Sending $30 From NYC to a Thailand Tesco Lotus in Under a Minute for 20 Cents

This happened a few hours ago. In spite of my project to create a self-sustaining business project I cannot do alone, I’m still involved daily in the mundane needs of the family.

Once it happened, I laughed and went to the pool for a while.

I came back to write about it. I was prepared to write a rant…

300 or so words into it, and it was good. …That is, the rant was vitriolic. Then I come to grips: I’m not even into the story, yet, but I have your evil granny holding up everyone in line while writing a check at the supermarket. Good for me.

…Actually, I didn’t really. I just made that up. But I did have all the bankers in chocks on the public square. And I was sparing no lashes for all the people out there—Americans mostly—who think they have a decent banking system. It’s the worst in the world and an American can’t even easily get a bank account in another country. I had to use an agent to bribe a bank to get me an account. The IRS. All countries. All banks. Hate them. Perfectly good reasons.

…I took a break. Specifically, I got on my motorbike, rode about 8 minutes, sat down at Roxane Bar, and Denny from Chicago was there. I like him because he’s as roughly rambunctious as I am. After the preliminary pleasantries, he pulls out a smoke.

It’s a little cigarette-looking thing to get a tiny but measured dose of marijuana. I’m no stranger since 1982, so 40 years. But I don’t like it much, anymore. A micro dose should be fine, though. And it was. Basically, a “perfect hit.”

Guess what I learned? That the initial approach to this post was off. It was a bity ugly and puerile.

“Make it a good fun story,” I thought, in that state of the perfect hit. Instead of ridiculing and telling people they’re stupid for the banking systems they endure, let them see what they’d rather have. So, there’s your dope-lesson for the day.

I’ll give you the punchline: for many decades, you’ve all been conditioned to wait for “money to clear.” This is an archaic system that since the diaspora of distributed banking, serves to allow charlatans to hold onto millions and billions “in the float” so they can steal from you. Everyone has been conditioned to just accept it.

For a ridiculous example, you give a guy a gram of gold. He says it will take 3-5 business days (not including evenings, weekends and the many banking holidays) to verify its authenticity and then you can come back to collect whatever you’re trading it for.

That’s “modern” banking.

He takes it behind closed doors where there’s an inflow and an outflow of all that gold, but it’s an impressive float of hundreds of pounds and there’s a money-making market in that. Principally, he can use it as security and put it up for big premiums…and other financial machinations. He can “loan” it. The point is, there is always inflow and outflow, but the reservoir is stable and that makes it bankable.


I do understand how it happened. Western banks invented the check or cheque, basically a payment order. I’m not sure how old you have to be to remember those, or wrote those. I haven’t written a physical one for a long time. I’ve used online means where a bank prints physical checks and mails them. Fucking hilarious in 2022. Deliritoriously hilarious. It’s like American and European bank computers get shut down each evening, all weekends, and all holidays. LOL.

…There’s a concept I’ve been aware of and loved for a long time and that’s leapfrogging: technology.

The classic example is telephones. In “modern” countries you have telephone lines strung up all over and in “primitive” countries you have little to none. Before you could wire them, they just went mobile. Zero need for your expensive solution. That’s old hat now, since even in modern countries, fewer are using landlines. I dumped mine 12 years ago.

Yet the western world, principally America, is still stuck in ancient banking practices and ancient practices in everything where they get to steal your money and time, as a matter of course.

…There I go ranting about stupid Americans, again…

So as I’m deftly trying to grok some stuff about Vitamins A and D, glutathione, NAC, and vitamin C, I get a ring this morning…

It’s Yui.


“Don’t call me darling. It costs me money, every time.”

“Darling, maaa (mæ̀ แม่) is at Lotus. She need more 500 baht so make lunch every day for Chili and Wasabi for school. I don’t have in my account. I just pay for more clothes to sell at market.”

500 baht is about $15 US.

“Well, I just transfer money so I can pay rent, but not finished yet.”

I had transferred enough funds to Evolve Bank & Trust in NYC, which is the account set up for me to make international transfers easy & cheap.

So I thought, “let’s see.”

I’m still on the Line vid chat with Yui and I log into Wise on my desktop. Her mom in still in Lotus with a shopping cart she can’t fully pay for. While Yui asked for $15 only (500 baht), I initiated a transfer from Evolve B&T to my Bangkok Bank account for about $30 (1000 baht).

It took 14 seconds and cost 20 cents. Not 2-5 business days, not a few bucks for electron fatigue.

Then I asked Yui which bank for maa, “still Pink Bank?” I ask. I’ve done this before.

“No, Bank For Agriculture and Cooperatives,” and shes gives me the account number. I selected the bank on my app, enter the account number and amount, and…

While still on the vid chat, her mom texts that she got the ding on her phone and that the money was in her account. It wasn’t a “pending transaction.” The money was out of my account at Bangkok Bank and into her account at BAC. Finished.

From NYC in a minute.


…I must do a bit of a digression at this point. Westerners are so accustomed to float, “wait to clear,” “pending.” etc. Totally foreign concept to a Thai. It is a cash economy and always has been. Same when I lived in Japan in the 1980s. No such thing as checks. It’s cash. No bullshit ever.

They simply created apps and each of the 28 chartered banks in Thailand have their own version of it, and everyone has his bank’s app on his phone. I have the Bangkok Bank app on mine, Yui has the Siam Commercial Bank app on hers. Any person can transfer from any account at any bank to any account at any other bank and it’s instantaneous and free of bullshit electron-fatigue charges 24/7/365.

This covers the entirety of Thailand and that’s all that fucking matters in Thailand—which is, and ought to remain for the Thais.

I’ll close with a juxtaposition, a nightmare with PayPal, deservedly one of the most hated companies in America.

A month or so ago, I was doing some business with my vacation rentals in Cabo San Lucas and secured a booking. However, I needed to pay some back stuff, etc., $1,620. I don’t use CCs anymore, and so asked my dad if I could use his. When the payment came in and was “cleared” after 3-5 business days, I sent him the funds via PayPal.

What I did not know was that I sent it to his abandoned account, since that’s the last time I used it.

So, he didn’t get it. I sent it again to his active account. He got it, transferred it. This relieved the bank account I used of the funds and there was little left.

Nonetheless, PayPal hounded that account to collect on the same amount to a dead PP account. In spite of a dozen attempts to deal with a live person and putting in a ton of support tickets explaining everything…zero with any effect.

Eventually—and get this—they “refunded” me $1,620 to my bank account they had never collected from me. Then, rather that charge my dad’s dead and abandoned account, they charged his active account, even though it shows only that he received my $1,620 and transferred it to his bank account. To fix the debacle, he had to pay $1,600 to PP to clear the red ink and I had to send him the $1,600 I received erroneously, to cover it. All because it’s almost impossible to speak to a person who speaks actual English and even if they do, it’s all fucking bullshit.

This passes for banking and money transfer in The Land of the Free.

Could never happen in Thailand. If you don’t have the funds in your account, you can not do a transfer. Full stop. If you have the funds, the transfer is immediate. It’s no longer in your account and it’s in the other’s account. There is no such thing as “pending.” No float.

Exactly like handing cash, hand to hand.

Fuck everything else.

Also, get your bankers in stocks on the public square whilst it’s raining. Pull down their pants, make fun of their small pee pees, and have them all spanked with cricket bats….

No big project update today. I did one on the GoFundMe yesterday. Just this, a picture counting for a thousand words, from me.

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Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

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