When you wire money, there are service charges at both ends. So in addition to the service charge from the bank in Taiwan (which is about 300 NT + 0.5% of the amount of the transaction if I remember correctly), there is also a charge at the other end, which is usually about US$20. So for example, if you send US$1000, then you’ll get an e-mail from your friend saying “I just received $980 that you wired to my bank account. But you said you were going to send $1000. What happened to the other $20?” Well, the missing $20 is the service charge that their bank subtracts.
I used to wire money to my bank account in the States once a month, but I got tired of losing about 1000 NT (US$30) each time, so then I started sending cash in the mail. You can buy US dollars at any bank in Taiwan, and then you just wrap them in black paper and mail it to a trusted friend or family member by registered mail. I have done this several times, and no money has ever been stolen. (Of course, I never tell the post office what’s inside the envelope.)
But the best way to send money is to get a credit card at a bank in Taiwan and request two identical cards. Then you keep one card, and you send the other card to your parents in the States. (I wouldn’t send my credit card to a friend, though. My parents are the only people I trust enough to send my credit card to.)
Then every time you want to send money, just go to the bank who issued the credit card to add money to the balance of the credit card, and then send an e-mail to your parents, telling them that you’ve deposited the money into your credit card account, and then they can withdraw the money from any ATM machine that accepts credit cards. This way there is no service charge on either end. But unfortunately, I have never been able to do this because every time I have applied for a credit card in Taiwan, the bank has always said “We only issue credit cards to Taiwanese citizens!”. Even a PARC isn’t good enough! The policy seems extremely racially biased and illegal, but what can you do about it?
There’s another method, but I’ve never tried it. It’s called “Pay Pal”. It’s a way to pay money through the internet. Your friend or relative in the States sets up a Pay Pal account by going to https://www.paypal.com Then you can send them money by using a credit card, and then the money is automatically deposited into the bank account of your friend or relative in the States.
But if you don’t have a credit card, then you can’t use Pay Pal, of course. Well, Pay Pal also lets you pay by check, but in Taiwan, banks never issue personal checks. You could get an International Money Order (IMO), but then that would defeat the purpose of Pay Pal because if you get an IMO, then you might as well just mail the IMO directly to your friend or relative in the States instead of mailing it to Pay Pal.