Hi is it worth opening a Thai bank account when traveling S.E.A? I'll be in thailand for the first 2months, then probably a month in each of the others. This will avoid the high bank charges encountered by using a UK card and get me a much better exchange rate too when i deposit cash. I understand there the initial risk from airport to bank but its one i'm prepared to take. Also i should imagine using a thai account will have cheaper atm charges in the other SEA counties then a weestern card?
Opinions and thoughts guys, its getting close!
#1 littletimmy has been a member since 19/8/2012. Posts: 22
Yes you would avoid a lot of bank fees and the 150B withdrawal charge, but unfortunately things don't work like that.
Think about it. Can foreign tourists wander into high street banks in the UK and open accounts to avoid ATM charges? Nope. I've got a British passport but even I'm not allowed to have a British bank account because I'm not a UK resident.
Usually you need to prove you're a permanent resident to open a bank account in Thailand too. So I don't think you'll find it very easy to open a bank account if you've just got a tourist visa (or worse still a 30 day entry stamp) in your passport and your address is the name of a hotel or guesthouse. There may be some banks that are more lax than others but I don't know which ones they are.
My experience is similar to SBE's. It is difficult if not impossible to get a bank account unless you are a resident. I spent a full day once getting the run around from a bunch of different Thai banks trying to help a friend open a baht-denominated account in Bangkok with no luck. Even if you could get one, I'm not sure the effort would be worth the small amount of ATM fees you'd save for a relatively short visit of just a few months.
If anyone had a different experience and managed to open a Thai bank account, I'd love to hear the circumstances and which bank it was so I can share that information with my friend. Thanks.