A local Thai bank account can significantly simplify your financial affairs if you’re a foreign property owner in Thailand. It simplifies financial matters and allows you to seamlessly manage property-related expenses, such as maintenance fees, utilities, rental income, and selling or buying property. This guide will walk you through opening a bank account in Thailand, from all eligibility criteria, document requirements, and account types to how to open a bank account in Thailand.
7 steps to open a bank account in Thailand
Foreigners can open a bank account in Thailand if they meet all the requirements. Here are the steps that foreigners need to follow:
- Select a local bank account.
- Collect the required documents.
- Visit the nearest branch to initiate the process of opening a local bank account.
- Complete the application form and submit it along with the already gathered documents.
- Once you’ve submitted the application and paperwork, you’ll need to await approval from the Thai bank.
- Make a deposit payment; most Thai banks typically require a minimum deposit of ฿ 500 ($13.50).
- Receive your debit card.
Different kinds of bank accounts in Thailand
Foreigners who want to open a bank account in Thailand should know the different types of available bank accounts. Here are three common ones in Thailand:
- Savings account: This is Thailand’s most common type of bank account. It gives you a debit card and a passbook (like a bank book) to keep track of your transactions.
- Current account: The current account is the same as a savings account but with a twist. You get a debit card, like a savings account, but you get a checkbook instead of a passbook. To open a current account, you need a Thai work permit.
- Fixed-term account: This one offers more interest than the other types. However, foreigners might get a different interest rate than Thai citizens.
Best bank account in Thailand
Which bank can foreigners open a bank account in Thailand?
When people from other countries come to Thailand, they usually consider Bangkok Bank and Kasikorn Bank to open a bank account. UOB (which took over Citibank’s regular banking in Thailand in 2022) and CIMB are good options because they are more flexible with foreigners and offer extra advantages for foreigners living in Thailand.
But remember, there are other banks, too. The right bank for you depends on what you need. Here are some recommendations to consider when you want to open a bank account in Thailand.
1. Bangkok Bank
SWIFT/BIC CODE: BKKBTHBKXXX
Bangkok Bank is the biggest bank in Thailand, with over 1,200 branches in the country. They are very friendly to foreigners and have the most branches of any Thai bank in other countries, too.
When sending money from other countries to Thailand, Bangkok Bank likely offers the most favorable exchange rate among all Thai banks.
2. Kasikorn Bank
SWIFT/BIC CODE: KASITHBK XX
Kasikorn Bank is one of the biggest banks in Thailand, and they have many branches and ATMs all over the country. They care about the environment and invest money in sustainable projects.
Foreigners who want to open a bank account in Thailand at Kasikorn Bank can choose between a savings, fixed, and current account. They also offer debit and credit cards. However, it can be difficult to cash foreign money checks at this bank, as they sometimes have long queues at their branches and ATMs. This is because many people use their services.
3. United Overseas Bank (UOB)
SWIFT/BIC CODE: UOVBTHBK XXX
United Overseas Bank (UOB) made a big move in 2022 by taking over Citibank’s consumer banking business in Thailand. This included regular banking, credit cards, wealth management, and other services in Thailand.
UOB Premier and Preferred credit cards are a good choice if you’re into dining and shopping, as they offer many benefits to customers who use their cards in Thai malls.
SWIFT/BIC CODE: UBOBTHBKXXX
CIMB is a bank from Malaysia and one of the largest in the ASEAN area. Many people consider it easy to open a bank account in Thailand with a tourist visa at CIMB. One of the benefits is that CIMB has staff who speak English well, which is pretty helpful to foreigners.
CIMB also gives you more money in your savings account. For customers who have less than ฿ 1 million ($27,000) in your account, CIMB offers a 0.50% interest rate. Customers with more than ฿ 1 million ($27,000) in their bank account receive a 0.75% interest rate.
Bank fees in Thailand
Having a Thai bank account can cost between ฿ 50 ($1.35) and ฿ 700 ($18.90) each year. How much you pay depends on the bank and the type of service they offer.
There will be no extra charge when using an ATM in Thailand from the same bank that issued your ATM card. Conversely, if you use an ATM from a different bank, you may be charged for each withdrawal, although uncommon.
Best bank for foreigners in Thailand: Wise
Foreigners who live or travel in Thailand benefit most from a Wise bank account. Wise is a bank that offers multi-currency accounts with a debit card. This card can hold 50 different currencies, perfect for people who want to send, spend, and receive Thai baht or any other foreign currency.
Multi-currency bank account with low fees
Users of Wise can convert any currency for a cheap rate in the Wise smartphone application. Once your money is converted to Thai baht, you can spend it in Thailand without paying the local conversion rate. This means you can withdraw Thai baht at almost any ATM in Thailand without paying high fees. Some banks charge an extra fee for using their ATM, although it’s almost always free.
Receive Thai baht (THB)
Property owners who generate income in Thailand can use Wise to receive money. Whether renting your property on Booking.com, Airbnb, or directly to your visitor, Wise will make receiving and spending money in Thailand easier.
How to open a bank account at Wise?
Everybody can open a bank account at Wise here for free. You need to select what kind of bank account you want to open and fill in your details. It’ll only take five minutes to set up your Thai baht bank account at Wise!
Best bank account in Thailand
Required documents to open a bank account in Thailand
The requirements to open a bank account in Thailand depend on the bank you choose; some banks may ask for a Thai residency or work permit, and some don’t. But in all cases, you’ll need to provide at least the following documents:
- Your visa: This could be a three-year non-immigrant visa for business, a non-immigrant visa (O-A long-stay visa), a non-immigrant B visa for business or work, an investment visa, or a valid work permit.
- Your passport.
- Proof of Thai residence: Proof of your current residence in Thailand, such as a lease or rental agreement.
- Employment letter: A letter from your employer verifying your job title and employment status in Thailand.
- Bank reference: A reference from your home country’s bank account or embassy.
Foreigners who want to open a bank account in Thailand can do so at several banks, such as Bangkok Bank, Kasikorn Bank, UOB, and CIMB. The available banks offer different types of bank accounts and services. Always consider features such as potential fees, interest, and cards. Before you open a bank account in Thailand, ensure you have all the required documents in order.
Do you want to spend, receive, and send Thai baht without paying fees? You can open a bank account at Wise for free within five minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Who can open a bank account in Thailand?
Thai citizens, permanent residents, and foreigners with valid visas can open a bank account in Thailand.
Which Thai bank is best for foreigners?
Foreigners often choose Bangkok Bank and Kasikorn Bank. There are more banks in Thailand, such as UOB and CIMB, which are known for being more welcoming to foreigners and offering good benefits to people living in Thailand.
Do I need a work permit to open a bank account in Thailand?
While a work permit can be helpful to open a bank account in Thailand, it, in reality, is optional. Many banks will allow you to open an account only with a valid visa, although requirements may vary from bank to bank.
What are the advantages of having a Thai bank account as a foreigner?
A local bank account can make managing finances, receiving payments, paying bills, buying property, selling property, and conducting business transactions in Thailand easier. It can also simplify the process of getting specific services.
Can I transfer money from my Thai bank account to an international account?
Yes, Thai banks offer international wire transfer services. You will need to provide the recipient’s bank details, including their account number and SWIFT code, and may incur fees for the transfer. Using Wise as your bank makes transferring Thai baht to any international account easier