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Opening a Thai Bank Account: A Guide for Expats and Tourists

Find out how you can successfully open a Thai bank account.

How to Successfully Open a Bank Account In Thailand

If you know that you will be staying in Thailand for a long period of time, you probably need to open a Thai bank account to avoid excessive bank and ATM fees. Having a Thai bank account can help you handle your finances, including sending and receiving money from abroad. It can also make your life in Thailand a lot easier because wire transfer is a popular payment option among locals.

There are some strict regulations for foreigners who want to open a bank account in Thailand. In this article, we are going to explain what you need to open a bank account, the most popular banks for foreigners, and more.

Key Points

  • Opening an account as a non-resident may have to be done in person, and possibly at the head branch of the bank only.
  • Thai ATMs are much more functional and can be used not only to withdraw money but to also make bank transfers and pay bills.
  • There are some strict regulations for foreigners who want to open a bank account in Thailand.

What Documents Do You Need To Prepare?

The documents you need to prepare can be different from one bank to another. Even different branches of the same bank can require different documents. Some individual bank managers and employers in the country follow a stricter interpretation of the rules, while others may be more relaxed.

In general, you might want to prepare the following documents if you want to open a Thai bank account:

  • A passport
  • Work permit, non-immigrant B visa for business or work, O-A long-stay visa, or a three year non-immigrant visa for business.

Some banks may require more documents. You may be asked to provide one or more of the following documents:

  • Proof of Thai residency. The easiest is a rental or lease agreement. However, your utility bill, Thai residence permit, Thai driving license, or Thai house registration may also be accepted.
  • Proof of residency in your home country. You may bring your bank statement, driver’s license, or utility bill.
  • Proof of property ownership in Thailand.
  • Letter of reference from your home bank, your embassy, or a Thai educational institution.
  • Letter from your company stating that you are in the process of getting a work permit.

You can bring anything that proves you are staying in Thailand for an extended period, any ID with your picture on it, or any documents that show you receive either a salary or pension.

Can You Open a Bank With a Tourist Visa?

Yes, it is possible to open a Thai bank account with only a tourist visa. Most banks that let you open an account with only a tourist visa are usually located in tourist areas.

In Bangkok, you might want to go to banks located in Siam, Silom, and Sukhumvit areas. In Chiang Mai, try to go to Promenada, Central Festival, Nimmanhaemin, and the old town area.

It is strongly advisable to shop around before selecting a bank. Feel free to compare the fees, the interest rates, the customer satisfaction rates, and the account opening process.

Which Bank Should You Pick?

Bangkok Bank and Kasikorn Bank are known to be easier to work with. They are also known to be more lenient with foreigners than most other banks in Thailand. However, these two are not the only options you can consider. Here’s a list of popular banks you can consider banking with:

Bangkok Bank
Bangkok Bank is Thailand’s largest bank and the most foreigner-friendly one. Besides having over 1,200 local branches, Bangkok Bank offers the largest branch network abroad as well. When it comes to international wire transfers, this bank is known for the best exchange rate.

Kasikorn Bank (KBank)
Kasikorn Bank is the fourth largest commercial bank in Thailand. It is renowned as the first bank in the world to offer a secured payment system via mobile phones.

Siam Commercial Bank (SCB)
SCB is another popular bank in Thailand among both locals and foreigners. It is the oldest domestic bank in Thailand, first opening around 1907. Foreigners particularly prefer the bank because non-residents can open an account with just a passport and funds to deposit.

When you live in Thailand it’s useful to have a Thai bank account for easy daily life transactions.

What Are the Available Account Types?

Several different account types are available for expats. These include:

Savings Account
A savings account is the easiest to open for foreigners. With certain banks, such as Bangkok Bank, you can even open an account as a tourist. There is no limit on how many months remaining on your visa, but the more, the better.

Current Accounts
A current account is available for foreigners who have work permits. In Thailand, a current account practically works the same way as a savings account. However, with a current account, you will only receive a checkbook and no passbook.

Fixed Term Account
Getting a fixed-term account in Thailand can be more challenging for foreigners. Many Thai banks offer different rates for ‘non-residents.’ However, there are some ways you can do it. Foreigners with a work permit may be able to use the thirteen-digit number on their social security card as ‘ID.’

If you have a residence permit, you should be able to receive the ‘local’ rate.

What to Keep In Mind When Choosing a Thai Bank Account?

There are some things you need to keep in mind when choosing a Thai Bank account.

  • The importance of your branch – Many policies tend to be branch specific in Thailand. Therefore, just because something doesn’t work out in one branch doesn’t mean it also won’t work in any other bank branch.
  • ATM and conversion fees – If you use your bank’s ATM, ATM withdrawal fee and conversion rate fees are typically waived.
  • Sending money abroad – The fees for transferring money outside of Thailand vary from one bank to another. Most banks in the country charge a minimum of 150 regardless of how you do the transfer. Some banks, such as Kasikorn Bank, do not charge any fee if you complete the transaction online.