THE unlicensed remittance centres or underground banks which serve Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines and China, offer lower charges, prompt service and better exchange rates to lure clients from banks. But it is a world shrouded in mystery. After visiting four centres, two firms denied any remittance operation while one asked for a previous client's recommendation. Only one company in Western divulged information about its procedures. This company in Wing Lok Street only charges clients $40 each time, almost a quarter of the standard bank charge. According to one staff member, if a client has no time to go to their office, they can simply deposit the amount, ranging from several thousand to hundreds of thousands, and the $40 service charge to an assigned bank account. 'You can fax to us the bank receipt and the recipient's information, such as name, passport number, telephone number, local bank accounts, company name and so on,' the staff member said. Remittance through banks usually take one or two days but in underground banks the recipient can get the money on the same day if cash is paid. But it would take one day if the client paid by cheque. 'If they live in small villages, then we'll give them a call and ask them to come to our Bangkok office to pick up the money,' the staffer said. 'So, it's better to have the bank account ready and we can deposit the money through the bank,' she said.