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How to transfer money from Taiwan without going to the bank

We live in a digital age. The Taiwanese banking system ... a little less so. Transferring money overseas typically involves a visit to the bank between 9am and 3pm. You'll queue, fill out an outbound remittance form in duplicate, stamp and sign some things and just generally wait while staff do their best with the unfamiliar procedure.

There is another way.*

* for transfers < 500,000 TWD, to accounts you've previously set up in a special way :(

 Background: Remittance Classifications

One of the reasons for the myriad of complicated forms when dealing with foreign exchange in Taiwan is the precise codification of transfer types required by the Central Bank. Your knowledge of the existence of these two documents will boost your standing above that of the average banker:

These are updated every few years, with new versions found in the "Forex News > Foreign Exchange Regulations" (外匯資訊 > 外匯法規) section of the Chinese language version of the Central Bank Website. At the time of writing (May 2019), the latest version was produced in November 2018.

As you will see in the documents, every foreign exchange transaction to, from or within Taiwan must correlate to one of the codes set by the Central Bank. Read them well, and determine the specific category that applies to the transfers you want to make. The choice of these could have tax implications, so if you have a complicated situation perhaps ask your accountant.

  • An IT consulting company receiving fees from a client abroad: 19D
  • A resident in Taiwan depositing money into their account with an overseas bank: 250

Background: Designated Accounts

Taiwan's banking system places a sharp divide between accounts specifically designated by the account holder to receive transactions, and non-designated accounts. For example, with domestic transfers designating an account can take transfer limits from TWD 50,000 to TWD 2,000,000.

Banks are beginning to apply some loosening of transfer restrictions for foreign accounts in a similar manner. This is the capability you want to investigate at your bank. "Can I use internet banking to make a foreign exchange transfer if I designate the account?" At least at Taishin, the answer is yes.

How to set up a designated foreign account for online remittance at Taishin Bank.

Here is the form to designate a foreign account for online remittance.

Print it, fill it out and take it to your branch with your ID, and your copy of the "Code and Description of Outward Remittance Classification" highlighting the purpose of your transfers to that account.

As part of this process, you will get a new virtual bank account for use with foreign currencies if you do not already have one. This is important for the next step.

Making a transfer ...

There are two steps in this process:
  1. Purchasing foreign currency using TWD
  2. Transferring the foreign currency to the overseas account
 Purchasing foreign currency using TWD

At least at Taishin, both of these functions are exclusive to the Chinese language version of the site. Not to worry - armed with your handy English-Chines remittance classification table, and with a limited number of accounts to play with you can't go far wrong.

ProTip: These tasks can only be done on weekdays between 9am and 3pm Taiwan time.

Purchasing foreign currency using TWD

First, we need to get some foreign currency using our hard-earned New Taiwan Dollars.

Under the Transfer menu "bubble" there is a "foreign exchange" column, and the first entry there is what you need:

Once you're on that form, it'll look like this:

Leave the top row of radio buttons alone - we're using TWD to buy a foreign currency, which is the default.

Choose your TWD account from the first dropdown, and it'll update the page with your available balance. Then select your foreign currency account from the next dropdown. The third dropdown is for the currency you want to buy (eg AUD, USD, JPY, EUR).

Now for the important box. Select whether you are going to be entering an amount in TWD ("I want to buy whatever 40000 TWD gets me") or the foreign currency ("I want 1300 USD"), and enter the appropriate number.

Select the remittance classification from the big dropdown, and then basically leave everything else alone unless you know what it does and hit the red confirm button.

Once you hit that button, be ready to move fast - you have less than 60 seconds to complete this next step:

You get to confirm the rate, amount and any fees involved in the transfer. If it works out, you should enter your password, complete a CAPTCHA, then remove and insert your card and/or click a confirm button on a popup.

If you made it through all that, you'll get a 完成 message and can see the new foreign currency in your account instantly!

Transferring the foreign currency to the overseas account

Now it's time to transfer our foreign currency overseas.

On the Transfer menu "bubble", look to the third column ("overseas transfer")

Here you will see a list of your designated accounts. Choose the one you need and click the red Confirm button.

The next form is about as simple as you can get. You select your (local) foreign currency account from the first dropdown, enter the amount of foreign currency you want to transfer in the box, choose the remittance classification from the dropdown, and then optionally type an email and a message in the bottom boxes:

You'll then be told what fees (if any) you're up for, with a summary of the transfer on the next page. Click confirm and complete the authentication steps similar to before.

Congratulations, you've successfully transferred money from Taiwan without going to the bank! Welcome to the club.


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