13 thoughts on “Bank Accounts for Expats or Visitors in Thailand… (Heads up)”

  1. I think you will find that is a particular problem just with Citibank – NOT just Thailand but Asia and possibly wider spread.

    From memory, branches operate independently like a franchise business !!

    I’m not sure how linked they (Citibank) are but I use Kasikorn between BKK and Udon Thani with no problems !

    ps Vern I used moneybookers from Australia to Thailand … it was not the easiest and certainly not the quickest transaction – it took nearly a month because of poor communication – it became very complex with security codes and verification. :-(

  2. Thanks to everyone for your comments – I learned a lot. I think lately I’ve just been down on Thailand because I’m trying to stay afloat online and there are so many things that are inhibiting progress. 1. Consistent internet.
    2. Banking issues.
    3. Fears of censorship.
    4. Fears of having my online accounts hijacked. I change passwords for all accounts about every 3 days now.
    5. Finding a database programmer that is a> honest b> competent c> not backlogged with projects already

    Getting back to bank accounts… Do you know how many accounts I’ve had here over 3 years? Oh man… 11? I think 11. Everytime I change residence, close and open an account. Everytime I lose an atm or have it stolen, close and open a new account. It’s nuts! Everytime I start a job and they want to direct deposit to a certain bank, open another account. I’m sure I have accounts open I’m not aware about anymore.

    PS: anyone use moneybookers?

  3. This is just another reason not to bank with Thai banks. I just take several months income when visiting in the form of travelers checks and cash them when needed. I tried to open a Thai bank account, but the red tape and lack of cooperation was just too much. They obviously don’t want foreigners money in their precious banks.

  4. It used to drive me crazy with the Thai banking system, too. Half the time one bank’s ATM was offline.

    I wish they’d get Debit card transactions set up and running at the grocery stores too. I do love the convenience of rarely needing to carry cash on me here in the US.

    I’ve had your blog bookmarked and have enjoyed your writing for a few months now, Vern. Thanks for visiting my blog too! :)

  5. Hi Vern,
    yeah I know! Crazy isn’t it? Last year I went to Thailand with my bf and borrowed my mum’s ATM (yes yes, I know) and then got my purse stolen. Quite a hassle to call from Bangkok to my mum in Denmark so she could call the bank in Ubon and close her card.
    Doesn’t really make much sense, but until someone (thai of course, they won’t listen to a farang to save their life… sort of like me refusing to listen to any advice that comes from my dad *lol*) figures out to implement an intrasystem for the branches to communicate internly, it is the thai wai. :)

  6. Hey Vern. Noot and I just broke open a money box that had 14,000 baht in coins in it. She banks with Knrung Thai and she went to one of the boutique banks near the mobile phone shops at Big C that has just opened and they said they only accepted 500 baht worth of coins and she would have to go to the main branch on Monday.

    She went to the main bank and she was informed that she couldn’t deposit the money into her existing account as they only accepted 500 hundred bahts worth of coins.

    Yes, they wouldn’t accept more than 500 bahts worth.

    The only bank that would accept this amount of money was the Goverment Savings Bank. All the big banks wouldn’t accept money in coins of this size.

    I am going to blog about the whole thing but I am also going to close the account at Krung Thai and put the whole lot into the Goverment Savings Bank. (it won’t matter to the bank but it’s principal)
    Thai Banks are really fuc*ed up at times. This is why Thailand is where it is with its backwater dealings.


  7. Hahaha…I knew exactly where you were going with that as soon as I read the first paragraph. No matter that Citibank could probably buy the entire Thai banking system. Just another example of how Westerners cannot possibly understand how Thai’s think.

    It does seem that some Thai banks are starting to get up to speed, but considering the pace of change in Thailand it will be at least another decade until the banks are up to what we consider snuff. Oh well, can’t cash your check here…mai bpen rai khun Vern

  8. Hi, with the Bangkok Bank it depends on which account you have, if you have a normal savings book account you can take out and put money in anywhere in the country that has a BB branch. With fixed deposit accounts it is only the branch where you opened the account or if in Bkk that any BB in the city. Usually, in Bangkok with a BB account there it takes a day for the (Citibank) cheque to clear, putting a cheque in Chiang Mai to clear in acc in Bkk took about five days I seem to recall. I have always found the staff to be quite helpful, esp outside Bkk. Yes, if you have a problem you have to head back to the branch where you opened the account – possibly a security measure. There is nothing to stop you opening multiple BB accounts in different cities, BTW. I use the headoffice in Silom as foreign wire remittances are cleared within 24 hours (assumes the sending bank has a direct relationship with BB, of course), important with the volatile nature of the baht as it can save a couple of thousand baht on a 75k wire.

  9. Hi Kohsija, Thanks for commenting in my blog! I’m not sure what happened, but yes there must have been some miscommunication as is usually the case. My Thai girlfriend was speaking to them and though she’s from Sisaket she is still understood 80% of the time! haha. Everything is different in Thailand, just alerting expats and visitors that banks, even though they have the same franchise name – are independently owned and operated I guess. They have very little connection between branches. That’s strange to us from USA – if bank says, 1st American bank – at any 1st American bank you go to across the whole USA or Hawaii – you can do everything at that branch that you could do at the branch you opened your bank account. Strange to me. Sucks to me actually because what’s the purpose of having the same name? :) Vern

  10. I think your problem may come from misunderstood communication with bank officer.

    But some problem that you mention is true,
    that’s Thai bank cultures.

    Welcome to Thailand :)

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