Transfer Money to Taiwan for semi long-term

I’m planning to go to Taiwan for Master’s Degree and maybe stay long-term( or consider Canada), I’m coming from the US.

I read on older posts that Charles Schwab debit card is the best. Is that still accurate now? Are they good for cash withdrawal, or writing checks there too?

Also, is it possible for Americans to open a bank account in Taiwan?

Don’t know about Schwab. Checks aren’t a thing in Taiwan. Maybe even hard or impossible to use. Taiwan is still predominately a cash culture so find a way to have cash access daily. Plastic can’t be relied upon or even a choice much of the time.

I’ve lived in Taiwan a long time. I use my ATM card from US at convenience store ATM machine which are usually international… Not all ATMs work for international cards. For daily/weekly/monthly spending, it turns out to be reasonably comparable to the fees for a large wire transfer.

If I need to move large amounts, I send to my Taiwan bank. Takes a few weeks and can be frustrating, for anyone at any bank, but eventually makes it. And not easy to open a local bank account… :unamused:

Other people do things similarly or differently. To be clear :laughing:

Find a bank that doesn’t charge ATM fees for international withdrawals. Checks aren’t used here. Bring enough cash with you to cover first month’s rent + 2 month deposit in case you have problems opening up a bank account/transferring money. Credit cards can be used, depending on what types of places you shop, but you’ll always need to have cash with you.

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Schwab reimburses ATM fees internationally. I’ve never had a problem using it. In the big cities, there are plenty of ATMs that allow international cards.

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Cool, I will apply for a Schwab checking account then. But maybe I should open a Taiwanese bank account, if possible?

It depends on your situation. If you will be working here or routinely need to transfer money to locals, it might be more convenient.

I’ve found it’s surprisingly easy to do without however. Schwab customer service is great. If you need to withdraw a large amount of cash above the daily ATM withdrawal limit, you can just call them and they’ll increase the limit temporarily for you.

Is Citibank still a good option to transfer money betweens a US and Taiwan account? This and Schwab seem to be the most mentioned since apparently there is still no money transfer app that works?

From my research, it looks like HSBC is a good option. It looks like free international transfer between your HSBC account in your home country and your HSBC account in Taiwan.

However, you need to maintain a certain balance, at least on the non-Taiwan side (Canadian for me). In Canada, it is the HSBC “Advance” account, and you have to maintain a $5000 CAN (around 115,000 NT) balance on the Canada side; I’m not sure about the Taiwan side, mind you. I will definitely be looking into it.


What is the limit at the ATM in NTD$? And how much can you increase the limit to?
Which ATM do you often use in Taiwan? 7-eleven’s?
Thanks for sharing knowledge.

7-11 mostly has China Trust bank ATMs which charge non local accounts a fee. I tend to use Bank of Taiwan or MEGA 兆豐銀行 which have better rates.


Schwab reimburses ATM fees internationally. I’ve never had a problem using it. In the big cities, there are plenty of ATMs that allow international cards.

Same with Fidelity. I believe Fidelity and Schwab are the only two that offer this fantastic service. I’ve been doing all my banking through Fidelity for about five years now and it works flawlessly.

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When I first moved, I used citi bank to transfer money from US to Taiwan for free. you have to open a separate Citi account in Taiwan though, but they can be linked. At the time, they did have a 1000 USD limit day to start. Not sure if that is still the case.

HSBC had a security breach at the end of 2018 and my friend who was using it for banking in Taiwan was locked out and to this day, HSBC has still not fully restored his access. HSBC asked him to fly back to the US to verify his identity and account. Not a practical solution. They wouldn’t allow him to verify his identity remotely from Taiwan. HSBC’s website technology is outdated and telephone based support was useless - he spent hours on hold for multiple weeks and they were never able to help him.

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The daily withdrawal limit is $1,000 USD. You’ll need to know the exchange rate on the day of your withdrawals to calculate how much you can withdraw in NTD. A lot of ATMs here only dispense $20,000 NTD at a time so you might need to make multiple withdrawals. Since Schwab reimburses you for the fees it’s not a big deal.

I can’t remember how much they increased the limit when I needed it. I think it was $2,500-3,000 USD. I just explained my situation and it wasn’t a problem.

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If you plan taking up work here, you might have to open a bank account with a bank your employer more or less tells you to. In most cases they will alsobhelp you doing so.
If you have the freedom of choice I can recommend Esun bank since they are supporting PayPal. I move money from my home country to PayPal and then from there to my Taiwanese bank account. I almost exclusively use my local credit card for ATMs and so on.
Your mileage may vary from bank to bank and branch to branch.

I liked the idea of this, but when I looked into it, the fees were exorbitantly high - over 3% (that’s 600NT$ on a 20,000 NT$ transfer). I suppose it is convenient, and purely electronic transfer (is it fast too) but it is a pretty high price to pay for that convenience, especially if it is a recurring expense.

I don’t do it often so for me it’s working out. If you plan to move money regularly, then it might not be the best solution to use Paypal.

This definitely sucks. It is part of the danger of having accounts in 2 countries, but you would think that they could have figured out a way to confirm his identity without flying back to the United States. I would like to know all the details first-hand, in that as they say, the devil is in the details.

Data breaches are a reality of modern day banking sadly. But I personally don’t see HSBC as being any more susceptible to them than other banks. And as long as you don’t have $100K sitting in a single bank account, you should be ok.

I haven’t written HSBC off my list, in that so far it is the easiest way to access my pension money (which will be deposited into my Canadian account). The only other reasonable way I have found is to just use my Canadian bank card to withdraw it from a Taiwan ATM, but if I lose that Canadian card, I am in serious trouble.

This is not related to having accounts in 2 countries. He has one HSBC account in the US.

It’s not ok when you have 100K in your account and you can’t access it.

It was a data breach. Money wasn’t stolen. HSBC reset account access and didn’t allow withdrawals unless he flew back to the US to verify his identity.