This post might fall short of a total overview regarding banks in Thailand. Information regarding a particular bank and client could depend on the clients personal status. When you have a business in Thailand, you might be treated differently from an expat who lives on a retirement visa and get just the visa required monthly amount on his account. Not to mention foreigners who are making less money than that or fall under different regulations. When you have a job at a foreign oil company or when you are an English teacher. Should it matter? Are rules and regulations depending on what your status is? Who really knows in Thailand. Especially since the ruling regime who took power after a coup and stay there after the (irregular,/doubtful) elections of 2019. The following information might not differ if you have an account at Siam Bank, Krungsi or Kasikorn Bank, to name a few.
You can recognize Thai banks on the colors they use. Siam Bank uses a purple color. Yellow is used by Krungsi Bank, another bank uses blue and so on. The kasikorn Bank uses the green color and is what we write about here. Not from a standpoint of a rich investor or a well paid job holder but from an ordinary foreigner who got an account at this particular bank who wants to inform others about certain issues he came across over the years. Some issues might be bank related. Other issues might be Thai law regulations. Opening a bank account was easy in company of a Thai foreigner who had an account at the same bank and accompanied this particular foreigner.
Transfer issue #1
The first issue can appear quite fast. When the first transfer from abroad is done, the bank refuses to put the amount on the account of the client. The reason, that the data is incorrect. The sender of the amount sent it to f.i. D.J. Bunamy. The money isn’t put on his account because the bank opens a bank account on the full passport name. In this case David James Bunamy. The Kasikorn Bank tells the account holder to inform the sender of the money to change the data into the full passport name. The tricky part here is that the Kasikorn Bank knows well that a refund back to the sender needs to follow procedures and that takes time. All that time, the Kasikorn will make money out of the account holders money. Even excuses as that two first names aren’t possible in their system are used. Do you still believe it?
Transfer issue #2
Once a year you are getting a higher amount as usual from the sender, for whatever reason. We don’t talk here about the official five working days for an international transfer to put on your account. We also don’t talk about the $15+ that they take from your money for just receiving (and keeping) it every month. Here we talk about an officially allowed sort of theft from you, the client. It can take easily three days of contact to get the amount on your account. Why? Their excuse as it turns out at the end, the amount is higher as normal. Ever had to deal with a bank that doesn’t put your money on your account because it’s somewhat higher than usual? Not doing this trick once, but year after year.
Another issue to mention is your passport. You open your account with your passport but that passport might be expired after two years, or full with visas. So you get yourself a new passport and some day much later you walk into your bank to ask if they need a passport update. Possibly they call to Bangkok’s main office because there is someone who speaks better English and/or can explain better. On the phone you get to hear that you need of course, again your bank book. Beside that., you need to show your old passport and your new one. Even though they already found the signature from the old passport at your bank. So keep your old passport.
Eventually when you say that it’s not a souvenir to keep your whole life and therefore you threw the old one, you will get an update.
Another issue is how to contact them. Specifically when you’re abroad. They do receive calls from foreign numbers but they refuse to call back to foreign phone numbers. Talking about service from a bank who keeps money from their client without reasonable explanation. They only call you back on a Thai phone number, but calling from abroad, your Thai number will be out of balance pretty fast. Top-up as it’s called, putting new money on your pre-paid number is impossible when they don’t put your money in your account. Thai sim cards have a limited validity. So it could be that yours no longer works at all. You have no other option than to call from your foreign number.
Go to their website and you will find a contact us option. There is even a chat option but the chat option is a computer which comes up with standard programmed questions and answers. When you ask for English language… oops. Call the contact number, while they are keeping your money to call them. Contact by email doesn’t solve anything either. They are not allowed to give you any information by email because of security reasons. Their advice…. call them.
Having a bank card doesn’t mean that much at Kasikorn Bank. When you live outside Bangkok but you forgot your bank card, you might think that according to western standards it won’t be that big a deal. You have your passport with you and your account number. Even your bank card number. You expect to get cash inside a bank with this. Not at Kasikorn. The bank works with a bank book. Yes, as 40 years ago in a western country. The bank doesn’t help you in any way as long as you don’t give them the bank book number. They try to make you believe that they have a computer system that is so secure that they can’t see your account in their computer system just on your account (passport) name and account number.
When you ask them what happens in a case of loss, they tell you that you need to get a police report. There where in a western country you just call your bank and the card will be blocked and you’ll get a new card soon. This issue might be a Thai law regulation and not a particular Kasikorn issue. In case your card got stolen or you lost it, you need a police report. In case you left your card at home, you’ll be screwed and are required to travel back home 10 hours just to get your card. How you get money to travel is your problem. During 2019 all bank cards are replaced with new ones with a chip. If this changed the rules of police reports by loss too is unknown to us per sept 2019.
ATM’s & CDM’s
ATM’s of the same Kasikorn Bank, charges you 15 baht in most cases for using the machine. The ones where you opened your account don’t charge and some other ATM’s neither. You can’t really be sure which machines charge you or which don’t. Machines of other banks charge you, but in some cases don’t. Here too it’s confusing. When traveling abroad they say that you have to inform the bank where you go so that your card will work in a particular country. That you never informed them before or after in a foreign country doesn’t seem to matter to them why your card suddenly doesn’t work in a particular country. This while we speak about a debit card with Visa logo on it. ATM’s abroad charge between $4 and $9 depending on the amount you take out. The Thai bank will charge too and will make sure that you get a much worse exchange rate than you can find online for that day.
A CDM is a Cash Deposit Machine. Yes, all banks have them. There where are ATM’s, often have CDM’s too. You need your bank book and then you can deposit money. Exactly, cash, black money that so many Thai’s make in the sex industry for example. So there is a way to deposit cash without questions, as long as we don’t speak about huge amounts maybe. In case you work as a teacher in Thailand or even Vietnam, where you can’t open a bank account as foreigner to deposit cash, you could do that this way. ATM’s have many more options than only taking out money. You can upload your phone with balance and you can take out money without having your bank card but you need numbers incl. your account and bankbook number f.i..
For payments online they send you an OTP sms code, which you often don’t receive. Especially when you’re abroad and therefore can’t fulfill the payment. Make another expensive call and you get to hear several dumb excuses as that you didn’t take a roaming package. For an sms….. After you make them clear that they talk some shit, they come up with the next dumb talk. Visa has another phone number than they have from you at Kasikorn. That’s amazing when they talk to someone who never had more than one and the same phone number in Thailand. A phone number was never requested by Visa and why would someone make up a number he never had to give to Visa for payments online which he can’t do that way. Kasikorn Bank makes up a lot of nonsense that goes far beyond reasonable and understandable.
We just want to make you aware of issues and lies of this bank. As mentioned before, some issues might be related to Thai law and regulations, but some might be related to this bank. Try to find out as much as possible before opening an account in Thailand and still you’ll never be sure.