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Embassy reference letters for new Bangkok Bank account applicants


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@British Consular TeamBangkok Bank explicitly require foreign applicants for new accounts who don't have work permits to obtain a reference letter issued by one of a number of institutes or organisations, including an Embassy located in Thailand:-

 

https://www.bangkokbank.com/en/Personal/Save-And-Invest/Save/Savings-Account

 

Unfortunately I am unable to see any explicit reference to such letters in the Embassy's list of notarial and documentary services for Thailand:-

 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/notarial-and-documentary-services-guide-for-thailand

 

In these circumstances how does a prospective British applicant for a new Bangkok Bank account go about obtaining the necessary reference letter from the Embassy, please?

 

 

Edited by OJAS
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I am aware of people using a proof of their address done at a embassy to meet that requirement at Bangkok Bank. It seems to satisfy the bank since it was done at a embassy.

The equivalent is here on the UK embassy website.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/960145/Application_pack_-_affirmation_of_residency_2021.pdf

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I am UK citizen. I opened a savings account with bangkok bank last week using my 90 day non O visa, my passport and my rental contract only. I explained i needed the account so i could use for payment of my pension so i could use to show immigration to obtain an extension based on retirement. I found them helpful and happy to let me open this account. 

I used the bangkok branch in Central Festival shopping mall. I imagine they are used to dealing with these type of requests so i strongly suggest trying in one of these type of locations used to foreigners. FYI i am on Koh Samui.

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I'm a U.S. citizen...opened a new savings acct with Bangkok Bank in my name only at their head branch on Silom Rd in Bangkok just a couple of days ago.  No embassy letter required....but 13 months ago when I tried the letter was req'd.  I'm on a marriage extension of stay...no work permit.   In years past I have opened other acct when I was on a retirement extension of stay. 

 

They did make a copy of my Yellow Book as I showed it to them when asking to open an acct.  The Thai wife  had tagged along me and during the application process the bank rep asked if we owned in property in Thailand and we said yes....a house/land which is in the wife's name but I have a usufruct on it....they did not ask to see the chanote (good thing they didn't as we didn't bring along that oversized document).   After the typical 5 kilograms of paperwork the acct was opened. 

 

Thirteen months earlier I had tried to open the acct at the same branch (the wife and I already other accts there for many years) and couldn't without an embassy letter.  They were hard over in requiring the letter....Yellow Book and Pink ID card didn't help.  Since such a bank/notarized letters cost $50 at the U.S. Embassy (I didn't want to fork-out that much money for such a simple notarized "proof of address" letter I had never had to get before) and due to COVID causing appointment restrictions at that time I just decided to give it another try at the branch in a few months.   But COVID impacts caused the couple of months to turn into 13 months before trying again at the same branch.  As mentioned, this time I was successful with no embassy required.

 

When it comes to opening a Thai bank acct the only thing that is consistent is inconsistently whether you have lived here for many years, already have other Thai bank accts at the same or different branch or bank, etc.  Unless you really need/only want the acct at a certain branch a person should try another branch of the same bank or a different bank.  Remember the only thing consistent in opening a Thai bank acct is the inconsistently across banks/branches. 

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17 hours ago, FritsSikkink said:

Use 1 of the other options:

 

  • An overseas bank where the customer holds an account sent via SWIFT 
  • Trusted individuals such as a Bangkok Bank staff member or customer, director of a private company, permanent residence in Thailand, government or private educational institutes located in Thailand trusted by the Bank
  • Trusted companies, e.g., an employment letter from the company if the customer is in the process of applying for a work permit.
  • Document showing ownership of a fixed asset such as a condominium sale/purchase agreement (a condominium which is acceptable to Bangkok Bank) Or a property reservation agreement valued at 100,000 baht or more with a reference letter from the property developer that is acceptable to Bangkok Bank.

Easier said than done in my case.

 

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17 hours ago, ubonjoe said:

I am aware of people using a proof of their address done at a embassy to meet that requirement at Bangkok Bank. It seems to satisfy the bank since it was done at a embassy.

The equivalent is here on the UK embassy website.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/960145/Application_pack_-_affirmation_of_residency_2021.pdf

Ah, I now see this in my link above:-

 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/notarial-and-documentary-services-guide-for-thailand#affirmation-of-residency

 

@British Consular Team - but why is a trip to Bangkok needed in order to obtain this affirmation? Why isn't there a postal option available as in the case of certified copies of British passports and driving licences for instance? What if local COVID-19 restrictions were to prohibit travel between provinces and Bangkok?

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What has worked for me:

I have had 2 different bank accounts.  The 1st one opened on a VOA, Passport only 8 years ago.

The 2nd account ( 5 years )  with Passport and Certificate of Residence ( obtained from Immigration with Passport, Rental agreement, copy of TM-30 and 90 day in Passport,) and original Retirement stamp and current extension of stay stamp in Passport. ).

I personally think the Certificate of Residence OPENS many many doors that are usually closed, I have one document that is 5 years old and new document that is 4 months old.

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47 minutes ago, Pib said:

For U.S. folks Bangkok Bank was probably the bank of first choice for many decades simply due to one capability Bangkok Bank had that no other Thai bank had (and still don't).  And that capability is the ability to receive transfers from U.S. financial institutions/banks/govt agency via the U.S. Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfer system thru the Bangkok Bank New York branch which made transfers easy and cheap in comparison to using SWIFT.  It was just like transferring money to another U.S. bank. 

And another capability which Bangkok Bank has that no other Thai bank to the best of my knowledge has is the use of a specific code in passbooks (FTT) and description in statements (International Transfer) to denote transfers originating from abroad. This has proved particularly convenient for Americans, Aussies and Brits who now have to make monthly transfers from their home country in order to comply with minimum monthly income requirements for marriage and retirement extensions in the light of decisions taken by their respective embassies in Bangkok a few years ago to discontinue providing income confirmation services. 

Edited by OJAS
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10 minutes ago, OJAS said:

And another capability which Bangkok Bank has that no other Thai bank to the best of my knowledge has is the use of a specific code in passbooks (FTT) and description in statements (International Transfer) to denote transfers originating from abroad. 

I'm pretty sure all banks have their "own" codes to indicate an international transfer.  Bangkok Bank's just happens to be FTT.  

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Just get an existing customer to go with you.  That is all I have done in the past.

  • Trusted individuals such as a Bangkok Bank staff member or customer, director of a private company, permanent residence in Thailand, government or private educational institutes located in Thailand trusted by the Bank
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2 hours ago, Pib said:

I'm a U.S. citizen...opened a new savings acct with Bangkok Bank in my name only at their head branch on Silom Rd in Bangkok just a couple of days ago.  No embassy letter required....but 13 months ago when I tried the letter was req'd.  I'm on a marriage extension of stay...no work permit.   In years past I have opened other acct when I was on a retirement extension of stay. 

 

They did make a copy of my Yellow Book as I showed it to them when asking to open an acct.  The Thai wife  had tagged along me and during the application process the bank rep asked if we owned in property in Thailand and we said yes....a house/land which is in the wife's name but I have a usufruct on it....they did not ask to see the chanote (good thing they didn't as we didn't bring along that oversized document).   After the typical 5 kilograms of paperwork the acct was opened. 

 

Thirteen months earlier I had tried to open the acct at the same branch (the wife and I already other accts there for many years) and couldn't without an embassy letter.  They were hard over in requiring the letter....Yellow Book and Pink ID card didn't help.  Since such a bank/notarized letters cost $50 at the U.S. Embassy (I didn't want to fork-out that much money for such a simple notarized "proof of address" letter I had never had to get before) and due to COVID causing appointment restrictions at that time I just decided to give it another try at the branch in a few months.   But COVID impacts caused the couple of months to turn into 13 months before trying again at the same branch.  As mentioned, this time I was successful with no embassy required.

 

When it comes to opening a Thai bank acct the only thing that is consistent is inconsistently whether you have lived here for many years, already have other Thai bank accts at the same or different branch or bank, etc.  Unless you really need/only want the acct at a certain branch a person should try another branch of the same bank or a different bank.  Remember the only thing consistent in opening a Thai bank acct is the inconsistently across banks/branches. 

Yea, just go to a different branch. Rules are fairly inconsistent here. I've seen someone denied at the counter on the ground floor (with some mumbojumbo about requirements). I told him to go up stairs and he had no problem opening an account on the second floor of the same branch. 

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20 hours ago, OJAS said:

@British Consular TeamBangkok Bank explicitly require foreign applicants for new accounts who don't have work permits to obtain a reference letter issued by one of a number of institutes or organisations, including an Embassy located in Thailand:-

 

https://www.bangkokbank.com/en/Personal/Save-And-Invest/Save/Savings-Account

 

Unfortunately I am unable to see any explicit reference to such letters in the Embassy's list of notarial and documentary services for Thailand:-

 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/notarial-and-documentary-services-guide-for-thailand

 

In these circumstances how does a prospective British applicant for a new Bangkok Bank account go about obtaining the necessary reference letter from the Embassy, please?

Hello @OJAS,

 

The British Embassy does not provide reference letters.  You should contact the bank/branch to check if one of the following documentary services we provide may be accepted in its place:     

  • Affirmation of Residency   
  • Certified copy of a British Passport   

Further information on these services is available from Gov.UK at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/notarial-and-documentary-services-guide-for-thailand

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4 hours ago, Sydebolle said:

Simple, use another bank. Bangkok Bank sucks big time for many years. Arrogant, lousy service, poor internet banking facility etc. etc. 

I can honestly say that I have always had very good service from my branch in Bang Saphan Noi. Always polite and with a smile. Added bonus is the female that handles my account speaks English! And the internet banking is easy to use and very good. No complaints from me.

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5 hours ago, Sydebolle said:

Simple, use another bank. Bangkok Bank sucks big time for many years. Arrogant, lousy service, poor internet banking facility etc. etc. 

What crock of <deleted>.  Sometimes the customer is arrogant, which begets lousy service (at any Bank).

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Never been asked for one by SCB who refused me an account despite me making mortgage payments to them, Krungsri who did let me open an account in time for first extension and definitely not BB who were only interested in my pensions. Krungsri are ok but BB are v good for foreigners especially when dealing with Immigration. My wife's property ownership was also a factor which made SCB refusal where I paid the mortgage even more odd

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just open an account at Bangkok Bank with an affidavit from the US Embassy. all you need to do is to print out the affidavit form fill it up with all your information  and once you get an appointment to go to the Embassy and go to the window with your US Passport and the officer will ask you the porpoise and to open a new Bank Account under oat he will sign and stamped. It will cost you $50. This document is enough to open an account at the Bangkok Bank. It took me 15 minutes to open my account pay $15 service fees and the initial deposit is ฿ 500. good luck guys. 

blank-affidavit-bangkok-.pdf

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5 hours ago, couchpotato said:

What crock of <deleted>.  Sometimes the customer is arrogant, which begets lousy service (at any Bank).

Correct, there is also the category of lousy customers. But, in all fairness, what has an Embassy letter to do with an account, upon which you deposit and withdraw money. You cannot go into overdraft anyhow so why overcomplicate matters? 
What difference does such a letter make; your Embassy simply cannot issue a "recommendation" as your Embassy, irrespective of who you are with whatever nationality you have, can recommend you for something or not.
After decades of working and living in Thailand I can share in confidence, that the bureaucracy here in this country is absolutely mind boggling and lacks common sense. And this can (and does) drive some customers up the wall, across the ceiling and down the other wall again. And if this customer is a Westerner (dirty farang, alien, out of space species?) then this happens on his set of values as he is not used to confront all that nonsense which is thrown at all of us on a daily basis. 

It is not only the customer who wants a bank; the banks want customers as well. The earning bracket between the interest the bank pays on your savings account and the interest they charge to all those borrowing money ........ is absolutely ferocious and hence be nice to customers who will not go into overdraft (as not possible) as they just feed the bank with very cheap money they then can borrow to Thai customers at a very profitable cut.

Customer service is not a department - it is an attitude! 

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I was slightly peeved last week when I enquired at a big Bangkok Bank branch in CM about opening another account. I already have a Fixed Deposit one and I was enquiring about opening a Foreign Currency account. I was told I must bring along my passport and a letter from Immigration.

 

SCB sensibly wanted only my passport as I already have a Current Account with them; so ,yes, I'll try another branch of BKK!

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On 10/8/2021 at 6:59 AM, Sydebolle said:

Simple, use another bank. Bangkok Bank sucks big time for many years. Arrogant, lousy service, poor internet banking facility etc. etc. 

Sydeboile, you must not be a good banking customer.  I have three Bangkok Bank bank account and not one of them required any kind of letter to open unless the rules have changed in the last year.  They make it so easy to have funds transferred to my savings account using Transferwise.  They also provided the 1-year Bank Statement and letter confirming my Account as required by Immigration without any fuss.  Been doing business with them for 12 years.  I also have a 'real' credit card from them.

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19 hours ago, fceligoj said:

Sydeboile, you must not be a good banking customer.  I have three Bangkok Bank bank account and not one of them required any kind of letter to open unless the rules have changed in the last year.  They make it so easy to have funds transferred to my savings account using Transferwise.  They also provided the 1-year Bank Statement and letter confirming my Account as required by Immigration without any fuss.  Been doing business with them for 12 years.  I also have a 'real' credit card from them.

I stopped with them more than 10 years ago; just answered the original OPˋs query. It remains a fact, that it boils down to the individual staff in the individual branch but I ran big companies and could not be asred to kiss afore-mentioned. Citibank is way above any local monetary institute and for the local tidbit SCB worked out just fine!

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