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How To Avoid Conversion/ATM Charges – Open A Bank Account


If you have ever spent a long duration in Pattaya, for example, you are retired or studying you will find that it is very frustrating when every time you withdraw cash from your Non-Thai bank account (i.e U.S,U.K) you receive a nasty ฿150 charge from the ATM and also a currency fixed conversion charge from your bank (higher depending how small withdrawal is).

There are certain ways to avoid the charge like opening a Thai bank account and requesting that your Non-Thai bank transfer a large amount across to this account, but as you guess, your home country bank is ready to cash in with what is known as a ‘Swift Transfer Charge’ which is expensive.

Remember if you want to open a Thai bank account be sure to show your passport and explain your visa type and that you opening the account to avoid expensive conversion fees from the ATM when withdrawing form your home country. There is a ฿800 baht fee for the Debit card/Set up you receive and a minimum first deposit of ฿500, after which you will receive a paying in book and you will also be emailed instructions for online banking.

After you have completed the process in store and have your new Thai bank account number I want to share with you an easy way you can transfer money from your Non-Thai bank to your Thai Bank with very small conversion rates and no transfer charge.

If you are quite tech-savvy then you will probably be familiar with the online payment service ‘PayPal’ which allows you to make secure payments on sites like eBay and you can also upload money from your home country bank to your Paypal without fees. So read steps below on how you can transfer your home currency via Paypal to your Thai bank account:

  1. Firstly you will need a Paypal Account verified in your home country if you do not already have one (www.PayPal.com), follow the instructions on signing up to link your home bank account and request that a specific amount of currency is uploaded to your PayPal balance by clicking ‘Add Funds’, this takes 5-7 days:                            SendMoney
  2. After you have followed step 1 you now need to sign up for a 2nd PayPal account now at the Thai version of the site here: www.PayPal.com/TH and follow the same process but this time you need to link your Thai bank account. The site might be confusing to read since it is in Thai by default but if you scroll to the footer you will see an option to read in English:PayPalThai
  3. Now you have you have 2 Paypal accounts all you need to do now is visit your home country account where the funds should have cleared from your bank and click the ‘Send Money button in the top menu. Enter the email address of your Thai Paypal account as the recipient and hit send, the transfer is instant and the advantage of this is there are no charges only a small conversion fee of around 1.5% (This works out as less than $2 for every $200!)                   PayPalTh
  4. I am currently waiting for my money to transfer between Paypal accounts and when it arrives I simply have to click the ‘Withdraw’ button in blue below and it will then transfer to my Thai bank account so I can withdraw from the ATM with no ฿150 charge!  It make take about 5-10 days to complete but definitely a great method!


By James Thomas



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