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Bank Accounts

 

Opening a Bank Account in Thailand

Thai banks provide a wide range of services throughout the country. Most foreign banks are represented, however at this stage they offer limited services to the individual consumer. Banking hours are generally from 08:30-15:30, Monday through Friday, except on public and bank holidays. It is best to confirm the business hours of your chosen bank at the time of opening an account.

All banks require several forms of identification (i.e. passport, ID card, work permit, current credit cards etc.) and most will request a letter of introduction from your employer along with details of your current visa status. It depends also on the requirements of the specific bank.

There are many banks in Thailand to choose from. The largest commercial banks are:
• Bangkok Bank;
• Krung Thai Bank;
• Siam Commercial Bank;
• Kasikorn Bank;
• Bank of Ayudhya.

These banks offer services to foreigners, not only for exchange currency but also for anything more complicated. Once a bank account has been opened you will be able to use ATM cards, debit and credit cards and access internet banking. However, the first step is to open a bank account. Requirements to open an account depend on banks, between branches of banks, as well as the banking policy that exists. Aside copies of passport, often a work permit is also required for every foreigner who wishes to open an account.

Relevant Documents for Opening Saving Bank Account

Banking in Thailand is a relatively stress free practice. There are a few documents you will need to submit in order to establish an account in an international bank. Requirements for opening an account:
Passport
Work Permit
Require Thai Nationality reference (For International Bank Account only)
A minimum deposit amount, 500 Baht for a Thai bank and 5,000 for Standard Charter Bank or 100,000 Baht for HSBC (the remaining amount of each month must not be less than 500,000 Baht)
The minimum deposit at the International Bank Account as US Dollar is up to the bank such as USD 10,000 for Standard Charter Bank or USD 15,000 for HSBC.
Recommendation letter from an origin country bank (For International Bank Account only, deposit as US Dollar)
* The first deposit for the International Bank Account must be transferred from overseas.

Requirements and procedures in opening bank accounts may seem to be complicated process, but it will be quite simple if taken step by step. Anybody can open a saving account (without check book, but ATM debit card for a fee).

Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs)

ATMs can be easily found all over Thailand for the withdrawal of Thai Baht. At some machines it is also possible to take cash advances from Visa, MasterCard or American Express provided you have a registered pin number. The ATMs that can handle these transactions are clearly designated with the credit card logo. You can apply for ATM card at the same time you open an account. The fees vary to the type of ATM card that one would like to have (e.g. normal card, premier card, visa electron etc.).

List of Banks (Commercial and Oversea Branches in Alphabetical Order)

ANZ Bank Rep Office
9th Fl, Diethelm Tower A, 93/1 Witthayu (Wireless) Rd. 24 hours.
Tel: 0-2256-6350, 0-2256-6350, 0-2256-6350, 0-2256-6358, 0-2256-6358, 0-2256-6358
Fax: 0-2256-6347. Telex: 21583. Restricted services offered; telephone for information.

Bangkok Bank
333 Silom Rd.
Tel: 0-2231-4333. After hours: 0-2230-2345, 0-2230-2345, 0-2230-2345.
Fax: 0-2231-4233.

Bank of America Bank of America Center
2/2 Witthayu (Wireless) Rd.
Tel: 0-2250-0775-7
Fax: 0-2250-0775-7.

Bank of Ayudhya
1222 Rama III Rd.
Tel: 0-2296-2000, 0-2296-2000, 0-2296-2000, 0-2683-1000, 0-2683-1000
Fax: 0-2683-1304.

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi
Harindhorn Tower, 54 Sathorn Nua (North) Rd.
Tel: 0-2266-3011, 0-2266-3011, 0-2266-3011
Fax: 0-2266-3054-5.

Chase Manhattan Bank
Bubhajit Bldg, 20 Sathorn Nua (North) Rd.
Tel: 0-2234-5992-5, 0-2238-1720-4
Fax: 0-2234-8386.

Citibank
82 Sathorn Nua (North) Rd.
Tel: 0-2232-2000, 0-2232-2000, 0-2232-2000
Fax: 0-2639-2560.

Credit Agricole Indosuez
152 Witthayu (Wireless) Rd.
Tel: 0-2651-4590-2
Fax: 0-2651-4586-8.

Deutsche Bank
Wireless Bldg, 208 Witthayu(Wireless)Rd.
Tel: 0-2651-5000, 0-2651-5000, 0-2651-5000.
Fax: 0-2651-5151.

HSBC
Uchu Liang Bldg, 968 Rama IV, Bangrak.
Tel: 0-2614-4000, 0-2614-4000, 0-2614-4000
Fax: 0-2632-4818.

National Australia Bank Rep Office
16th Fl, Sathorn Thani I Bldg, 90 Sathorn Nua (North) Rd.
Tel: 0-2236-6016-7
Fax: 0-2236-6018. Restricted services offered; telephone for information.

Siam Commercial Bank
9 Rachadapisek Rd, Lad Yao.
Tel: 0-2544-2828-9, 0-2544-1111, 0-2544-1111, 0-2544-1111. After hours: 0-2544-5000, 0-2544-5000, 0-2544-5000
Fax: 0-2937-7645, 0-2937-7704.

Standard Chartered Bank
Abdulrahim Place, 990 Rama IV Rd.
Tel: 0-2724-2000, 0-2724-2000, 0-2724-2000
Fax: 0-2636-1199.

Kasikorn Bank PCL
1 Soi Thai Farmers Lane, Rat Burana Rd.
Tel: 0-2470-1199, 0-2470-1199, 0-2470-1122, 0-2470-1122, 0-2470-1122
Fax: 0-2470-1144-5. After hours Emergency 0-2888-8888

Westpac Banking Corp Rep Office
Unit E, 8th Fl, Kamol Sukosol Bldg, 317 Silom Rd.
Tel: 0-2234-2650, 0-2234-2650, 0-2234-2650
Fax: 0-2231-0015. Restricted services offered; telephone for information.

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Opening a bank account in Thailand can be recommended to foreigners;

who visit Thailand regularly or for longer stays;

who regularly support others like a girlfriend, boyfriend or a family;

who permanently rent a house and have to pay monthly rent;

who want to work in Thailand with a work permit;

who want to stay in Thailand as a retired pensioner. To get the long term O-A Visa they also need an account to prove a deposit of 800,000 Baht.

Opening a bank account at a Thai bank by a foreigner can be easy or difficult according to the bank, branch or type of account needed. In the year 2000 the Bank of Thailand issued guidelines for the banks against money laundering including "recommendations" to grant only foreign applicants with a working visa or permanent residence, an account. However long stay pensioners having no working visa need a local bank account too. So these recommendations are not practical, and often not in practice, while banks or their branches have different rules for opening an account:

To show your passport with a valid visa is always a must of course. This is often sufficient to open the account, especially for the "savings account" (see below).

Some banks or branches will demand a valid work permit or a certificate of residence from the immigration office. If you don't have such documents, just go to the next bank around the corner and apply there (if you have resident address that can be accepted also, you do not need to bring a certificate of residence to show them at the bank).

There are three major kinds of bank accounts in Thailand:

"savings account" in Thai Baht. Most Thais use a savings account for all their banking needs. Most foreigners will get along with this option well too. You can transfer money to and cheques can paid into a savings account. You can also withdraw money from an ATM with your banking card or at one of the branches of your bank. You can transfer money via the ATM Terminal for example to pay phone or electricity bills. You can access internet bank account to transfer money in for any purpose. Each bank has their own policy which you will need to confirm.

A bank account in Thai Baht.

This account is more in use as a business account for which you also can write cheques. Here you may need other legitimating documents.

If you are working or living in Thailand, or just moving here, we can help to set up a new bank account quickly and easily. With a long-term visa and a work permit or a Certificate of Residence, you can apply for access to our additional banking services like phone banking and internet banking.

Once you have opened your account you will receive a passbook which can be updated at terminals located at the banks branches. Your passbook is a handy way of tracking your account movements and takes the place of an account statement.

How to open a Resident Baht Account

Foreign individual customers can open a resident Baht account with many banks across Thailand. You need to bring along your passport together with relevant documents as follows:
If you are working in Thailand, you need to bring a work permit.
If you are living in Thailand, you need to bring a residence permit or a Certificate of Residence.
If you are a tourist or a student, you need to bring a letter of recommendation as follows:
• A letter of recommendation from a person acceptable to the bank, such as a respected customer, a respected university teacher, a respected company director or senior executive. Along with their ID card or government official ID card;
or
• A letter of recommendation from a reputable organization located in Thailand such as an embassy or an international organization;
or
• A letter of recommendation from your bank abroad.

Foreign Currency Deposit Account for Non-Residents

A foreign individual can also open a Foreign Currency Deposit Account in any of the nine major foreign currencies. You can withdraw, deposit or transfer the funds without converting the funds into Thai Baht and make savings with every transaction.

Choice of Nine Currencies:
• U.S. Dollar (USD)
• Euro (EUR)
• Pounds (GBP)
• Japanese Yen (JPY)
• Hong Kong Dollar (HKD)
• Singapore Dollar (SGD)
• Australian Dollar (AUD)
• Swiss Francs (CHF)
• Canadian Dollar (CAD)

Documents Required for Opening Foreign Currency Deposit Account for Non-Residents (Foreign Tourists or Foreigners working in Thailand temporarily):
• Passport and Work Permit;
• If you do not have a work permit, please submit a copy of your passport together with a letter of recommendation as follows:
• A letter of recommendation from a person acceptable to the bank, such as a respected customer, a respected university teacher, a respected company director or senior executive. Along with their ID card or government official ID card;
or
• A letter of recommendation from a reputable organization located in Thailand such as an embassy or an international organization;
or
• A letter of recommendation from your bank abroad.

A foreign currency account allows you to keep your money coming from abroad in one of the major foreign currencies without having to change them into Baht. The deposits of these accounts are mainly used for payments abroad or to avoid currency fluctuations in Baht.

Summing up: It will be easier for you to establish a savings account plus an ATM card plus online option at first. That is all you probably will need (except if you run a limited company of course). For the opening of a bank account in Thailand no strict rules seem to apply but rather possibilities or restrictions. This you will find out locally. If you experience difficulties when applying look for the next bank around the corner and ask there.

"Savings Account" plus "Friend Card" as a VISA Card: The Ayudhya-Bank as Example

The branches of Ayudya-Bank offer foreigners as non-residents a "saving account" when showing their passport with a valid visa. Keep in mind that the savings account in its meaning in Thailand is more a bank account for everyday use. After half an hour the account had been established while a starting payment was paid into the account, because there must always be a deposit on it. The customer receives the "Passbook" in which the customers name and the first payment is printed. At later visits at a branch office the account movements are printed in the booklet so the customer has a document of the accounting.

ATM, cash, travelers checks, VISA / Master Card advance.

It is unlikely for you to carry enough cash into Thailand to pay for a whole house, but if you plan to, larger bills get better rates.
ATM is very convenient and gets as good a rate as wire transfers. There is usually a flat fee charged by the ATM machine and another flat fee charge by your bank so it is best to transfer the maximum amount your card allows.
Traveler's cheques get a better rate than cash and are safer to carry around.
VISA/MC advances are quite expensive so should only be used in an emergency.

Transferring money from Thailand

You may decide to sell up and move on in future. When you transfer money to your Thai bank account, get a Foreign Exchange Transaction Form. This will help you move that money back out of Thailand in the future should the need arise. To get a Foreign Exchange Transaction Form, you must transfer a minimum amount.

Importing personal effects into Thailand

Household items may be imported into Thailand without paying the normal import duty, however, you must provide proof of residency in Thailand, such as a work permit. Items must be imported not earlier than one month prior to arrival and not later than six months after arrival. Only one electrical item is allowed for an individual or two items for a family.