The simplest way to move money into Thailand is by withdrawing from an ATM machine in small amounts. There are lots of ATM machines everywhere in the country and all of them accept foreign debit/credit cards. Although this method might be simple and easy, you should not use it often because of the charges that you will have to pay.
You will be charged an ATM service fee of 150 baht ($4.50) regardless of the amount you withdraw. You will be paying a premium in exchange rate as banks usually do not have the best exchange rate. Please keep in mind that you may also pay international ATM fees by your home bank. You should not rely too much on withdrawing money by ATMs often because you will end up spending a lot of money in bank fees and forex premiums.
This is also true if you use your foreign debit/credit cards in Thailand, you will most likely still be charged a fee by your home bank and will pay expensive forex fees so we do not recommend that you rely too much on bank cards from your home bank. You will end up paying way too much money in fees and charges if you use it on a daily basis, you should only use it in emergency situations.
There are much better options to transfer money into Thailand, lets get into it.
You should definitely consider opening up a bank account in Thailand, especially if you are planning to stay for a longer period of time. There are lots of benefits if you have a bank account in Thailand such as
Opening a bank account is also the first step for you to start building a relationship with the bank which could be useful in the future.
There are 2 types of accounts available for foreigners, resident’s bank account and nonresidents, which doesn't require proof of residence.
Most Thai banks also offer Foreign currency accounts as well as a savings account but in our opinion, opening a savings account is much better because it's easier to open and there are no exchange fees into Thai baht. A visa exemption of a 30-day arrival stamp is all you need to open a savings account, there are no work permits required.
You can open a savings account in Thailand in most major Thai banks such as Bangkok Bank, KBank or even international banks such as CITIBANK. We recommend that you go for KBank because there is no minimum deposit to open a bank account and you can easily get a debit card as well.
Now, once you have a Thai bank account, you can transfer money from your home bank to your Thai bank account...
If you need to transfer a large sum at once, or you need bank records of your money transfer (such as when buying property), then the best way is to use SWIFT transfer (wire transfer).
You can prepare a wire transfer from your home bank account to your Thai bank account by using the SWIFT number, the fees are quite high at around 1,800-2,400 baht ($60) per transfer, so make sure that you use this option only when transferring large sums so that it is more worth it. It also takes around 5 business days to process the transaction.
This option is more cost-effective than using ATMs if you transfer more than 130,000 baht ($3,900) into your Thai bank account.
If you need a quicker way to transfer money and you DO NOT have a Thai bank account then you can use instant money transfer services such as Western Union and Moneygram. They are extremely quick as it takes only minutes for you to transfer money. There are also around 5,000 Western Union locations in Thailand so you will be able to find one easily.
As with everything, convenience comes with a price so keep in mind that these services are costly especially when transferring smaller amounts. The service costs can range anywhere from $10 to $50 plus the exchange rate costs as well. So this is only a good option if you need cash quickly or if you expect some people to send you cash from almost anywhere in the world.
Overall, our recommendation is to just open a savings account from a Thai bank and simply wire the money in, this way you will have the money in your account and be able to spend or withdraw it anywhere in Thailand with little to no fees at all. This way it's easy for you to pay bills and transfer money within Thailand and it makes life so much more easy and convenient while staying here.