Is Thai Plastic Difficult To Obtain?
By the way, we’re not talking about the ubiquitous styrofoam boxes containing your takeaway pad ka pao, nor neon green Big C bags to carry home your Tong Garden peanuts, dual bottles of Chang Export and overpriced slice of French camembert.
No…, this is that thin plastic rectangle with a magnetic strip on the back that can be a saving grace, or an achilles’ heel, depending on your spending habits. It can be an absolute blessing for convenience and emergencies, or the catalyst to put oneself in financial ruin within a few short impulsive shopping sprees.
Residential foreigners in this region have typically grown accustomed to the native cash-centric method of payment in virtually every daily transaction here. However even for the die-hard cash buffs, one can’t deny that using a credit card surely has its advantages; a la Amazon, Agoda, and Air Asia comes to mind, just to name a few.
Granted, many expats don’t have the need for one, as their homeland cards will suffice. Or, many foreigners here are perfectly happy with strictly the cash option and make do otherwise.
So what are the ins and outs to obtain a Thai credit card if the need should arise? For those who are indeed interested, there are a few things that should be mentioned if you’re considering applying for one.
Firstly, the Thai banks in this country have varied criteria when applying for a credit card. Since regulations differ at every bank for expatriates, it’s best to check all the major Thai banks in case one or more offers a more appealing set of rules than your own bank.
Although each bank may be dissimilar with the finer requirements, there are however, standard commonalities such as: level of income, length of employment, work permit status, and length of an active account.
It must be noted, that the following are general guidelines and are subject to change at any time:
Income; A foreigner usually must have a minimum amount of 50,000 Baht in his/her account. There may be circumstances where a minimum income of 15,000 Baht, or 30,000 Baht is acceptable depending on the bank. This may also include providing a tax withholding slip and/or a payroll slip as a method of proof for said income.
Work Permit; One must provide both a valid passport and work permit when applying for a credit card. Additionally, the passport must be valid for a subsequent six months from the date of application. Some banks also require the work permit to be valid up to two years.
Employment;Once again, it depends on the particular bank. However it is a general rule that a foreigner must be employed for a minimum of one year (sometimes two years), and preferably at the same job for the duration.
Bank Statements; Bank statements must date back for at least six months prior to application. This is to show the bank that the applicant has consistent revenue, and didn’t just borrow the money in one lump sum in the hope of indicating an alleged income.
Applying for a Thai credit card can be either rather smooth with perhaps the odd hiccup here and there, or not for the faint of heart with hair-pulling ramifications. It’s really dependant on the person’s level of tolerance and stamina dealing with the process and/or how badly the card is needed.
Most foreigners apparently don’t regard this as a top priority and continue transacting as they always have been. However, it’s good to at least get a bit of a head’s up just in case the need should ever arise in the future.