The question of whether to open up a bank account in Thai currency has been asked by one expat after another. The answer is: it would depend on your intentions for coming to Thailand.
For instance, if you’re a tourist who is just coming over for a short holiday that takes at most 30 days, there’s no need for you to open a local currency bank account. You’re only here for a short time, and probably won’t be back for another year or two.
However, with the Special Tourist Visa in full swing, some long-stay tourists might want to open a local currency bank account.
For those who are in Thailand for the long term, then opening up a bank account in baht is definitely necessary. This is true for those who are in Thailand on student, business, retirement and spousal visas, as well as those with work permits.
Advantages of Opening a Baht Bank Account
There is only one reason why you should be opening a bank account if you’re one of the aforementioned groups. The reason is simple – you’ll be spending baht the entirety of your stay in the Kingdom, and you need a source of local currency. Thus, you will need a baht account for that.
Here are some of the advantages of opening up a bank account in local currency:
- No waiting in line in currency exchangers. You do have to wait in line to withdraw from the ATM, but you don’t have to fill up any paperwork as you would if you’re having foreign currency exchanged.
- No expensive charges. Withdrawing money from a foreign currency account comes with exorbitant charges. If you have a local bank account, however, you will not have to deal with such charges every time you draw money from the machine.
- The amount of money in your account remains fixed. If you live off your foreign currency account, you’ll be losing or gaining money from foreign exchange with each passing month. With a baht account, the amount of money you possess remains constant the entirety of your stay in the Kingdom.
The advantages of having a bank account in baht may be few, but their effects on your spending power and lifestyle are significant. If you’re playing on staying in Thailand for the long-term, then you really need a local bank account.
How to Sign Up for a Local Bank Account in Thailand
Each bank has its own set of rules and regulations on which tourist on what visa is qualified to apply and open up a bank account in Thailand, but more often than not, the documentary requirements are the same.
Prepare any of the following documents that’s in your possession:
- Thai driving license
- Proof of employment and income
- Letter of reference from an educational institution, your employer, or your embassy
- Proof of address while staying in Thailand, i.e. lease contract, proof of condominium ownership, house registration, etc.
- ID picture
It’s possible to check online with individual banks on what their actual requirements are, or visit each bank in person if you want to have your questions answered by their new account specialists.
For members of Thailand Elite, they can avail of the services of the Elite Personal Assistant assigned to them. This service is available in Bangkok only.