The banking system in Thailand

Banking in Thailand
Updated 2021-07-20 12:29

Thailand provides a wide array of options in terms of banking institutions and, as many expats are drawn to the Land of Smiles, the process of opening a bank account is also fairly straightforward. Opening an account at a Thai bank will not only make you feel more at home in the country, but it will also simplify life in terms of your monthly payments and saving on transaction and currency costs when withdrawing money. It is common for ATMs in Thailand to charge a steep withdrawal fee when using a foreign card, so it is best to avoid this as soon as possible.

To open a bank account, you will generally need to visit a branch in person so that a bank official can witness you signing the papers. Many banks in Thailand may charge you an initial fee or require a certain amount as deposit.

Choosing your bank in Thailand

Every bank and every branch can be different in terms of requirements for opening a bank account, services and fees. However, when it comes to choosing a bank, many expats feel more secure when banking with either an international bank or a large local bank with a long history.

Many of the main banks in Thailand ' Bangkok Bank, Kasikorn Bank, Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), CitiBank, HSBC, Krungsri Bank, TMB Bank, UOB Bank ' all have branches throughout the country and are used by expats.

It is advisable to do your research beforehand by enquiring at different banks or amongst other expatriates, as fees and interest rates may vary. Some fees to inquire about are yearly account fees, account cancellation fees and card replacement fees. However, you can usually avoid ATM withdrawal fees and conversion rate fees so long as you use your bank's ATM.

It is also important to be aware that in Thailand, a lot of emphasis is placed on your home branch, which is the branch where you opened your account. Some banking options can only be performed at your home branch, so it is best to carefully consider which branch will be most convenient for you to be your home branch.

You should also consider what type of account you would like to open. If you have the option, it is worth applying for an account that offers a wide range of services, such as internet banking and online international fund transfers.

Procedures for opening a bank account in Thailand

You can generally open a bank account in Thailand if you show your passport and a Non-Immigrant B visa, O-A Long-Stay Visa, or a 3 year Non-Immigrant Visa for business.

Good to know:

If you are holding a tourist visa only, banks will not cater to you for applying for an account in Thailand.

Some banks will also require other documents, such as a proof of residence, lease agreement, Thai driver's license, or a marriage certificate if you are married to a Thai citizen.

If you have the required paperwork, the whole process of opening a bank account should not take more than half an hour. You will then be issued with a bank book, an ATM card, and it is worth paying a small sum if need be to get a debit card too.

Once you have opened a bank account, it is important to find out your maximum withdrawal amount. Many banks set this amount at about THB20,000. However, in some cases like paying rent, this may not be high enough, so you may wish to ask the bank staff to help you change this.

You should also request detailed instructions about how to set up internet banking if available to you. Each bank is different but, as most do not send monthly statements, it the easiest way to check your activity and make transfers is online and also to avoid fraudulence by being alarmed if your account has been used to withdraw or purchase something.

Useful links:

Kasikorn Bank
Bangkok Bank
Siam Legal ' Opening a bank account in Thailand

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