Recommendation for good GBP Foreign Currency Account in Taiwan


#1

Hi. Does anyone have any any recommendations for a good GBP Foreign Currency Account in Taiwan? It’ll be used to pay for expenses for the Taiwan Rep Office of my UK company. I’ll be doing a one-off transfer into it from the UK company’s bank account at the beginning of each year and then moving a small amount (around 50k NTD) every month into an NTD account, to then pay rent and transfer to my personal Taiwanese bank account as a basic salary etc.

A few related questions:

  1. Does it cost to open a company bank account or foreign currency account in Taiwan?

  2. If you have a foreign currency account and an NTD account with Bank A and just an NTD account with Bank B, when you transfer money from your foreign currency account into NTD, is it always cheaper to transfer it to Bank A’s NTD account or could it possibly be cheaper to transfer it to Bank B instead? In other words, is intra-bank currency conversion always cheaper than inter-bank in Taiwan?

  3. What sort of fees and rates do you get when you transfer between GBP and NTD here, either intra-bank or inter-bank?

Thank you!


#2

No, you only need the minimum deposit amount to open the account (usually 1000 NTD).

There is no inter-bank currency conversion in Taiwan since you can’t transfer GBP locally between banks. You get two account numbers at your bank, one for NTD and one for foreign currencies. They will only do currency conversion between these two accounts. After conversion you can transfer your NTD to another bank etc.

The rates are published on the banks’ websites, the fees are baked into the rates. The rate differences between banks are relatively minor. Beware that some banks do not have good english online banking, if required.


#3

Perfect. Thank you very much!

Based on your response and for the sake of simplicity, I’ll probably open all 3 accounts (1 company GBP account, 1 company NTD account and 1 personal NTD account) with the same bank.

Regarding the fees, so the cash buy and sell rates the banks publish on their websites for people coming in to get some holiday money are the same rates they use for customers converting money between accounts internally? They don’t offer a preferential rate for existing customers?

Also, would you happen to have any recommendations for which banks tend to have the best rates or provide good customer service here? I’ve seen Megabank mentioned a lot on this forum when talking about currency conversion. Are they the guys to go with?

Thanks again.


#4

There are two rates, one for cash over the counter and one for “book money” internal conversion transactions. You use the latter to convert, which is a better rate. The one on the website is often the internal conversion rate. OTC cash conversion rate is often shown inside the branch only. You can also see the rate when you convert online.

There are preferential rates on top of that, if you are PREMIUM (but the difference is usually tiny).

I bank with Mega and HSBC but can’t really recommend either. Mega has good rates but the service in my branch is horrible. If you are near one of their really big branches in Taipei, it might be worth checking out, I heard it’s better there. HSBC is convenient if you have accounts in different countries with them and are able to use their GlobalTransfer thing, otherwise stay clear. I am currently looking at E.SUN bank for my next account, but have not decided yet, sorry.


#5

Thanks. The Mega rates I found on their website were these: http://rate.megabank.com.tw/bulletin02_02.asp.

Are the ‘Cash’ rates the ones for OTC conversions and the ‘Spot’ rates the ones for the internal conversions?


#6

Correct!


#7

Great. I’ll go and do comparisons of a few more banks and then try to make a decision. Thanks again for your help.


#8

try Huanan Bank (govt) and Sinopac (private). both allow transfer of NT$ into foreign currency account (within same bank, but different acct #s) and also allow online wire transfer to overseas accounts (some banks like Taishin only allow foreign wires to be handled at bank counter).

when you open the two accounts at one bank (NT$ and foreign currency accounts) bring ALL details of that oversea bank account(s) with you, like official name on acct, acct #, bank address, bank name, bank SWIFT code, etc. the bank teller who will help you set up the two accounts can right then and there input all that data in the computer of that overseas acct.
that way, you can immediately do online banking after you leave.
lastly, for outgoing wires, describe to the teller setting up the account what reason you are doing the wiring. there are all kinds of 3-digit codes (like for travel, for tuition, for investment, etc.). all outgoing wires need to be categorized.

for incoming wires, the bank may call your cell phone to ask for what purpose the incoming wire is for. it is just for paper trail purposes with the bank authorities.


#9

E.Sun has best rates I’ve seen for online forex transactions, quite a bit tighter spread than most banks spot rates.

Also, you can indeed do interbank transfers of foreign currency in Taiwan, using the same SWIFT system as international bank transfers.

Another thing to consider for banks (if relevant) is which credit cards will be available for you - having an account at the same bank seems to help quite a bit.


#10

KHHville, thanks a lot for the detailed information. It will definitely save me a lot of time and hassle! I’ll go and check with Huanan and Sinopac about their rates and fees.


#11

There’s a branch near my house actually, so I’ll call in and see what the rates are. Thanks for the heads-up!

Great. Do you happen to know if they offer the same spreads inter-bank as they do intra-bank?

Yep, that makes sense. I’ll enquire about that too. Thanks!


#12

You’ll want to check the online rates, which are better than the advertised rates.

Not sure what you’re asking, I’m talking about transferring foreign currency between banks in Taiwan, without exchanging to TWD.


#13

Got it, thank you.

My mistake, sorry. I thought you were referring to transferring GBP from a foreign currency account at a Taiwanese bank directly into NTD at a different Taiwanese bank (in case my personal and company accounts were held with different banks). The fact you can transfer GBP directly though solves the same problem.