Using a Thai Bank Account
Find out how the Thai banking services operate...
For a typical Savings Account an ATM card and pass book will be issued that can be used to withdraw or deposit money and to make bank transfers. For those opening an account for a business a cheque book may also be issued.
The ATM card is the most convenient way of accessing money. The ATM card issued will work in any ATM machine regardless of the holder's bank account although there may be a charge. See Deposits and withdrawals below.
Issuing a bank pass book is standard practice in Thailand. The account holder can check balances and transactions by making a request from a teller or by using the bank's automated teller. If the pass book is not updated regularly at the bank, when it is updated, a summary of all transactions completed since the last update will be shown as a single figure.
Some banking services are available only at the branch at which their account was opened, as that is where their signature is on record. Check with the bank for details.
Note: bank statements are not mailed to the account holder's home and overdrafts on savings accounts are impossible.
Banking hours are generally from 08:30-15:30, Monday to Friday, except on public holidays. However, some branches may be open at the weekend. Check the business hours of the chosen bank when opening an account.
A foreign resident may also apply for a credit card. It is not an easy process, therefore, when applying it is essential to have all documentation available to prove residency as well as creditworthiness.
The interest rate will vary depending on the bank and the Minimum Lending Rate (MLR) at the time.
Most Thai banks now offer Internet banking. Additionally, if a person still has an active account in their home country, they can use the Internet banking system to check balances and to make money transfers.
Thailand cheque procedures
A person can use any branch of their bank to deposit cheques. In order to cash a cheque, a person must go to the branch number on the cheque of the issuing party. When cashing a cheque it is essential to take a passport or Thai identification card.
A cheque can take two to three days to clear if it did not originate from the same bank. If the same bank is used by the account holder and the issuing party, the funds should be available immediately.
Withdrawals can be made at the ATM. This is free if the account holder uses an ATM from their bank in the same province. However, when using the ATM of the same bank outside of the province a small fee is charged. The use of an ATM of another bank in the same province as the holder's bank account also incurs a small fee, which is higher in another province.
Foreign account holders must bring their passport to make any withdrawals at the counter. Each bank will have individual rules regarding the amount allowed to be withdrawn each day using an ATM card. For larger withdrawals, the account holder may need to go to their bank branch with their pass book and passport.
Each bank also has a deposit machine where account holders can input their account number, place the deposited amount of Thai baht in the appropriate slot and process the deposit. A deposit receipt will be given and the account holder can also have the full transaction printed on their bank pass book. There is no limit to the amount deposited; however, if depositing a large amount of money, the bank may ask for documentation on how the money was obtained.
Banks in Thailand do not use an IBAN (International Bank Account Number) identification number; however, they do use the SWIFT coding system for banking transactions.
There are several ways to transfer money within Thailand and to and from the country.
- Transfers within Thailand can be carried out at a branch of the person's bank with a pass book or from one of the bank's cash machines using an ATM card
- Wiring money from an overseas bank account to a Thai bank account usually takes three to five days depending on the bank and the system used. Each bank has its own charges for this service. Sums over $20,000 in any currency will require additional paperwork by Thailand’s central bank, typically a foreign exchange transaction form
- International cashier's cheque or money order is an inexpensive means of transfer that can be made at the local bank. To send money or to receive cash, a passport is required
- Western Union: an easy, quick, but expensive way to transfer money
- Transferring money overseas from Thailand can be more complicated, although some banks offer this service as part of Internet banking. Transferring money will normally require an invoice from the receiver of the funds. The following documents are usually, but not always, required:
- Information and/or documentation on the person who is receiving the funds (for example, if it is for child's tuition, have tuition papers available as well as proof of kinship)
- A foreign exchange transaction form will usually be required for sums over $20,000 in any currency