After living in Thailand for well over a 1.5 years, I figured this week I would finally get round to creating a Thai bank account in Bangkok. It wasn’t without its problems but you will be happy to know that setting up a Thai bank account on a tourist visa in 2015 is not that hard.
If you’re thinking about moving to Thailand and need help, check out my Thai friend’s website here, she may be able to help you out.
Update: as of right now April 2017 it’s very hard to create a bank account in Thailand without a work permit. The info below may be out of date.
Getting the paperwork before you start
First of all you will need:
- A valid passport
- Your apartment contract stating your name and address
- Drivers license (can be Thai or your one back home)
- Any other document with your name on (mobile phone or Internet bill etc)
- At least 1,000 baht
- Thai person to helps translate (not needed but it would help 1000%)
You won’t need all of the above mentioned to setup a Thai bank account, but some bank branches require more paperwork than others. One even wanted to see documents of my address back in the UK, luckily my drivers license has my full UK address.
Which banks rejected me
Getting rejected is a common thing in my life, be it from job interviews, girls or banking institutions. All together I went to 5 banks, I got rejected from 3, they were:
CIMB Thailand – They rejected me because I did not have a hold a work permit. They also said my Thailand tourist visa was going to run out in less than 30 days and my apartment contract was not a 12 month contract. They seemed sympathetic and I think if my Thai tourist visa was valid for longer with an apartment contract for 12 months, I may have gotten an account here, but I really can’t be sure. The branch I went to was opposite Thong Lo BTS. Nice and friendly staff, no hotties though.
Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) – Here I got a hard no. It was cold, a bit like getting rejected at Funky Villa or Nung Len I didn’t stand a chance. Soon as I asked to setup up a Thai bank account they asked if I had a work permit, I said no. They said I could not get a Thai bank account on a tourist visa so I left the branch with my middle finger raised.
Krungsi Bank – I went to a branch opposite Phrom Phong BTS and the bank teller was being extremely helpful but said she ‘can-not’. The manager there would not allow me to create a Thai bank account with a tourist visa. I bargained with her and she tried her hardest to convince her boss but the answer was no.
It was around 4pm, I had walked longer than I had liked and figure I’d give one more roll of the dice before I headed on home and masturbated. I went to a Bangkok Bank branch and wasn’t feeling too good about getting accepted. Needless to say they did let me create a Thai bank account on a tourist visa quite simply! I told them I was a tourist and they said it was fine, I handed over my details and 300 baht to get a debit card. The account created within 30 minutes and I got Internet banking… I think.
Since there was a language barrier it was kind of hard to understand what the bank teller was telling me. She said something about Internet banking but I guess I will find out if I get an ID number via email or post.
I needed to give Bangkok Bank my driver’s ID, driver’s license that showed my home address in England, a copy of my rental contract, 300 baht for the debit card and some money to deposit into my account.
Tips on creating a Thai bank account on a tourist visa
My biggest advice is to be very polite, have a Thai person on hand to translate and have your paperwork in order. You could even bend the truth a little bit and say you’re waiting for a work-permit and need to create a Thai bank account in the meantime, but I do not suggest this as this is not the right thing to do.
If you want to create a Thai bank account on a Thai tourist visa you need to play the numbers game, which is to visit as many Thai banks as you can. A good place to start is near shopping malls like MBK or Central World, as they have floors dedicated to banks and you can easily walk from one to the next. Just because Bangkok Bank or SCB rejected you in Asoke, doesn’t mean they will reject you again in Siam. It seems each Thai bank branch is different and it depends on their rules.
In total I visited 5 banks and 2 gave me the green light, which I think is pretty good running. I have been told that getting a Thai bank account in cities like Chiang Mai or Udon Thai is much easier than Bangkok so you could always try there if you don’t have any success in the Big Smoke.
Overall I am happy to announce that getting a Thai bank account in Bangkok, Thailand, is not that difficult. You may get turned away by several Thai banks, but keep on trucking until one says yes. Follow the advice above and go with a Bangkok girl to dramatically increase your chances, else get lucky like me.
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