Getting your banking in order before you move to Thailand can save you hours of hassle and frustrations that come with dealing with banking in a different country. Here’s 5 quick tips on ways you can set up your banking at home before you move to Thailand to make your financial transition here easier.
1. Sign a verbal fax agreement.
This document might be named differently depending on your bank but it allows you to do all your banking over the telephone or by fax. By signing this agreement before you leave you can call or fax your bank with instructions for your account without having to be in your home bank. This is especially useful if you wish to transfer funds to a Thai bank account, a process that some banks require you do in person.
2. Update your debit or credit cards.
The security of our debit or credit cards is not something we think about until they stop working. Before you leave visit your bank and ask them if they plan on releasing any new cards soon. This is especially important if you have an old debit or credit card as the new cards may have new security features. Just as sending financial documents through the mail is dangerous, sending a debit or credit card through the mail is even more so. The best way to have a debit or credit card sent through the mail is have someone you trust send the card separately from the pin number.
3. Switch to paperless banking.
Even though you have settled into your new life in Bangkok you may still have financial statements being mailed to your old address. You could have those documents redirected to Thailand but identity theft experts have been telling us for years that sending sensitive financial documents through the mail is a bad idea. Instead I switched all my financially to paperless banking so that instead of a monthly paper statement I received an email letting me know that my statement is ready for viewing online.
4. Have fun dealing with PayPal!
This is a tip for anyone who uses PayPal as their online payment system. Before you leave call PayPal and let them know that you are moving to a new country and that you will be logging in from a different country IP. If you don’t do this there is a chance PayPal will flag your account and lock you out of it, preventing you from sending or receiving any funds. To unlock your account you need to follow a number of steps to prove your identity, one of which is entering a code that PayPal send your in the mail. If you are already in Thailand and that code gets mailed to your old address back in your home country it could be weeks before you are able to unlock your account. Dealing with PayPal is never a fun experience even in the best of times and it is made even worse when you are in a foreign country with a dodgy phone connection.
5. Can I open a Thai bank account?
This question comes up often on the expat forums and always seems to spawn a lively debate. The easiest way to open a Thai bank account is to have a work permit, if you have a work permit you shouldn’t have any problems. If you don’t have a work permit then there are some banks that will open an account for you and some won’t, the trick is to keep trying until you find one that will open an account for you.
The Kasikorn Bank on Soi 33, near Phrom Phrong BTS station seems to be a bit more flexible on the required documentation and is a popular choice for many expats. The key to remember is that in many cases in Thailand there is no definitive answer to your inquiry. You may be perfectly able to open an account while another expat with the same documentation won’t be. The trick is to keeping smiling at all times and try the banks again at a different time. With enough persistence you’ll eventually will find a bank that will be willing to help you.