ACH transfers from USA to Bangkok Bank -Alert!

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2lz2p
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#1 ACH transfers from USA to Bangkok Bank -Alert!

Postby 2lz2p » Mon Jul 30, 2018 5:57 pm

This past week, I read a post on Thaivisa.com regarding changes in how you use your US bank online services to send transfers to your Bangkok Bank Account by routing it through the New York Branch, which is part of the US Automated Clearing House (ACH) system. Since Thiavisa can have both information and misinformation, I visited the Bangkok Bank webpage that provides information and instruction on the ACH transfers through the NY Branch.

It has changed and the news for most of us that using our banks online system to transfer funds from our US banks through the NY branch will most likely be coming to an end on April 1, 2019 (no this is not an early April Fools joke).

You can visit the page here: http://www.bangkokbank.com/BangkokBank/ ... omUSA.aspx

NOTE, this change does not appear to have any impact for Direct Deposits of social security or other US Government payments.

Basically the regulatory body that governs the ACH system, The National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA), has put a requirement into their Operating Rules that funds being transferred through the ACH system to an account outside the USA will have to use an International ACH Transfer (IAT) format which requires more information to be obtained than what is necessary for a strictly domestic transfer, e.g., address of receiving bank as well as address of receiving beneficiary in Thailand.

For those that have not already set up ACH transfers, they cannot do so unless using the IAT format. For those of us that are already using it, we can continue until April 1, 2019 and then our sending banks must use the IAT format; if not, any funds received by the NY Branch will be returned and not forwarded to your Bangkok Bank account.

Based on some quick research, it appears that the IAT format is not available in most US online banking systems for individual consumer accounts. They may do so for some commercial accounts. So, it appears many of us will have to find alternative methods - I have already had recommended to me three services that will provide the transfer service for a fee in most cases - one was from one of the Thaivisa postings to the thread, another from a fellow Expat after the end of last Sundays Pattaya City Expat Club meeting (I did announce the change during the Open Forum portion of the meeting), and the third, which appears promising, was from one of my US Bank's webpages on international wire transfers (they mentioned such services were less expensive and actually had a link to one they recommended).

I plan to check out the one my Bank linked this coming week, perhaps sending a small amount to see how well it works - from some preliminary checking it appears promising because their fee appears to be US$10 for up to US$10,000, they offer 1-2 day service, and although they apparently will convert the funds to Baht before sending, it it appears to be a good exchange rate - they had a generator to put in US$ amount and currency it is to be converted to and will show the amount that will be sent -- I just checked it and it showed one US$ would be exchanged at 33.05 baht and delivered in one day. The one mentioned the person on Thaivisa shows their exchange rate to be 33.3.

When I do set up with a service and find it satisfactory, I will share the name & URL and my experience in setting it up.

For those that may be interested, the following is on J.P. Morgan website and shows the rule was apparently made in 2009 - so maybe Bangkok Bank NY Branch got caught and made to comply - but thank goodness for the grace period for those of us already using the service:

The National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA) will require a new format for certain ACH transactions. This new rule changes the data file formats required to originate U.S. domestic ACH transactions when they are part of a payment chain that begins or ends in another country. Payment transactions that begin as wires, or interbank transfers from abroad that are converted to ACH by a U.S. financial institution, are included in this definition and need to be formatted according to international ACH transaction rules. Transactions that begin as ACH payments destined for other countries also need to comply with the new format. These ACH payments must be formatted using the new standard entry class code, international ACH transaction (IAT).

The new IAT format is designed to help law enforcement agencies detect, investigate and prosecute money laundering and other financial crimes by creating and preserving an information trail of entities sending and receiving funds through U.S financial institutions' monetary systems. Your company is responsible for identifying these payment transactions, formatting them according to the rules and paying any fines for non-compliance.

https://www.jpmorgan.com/tss/General/In ... 8418629713

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#2 Re: ACH transfers from USA to Bangkok Bank -Alert!

Postby Gaybutton » Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:50 pm

I believe this also has no effect on people receiving their retirement pension benefits via direct deposit from the source to Bangkok Bank's New York branch. If I'm interpreting this correctly, it only applies to people transferring money via their own USA bank accounts. But as long as none of the money passes through your own bank account, you're fine.

In any case, if you receive your pension benefit via direct deposit into Bangkok Bank's New York branch, your pension source is likely to notify you if there are any problems. Of course, you could also contact your source and ask.


2lz2p wrote:Based on some quick research, it appears that the IAT format is not available in most US online banking systems for individual consumer accounts.

If it's not available, that's probably because until this got into the works there was never a need to make it available. I would imagine they'll make it available unless they like the idea of losing customers.

Once again, some government schmuck came up with the latest way to try to prevent crime by making things more difficult and complicated for perfectly innocent people.

I see this as a "Don't worry until there's something to worry about" type of thing. They're trying to prevent money laundering and those sorts of crimes. They're not trying to prevent people from legitimately accessing their money if they reside in a foreign country.

I don't see anything in this to lose sleep about.

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#3 Re: ACH transfers from USA to Bangkok Bank -Alert!

Postby firecat69 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:24 pm

Money Laundering? What a Joke! Why have they not caught Trump?

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#4 Re: ACH transfers from USA to Bangkok Bank -Alert!

Postby Gaybutton » Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:50 pm

firecat69 wrote:Why have they not caught Trump?

Excellent point.

Meanwhile, anyone who holds an American bank account probably also has a debit card - and those work just fine in Thai ATMs. There are the bank rip-off fees, of course, but if for some reason a person is unable to transfer money via Bangkok Bank, all he has to do is go to the nearest ATM and withdraw however much he wants.

You can also walk in to any Thai bank branch and do a debit card withdrawal for whatever amount you want for a nominal transaction fee, and avoiding the ATM fees entirely. Doing that is much less expensive than ACH fees in the first place.

In other words, even if ACH becomes impossible, there are still relatively easy alternatives by which you can access your money.

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#5 Re: ACH transfers from USA to Bangkok Bank -Alert!

Postby windwalker » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:11 pm

Gaybutton wrote:In other words, even if ACH becomes impossible, there are still relatively easy alternatives by which you can access your money.

Not impossible but more expensive. I can now transfer $2000 to Bangkok Bank for about $11 however using an ATM card, for the same amounts, would be $26. My bank/credit union only allows $500 transfers per day. I expect that the 220 Baht service fee will only increase. I also am not so sure banks in Thailand will allow withdrawals from a teller. Mixed reviews on that one.

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#6 Re: ACH transfers from USA to Bangkok Bank -Alert!

Postby Gaybutton » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:23 pm

windwalker wrote:I also am not so sure banks in Thailand will allow withdrawals from a teller. Mixed reviews on that one.

I am sure because I've done it. But you don't do it with a teller. You do it at one of the service desks. At least that's how I did it.

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#7 Re: ACH transfers from USA to Bangkok Bank -Alert!

Postby mahjongguy » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:26 am

I will miss the BKK Bank ACH transfers. They were cheap and easy for small amounts.

So I will just make fewer, larger transfers via Swift. My U.S. bank charges $40 for that, but here's something not well known: for an incoming transfer of US$20k or more, Thai banks go "off-tariff" and offer you a rate that is often 8 satang higher than the published rate (tariff) of the moment. For US$20k that's an extra 1,600 baht, probably enough to cover both outgoing and incoming fees. For legal purposes, you will get a phone call from your Thai bank's transfer desk asking if you agree to the deal. Say Yes and the money will be in your account within an hour or two.

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#8 Re: ACH transfers from USA to Bangkok Bank -Alert!

Postby 2lz2p » Sat Sep 01, 2018 12:48 pm

Well, Bangkok Bank has again changed their information page on transfers & Direct Deposits (Social Security, Gov't pensions, etc.). I have been following the thread on Thaivisa.com where I first read about the change in transfers from USA bank to Bangkok Bank using Bangkok Bank's NY Branch.

The most recent postings mention that the International ACH Transfer (IAT) format will also be required for those receiving Direct Deposits (Social Security, etc.). I checked, and Bangkok Bank has updated their webpage again, this time to include the IAT requirement for any Direct Deposits they receive after April 1, 2019 (same cut off date as for bank to bank transfer). See https://www.bangkokbank.com/en/Personal/Other-Services/Transfers/Transferring-Into-Thailand/Transfer-money-from-US-to-Thailand-via-Bangkok-Bank-NewYork-branch The thread includes some comments that Social Security and other Gov't pensions do not use the IAT format. The webpage also shows the following for contacting the NY Branch for information:
If you wish to enquire more information, please contact Bangkok Bank, New York on (1-212) 422-8200 or E-mail: helpdesk.nyb@bbl.co.th


One of the postings comments on those that have Direct Deposit of their Gov't pensions (Social Security, etc.) into their Bangkok Bank Account BUT no longer have a USA bank account. They mention the Treasury issued debit card - https://www.usdirectexpress.com/faq.html which notes:
The Direct Express® card is a prepaid debit card offered to federal benefit recipients who receive their benefits electronically. The debit card offers the convenience and security of using electronic transactions to spend and access your money rather than using cash for purchases. You do not need to have a bank account to sign up for the card. There is no credit check or minimum balance requirement.
It appears using the DirectExpress card outside the USA can be more costly (fees) than using it in USA.

Here is link to the thaivisa.com thread on the subject: https://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/1050250-major-change-eff-1-apr-19-in-bangkok-bank-ach-transfers/?page=14&tab=comments#comment-13322902

At least those of us using Bangkok Bank NY Branch for transfers or direct deposits will have a few months to work out alternatives (hopefully). There appear to be several other companies offering transfer service -- this link is to Finder.com's page on Transferwise - look in the left hand column and you will go to a page with information about that particular company. The link is https://www.finder.com/international-money-transfers/transferwise-international-money-transfers You may want to use a VPN showing a USA URL if you decide to register with any of the companies -- I tried World First and since my URL showed as being in Thailand, I was contacted and informed that I needed to reside in USA within an area in which they are licensed to use their service.

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#9 Re: ACH transfers from USA to Bangkok Bank -Alert!

Postby Up2u » Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:00 pm

So, it looks like if you don't have a USA bank account you are screwed. Solution is simple, open a USA bank account (or pay ridiculous bank fees for the debit card). When selecting a new bank be sure to get one that doesn't charge to do ACH transfers (usually the big banks).

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#10 Re: ACH transfers from USA to Bangkok Bank -Alert!

Postby mahjongguy » Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:08 pm

Up2u wrote:When selecting a new bank be sure to get one that doesn't charge to do ACH transfers (usually the big banks).

Sorry, Up2u, maybe I'm being slow today but I'm not sure I understand that statement. Since none of us will be doing ACH transfers to BKK NY any more, I guess you are referring to making ACH transfers to some U.S. company that makes international transfers. If so, note that fees are not the only issue. The default daily and monthly limits on ACH transfers can be a big obstacle. Fixing this can require a lot of phone calls and submitting signed forms.


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