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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat
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    Bank Accounts for Foreigners in Thailand

    This was in the Nation the other day.

    Bangkok's Independent Newspaper
    Bank accounts for foreigners


    By Ekarin Bumroongpuk
    The Nation
    Published on June 26, 2008


    A look at the qualification criteria at various insititutions and the documents you need






    Foreigners, both expatriates and tourists, are restricted from access to some Thai financial products, but most of them can open a bank account.

    Expatriates living and working in Thailand need to conduct financial transactions such as opening a bank account, applying for a credit card, money transfers, investment and insurance. But due to their foreign status there are some transactions they cannot undertake.
    The Nation has gathered information on what expatriates can and cannot do in terms of products offered by local financial institutions.
    Let's begin with a truly fundamental product - the bank account.
    Foreigners are classified into four groups: permanent residents in Thailand, foreigners with a work permit, foreigners with a long-stay visa (non-immigrant) such as international students, and foreigners with a tourist visa.
    The first group are foreigners who live in Thailand. They are supposed to show an alien certificate and copy of their house registration for identity verification. The second group needs to show a passport and a work permit.
    In general, Thai commercial banks require a work permit and a passport to open a savings account, current account and fixed-deposit account.
    For example, Siam Commercial Bank and Bank of Ayudhya require a minimum work-permit period of six months. Kasikornbank requires the same but if a foreigner has no work permit, they must show a document which confirms that their stay in Thailand is for at least three months.
    Foreigners with these required documents are qualified to open bank accounts and hold a debit or ATM card.
    However, there are still many foreigners who have no work permit, such as foreign students who hold a long-stay visa. Therefore, they need to hand in confirmation documents from their colleges. A foreigner with no work permit is supposed to supply any additional documents that a bank may require, before it decides whether to approve the application.
    Among the large banks, only Bangkok Bank allows foreigners with tourist visas to open a savings account and provides debit-card access at any ATM nationwide. However, applications from this category are considered on a case-by-case basis and tourists must stay at least 180 days in the Kingdom.
    Foreigners who enter Thailand via an on-arrival visa - valid for 30 days - will not be considered.
    A Bangkok Bank savings account requires a minimum initial deposit of Bt500, plus a Bt100 joining fee and Bt150-Bt200 annually for an ATM card.
    A current account, which allows customers to use cheques, requires a much higher minimum initial deposit of Bt10,000. However, very few retailers in Thailand accept cheques, except when there is an established relationship with the customer.
    Fixed-deposit accounts require a minimum initial deposit of Bt1,000-Bt2,000 and customers can choose from a range of periods, such as three months, six months or one year.
    Right now, Bangkok Bank is keen to expand its expatriate customer base. It is, therefore, inviting Immigration Bureau staff to train its employees on the basic rules on classifying foreigners into various visa and work-permit categories.


    -- This is the first article in a series about personal finance for expatriates. The second part will appear next week.

  2. #2
    This is not my avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog
    provides debit-card access at any ATM nationwide.
    Does anyone know if Thai debit cards can be used internationally?

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    ^ Good question. My Kasi debit card has the visa logo on it. I must try it out next trip.

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat

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    The mastercard ones are ok from SCB

    You lot are lucky.

    banking here can be a nightmare - fortunately I haven;t had any problems but there are different rules for different folks and banks making up their own as they go.

    No international debit cards - my credit card issued by Samsung is only usuable in Korea and on the internet.

  5. #5
    Tax Consultant
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    ^
    If they have an internationally recognised symbol such as Master Card/Maestro or Visa then yes they can be used worldwide.

  6. #6
    nid aur yw popeth melyn
    britmaveric's Avatar
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    Normally Kasikorn, only need a passport open up a savings account. Have a passbook and debit card within 15min.

  7. #7
    Tao
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    Quote Originally Posted by jandajoy
    My Kasi debit card has the visa logo on it. I must try it out next trip.
    I tried my Kasikorn card in Cape Town one time and it didn't work. Saying that, i'm not sure how much i had in the account at the time.

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    For example, Siam Commercial Bank and Bank of Ayudhya require a minimum work-permit period of six months. Kasikornbank requires the same but if a foreigner has no work permit, they must show a document which confirms that their stay in Thailand is for at least three months.
    I'm pretty sure - although not certain, long time ago now - that when I opened my Kasikornbank account the only documentation they required was in the form of some notes, B500 minimum or something to open the account.

    I wonder if these are new 'rules', I'm the exception that proves the rule, or it's just the usual ad-hoc application of 'rules' here?

    Good/informative article nevertheless.

  9. #9
    nid aur yw popeth melyn
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    Sent a mate down to K Bank few weeks back, deposited few 1000bht and he was sorted in 20min.

  10. #10
    Tao
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    Quote Originally Posted by AntRobertson
    I'm pretty sure - although not certain, long time ago now - that when I opened my Kasikornbank account the only documentation they required was in the form of some notes, B500 minimum or something to open the account.
    Agreed, they just wanted to see the money and my passport. No other documents required.

  11. #11
    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    ^ Yup. I opened mine 6 months ago with a passport and a deposit. Online banking too.

  12. #12
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Agreed, they just wanted to see the money and my passport. No other documents required.
    Ahh yeah that's right, passport was the other thing.

    Just while we're on the topic; called the K-Bank helpline this morning. Pretty good service, the number's on the back of your debit/credit/ATM card. Lady I got spoke perfect English and it was quick too.

  13. #13
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    it used to be so easy.
    Pasport and money now they like WPs
    If your debit card has the master card sign it works at any ATM where the sign is displayed.
    Used in the UK and when I hit Malaysia, very useful.

  14. #14
    Have you got any cheese Thetyim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog
    Foreigners who enter Thailand via an on-arrival visa - valid for 30 days - will not be considered.
    No such thing.
    Visa on arrival is valid for 15 days

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog View Post
    For example, Siam Commercial Bank and Bank of Ayudhya require a minimum work-permit period of six months. .
    Wrong Ekarin Bumroongpuk!!

    I have a Siam Commercial account and have never had a W.P.

    I just took my buddy to one of the branches on Suk and he got an account and he has no W.P and only has a tourist visa.

    Any others that have an account with SCB that do not have work permits?

  16. #16
    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    The Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Operatives, justed wanted a passport and a bit of money. Savings account and debit card (not Visa or MC though)

  17. #17
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    ^^
    You are married to a Thai, yes? That probably makes a difference too. I expect it is also possible to obtain a bank account at SCB with a retirement visa otherwise I fail to see how retirees can deposit ThB 800,000 here.

    Maybe someone here has the answer.....but like everything here there are rules, but most Thais either ignore tham or don't understand them.
    I see fish. They are everywhere. They don't know they are fish.

  18. #18
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    I would never do business with Bangkok Bank after reading this article back in 2006. I have put her insulting comments into bold print.

    Famed Thai hospitality shows signs of strain - International Herald Tribune
    Famed Thai hospitality shows signs of strain


    BANGKOK: Long one of the most open and accommodating destinations for tourists and businesspeople in Asia, the well-advertised "land of smiles" is showing signs of a subtle frown directed toward foreigners.
    Over the past seven months, successive Thai governments have passed measures scrutinizing land purchases by non-Thais and clamping down on long-stay retirees and expatriate workers who lack proper visas. In January, the cabinet passed a sweeping bill that tightens restrictions on foreign companies, a measure that awaits final approval.


    "There's been a trend that suggests rising economic nationalism," said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a professor of political science at Chulalongkorn University. Thailand, he said, has fallen into a "very complex mood of ambivalence" toward outsiders under the military-led government that seized power last September.
    That mood is evident in a 12th-floor conference room at the headquarters of Bangkok Bank, where Vongthip Chumpani, an adviser and former vice president at the bank, expresses her frustrations about certain types of foreigners who come to Thailand and tend to stay.


    "We are getting a lot of weird retirees here," Vongthip said. "They can't survive in your country so they come here."

    Thailand needs to slow down and catch its breath, she said. Thaksin Shinawatra, the prime minister ousted in September, had entered into a flurry of free-trade agreements with Australia, China, Japan, the United States and others. To Vongthip's thinking, he tried to pry the country open too quickly.


    "We bent over backward all the time to accommodate foreign investors," she said.
    That could be changing.


    Under proposed new rules for foreign investors, companies such as Federal Express might have to give up control of their operations in Thailand. Car and electronics manufacturers could be barred from delivering their cars or disk drives to ports for export; only Thai-owned companies would be allowed to transport items within the country.



    Retail chains big ones like Carrefour and hundreds of smaller ones could be frozen out of future expansion. Land purchases by thousands of foreigners could be declared illegal.
    These amendments to the Foreign Business Act were approved by the Thai cabinet in January and are now under review by the Council of State, an independent government body of legal experts.
    Since the very first boatloads of Portuguese and Dutch emissaries arrived here five centuries ago, Thailand has had a knack for dealing with foreigners: trade but not domination, hospitality but not subservience. Thais successfully gleaned technology from Europeans, Americans and Japanese, and the elite sent their children to study abroad. Unlike all of its neighbors, Thailand was never colonized.
    But this was before millions of tourists poured into the country's spas, beaches, golf courses and restaurants not to mention red-light districts and massage parlors. The number of tourists visiting Thailand, whose population is 64 million, is expected to reach nearly 15 million this year, a doubling over the past decade.
    On the southern resort island of Phuket, roadside billboards, written in English, advertise million-dollar condominiums this in a country where a schoolteacher is lucky to bring home a few hundred dollars a month. In northeastern Thailand, men from Germany, Switzerland, Britain and other Western countries live with their Thai wives on neatly groomed streets that stand out from ramshackle neighboring villages.


    "I've seen so many old farangs with young Thai women," said Nattaya Rattanamanee, 31, an accountant working at a hotel on the resort island of Samui, using the Thai word for Westerners. "These old farangs damage the reputation of Thailand; they turn Thailand into a land of prostitutes.

    Feeling the strain of the tourist influx, the Thai government recently announced a new approach: the country would no longer focus on the quantity of tourists, but instead target "quality" read "wealthy" tourists.
    "In years past we've always targeted numbers: trying to achieve the highest numbers of arrivals possible," said Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, a spokesman for the Tourism Authority of Thailand. "It's time to change. If we continue to focus mainly on numbers, some destinations will not be able to handle that many people."
    Any resentment that Thais may harbor toward foreigners is unlikely to be felt by short-term vacationers. It is hidden behind an often genuine Thai smile and shielded by a wall of politeness. There is no generalized backlash against foreigners, Thais say, but rather concerns about specific problems: criminals who come to Thailand on the lam, the increase in land purchases by foreigners and foreign companies having too much influence in the economy.
    In September, just before the coup, the head of the country's immigration department announced that foreign tourists would be limited to staying in Thailand for 90 days within any six- month period. This was primarily aimed at foreign retirees who take up permanent residence without proper paperwork and the thousands of people working here without work visas.

  19. #19
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    page 2. Not SCB Vice president making statements, but it is interesting.



    One such person was John Mark Karr, the American who falsely confessed to the 1996 killing of JonBenet Ramsey, a Colorado schoolgirl, and was living in Bangkok as an English teacher. Karr's apprehension last August in Bangkok buttressed Thailand's image as a magnet for creeps and perverts.


    "I hate them. There are so many of those in Thailand," said Yupa Boontaworn, a 22-year-old university student, when asked about people like Karr. Tourism is good for the Thai economy, she said, but the government should move more aggressively against pedophiles and sex tourists.
    As a tourist destination, Thailand shares much in common with the Netherlands: a hands-off government and the veneer of a tolerant society, but a surprisingly conservative core. In some ways, anti-foreign feelings in Thailand arise from the clash between the permissive Thailand of skimpily clad bar girls twirling around poles and the more traditional side of the country, where women are too shy even to wear a swimsuit on a beach. Today, that veneer of tolerance, while still intact, is chipping.


    "Foreigners shouldn't be able to do anything they please in Thailand," said Samree Ardsuan, 68, a retired civil servant. If someone led a demonstration protesting foreign ownership of companies, Samree said, he would definitely join in.
    With a few exceptions such as condominiums and small plots, foreigners are barred from owning property in Thailand. But many have skirted these laws by registering shell companies, a practice that the government now promises to stop.
    The mood toward foreigners today, analysts say, is a corollary to Thailand's political crisis. Many Thais became defensive when foreign governments criticized the coup in September as undemocratic, and today there are occasional nationalist outbursts. In February, the head of the military junta, Sonthi Boonyaratglin, vowed to retake stakes in a satellite company that Thaksin's family sold to a Singapore government agency last year.
    The Thai government says the proposed amendments to the Foreign Business Act are long overdue clarifications. But to some Thais, including Vongthip of Bangkok Bank, the law would also help redress what is seen here as the injustices that accompanied the financial crisis of the late 1990s, when indebted Thai companies were forced to sell their assets cheaply to foreigners. Foreign banks and companies, Vongthip said, "picked up everything for a song."
    Many questions about the amendments remain. Analysts say there could be less pressure for a new law since one of the more nationalist members of the Thai cabinet, Pridiyathorn Devakula, stepped down as finance minister in February.
    The legal committee also appears to be casting a skeptical eye on the proposed new law. "The majority of the committee is not sure that the law needs to be amended," Pakorn Nilprapan, the committee's secretary, said this month. "We are seeking explanations from the Ministry of Commerce."
    Even if the amendments do become law, many here predict that the law's harshest provisions will be quietly forgotten.
    "I don't think it's going to be enforced it's just not the Thai way," said David Lyman, chairman of Tilleke & Gibbons, a prominent Bangkok law firm.
    Lyman, who first moved to Thailand in 1949, says he has seen this all before: the government has threatened to restrict foreign ownership on and off for nearly four decades.
    "Reason usually ends up prevailing in Thailand after all other options have been exhausted," Lyman said.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by chitown
    I have a Siam Commercial account and have never had a W.P.
    I had workpermit when i got mine, but when i was leaving they changed the laws and told me that could not get a new one once I had left....

    Mind you I was fortunate to be able to drop a name and then suddenly I was able to get...

  21. #21
    ding ding ding
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog
    This is the first article in a series about personal finance for expatriates. The second part will appear next week.
    Will they be discussing why those nasty whities dont seem to get any interest paid on thier deposits?


    Quote Originally Posted by chitown
    These old farangs damage the reputation of Thailand; they turn Thailand into a land of prostitutes.
    No they fcuking dont, Thailands elite perpetuate prostitution by being greedy selfish koonts and not doing enough for the poor that built this country.

  22. #22
    Thailand Expat

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thormaturge
    ^ If they have an internationally recognised symbol such as Master Card/Maestro or Visa then yes they can be used worldwide.
    WRONG big fucking huge kimchi stinking wrong.

    Our cards do, but the bank doesn't activate them so they can.

    It's been an ongoing battle in Kimchistan for years.

    The government and the head of the banking says it's not a policy.
    Banks say otherwise

  23. #23
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    The article as a guide is pointless as individual rules vary from branch to branch regardless of a particular bank's policies.

    My basic ATM card from Bangkok Bank works overseas. I rarely use that account though.

    I have accounts in the UK, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and offshore Channel Islands. Having a Thai account is rather pointless to me.

    A Thai bank account is something of a status symbol for some expats apparently.
    Mortals you defy the Gods, I sentence you to travel among unknown stars, until you find the Kingdom of Hades, your bodies will stay as lifeless as stone.

  24. #24
    bkkandrew
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    I only use my Kasikorn and Ayudhya accounts for bits and bobs now, or unless the GBP rate is really good on a given day and chuck money in them from Nationwide or by changing Sterling notes at Pratunam.

    There nice to know that you have them, but Nationwide provides far more flexability.

    I set them up about 6-years ago with no hassle whatsoever. No Visa, WP, just passport and a smile.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmperorTud
    A Thai bank account is something of a status symbol for some expats apparently.
    ....as are accounts in UK, Australia, Singapore and offshore for others....apparently

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