The bank fees add up

Paying fees to withdraw money from the ATM isn’t really an issue for people who are on holiday. You just cop it and move on.

But for those who stick around a bit longer it doesn’t take too long before you start thinking about how to reduce the cost of getting access to your cash in Thailand.

It’s pretty standard to get hit with a 220 Baht fee each time you use a non-Thai debit card at an ATM in Thailand.

And then there are the card fees that your local bank will charge on top of that.

If you’re using your credit card for EFTPOS you will also be paying international transaction fees every time you make a purchase.

It doesn’t take long to add up.

So it goes without saying that those who stay in Thailand for longer periods of time will often make figuring out how to open a Thai bank account a top priority.

Can a foreigner open a bank account in Thailand?

The general rule is that you should be on a longer term visa in order to be eligible to open a bank account in Thailand.

This could include a non-immigrant visa, retirement visa or a work permit.

You may also need to provide a certificate of residence. And you need to physically be in Thailand. You can’t open up an account online from outside the country.

Some banks will also ask for a copy of your passport that has been certified by your country’s embassy in Thailand.

As you see, it does sound pretty difficult to open a bank account.

But the truth is there is some discretion available. And there is some flexibility in the eligibility criteria depending on which bank you visit, which branch you visit and who you talk to on the day.

Which banks will open bank accounts for foreigners?

When I was trying to open a bank account for myself I visited several different banks as well as different branches of the same bank. And I often received different answers as to what was required in order to open up a bank account.

Some banks gave me a flat out “No.”

Others said “Maybe, it depends.”

There are many different banks that operate in Thailand but some are known to be more foreigner friendly than others.

Bangkok Bank is known as being a bit more accommodating towards foreigners who want to open up a bank account.

Kasikorn Bank is another one that foreigners have had success with.

Getting your Thai bank account

If you’re going to go it alone when trying to open up a bank account, here are a few pointers to help you strike success:

  • Go to the expat friendly banks
  • Go to the main branch in Bangkok
  • If you’re not in Bangkok, go to the larger branches in cities that have an established expat population

As we have outlined in this article, there is some degree of flexibility in the eligibility criteria. It depends on your situation and how you go about trying to open a bank account in Thailand.

There can be a lot of hit and miss along the way. But it can be done.

And it doesn’t have to be difficult.

Here at Offshore In Asia, we have done the hard yards for you. We have worked through the confusion and uncertainty to find a clear pathway towards opening a bank account in Thailand.

It’s not impossible to open a bank account even if you are on a tourist visa. It’s just a matter of ticking the right boxes.

Talk to us to get it done.