Wiring Money Overseas

Sep 20, 2010

A month ago, I determined the best way to handle my initial expenses in Thailand was to smuggle over a hefty amount of the local currency, then promptly open an account at a Thai bank. (Wells Fargo, which has tried selling me everything from insurance to CDs to toasters, no longer offers traveler’s checks.) This still left the question of how to replenish my funds, which I recently posed to my two financial institutions.

The Wells Fargo Customer Rep I spoke with explained that yes, I could set up a wire transfer from my account here over to my Thailand bank with no problem. Just personally visit any Wells Fargo branch in the U.S. with the appropriate information. But hold on a minute!  I’m not going to know what the the destination bank is until I’ve flown over there and opened an account. Is there any way I can initiate the wire transfer from Thailand?

Apparently not.

Vanguard, on the other hand, knew exactly what to do, demonstrating once again why I’ve been a loyal customer of theirs for some fifteen years. The Vanguard representative will send me a form I can fill out and mail from over there once I choose a bank. And if I make sure the name on my Thailand bank account is the same as what is on my Vanguard assets, no signature guarantees — a messy process — would be required. An entry for my Thai bank will get created in my Vanguard profile; all I’ll need to do is log on and with just a few clicks, kick off the wire transfer. Can be done from anywhere with an internet connection.

Sweet!

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