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BANGKOK 21 October 2018 10:49

Pib

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  1. My experience is the promised returned call in 2 to 3 days happens around 20% of the time.
  2. They are sent/rec'd in the May/June time frame....they come from Baltimore. You have 60 days to respond. If Baltimore doesn't get a response around Sep they send out a second notice asking for your to confirm if you are still alive within 45 days. If you don't respond to that one, then in Jan you get a third notice that you have not responded to two notices and if you don't respond right away your benefit payments will be suspended beginning the Feb payment. Below are some partial quotes/extracts from the SSA regulation regarding the Foreign Enforcement Program (FEP) which we lovingly call are the Dead or Alive Letters.
  3. Pictures of all Krungsri debt cards along with specific info such as cost at below website. https://www.krungsri.com/bank/en/PersonalBanking/CardProducts/KrungsriDebitcard.html
  4. Yea.....pretty much for folks getting a card now or over the last year or so unless you are very persistent "and" the branch is willing to order you a Visa card (both criteria have to happen). Fortunately, the wife and still have a Visa debit card which I did get issued around 6 months after they started pushing their UnionPay card to most folks in mid 2016. But when I got this latest Visa card, it was a replacement card since a Bangkok Bank ATM ate my Visa card. When going to my Bangkok Bank branch saying I need a replacement debit card since your ATM ate mine I also said in the same breath I want a Visa card--not a UnionPay card--and they gave me a Visa card without any resistance in Dec 16 ....they had them in stock. Shortly after the wife's Visa card was expiring...needed to get a replacement....went to the branch said wanted a Visa card....DO NOT want the UnionPay card and she got a Visa card. This was the branch on the first floor of the HQ Bangkok Bank building in Bangkok on Silom Rd. In both cases, they still had the Visa debit card in stock and didn't have to order them....if, repeat, if the branch is willing to order you a Visa debit card is supposedly takes about a week to get based on other TV posts I'e seen over the last year. But above story is debit card replacement from an established account. For someone just trying to open a new Bangkok Bank account they are probably not going to press hard for a Visa debit card as their prime interest is just getting an account opened...don't want to rock the boat so to speak.
  5. Chicksaw, Great post....totally agree. From my own application and helping a neighbor and family member through their applications I definitely agree that SS can be slow whenever certain additional documentation is required or something goes wrong like an error on the application....an error caused by the applicant or by Manila taking the application (i.e., a typo, misheard/misunderstood something, etc). Manila causing an error (which they admit to) is an issue I'm working right for a family member. Regarding additional docs slowing the application's final approval that can be simply the time to get some straight forth docs "mailed" to Manila as they are now getting less receptive to receiving scanned/emailed docs. And for some docs it may need to be the original or embassy notarized copy is required, like a passport, birth certificate, naturalization certificate, etc. Or your case which also required SSA to translate the doc. The additional docs requirement is going to vary from individual to individual. Many applicants will not have to provide any additional docs like me when I applied through Manila a couple years ago...smooth and quick application. But some applicants may have to provide original or a certify copy of some docs, others may just have to complete some standard SSA form(s) and mail it in, some may have to provide foreign income docs like you did, etc. Yeap, the additional docs will vary from individual to individual/case to case.....and can range from easy to get/complete to far from being easy. And communicating with Manila or Baltimore can be extremely frustrating....in many ways it's like how if something goes into a "black hole" in outer space such as even light going into a black hole that light will not come out again. Like if trying to communicate with Manila or Baltimore via email or phone....well, your inbound communication goes into the SS but no communication may ever come back out. Or if a response is received it simply does not answer the question your asked or is vague and/or cryptic. I've also found in dealing with Manila a lot will also depend on the claims examiner (a.k.a., rep) handling your application/case. I must assume all reps have similar big workloads, but some reps seem much more efficient than others....and better able & willing to communicate. And since the Manila reps rotate social security number assignments each year (a workload management thing and to ensure any rep don't get too cozy with any beneficiary), the rep who you previously dealt with regarding your pension will be a different rep each year. So, if you had a great experience with a rep one year ago in resolving an issue, well, if the same issue needs resolving again a year later you will probably be dealing with a different rep and your experience may be very different. That email address you had for a rep a year ago may be of no help for this year's issue.....you just need to email/call their central/catch all email address/phone number. Yeap, I'm sure social security folks at Manila and Baltimore have big workloads but I sure wish the ability to communicate with them was better. Like being able to talk to the "right" human on their end vs a rep who is just taking all calls and supposedly relays a message to the rep/section handling your case which may never respond. Oh yea, I'm pretty sure if Manila feels the answer can be easily found on their website then you are probably not going to get any answer or rarely get an answer. But the communications I've been talking about deal with application-specific issues; not just general questions as I know Manila really don't have the time to answer general questions which a person can look-up for themselves on the web. Thank goodness a person's application for pension only needs to occur once in their life time. My recommendation for those applicants which are U.S. citizens by birth and do not have any foreign income like Thai social security is to apply online and not apply through Manila. Applying through Manila can be problematic in waiting for a telephone interview and errors possibly caused during the telephone interview. Now if applying online you may still be contacted by Manila, but if your application is straight-forth you may not be contacted by Manila or Baltimore...your application simply gets approved in a month or so. And welcome to the geezer club....I'm sure you'll be an outstanding and hopefully long living geezer. Cheers, Pib
  6. Sounds fair....when opening that new Thai bank account to receive international transfers such as Transferwise or home country bank transfers don't expect any standardization among Thai banks in how it's coded/described. Personally, I like Bangkok Bank and Krungsri Bank for banking in Thailand. Opening an account with Krungsri is probably easier than with Bangkok Bank. But if you are a US person receiving U.S. govt payments such as social security pension you will want a Direct Deposit savings account with Bangkok Bank "as they are the only Thai bank" with ACH receiving capability which U.S. govt agencies primarily uses for U.S. govt pension payments.
  7. Up to Thai banks how they code/describe transfers/deposits/etc., in their passbooks and ibanking. Yeap, I'll seen various posts for people using Transferwise to send money to various Thai banks these reports show Thai banks display/code it differently....no standard coding/description. When Transferwise transfers arrive my Bangkok Bank account the are Described as "International Transfer." But Bangkok Bank does not show a "type of transaction code" on their ibanking...they only show a channel code like AUTO which means "Auto Debit/Credit" when you put your cursor of Auto when logged into ibanking. To see the transaction code you need to go update your passbook which I don't do to often so I can't say what type of transaction code appears...but for Description I can tell you....see below from some past Transferwise transfers. Now Krungsri ibanking displays differently from Bangkok Bank ibanking. Krungsri does show a Type Code and instead of Description they use Ref. No. The transaction I marked below with an arrow next to it is a Transferwise transfer....they use a TN code which just means a Transfer Deposit and under Ref. No. a ten digit reference number which I think was the number Transferwise used in the transfer and not a Krungsri number. There is a lot of underlying coding in each transfer and banks decide what and how they want to display and code it.
  8. Regarding the part about withdrawing using a U.S. card and then go deposit the money where it will be coded as funds from coming outside of Thailand, I can tell you that several times a year I do a counter withdrawal at a Krungsri branch and no such "foreign source" coding has ever occurred....but I'll ask next time. For example a few months ago I did a Bt150K counter withdrawal with my U.S. debit card with it immediately being deposited into my savings account...none of the money every touches my hands....goes direct into my savings account. The counter teller is really doing two transactions...first doing the withdrawal using the U.S. card...and then depositing the funds into my account. See below...and note the code is "DB" which just means "Cash Deposit" per coding cross reference shown on passbook back cover. Same "DB" coding that applies if I walk into a branch and deposit a 1000 baht. No reference the funds came from overseas. But next time I ask if they can code as a foreign transfer whatever code that may be. I know a Tranferwise transfer is coded as "TN" which mean Transfer Deposit per passbook coding cross reference but with Transferwise tansfers the last leg of the trek is supposedly a domestic transfer.
  9. But since Thai immigration wants it issued/signed by the person's embassy vs a teacher, doctor, police officer, etc., above wouldn't fly for extension of stay purposes.
  10. From looking at the Australian-Canadian agreement and it's accompanying MOU there are very specific things they will do for each other and some things that are a no-go like any type of notarial acts which I expect an income letter fails into. https://travel.gc.ca/assistance/emergency-info/consular/framework/canada-australia
  11. Pib

    VDSL v Fibre

    3BB offers a 10/5 fiber plan. Personally, unless I had no other choice like due to wiring restrictions within the building I lived in or just couldn't afford much for an internet plan I would not get a plan slower than 50Mb. 4K streaming can require up to 25Mb and a 30Mb plan is probably going to struggle to get that speed internationally. But as the OP question about which would be better for streaming, well, I expect the much faster 30Mb VDSL plan would be better than the slower 10Mb fiber plan.
  12. Protectionism caused by fear and inferiority complex.
  13. See this website regarding the various Krungsri Debit card....they don't have any card with a Bt500 fee, whether as an annual fee or as an initial issue fee plus annual fee. Maybe you are generously rounding whatever the fee was. Or maybe the Bt500 is the miniumun opening bank account opening deposit of Bt500 which is standard at Thai banks for a typical savings account. Here their webpage talking their Krungsri's various debit cards....talks fees and benefits...how they can be used...etc....find you card to see the specifics. https://www.krungsri.com/bank/en/PersonalBanking/CardProducts/KrungsriDebitcard.html Probably what they meant by the 4 fee-free ATM withdrawals is for "inter-region" ATM withdrawals at any ATM, their ATMs or other Thai banks. Thai banks have this thing about "inter and intra banking region" fees. The 4 fee-free withdrawals is standard at almost all Thai banks for "standard savings accounts" because the banks are part of the "Thailand ATM Pool" which provides 4 fee-free ATMs inter-region withdrawals per month. 5th withdrawal and above then usually get into fee per withdrawal of usually 15 or 20 baht. Pretty standard policy among most Thai banks although most bank do have some special debit cards that offer fee-free withdrawals at any of their ATM nationwide. I fully expect you can also make deposits in a Cash Deposit Machine also....it does not have to be at a branch although CDMs are usually just outside/inside a branch versus being stuck out in the middle of know or just everywhere like many ATMs are. I bet your Krungsri debit card can be used for online purchases although sometimes you have to active that function. My Krungsri debit card can be used for online purchases....I tried it once and it worked. Internet banking is available but for some reason some branches like to withhold that from new accounts for foreigners if they don't have a long stay visa....more of a branch thing than a bank policy. I have a Krungsri account with debit card and ibanking so I'm speaking from experience also.
  14. Quite silly can be Thailand sometimes when it comes to foreigner related laws/policies.
  15. The charges that Transferwise apply against your debit/credit card has nothing to do with the charges the card-issuing bank may still apply. For example, if the credit card charges a cash advance fee, where 3% is typically charged, it will still be charged....and you still have the Transferwise charge of 3.4%...you are now up to 6.4% charge by using your credit card to fund the transfer. The fee Transferwise charges is just partially or fully cover the interchange fee "they" incur; not any additional card fee you may incur as charged by your card-issuing bank. Transferwise knew perfectly well the associated debit/credit card "interchange" fees when a card is used. The interchange fees are published by Visa/Mastercard and the contract that Transferwise signed with whatever bank they use to process/bill card transactions made Transferwise aware of the fees. Heck, that's why many Thai merchants will only accept credit cards if you pay an extra 3% which is to cover the interchange fee. If a Thai merchant...even mom & pop store type Thai merchant...knows the interchange fee, then Transferwise did also. For example, go these Visa and Mastercard webpages to see their interchange fees. https://usa.visa.com/support/small-business/regulations-fees.html https://www.mastercard.us/en-us/merchants/get-support/merchant-interchange-rates.html Transferwise was just low-balling their card fees to help break into the U.S. market/increase customer base....nothing wrong with that. But their notification makes it sound like they were surprised (i.e., higher than anticipated to use their words) by how much the interchange fees are. So they need to now raise their fee. They always knew exactly the interchange fees...Transferwise is just being disingenuous about the true reason for increased fees. True reason is they were knowing low-balling the card fees until they built-up U.S. customer base and now they need to go to higher pricing....higher pricing they always knew they would need to shift to. Transferwise webpage talking use of debit/credit cards to fund a transfer https://transferwise.com/help/article/2340345/paying-by-card/paying-by-card#/Debit credit
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