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How and why to get a Thai credit card

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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How and why to get a Thai credit card | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: I am so often asked by foreigners living in Phuket about how to obtain credit cards, that I thought it might be helpful to explain the how and why of the situation.

While some may be able to qualify for the traditional unsecured revolving card that we normally think of as a credit card, the normal situation is that Thai banks will have you deposit an amount slightly in excess of the credit limit into an account and freeze it as a guarantee on the credit. For example, if you deposit 100,000 baht they are likely to give you a limit of 90,000 baht.

Obviously, this sure doesn’t seem like a credit card arrangement, but more like a debit card, since it is in fact secured by your deposit. What’s the point then? Well, if you travel a lot like I do, you will find that a Thai debit card is rarely accepted when making online reservations at hotels and for booking flights in other countries. It is also tough to shop online with a Thai debit card, whereas the credit card makes it very simple.

The other benefit of a credit card is that there is a higher level of identity theft protection and information which could be possibly used to drain your bank account won’t be floating through cyberspace.

While I am on the subject, a good practice in today’s world of ATM skimmer gangs is to set up two Thai bank accounts, and they can be with the same institution. One account should be used to hold your significant baht holdings and you should never access an ATM with this account. Sign up for online banking and every few weeks transfer a bit of spending cash to your second account. Use this account when you go to the ATM and if you ever get skimmed, it won’t be so painful.

Back to the credit card situation, if you look at it from a bank’s perspective, it is far too risky to give unsecured credit to non-citizens or non-permanent residents who can easily vanish to another country and leave the bank in the lurch. To be frank, if your financial situation is such that a revolving line of credit at extortionate levels of interest is really needed, you are in big trouble. The only difference between a credit card loan and one received from a loan shark is that the bank won’t break your legs. It doesn’t mean it is any better of an idea.

Credit cards were originally charge cards, which were settled at the end of month. The purpose was to make business easier and avoid the risk of carrying around large amounts of cash. Of course, financial intuitions were quick to realize how profitable it was to let people run up a balance they couldn’t pay and then charge ridiculously high interest on that debt. If you are ever that short of cash, find some family or friends to give you a short term loan at a reasonable rate of interest. If you are that down and out that nobody will lend to you, you may need to consider a career change or going back home and getting some public assistance to get you back on your feet. If you just like to order gadgets and flights from the convenience of your smartphone however, a Thai credit card will meet your needs just fine.

David Mayes MBA resides in Phuket and provides wealth management services to expats around the globe, focusing on UK pension transfers. Faramond UK is regulated by the FCA and advises on pensions and taxation – email david.m@faramond.com or call 085-335 8573.

Keep checking our online Phuket Business pages, join our Facebook fan page or follow us on Twitter @PhuketGazette for local and national business news.

— David Mayes

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

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO | The Thaiger

“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social.

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told.

The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

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Business

Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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