Integrity Legal

2nd October 2009

In Thailand, a major concern for expatriates, tourists, and permanent residents is banking. Many people need to set up Thai bank accounts in order to transact personal business in the Kingdom or for international financial purposes. Unfortunately, like many things in Thailand, setting up a Thai bank account can be somewhat difficult, especially for a new arrival trying to establish themselves. In Thailand, each financial institution has its own unique set of rules and regulations imposed upon those who wish to set up an account. Compounding this byzantine situation is the fact that rules and requirements depend upon the type of account one wishes to set up. Business accounts, Foreign Currency accounts, personal savings accounts, and checking accounts all have differing documentation requirements.

For those entering the Kingdom on a Thai visa exemption, opening a bank account in Thailand may prove difficult as many banks are now requiring that an applicant have at least a long term non-immigrant Thailand visa. Some banks take their due diligence efforts one step further and require that a prospective account holder provide a Thai work permit. The practice of requiring a Thai work permit seems to have become a common requirement for nearly all Thai banks in recent months.

There are others who wish to set up Thai corporate bank accounts in the Kingdom, these people are often either the Managing Director of a Thai company or they are thinking of setting up a Thai company. In either case, a great deal of documentation must be submitted in order to obtain a Thai bank account for a Thai corporation. Even where a corporate account can be established, a personal savings account may be necessary if one wishes to have a debit card. As a general rule in Thailand, banks will not issue debit cards for corporate checking accounts. Credit Cards are also notoriously difficult to obtain for corporations as well as individuals who are not Thai Citizens. It is possible to obtain a Thai Credit card, but in many cases the requirements are extremely stringent.

An issue ancillary to Thai banking is Thai mortgages. Obtaining a Thai mortgage can be very difficult for a foreigner. For those wishing to buy a Thai condo it must be remembered that funds for purchase must be brought into the Kingdom from abroad. How this requirement interacts with issues surrounding the Thai mortgage likely is dependent upon the unique facts of the situation.


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