Eligibility for opening a Thai bank account

You can open a bank account in Thailand if you’re on a non-immigrant visa or extension of stay, a visa exemption stamp, or short-stay visa, and have an established residence in Thailand (more on this soon). 

However, if you’ve searched expat forums on the subject of how to open a Thai bank account, you’ve probably heard it’s difficult. The reason is some bank branches are cautious about foreign customers. It’s not that they don’t want your business. It’s just that servicing foreigners requires Thai banks to deal with complex regulations and for expats to sign additional forms. American citizens can be even more challenging, as the US government requires banks to report the assets of citizens abroad. Another reason for difficulty could simply be a lack of English-speaking staff. 

Let’s be clear, a rejection from a single branch doesn’t mean you’re ineligible for a bank account. It just means you need to find a different branch. While being turned away from multiple banks can be frustrating, there are ways to increase your likelihood of opening an account on your first attempt. More on that soon

Documents needed to open an account on your first try

To successfully open a bank account on your first attempt, you must bring the correct documentation. What you need depends on your visa situation. Below are two common scenarios and the documents you’ll need in each case. 

You need a bank account to acquire a long-term visa

If you need a long-term visa, you may have found yourself in quite the conundrum: a bank account is necessary for your long-term visa, but some banks won’t provide you an account without a long-term visa. What can you do? If you’re in this situation, you probably feel frustrated. But don’t worry, there is a way forward. 

The solution is to bring your passport and proof of residency (like your lease agreement) to your embassy and ask for a letter of reference that confirms your Thai address. Once you’ve received the letter, show it and your passport to the bank and you’ll be able to open the account.  

(For Australians, The Australian Embassy is not authorised to sign or witness forms/letter in non-Australian jurisdictions, according to the Consular Fees Act)

The solution is to bring your passport and proof of residency (like your lease agreement) to your embassy and ask for a letter of reference that confirms your Thai address. Once you’ve received the letter, show it and your passport to the bank and you’ll be able to open the account.

Choosing your ideal Thai bank

Choosing your Thai bank can be tricky because you have so many options. To help narrow your selection down, we’ve described each of the most popular Thai banks and their benefits, below. 

Bangkok Bank

The biggest bank in Thailand with 1,200+ local branches and the largest network of Thai banks abroad, Bangkok Bank is consumer friendly and very welcoming to foreigners. What’s more, overseas money transfers have a good exchange rate and are easy to complete. As our clients regularly share positive customer service experiences about Bangkok Bank, it is Baan Thai’s recommended choice for expats. 

Link: https://www.bangkokbank.com/en 

Kasikorn Bank

The fourth largest bank in Thailand, Kasikorn has a wide network of branches and ATMs and is foreign friendly. The bank also offers convenient international money transfer and intuitive mobile banking. Kasikorn is typically one of the easier accounts to open. 

Link: https://www.kasikornbank.com


Citibank is the largest foreign bank in the country and offers some unique benefits. For example, you can withdraw cash without a fee from their wide network of ATMs worldwide and accumulate Thai Airways frequent flyer miles with their Royal Orchid Plus Select Mastercard. The bank offers excellent digital banking and easy international transfers. 

Link: https://www.citibank.co.th

Krung Thai Bank

A government owned bank, Krung Thai is the country’s second largest bank with over 1,200+ domestic branches. Opening an account at Krung Thai is easy, as little documentation is typically required. 

Link: https://krungthai.com/en

Siam Commercial Bank

SCB offers a wide network of branches, excellent insurance policies, and a user-friendly mobile app. The bank also has a low barrier of entry to open an account. Expats and non-residents often just need a passport and deposit. 

Link: https://www.scb.co.th/en 


Formerly known as Bank Thai, CIMB is the 10th largest commercial bank in the country. They offer a comprehensive spectrum of insurance policies, and expats can open an account on a tourist visa. 

Link: https://www.cimbthai.com/en 

Krungsri Bank / Bank of Ayudhya

Krungsri’s perks include excellent digital banking and easy international transfers. 

They are the fifth largest bank in Thailand and have a wide network of branches throughout the country. 

Link: https://www.krungsri.com/en