Connect with us

Business

Banking for Phuket Expats carries special charges, risks

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET: For expats in Phuket and across Thailand who intend to stay permanently or for most of the year in the country, opening a Thai bank account makes financial sense.

After all, except for a few ATMs owned by AEON (a large Japanese conglomerate) and Citibank, Thai ATMs will charge a 150 baht fee per foreign transaction and there are additional fees charged by the overseas bank for using an ATM outside of their network and for currency conversions. There are also daily withdrawal restrictions (typically US$500 per day).

In other words, the transaction costs of not having a Thai bank account can quickly add up.

Who Can Open a Thai Bank Account?
In general, expats in Thailand will need to have either a work permit or a long-term visa of some kind to open a bank account. In practice, you may still be able to open a bank account without a visa and only with your passport and a local address, but you will likely need a long-term visa to obtain internet banking access, a credit card and a checking account. At the very least, you will need your passport and evidence of a local Thai address (a lease or utility bill).

Thailand Deposit Insurance Protection
Thailand’s Deposit Protection Agency (DPA) provides deposit protection insurance in case of a bank default. Currently and until August 10, 2015, the DPA will insure accounts worth up to 50 million baht (US$1.6mn), but after that, and until August 10, 2016, the amount will drop to 25mn baht (US$800,000) and then to 1mn baht (US$32,600) after August 11, 2016.

Where Should Expats Bank in Thailand?

Thailand’s biggest local banks are Bangkok Bank, Krung Thai Bank (state-owned), Siam Commercial Bank, Kasikorn Bank and Bank of Ayudhya. These banks have the biggest ATM networks and offer the most security for depositors. In addition, major Japanese, European and American banks have a presence in Bangkok, but be aware that their ATM networks will be more limited than those of local banks and not all of them deal with retail customers.

Special Considerations for Expats
Expats need to be aware that while there are no restrictions on the amount of money brought into Thailand, there are restrictions on the amount of baht you can take out and these restrictions are subject to change.

When dealing in cash, bringing in or taking out US$20,000 or the equivalent will need to be declared to Thai customs, while for baht, 500,000 baht can be taken to countries that border Thailand and 50,000 baht can be taken to other countries.

If you intend to do a bank transfer, you will usually need permission from the Bank of Thailand for transfers of more than US$20,000.

Finally, and if you are an American citizen, be aware that if you control any type of foreign financial account(s) with a combined value of over $10,000 at any point of the year, you will need to report it to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by filing Form TD F 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).

You may also have other reporting requirements if your foreign financial accounts hold larger balances.

US Bank Wires into Thailand
One frequent question I get from American clients is how to wire US dollars from a US bank into their Thailand Bank. Because the US has very tight regulations this is not always easy to do. In fact, last week my client tried to wire in US dollars from a major US bank and was told he could not because Thailand is on a restricted country list.

The most efficient way I have found to bring in US dollars is to open a Bangkok Bank account and send the wire to the New York branch. Within 12 hours your money is converted into baht and received into Thailand for a very minimal fee. Simply then use your local ATM card to withdraw cash at no charge.

How Much Should Expats Deposit in a Thai Bank Account?
Unless you intend to buy property or you need to make a bank deposit for a retirement visa, expats in Thailand should consider keeping enough baht on deposit for at least a few months worth of living expenses and enough to cover an emergency, while staying under the limits for deposit insurance coverage and for taking cash out of the country without the need for special permission.

If you are an American citizen, you may want to keep less than US$10,000 in a Thai bank account to avoid additional disclosure paperwork, but you will still need to pay close attention to any changes in IRS rules regarding the disclosure of foreign accounts.

Don Freeman is president of Freeman Capital Management, a Registered Investment Advisor with the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), based in Phuket, Thailand. He has over 15 years experience and provides personal financial planning and wealth management to expatriates. Specializing in UK and US pension transfers. Call 089-970-5795 or email: freemancapital@gmail.com.

— Don Freeman

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Despite low riders, Covid-19 train to continue

Pattaya3 hours ago

Planning for “Pattaya Move On” reopening scheme continues

Best of4 hours ago

Top 5 cookie shops in Bangkok

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Drugs5 hours ago

Marine police seize 30 kilograms of methamphetmine from squid fishing boat

Thailand5 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Bars defy bans, Sandbox ‘still on’, vaccine rush | July 28

Thailand6 hours ago

Thailand to apply for Guinness World Record for longest petrified log

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 hours ago

Koh Samui bar and club finds 16 Covid-19 infections

Best of8 hours ago

Kanchanaburi’s 5 coolest hotels

Thailand8 hours ago

Thousands of inmates granted royal pardon on HM the King’s birthday

Coronavirus (Covid-19)8 hours ago

Wednesday Covid Update: 16,533 new cases; provincial totals

Best of9 hours ago

5 of the most amazing hotels in Koh Chang

Best of9 hours ago

The best steakhouses in Pattaya serving juicy steak

Coronavirus (Covid-19)11 hours ago

Girls infected with Covid after mother dies at home; public criticises healthcare system

Coronavirus Vaccines11 hours ago

Crowds rush to Bang Sue for vaccination ahead of walk-in registration ending

Coronavirus Thailand12 hours ago

Thai PM predicts current Covid crisis will be over in 2 or 3 weeks – 4 at the most

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending