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Southeast Asia forum

Opening a Bank Account

Posted by Moonbear on 19/3/2011 at 14:13


I am currently living in Malaysia, but I plan on leaving in a month. Before I leave, I want to do a two month trip in SE Asia. I plan to travel some in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

I am wondering if there is a bank that I could open an account in that has branches throughout SE Asia. I would like to be able to transfer the money I have earned while living in Malaysia to an account in a bank that is more widely available in SE Asia. I currently have an account at Public Bank because my employer originally helped me open an account with them. But they are local and do not have branches outside Malaysia and Singapore.

Any suggestions? I have heard that ANZ is an option but I don't believe they have any branches in Malaysia. Please correct me if I am wrong.

#1 Moonbear has been a member since 12/3/2011. Posts: 5

Posted by goonistik on 20/3/2011 at 07:23

The two banks that I can think of with a wide Asian network are Standard Chartered and Hong Kong Shanghai Bank.

#2 goonistik has been a member since 7/1/2010. Location: Philippines. Posts: 562
 Where has goonistik been? 

Posted by eastwest on 20/3/2011 at 09:13

Those banks do not have a big presence in Cambodia and Vietnam.
ANZ would remain your best bet. If they don't have a branch in Malaysia then you could consider opening one after arrival. I thought only requirement is that you can't overdraw and have to leave a minimum amount of $50 in the account. That would be your only loss.

Depending on how long you stay in the region you could easily "earn" that $50 because of lower/no atm fees.

#3 eastwest has been a member since 17/12/2009. Posts: 778

Posted by goonistik on 20/3/2011 at 10:14

Allow me to clarify what I meant. StanChar and HKSB have an office in almost all Asian countries.

#4 goonistik has been a member since 7/1/2010. Location: Philippines. Posts: 562
 Where has goonistik been? 

Posted by ryder80 on 20/3/2011 at 21:33

hi goonistik,

when you say HKSB, are you referring to HSBC?

i'll be in hong kong 1st, would HSBC be the best overall to choose from?

#5 ryder80 has been a member since 19/12/2010. Posts: 83

Posted by eastwest on 21/3/2011 at 08:38

He/she probably is referring to HSBC and while they do have an office in many asian countries they don't have one in Cambodia and in the other countries they don't have a wide network of their own ATMs in SE asia. Just a head office (Bangkok & Saigon) for corporate banking where you could withdraw money.
They do have plans to expand in the consumer market (with ATMs) in SE-asia but currently haven't made any serious work of it.

I don't know what you want to use it for but if it is to withdraw small amounts of money at ATMs HSBC is just as good as any other international bank in terms of availabillity since you would have to use other bank's ATMs (with the attached fees)

#6 eastwest has been a member since 17/12/2009. Posts: 778

Posted by idreamofdurian on 21/3/2011 at 12:35 TF writer

I'm an expat in in Singapore and opened an account with HSBC, thinking it would be a good choice for a bank account to use while traveling internationally. I have to say I've been consistently disappointed with it. They don't have as many international ATMs as I expected (their motto is "the world's local bank") and the withdrawal fee from non-HSBC ATMs is quite high. Even when I do find an HSBC ATM in a foreign country they still charge a withdrawal fee from SGD 4 - 7 to use their own ATMs! The only time I don't pay a fee is when I withdraw in Singapore.

I'd suggest you do some research about CitiBank or ANZ as they have a growing presence across SE Asia. ANZ is even in Laos.

#7 idreamofdurian has been a member since 5/9/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 576
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