How to open a local bank account in Thailand

If you plan to study in Thailand for an extended period, a local bank account is extremely useful if not essential. With a local bank account, you can transfer money from your international account quickly and easily and avoid most of the high charges associated with international card ATM withdrawals. But how do you open a local bank account in Thailand? Read some of our most frequently asked questions to find out more:

Q: Can foreigners open bank accounts in Thailand?

A: Yes. You can open an account if you have a non-immigrant visa, an extension of stay, or a short-stay visa. Some banks have differing requirements but all of them require a passport with a valid visa (most will make any necessary photocopies in the branch) and proof of an established residence.

Q: Can I open a bank account with a Thailand Education Visa?

A: Yes. With an ED Visa, you will be able to easily open a local bank account. Just inform ALA at least a week in advance, ALA Team will prepare a set of documents for you. By the way, you can apply for a local bank account within 2 mounts after your ED visa is approved and issued by the Immigration Bureau. The account will usually be called a ‘savings account’ but you can use it as a regular current account regarding withdrawals and getting remittances from overseas. Upon opening the account, you will receive a bank book (a physical book where all transactions are detailed) and an ATM/Debit card. However, don’t expect any credit card facilities from a Thai bank, these are extremely difficult for foreigners to obtain and even when issued must be prepaid before you can use them.

Q: Which Thai bank is best for foreigners?

The answer to this question is largely dependent on who you ask. All the main banks including Bangkok Bank, Siam Commercial and Kasikorn offer essentially the same services including a bank book and an ATM/Debit card with either Mastercard or Visa as the payment processors. Many foreigners prefer Bangkok Bank due to their international presence in many cities across the world meaning the fees charged for an international transfer from the account holders’ country may be less than other Thai banks.

Q: Can you open a bank account online in Thailand?

A: Most, if not all banks in Thailand, require the applicant to be physically present when opening a bank account. However, upon the successful opening of the account most banks including Siam Commercial, Bangkok Bank and Kasikorn will give you immediate online banking if required. They will provide you with all the information you need, including helping with password generation, and may even help you set up their banking app in your native language.

Getting a bank account with an Education Visa in Bangkok is a relatively simple process in the vast majority of cases and you shouldn’t have any issues. If you are planning to learn the Thai language in Bangkok and live in the country for some time a local bank account is a must-have. If you need any advice on banking in Thailand before the start of your course at ALA, please let us know and we’ll be more than happy to help.

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