Banking Tips Before You Move To Thailand

Getting your banking in order before you move to Thailand can save you hours of hassle and frustrations that come with dealing with banking in a different country. Here’s 5 quick tips on ways you can set up your banking at home before you move to Thailand to make your financial transition here easier.

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1. Sign a verbal fax agreement.

This document might be named differently depending on your bank but it allows you to do all your banking over the telephone or by fax. By signing this agreement before you leave you can call or fax your bank with instructions for your account without having to be in your home bank. This is especially useful if you wish to transfer funds to a Thai bank account, a process that some banks require you do in person.

2. Update your debit or credit cards.

The security of our debit or credit cards is not something we think about until they stop working. Before you leave visit your bank and ask them if they plan on releasing any new cards soon. This is especially important if you have an old debit or credit card as the new cards may have new security features. Just as sending financial documents through the mail is dangerous, sending a debit or credit card through the mail is even more so. The best way to have a debit or credit card sent through the mail is have someone you trust send the card separately from the pin number.

3. Switch to paperless banking.

Even though you have settled into your new life in Bangkok you may still have financial statements being mailed to your old address. You could have those documents redirected to Thailand but identity theft experts have been telling us for years that sending sensitive financial documents through the mail is a bad idea. Instead I switched all my financially to paperless banking so that instead of a monthly paper statement I received an email letting me know that my statement is ready for viewing online.

4. Have fun dealing with PayPal!

This is a tip for anyone who uses PayPal as their online payment system. Before you leave call PayPal and let them know that you are moving to a new country and that you will be logging in from a different country IP. If you don’t do this there is a chance PayPal will flag your account and lock you out of it, preventing you from sending or receiving any funds. To unlock your account you need to follow a number of steps to prove your identity, one of which is entering a code that PayPal send your in the mail. If you are already in Thailand and that code gets mailed to your old address back in your home country it could be weeks before you are able to unlock your account. Dealing with PayPal is never a fun experience even in the best of times and it is made even worse when you are in a foreign country with a dodgy phone connection.

5. Can I open a Thai bank account?

This question comes up often on the expat forums and always seems to spawn a lively debate. The easiest way to open a Thai bank account is to have a work permit, if you have a work permit you shouldn’t have any problems. If you don’t have a work permit then there are some banks that will open an account for you and some won’t, the trick is to keep trying until you find one that will open an account for you.

The Kasikorn Bank on Soi 33, near Phrom Phrong BTS station seems to be a bit more flexible on the required documentation and is a popular choice for many expats. The key to remember is that in many cases in Thailand there is no definitive answer to your inquiry. You may be perfectly able to open an account while another expat with the same documentation won’t be. The trick is to keeping smiling at all times and try the banks again at a different time. With enough persistence you’ll eventually will find a bank that will be willing to help you.

Photo: frigante

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  • Jamie Milkovich

    I saw your PIN #.

  • crocodilexp

    Regarding Thai bank accounts it’s important to point out that different BRANCH of the SAME BANK might have a different policy regarding opening accounts. That is completely unexpected by westerners (or anyone sane for that matter).

    • LOL! So true. And this is why it doesn’t pay to get upset. It’s tempting as the lack of a uniform policy can be frustrating but the key is to keep trying.

      Good comment crocodilexp!

  • Kasikorn Bank is definitely the most foreigner-friendly bank. I was able to open a bank account while in a country on a 30 day visa-waiver visit. I was required to provide an address in Thailand, but a trusted friend was happy to let me use her address. All you need is your passport and some initial funds to deposit and you get your atm card straight away.

  • kritika gulati

    i m very happy to read this information i hope it will surely help me to open a bank account in bangkok.

  • Aidan

    hey, i like your videos it helped me alot when me and my friends went to thailand a few weeks ago. i am thinking of going up there at the end of the year for 4 weeks, staying in a hotel. im currently living in australia and would like to know if i need a visa for 4 weeks? also i have a thai girlfriend so if i can find some kind of computer related work in thailand i might consider staying. is there alot of work for someone like me who has a bachelors in computer networking?

    Thanks in advance for your help

    Aidan

  • Aidan

    Hey Tony

    Thanks for your quick reply, i appreciate it and i’m listening to your podcast as i write this comment,

    Thanks again

    Aidan

  • Hey Tony, I’ve just been listening to your podcasts and reading through your comments, and they have been so helpful. Is it really true that a free 60 tourist visa is available? I’m coming over the Thailand (Koh Tao), from Australia, for three months at the beginning of May, and we haven’t been sure what to do about the visa situation. I know we will have to get a 30 day extension, or do a visa run after 60 days. Should we apply for the 60 day tourist visa now, or can we do it when we arrive? Sorry to bombard you with so many questions!

    • I believe the tourist visa is still free. So I would apply for a double entry tourist visa in OZ before you come over. Once you’re here you can extend it for 30 days which covers your 3 months. If you arrive at the airport without a visa they will give you a 30 days tourist one, so better to apply before.

  • Adam

    I am moving to Bangkok in 2 months and planning on stay there full time with my Thai girlfriend
    Got any tips such as , should I keep my money in an australian account of put it in a Thai bank , should I make myself a non resident after I move
    Any advice or experiences you can share would be great

    • Open a Thai bank account and move some money to Thailand but I would recommend you keep some money in your Australian account, at until you are 100% sure you plan on staying in Thailand forever.

      Many farangs come thinking that they’ll stay forever but end up leaving after a few years. Better to keep some money stashed away in OZ just in case you want to go back.

  • I just got my visa and they aren’t free any longer. Western Union looks like the safest and least expensive option for me at this point, comong from the US anyway. To send $1000 usd to myself via the account I opened up they said it will only cost $8 usd and nothing on the conversion. Seemed a little too perfect so I’ll rely on my credit cards until I’ve tried this for myself but it’s definitely the way to go at first glance. I’ll let you know when I get back over there in April. Cheers!