It covers payment methods and information on, banking systems, foreign exchange controls, and U.S. and correspondent banking.
Methods of Payment
U.S. firms that export to Thailand conduct business on a documentary basis and use various methods of financing and trade facilitation such as letters of credit (L/Cs), bank drafts, and wire transfer trades. New-to-market exporters and infrequent exporters should require confirmed, irrevocable L/Cs when initiating relationships with new importers and distributors. Once the importer has established a good payment record and the U.S. firm is convinced of the importer’s trustworthiness, it is advisable to provide more lenient terms.
For more information about the methods of payment or other trade finance options, please read the Trade Finance Guide.
There are fourteen Thai commercial banks and eleven foreign bank branches in Thailand. The public financial sector also includes several “specialized” government banks, namely the Government Savings Bank for small savings deposits, the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives for farm credits, the Government Housing bank for middle and low-income housing mortgages, the Industrial Finance Corporation of Thailand for industrial development projects, and the Export-Import Bank for importers and exporters.
The Bank of Thailand (BOT, the country’s central bank) focuses on strengthening the Thai financial system to serve the economy through fundamental technological improvement. The payment systems and infrastructure are critical to all businesses and economic activities. Many innovative financial platforms have been introduced to the market, which aim to facilitate online payments through mobile phones. According to the BOT, Thailand has launched a regulatory system to support the development of new financial innovations and prevent financial tech companies from jeopardizing financial systems or the economy. In April 2021, the BOT and the Monetary Authority of Singapore jointly announced the linkage of their respective national payments systems (PromptPay and PayNow) in a first-of-its-kind scheme to facilitate cross-border transactions. The BOT is also piloting its Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).
Foreign Exchange Controls
Thailand uses a managed-float exchange rate regime by which the value of the baht is determined by market forces, allowing the currency to move in line with economic fundamentals. The Bank of Thailand regularly intervenes in the market to prevent excessive volatility and achieve economic policy targets that include preventing the baht from growing too strong or too weak against the currencies of Thailand’s major trading partners. The Bank of Thailand prohibits baht-denominated lending to non-residents where there are no underlying trade or investment activities by the borrower in Thailand.
According to information from the Bank of Thailand, non-residents in transit may bring foreign currency and negotiable instruments into Thailand without limit. Nonresidents may also freely take out of the country all foreign currency they had brought in, without limit. Individuals in transit, however, may not take out Thai currency exceeding 50,000 baht per person, except for trips to countries bordering Thailand (Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Vietnam) and the People’s Republic of China (Yunnan province), where an amount of up to 2,000,000 baht is allowed. There is no restriction on the amount of Thai currency that may be brought into the country. However, any person who brings Thai baht currency, foreign currency banknotes, or negotiable monetary instruments in or out of Thailand with an aggregate amount exceeding $15,000 or the equivalent must declare the amount at a Customs checkpoint.
Regarding investors, there is no restriction on the import of foreign currency such as investment funds, offshore loans, and the like. Such foreign currency, however, must be sold or exchanged into Thai baht or deposited in a foreign currency account with an authorized bank within 360 days from the date of receipt or entry into the country. An application form F.T. 3 or F.T. 4 must be submitted to an authorized bank for each transaction involving the sale, exchange, or deposit of such foreign currency in an amount exceeding $5,000 or its equivalent. Repatriation of investment funds, dividends, and profits as well as loan repayments and interest payments thereon, after settlements of all applicable taxes, may be made freely. Similarly, promissory notes and bills of exchange may be sent abroad without restriction.
U.S. Banks and Local Correspondent Banks
Several U.S.. banks, many of which are mentioned below, maintain operations in Thailand on a commercial and/or non-commercial basis. Interested parties are urged to confirm location and service availability with individual institutions.
JP Morgan Chase Bank
20 North Sathorn Road, Bubhajit Building100
399 Interchange 21 Building
Klongtoey Nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110
Bank of Ayudhya PLC.
1222 Rama III Road, Bang Pongphang
Yannawa, Bangkok 10120
Bangkok Bank Public Co., Ltd.
333 Silom Road, Bangrak
Tel: 662-231-4333, 231-4665
1 Thai Farmer Lane
Ratburana Road, Bangkok 10140
Tel: 662-470-1122, 662-470-1199
Krung Thai Bank Public Co., Ltd.
35 Sukhumvit Road, Klongtoey Nua
Wattana, Bangkok 10110
Siam Commercial Bank Public Co., Ltd.
9 Rachadapisek Road, Ladyao
Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900
Tel: 662-544-1111, 662-937-7777