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ChiFlyer

Opening an Account with Bangkok Bank - my experience

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ChiFlyer

Most BMs will not care about this, but I thought I would write it down in case it might do someone some good. This is really pointed at someone who is in the process of becoming an ex-pat and already has a 90 days or more visa. It is also very much written from an American's perspective, although I would think much of it is applicable to others.

Overall this went really smoothly. The reason why it went smoothly is that I followed the great advice I got from some friends including a couple of PA BMs and my Thai lady friend. I also read everything involved very thoroughly and did what it said to the letter. Often that was unnecessary, as much of what is described on the main Bangkok Bank web site is taken as procedural suggestions by the local branch. Your account is with a local branch and although you ride on the very good infrastructure of Bangkok Bank, your administration is at the discretion of the local branch. TiT.

Bangkok Bank makes a lot of sense for an American. They have a New York branch. I can define an external account to Charles Schwab using the routing code for that branch combined with my Thai account number and transfer USD for free. The New York BB branch coverts the USD to THB and puts them in my Thai Bank account at a small charge.

(The original post had a table here showing the charges. Old nimble fingers CF created the table with a link that only he could access. One of the PA Admins has edited out the table. I was going to recreate with a proper link, but forcebwithu has created it in the next post in this thread, so I will not duplicate it. My apologies to all that had to put up with the annoyance.)


I have been told by someone that uses this service that the turnaround time is often same day. We shall see.

Last fall I obtained a Thai O-A visa in the US. You need a 90 day or longer visa for what I describe below.

Dance Watchers supplied me with a Rental Contract, I asked for that and had it the next day.

Took the Rental Contract and other required documents (passport, visa, entry stamp, departure card, two passport fotos, Residence Certificate application form) to Chonburi Immigration office. I got there at 8 AM and was done in a little over an hour. I completed the form and got the fotos and copies done there. Probably should have done that ahead of time. My lines were very short, but there was a nasty one just to the left after you enter. I assume that was for the 60-90 day extensions. I really advise getting any visa work done in the US. That can usually be done by mail.

Took the Residence Certificate and other required materials (passport, visa, entry stamp, departure card, Rental Contract) to Bangkok Bank branch on Second Road near soi 5 in Jomtien. Branch does not open until 10 AM, so we grabbed breakfast at Rompho Kiss. The Bangkok Bank Branch Sign is in Thai, so lady friend had to explain to me. Went upstairs to open new account bypassing queue of some significance downstairs. Filled out a lot of paper with nice lady at desk. Took about 30 minutes to complete everything. Account, including internet banking and debit card were immediately available.

Returned to the condo and checked internet access. Good to go. Went to Schwab site and defined BB account as an external account and requested trial transfers via NY branch. 2 to 3 day turnaround now in progress.

Lots of minor incidental costs along the way:

  • 125 baht for passport fotos and copies
  • 300 baht for Residence Certificate
  • 300 baht for debit card
  • 200 baht for internet banking


As has been pointed out you can hire someone to do most of this for you.

Having a Thai person with you (GF in my case) really helps cutting through language barrier problems.

Edited by ChiFlyer
expain table error

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forcebwithu

Good write up of the process to open a bank account.  TFP

The ACH transfer to the NYC branch of Bangkok Bank will take three business days, the only reason being the US banking system likes it that way as they get free use of your money for those three days. Once Bangkok Bank receives the transfer, the funds will be immediately available to you in Thailand. And as you stated, the ACH transfer is free and the Bangkok Bank charge is pretty small. For transfers from US banks I've not found anything cheaper.

The screenshot you tried posting didn't work, but I think this is what you wanted to include in your post.
image.png

The line to the left at Jomtien Immigration is for TM30 reporting, which quite a few going for their extensions are finding out the hard way it's an old requirement that is now being enforced.

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typhoon42

Excellent post ChiFlyer!

 I agree about obtaining the OA visa in the USA at your pace and mailing it.  Worked great for me.

With the banking setup you described I assume this would be qualifying proof for a money transfer for a condo purchase.

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searcher

I recently opened an account with Bangkok Bank on Soi Nernplubwan (Darkside) and the ATM card was 700 Baht there. Just goes to show how things vary from branch to branch. Easy to open the account though.

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ChiFlyer
2 hours ago, forcebwithu said:

....

The screenshot you tried posting didn't work, but I think this is what you wanted to include in your post.

 

Sorry - sloppy work by me on the screenshot. I see it, but it's probably being rendered from my laptop. I will edit the post and try to correct and yes that is the one I was trying to show.

hmmmm - I guess it is too late to edit it. Thanks for taking the time to put up the correct info.

Edited by ChiFlyer

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Kanga
On ‎25‎/‎01‎/‎2018 at 13:23, ChiFlyer said:

200 baht for internet banking

They charge you separately for Internet banking now?

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Kanga
On ‎25‎/‎01‎/‎2018 at 17:05, searcher said:

the ATM card was 700 Baht there

Depends on whether you have a basic ATM only, a debit card (ATM and debit card functions) and whether you bought some sort of insurance without necessarily realising it........:)

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ChiFlyer
7 hours ago, Kanga said:

They charge you separately for Internet banking now?

That is what the lady told me, unless I misunderstood.

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ChiFlyer

The conclusion of setting up my Schwab - Bangkok Bank financial empire or so I think. :)

In order to verify my external link from Schwab to Bangkok Bank, Schwab sent through 2 small test transactions. I had to reply to Schwab with how many USD they had sent, but I only see the THB amounts. I am a smart guy who can easily reverse the currency conversion and tell them. The conversion rate was moving that day and I got the pair wrong even with 3 tries. Schwab cancelled my request. I get them to try a second time. Here is what happens next.

So I call the NYC Branch a few times. Lady at the logical voice mail selection appears to be on permanent voice mail forwarding. I try again with the Customer Service number and get a pretty good guy who chuckles a little at my tale of whoa. Me thinks he has heard that he has heard this before. He tells me I need to call a number in Thailand.

I call them and there is no logical voice mail selection, so I go with 0 for operator assistance. This puts one into an Endless voice mail loop from hell. Hang up and start over. Go for customer assistance again as this seems to work. Get a person who listens intently and then says can I put you on hold for a minute. ok. About two minutes later I am connected to a very nice lady. She also chuckles a bit at my tale of whoa. Maybe she knows the guy in NY. She does about a minute of verification questions as to who I am and then tells me the USD amount. Kop Kuhn Ma Krap. Funny thing is I would have guessed them correctly this time.

Go to Schwab verification link with the info. Transaction abends about half way through with some kind of bs "system unavailable" message. It's 10 AM in NY - how can Schwab be unavailable. Try again in 30 minutes and the transaction goes through after I click on 3 or 4 it's all on you don't blame us messages.

All's well that ends well I guess. Patience is certainly a required virtue in the international banking world.

Edited by ChiFlyer

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usexpat46

The last time I moved money from my American credit union to Bangkok Bank I avoided the fees by writing a personal check to myself.  It took about 3 weeks to clear but I live here.  Don't forget to notify IRS by April 15th of the following year if at anytime your balance exceeds 10K USD.

Edited by usexpat46

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timonelama

I have a neighbour who opened a bangkok bank account and shes not living in bkk or thai.

 

She needed a rental agreement, passport, money off course and a letter signed by her embassy. Her Embassy charged I think 30 euros to sign this letter. So the whole process took like a 4 hours and a 40 euros (30 + taxi rides back and fort to embassy 10)

Edited by timonelama

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Ambulans

I used Tik tok services for opening Bangkok bank account on tourist visa. This was in february 2018 and no problem

opening account. They take 2500 baht for the service 

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Steph34

Opened one in Bangkok last month and only thing required was my passport and letter from embassy. For online banking, a Thai mobile number is required. Very good service in EmQuartier and whenever I fly over from Singapore I have a few thousand with me and put it on my account.....

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NdC

How much money did they ask to be deposited for opening the account?

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neo1011
On 22/07/2018 at 10:54, Ambulans said:

I used Tik tok services for opening Bangkok bank account on tourist visa. This was in february 2018 and no problem

opening account. They take 2500 baht for the service 

Seems they have put there price up to 3500b now

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ChiFlyer
1 hour ago, NdC said:

How much money did they ask to be deposited for opening the account?

It is up to you. Just Hangin, no longer with the board, coached me a little on this one. His advice -> "if you walk in the door with 10,000 baht in your hand, they will be very happy to see you."

Once again, rules etc. vary branch to branch. I did it all on my own,  but was on an O-A long Stay one year visa. 

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usexpat46
23 minutes ago, ChiFlyer said:

It is up to you. Just Hangin, no longer with the board, coached me a little on this one. His advice -> "if you walk in the door with 10,000 baht in your hand, they will be very happy to see you."

Once again, rules etc. vary branch to branch. I did it all on my own,  but was on an O-A long Stay one year visa. 

10K is what I deposited when I first opened my account at the Bangkok Bank branch at the now Big C Extra in 2006.  I think that the most recent branches to open are the hungriest ones for customers.

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Soi7
On 1/25/2018 at 13:23, ChiFlyer said:

Returned to the condo and checked internet access. Good to go. Went to Schwab site and defined BB account as an external account and requested trial transfers via NY branch. 2 to 3 day turnaround now in progress.

I set up the US Bank transfers to BBK in NY From my US Bank account as well Great but..........Starting April 1 2019 this will not be allowed any longer. It is on the BBK website. I talked to a customer service person in the NY BBK and they confirmed that is the case. They said it was due to the transfer being treated as a domestic transfer when infact it is really a international transfer. Going to be a pain in the ass for many myself included.

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NdC
11 hours ago, ChiFlyer said:

It is up to you. Just Hangin, no longer with the board, coached me a little on this one. His advice -> "if you walk in the door with 10,000 baht in your hand, they will be very happy to see you."

Once again, rules etc. vary branch to branch. I did it all on my own,  but was on an O-A long Stay one year visa. 

Okay I'll give a try and see in the next few weeks. 

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typhoon42

As an American I was looking forward to opening an account with BKK bank because of the ACH transfers.  

As stated previously this will no longer be the case in 2019.

Is there still any advantage opening with BKK bank vs Kasikorn or other Thai banks?

Looks like I would have to use TransferWise now with any bank in Thailand.

 I would still use my debit cards from my credit union and Schwab for cash withdrawals.

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ChiFlyer
14 hours ago, Soi7 said:

I set up the US Bank transfers to BBK in NY From my US Bank account as well Great but..........Starting April 1 2019 this will not be allowed any longer. It is on the BBK website. I talked to a customer service person in the NY BBK and they confirmed that is the case. They said it was due to the transfer being treated as a domestic transfer when infact it is really a international transfer. Going to be a pain in the ass for many myself included.

Thanks for the update and this sucks. :wacko:

 

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NdC

I always use transferwise as it is the easiest way to transfer money to a Thai bank account, I do use a friends account but will be attempting to open my own Thai bank account hopefully will have not too much hassle

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forcebwithu
2 hours ago, typhoon42 said:

As an American I was looking forward to opening an account with BKK bank because of the ACH transfers.  

As stated previously this will no longer be the case in 2019.

Is there still any advantage opening with BKK bank vs Kasikorn or other Thai banks?

Looks like I would have to use TransferWise now with any bank in Thailand.

 I would still use my debit cards from my credit union and Schwab for cash withdrawals.

I have accounts at BB, Kasikorn and SCB. Of the three I think Kasikorn has the better website with BB a close second. The reason I use three banks is in some cases it's easier to pay online using one vs the other (SCB for AirAsia purchases, Kasikorn for phone top ups and paying rent, BB for what was the least expensive means to transfer money to Thailand).

Transferwise is probably a good choice if moving small amounts over, but for larger amounts the fees are exorbitant. As an example, 65,000B/month is about 2,000 USD. I like to transfer three months living expenses at a time, so at a minimum that means moving $6,000. The Transferwise fee for that is $61.47 whereas I can use SWIFT and the fee is $40, regardless of how much is transferred. 

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ChiFlyer
2 minutes ago, forcebwithu said:

........

Transferwise is probably a good choice if moving small amounts over, but for larger amounts the fees are exorbitant. As an example, 65,000B/month is about 2,000 USD. I like to transfer three months living expenses at a time, so at a minimum that means moving $6,000. The Transferwise fee for that is $61.47 whereas I can use SWIFT and the fee is $40, regardless of how much is transferred. 

Do you have a way of using SWIFT directly or do you initiate a SWIFT transaction through your American Bank? I looked at Schwab's info on international transfers using SWIFT and it appears to be a royal pain in the butt, especially if one wants to send something other than USD.

I also send larger amounts from time to time for similar reasons and am now looking for my least cost method to start using by next April.

Prior to setting up my Schwab-BB combo I used XE-Trade. Hard to tell what they are charging me as they appear to be baking it into the exchange rate. Also, I am wondering what BB will charge to accept it. XE Trade is slow. It can take 10 days for a transaction to fully complete, but they were reliable.

https://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/

 

 

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ChiFlyer
3 hours ago, typhoon42 said:

.....

Is there still any advantage opening with BKK bank vs Kasikorn or other Thai banks?

....

In general, this takes away BB's major advantage IMO. In my case I have some reasons to stay with them due to their ability to do internal transactions from outside of Thailand. That advantage would not apply to most people.

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