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Banking and ATM Cash in Thailand

In Thailand, as with other places of the world, it is possible to make (and lose) your money. But, there are some general banking guidelines you should follow.

Thailand is Alive with ATM Cash Machines

The currency in Thailand is the Thai Baht (THB).

Most westerners will get a lot of them for your Dollar, Euro, or your Pound Sterling.

That means it is easier to feel rich in Thailand.

What will it buy? How well do you want to live? Many shop assistant staff earn from 6,000 - 12,000 THB Per month.

Large cities or small towns, there will be an ATM within walking distance. Don't expect to find an ATM in a rural village. Be prepared for the fact that the screen will most likely display instructions in Thai.

Don't worry - there will be an option somewhere on the screen for English Language.

Check with your bank or card provider to ensure that your card can be used in Thailand. Obviously if you use your credit card instead of your debit card, then be prepared for the interest charge, which is not applicable with your debit card.

There may be a small charge for the ATM use in Thailand, but this will probably be dwarfed by the charge for this 'service' from your bank back home.

DO inform your bank/card provider that you are likely to be using your card in Thailand before you go. Some banks are 'nervous' about money leaving your account when accessed in Thailand.

Financial fraud is not exactly unknown in Thailand. If you make two withdrawals in a day, this may unnecessarily fly red flags back home. A word with your bank manager (those were the days), or the person on 'customer services desk - should prevent problems.

Banking in Thailand

It is generally quite easy to open a savings account with a Thai bank. Documents required, will probably include Passport, Work Permit - if applicable, type of Visa, and Credit/Debit Card. Current (Cheque accounts) will require a work permit.

It is also feasible for a foreigner to open a foreign currency account. Be aware that this will need to conform to the Thai Exchange Regulations.

(Work permit is/should be mandatory for foreigners, but is not always the case! Savings accounts are permissible without Work permit, and cheques only take a couple of days to clear.)

Short-term Stay (a few months)

If you are only intending to stay in Thailand for just a few months or so, and your main income is paid in any other currency to THB, then it is probably best to retain your current banking facilities and see if they offer any services specifically for Thailand.

Internet and telephone banking facilities will be the best option. Check to make sure that your 'card' will be ok with Thai ATMs.

Longer Term Stays

Most of the larger Thai banks have branches in the suburbs, which are well staffed. However, whereas the main city bank will invariably have English speaking staff, this is not always the case with suburban branches.

A great plus side is that the Thai staff will invariably be pleasant and helpful. For withdrawing cash, you may well need your passport - especially if you are visiting a branch other than where you opened your account.

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