Opening a bank account in Thailand

Let's be clear right at the beginning of this article on one point: there is no one standard guide, applicable to all commercial banks in Thailand, that can explain to a foreigner how to open an account !

The procedures and systems designed to allow or disallow a foreigner to open an account sometimes are different not only from bank to bank, but may also vary at the same bank in it's various branches. The discretion of the manager is obviously at a premium!

Can I open an account as a foreigner in Thailand?

In principle one can answer this question with 'yes'. Even as a tourist, you will probably find a bank that allows the opening of a savings account in your own name .

The Bank of Thailand (the Thai central bank) has instructed financial institutions to carry out a meticulous identity test on opening a bank account, which in turn requires proof of residence in Thailand, but also seems to be at the previously mentioned discretion of the branch manager.

Which Thai banks allow me to open an account ?

In principle, all commercial banks - but unfortunately the reality is somewhat different and it is not uncommon that someone in the main office of a bank in each city receives information saying that unfortunately you can't open an account. One should not take this rejection as general information, but instead try different branches, and it is highly probable that you will find one that makes the process very easy . 

What documents do I need?

Again it should be pointed out that documents needed vary from bank to bank and from branch to branch. Prerequisite for the identity check is a valid identity document - in most cases:

Also, the bank needs proof of residence. In the past it was possible to appear with a Thai friend, who tells the bank that the applicant lives with him. Also accounts have been successfully opened by giving the bank the registration form of your hotel as proof of address.

Nowadays it is unlikely that the bank will accept this kind of proof of address. You will have to get proof of residence at the Immigration Bureau (a Residence Certificate), or, ideally, the 'Yellow House Book'.

What type of account can I open?

The most common account is the 'savings account'. To all intents and purpose this is what we know as a 'current account', as you can perform almost all transactions.

Immediately after opening the account you get a card for the automatic telling machine (ATM card), so that you can withdraw cash from any ATM in Thailand. Also money transfers and internet banking are possible with this account, and the ATM card can be used for cashless payments also.

What you do not get as a foreigner in Thailand is credit. Without a solid, generated income in Thailand, a foreigner will not be given any credit at any bank. Thus even if your card is marked 'Visa' or 'MasterCard', it can still only be used as a debit card.

At some banks fixed deposit accounts can be opened, which offer a much better interest rate than the almost non-existant interest rate of your 'savings account'.

Banks in Thailand - Chart of Thai banks

Banks and Money in Thailand - all important information at Udon-News

posted on: 22.01.2014 - last update on: 03.02.2017

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