115NT - Sending/Receiving Money & Paying off Bills (USA)

For a year I agonized over financial fees and depending on people back home to take care of my bills. Now, I don’t have these problems. The best part, I only pay $115NT to transfer money back home, the rest is FREE.

This is how you do it.

  1. Open an online account with Citibank - ultimate savings account.
    : you can do this over the internet, you will need an American address. Citibank usually has promotions on this account. I got $50 USD when I opened my account, I’ve seen promotions for $100 USD. You will need someone in America to send you the debit card. Once you have the account and the debit card you can do a bunch of really cool things.

    • you can use your new account to pay your American bills online. I pay my student loans with this account, fund my brokerage account, and if I had to, pay my credit card. All FREE.
    • you get a nice interest rate on this account. It is 2.23% right now.
    • you can use your Citibank debit card in Taiwan with no charge! Which means, if your send your money to your bank account, you can literally receive money for FREE! Citibank does not fee you for currency conversions or ATM usage. And the great thing is, it is instant. So if you really need the money today, you can go to your local Taiwan CitiBank ATM and make a withdrawl.
  2. Open a Chang Hwa Bank account (Traveler’s Checks)
    : It might not matter what Taiwanese bank you open up. I know that my bank, Chang Hwa, has Traveler’s Checks for 100NT. Which means it does not matter if I get 100USD of traveler’s checks for 10,000USD of traveler’s checks; the fee is exactly 100NT. You might be able to find a Taiwanese bank that charges less. If you find one, please tell me.

  3. Go to the Post Office (Sending Money Back Home)
    : Once you buy a traveler’s check from the bank. Sign your name on the top and bottom lines of the travelers check and write you name in the middle line. Then on the back of the traveler’s check write “For Deposit Only”. Also sign your name of the back of the traveler’s check and your CitiBank account number. Then send your deposit to CitiBank directly. Here is a link to tell you what Citibank location you need to send it to. The place where you send it to depends, on which state has your US address https://web.da-us.citibank.com/cgi-bin/citifi/scripts/help_desk/help_desk_subtopic_popup.jsp?BV_UseBVCookie=yes&BS_Id=HD_ST_002&BS_Branding=Popup Sending a letter to America costs 15NT. So altogether, it cost me 115NT to send money back home. And since it is a traveler’s check you can get a new one, if you are worried about it being lost or stolen.

I sent my deposit on Friday, August the 1st at 4:40 pm. I received my deposit in my Citibank account on August the 13th. Yes it took a long time to get to America, but compared to SWIFT or Western Union - this is ridiculously cheap. If there is a bank that gives out complimentary travelers checks, then it would only cost $15NT to send money to America!

Anyways, I hoped this helped. If you have any questions just reply to this post. Also, I’m looking for a job working at one of the hard core buxibans (modawei, tomcat, cortland). If you know anyone that is hiring, please send me an email at: claphands22@gmail.com


Now is there a way to do it for Canada?

Maybe I’m missing something.

  1. In the US, most any major bank has online bill pay, which can accomplish all those things you mention. My credit cards and mutual funds also have direct debit features.

Although the debit card with no fee for using it overseas is a nice feature, I earn money in Taiwan and what I need to spend here I earn here. I never spend my money from my US account in Taiwan.

  1. I’ve gotten travelers checks in USD from both Taipei Fubon and First Bank with no fee whatsoever. In fact, the exchange rate is better when you get USD’s in TC’s than in cash.

  2. According to a customer service rep at American Express, signing a TC and sending it through the mail voids the guarantee. My credit union in the US will accept them that way, but AX doesn’t guarantee them against loss or theft. It’s not likely to get lost, but possible.

Now what would be a REAL deal is if you could make a deposit into your Citibank account in the US at a Citibank in Taiwan. I might even switch back to Citibank.

Now is there a way to do it for Canada?[/quote]

I don’t know =/ I think the savings accounts are for US residents only. Maybe they have something like this in Canada - I really don’t know. Notwithstanding, it is much harder to find Traveler’s checks that are denominated in Canadian dollars. If you know a place, please tell me. I would also like to find traveler’s checks denominated in Australian dollars. I imagine if you mailed traveler’s checks denominated in US dollars your bank could deposit them (I would check with your bank first) but there is most likely some kind of charge. Also, you might need a special kind of account.

GraigTPE Awesome reply. Looks like you had the same problems when I first came here. Thanks for the ideas on the bank.

Yeap, you make a good point almost any bank in the US can accomplish what CitiBank can. The two advantages of CitiBank are the access to funds via debit card and the higher interest rate.

I wish I didn’t need a US bank account…but I have those damn student loans =/

Thanks, I was wondering if there was a better bank for Traveler’s checks. Do you have to have an account with Taipei Fubon or First Bank in order to get the free traveler’s checks?

To be honest, I didn’t know signing them made them invalid. That being said, if you lose them in Taiwan (w/o signing them) you can still get your refund. Also, once you sign you check, write “for deposit only”, and your account number - where else can they go? If you told American Express that you lost the checks (which is true, they never got deposited) what keeps them from giving your money back?

No kidding! It is so absurd that Citibank can’t connect the accounts. It annoyed me up the wazoo when I first came here.

Most banks also have debit cards that can be used overseas, but there would be questions about the whether the fees and exchange rates would be competitive.

For a commercial bank, especially Citibank, that is a pretty good interest rate on a savings account that has no minimum balance. My credit union, however, currently has 2.78% interest on it’s regular savings account. It was as high as 4.something until the Feds started slashing it’s rates. I can use my debit card here, although like I said, I have no reason to take money out here from my account in the US. I put money in the US account to pay things in the US.

Oh, I NEED my account in the US, too. I have several recurring expenses there and use it to invest in my tiny mutual funds when I have anything leftover.

I’m not sure. I have accounts at both banks, but I never asked. I was quite surprised there was no charge for TC’s and that you get better exchange rates.

It’s not simply signing them that voids the guarantee, but signing them and mailing them. (And by signing, I mean counter-signing them, which you are supposed to be in the presence of the person accepting them.) As for the “For Deposit Only”, all I can say is for theft, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Who would think thieves could cash any stolen check with someone else’s name on it? It’s a remote chance of ever happening, but I subscribe to Murphy’s Law. I would rather pay a few extra bucks to eliminate even the smallest risk.

I don’t think it’s up to Citibank. I think it’s international banking laws.

Believe me, I wish there were a better way.


Yeah man, I think we are definitely on the same page. So how do you send money back home?

The old fashioned way: I take it home myself.

For the past 3+ years I’ve made trips home twice a year, so I just take money back myself. I wired money once, which was very expensive, but unless I want to mail home TC’s, I can’t find any cheaper way. Even though the chance of a TC getting stolen from the mail is minuscule, I won’t risk it.

I think if you bank at Citibank both here and there, the wire transfer fee might be lower. My wire fee was high because 3 institutions were involved and each had fees: sending bank, receiving bank and intermediary bank.

I’m looking to get a TWNese Visa card - and then having my bills paid via the visa card.

Anyone know any good TWN based credit cards that offer frequent flyer miles? The best of both worlds!

Good luck!

Check your airline. I fly UA and they have no co-branded card in Taiwan.

Good luck![/quote]
Don’t think I’m going to need luck - my wife is Taiwanese (and American as of 2/21/08 :sunglasses: ) so she’ll be my co-signer. I’m looking to establish credit in my name of course. With that said, one never knows in Taiwan, eh?

Check your airline. I fly UA and they have no co-branded card in Taiwan.[/quote]
Yeah, I was thinking about trying to get a US based one, but if I get miles on a TWN based comapny there are more options for vacationing Asia.