But the fact remains, that there is in place a funds transfer system through a Bangkok based exchange, that uses a BANK CODE (3 spaces) and a BRANCH CODE (4 spaces). It used to be run by Bank of Thailand - but was handed off to a company in Bangkok that now runs it : National Itmx CO LTD. This is the company that Western Union is using as the clearing house for its new money transfer (bank account) service.

      The charge today is a flat fee for me of AUD$20, without regard to the amount being sent. With no fees at the receiving end. Although I suspect that my thai bank might charge me an "out of province" deposit fee.

      The BANK CODE is called in Thailand, a SMART MEMBER BANK code. Each bank operating in Thailand has one.
      The BRANCH CODE is usually the first 3/4 numbers of your account number.

      I suspect that Western Union is the first to use the SMART system in this way, even though it has been around since 2007. Thus the lack of knowledge even by bank staff, as to what their BANK code is.

      I found a PDF file at Bangkok Bank which has the total list of codes for all banks. I had a friend ring Bank of Ayudhya and speak to someone who did know of the SMART system, and confirmed that bank's code = 025.
      A couple of others: Bangkok Bank - 002, Kasikornbank - 004, TMB Bank - 011, Siam Commercial - 014, BankThai - 022, United Overseas Bank - 024, HSBC - 031 etc etc. There are 33 banks on the list I got from Bangkok website.

      Bank of Thailand has a definition of the SMART system as :

      "System for Managing Automated Retail Funds Transfer
      A payment system that facilitates for interbank funds transfer of retail customers by electronic system; such as payroll, dividend, etc."

      So to get back to the main point : there IS now another way to transfer funds to a bank account in Thailand, which some people may find to be cost effective, via this new Western Union channel.

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