BANK CHARGES In Chiang Mai

BANK CHARGES In Chiang Mai

In your home country, your banking costs for personal banking will be minimal – or non-existent. However, it is likely there will be costs involved when conducting even the most simple banking tasks in Chiang Mai.

Withdrawing Cash From An ATM in Chiang Mai

BANK CHARGES In Chiang Mai

Thailand has long been – and still is – a very cash-friendly economy. This has changed somewhat in recent years, but cash is still more prevalent than in most developed countries.

There are ATMs all over the city and largely speaking you’ll be able to withdraw cash from any of them, regardless of which country your bank is located.

There are a couple of considerations to make when withdrawing cash from your overseas bank or pre-paid foreign currency card in Thailand.

Firstly, there is a fee that is standard across all Thai ATMs for withdrawing cash from a non-Thai bank. It is 220 baht, regardless of the size of the withdrawal. So, whether you withdraw 1,000 baht or 20,000 baht, this is the fee. The more you withdraw in a transaction, the less the charge!

AEON bank – a Japanese bank – has for some time offered a slightly lower fee, so if you find one of their ATMs you could save yourself a few baht.

This ATM charge is often the most complained about travel cost by visitors to Thailand. However, in the scheme of things, a couple of hundred baht every so often is a drop in the ocean of the extensive cost-of-living savings you are likely to be making by staying in Thailand, compared to most other countries.

The second thing to consider when withdrawing cash from an ATM is the exchange rate you pay. ATMs will ask if you want to accept the bank’s rate or not. You might be happy to accept their rate but, if you say no, you will get the international exchange rate…which is likely to be rather more favorable!

Getting Cash From A Bank Teller

One way to avoid the ATM charges is to go into a branch and ask to withdraw over the counter. You will need your ID (passport usually) and your bank card, HOWEVER…

…this is Thailand – and much as we love it – on any particular day, any particular teller may choose not to comply. As many people fail as succeed in withdrawing cash this way.

If you are successful, be sure to establish the exchange rate first. If you are asked to buy at the bank’s rate you might find it is better value to pay the ATM fee.

Of course, if you have foreign currency, then you can use one of the numerous foreign exchange booths dotted around the city. Shop around for the best rate.

Avoiding ATM Charges Completely

BANK CHARGES In Chiang Mai

If you really want to avoid any withdrawal fees, and make paying for things much simpler, then opening a Thai bank account is by far the best solution for longer term visitors.

It is no longer as simple as it once was to open one on a tourist visa, but on any longer-term visa it is a relatively quick process.

There are annual fees – and often application fees – involved, but the benefits to holding a bank account here will almost always make these charges cost effective. Annual fees can range from zero to 700 baht and will depend on the services your account offers.

The biggest advantage of holding a Thai bank account is less cost-based, and more about convenience. In 2021, Thailand introduced QR-code scanning to pay for goods with your phone. You can pay for anything from a motorcycle to a mango using the scan service, so it almost eliminates the need to carry cash at all.

It’s not quite as convenient as contactless payment that many countries have long implemented, or Apple Pay (not yet available in Thailand, except in 7Eleven), but has revolutionized paying for goods in Thailand.

Costs For Online Payment/Transferring Money Into Thailand

BANK CHARGES In Chiang Mai

Online shopping is increasingly popular in Thailand, with Amazon alternatives Lazada and Shopee, and delivery services such as Grab, Lineman and Foodpanda leading the growth. Many overseas bank and credit cards will work with these without additional charge, depending on your bank.

Thailand has a love-hate relationship with PayPal and (at the time of writing) has recently restricted PayPal use, so Thai businesses will not accept it as payment. It can still be used internationally.

Of the popular transfer services – if you need to transfer money to a Thai bank account –  Wise is largely regarded as the most cost-effective and reliable.

New services appear frequently in this space, so if you are using one be sure to check that it operates in Thailand, the exchange rate it uses, and what the fees might be. If you have come across a great money transfer service then we’d love to hear about it, so let us know in the comments below.

Thailand – and Chiang Mai in particular – offers great value for money. Like many countries, spending from an overseas bank can incur costs so make sure you plan your banking carefully to make the most of the value on offer.

For some of the more fun-related costs of living in Chiang Mai, check out these articles:

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