How do multicurrency accounts work?

You said you already have this account already right? If it’s not already multi-currency, then go to HSBC and request one. Then login to the website and see how it works.

HSBC account - primary account 555-123456-388. That last 388 is the code for the primary account. For a multi-currency account it might be 555-123456-821. That last 821 is referring to a different currency.

ie. there is one account number. In the above example, that would be 555-12346. Tack on a sub-account number (388 for primary and 821 for other currency)

i have a multicurrency account with yushan. basically i have two accounts, with different account numbers, that are tied (the waibi account is tied to my primay yushan taibi account). they also have different bank booklets. on the bank app, both accounts are there. i can buy and sell various waibi directly by using money from my taibi account against the current forex rates (minus a lil bit ofc). my waibi account then will just hold whatever i bought in the foreign currency, which i can then grab in actual cash from the waibi ATMs or wire to my US accounts (for my USD money). using the ATM has no fees, but it only supports a few currencies (namely, usd, euro, rmb, yen, and one more i think), while getting it from the bank teller has a small service fee.

i can also wire money into this account too but i am actually not sure if it’s in a currency that’s not supported directly. all the major ones are so it’s not something i ever had to think about. my guess is is that they would be able to hold it though (and similarly, if i went in person i could buy minor currencies like uh mongolian togrog), but the exchange rate spread would be higher if i ever attempted to sell it for taibi.

right now i’ve been buying quite a bit of USD since it’s declined a lot. when it was approaching 31 i sold a lot USD back into taibi since that’s usually where it peaks. playing forex is always risky, but i have a lot of expenses in both USD and in taibi so if things go against me, it’s not too bad since it’s not like i have to ever switch back.

So you’re saying you can actually withdraw USD cash from your foreign currency account at Yushan? (That’s E.Sun, right?)

Is that only with E.Sun, or foreign currency accounts with other banks too? I know I can go in and ask, when I get the chance, just curious whether anyone knows to save me the trip. :slight_smile:

yeah E.Sun (玉山).

yep i can withdraw USD cash directly from their waibi ATM machines. these are special ATMs that are at every physical bank location. the stand-alone e.sun ATMs do NOT have this feature. this is subject however to daily ATM withdrawal limitations (for rmb, which was the last waibi i withdrew, it was 15000). if you need more you can always go to the teller, but this will entail a service fee.

i think most banks have a similar service tbh. i know i’ve seen foreign currency ATMs before for other banks.

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there’s a lot of international systems that are in place to facilitate this, with the big one being SWIFT. so your other bank would also need to be on SWIFT in order to do an international wire transfer. multicurrency accounts would recognize all valid SWIFT currencies, so there shouldn’t actually be a problem (although getting actual cash or even trying to exchange it for the local currency might be, depending on your bank’s capabilities).

SWIFT is european, but the US has gained a significant amount of control over it. a major thing that the west did against iran was kicking them out of SWIFT, which made their banks completely disconnected from the rest of the world - this totally screwed over iran’s finances, and was probably the major reason for them signing the iran nuclear deal.

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That’s very good to know, thanks!

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My wife has a dual currency account at First Bank. Same account#. In the bank book it will show what the balance is with each currency by noting whether it’s USD or NT.

She doesn’t do online banking so can’t answer anything about that. Any transactions done at the bank she specifies which currency to use.

That’s what I mean obviously there are subcodes in the account they are tracking but we never see that. It’s handy you just need one account for all foreign currencies .

Just asked in CTBC, so providing an update here for the sake of posterity.

The teller told me I could indeed withdraw USD from my multicurrency account at some of their in-branch ATMs (“maybe two or three, but not all” - she was a bit vague about the specifics, and when I checked afterwards I didn’t see any difference between the signs above the four or five ATMs they had in that particular branch). She also said I wouldn’t be able to withdraw GBP there, but that JPY and HKD were possible.

The fee for doing so (for 1000 USD) would apparently be something like 211 TWD, so seems to be about 0.75% (didn’t ask her to confirm).

I did need to fill out another form to “activate” my account for USD withdrawals, so it seems that wasn’t set up by default when I opened the account.

I also found out that if I use my card abroad (which I also needed to activate and set a new four-digit PIN for), the transaction amount would be debited from my multicurrency account rather than the TWD account and that I would apparently need to have the corresponding currency in there. (Not sure whether that’s obvious to some, but it isn’t how it works for any of the other 4 countries where I’ve held accounts.)

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Another update: I asked in Standard Chartered today and, in contrast to CTBC and E.Sun, apparently you can’t withdraw USD from their ATMs at all (after transferring USD into the multicurrency account from abroad).

Then went to Mega Bank and opened an account there, which I’d been intending to do anyway, where it apparently is possible according to the teller. The fee for doing so seems to be the difference between the selling spot rate and the selling cash rate (or something like that - I always forget what these terms mean and not in the mood to look it up). So I’ve transferred some USD over and will see how it goes. :slight_smile:

One thing I did find slightly odd, given how many bank accounts people apparently usually have here, is having to justify why I wanted to open the account. I’ve been asked this casually when opening my last two accounts, but today the assistant specifically came up to me with a piece of paper saying that I already have 2 accounts in Taiwan, which she knew I’d opened in September, and asked me why I want to open another. I just told her about wanting to withdraw USD and buy stuff online blah blah blah, but I found it a bit strange that this information was available to her and that I had to explain my reason for wanting a bank account. :thinking:

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They have had this access for years but they just didn’t care years ago how many accounts you had. JCIC, the credit bureau, maintains a list of all the accounts you have and they report it to the bank you are applying to.

Sorry for the gravedig, I saw this on the list of similar threads and didn’t realize it was 2 years old

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