The exchange rates between the different currencies can vary a lot, and this will obviously affect your disposable income when you are living in Thailand with an income in a foreign currency. This is especially the case when you are receiving a retirement pension from your home country, which is issued in your home country's currency, and converted when it arrives in your Thai bank for you to use. The latest events in the global economy show that it currencies can appreciate or depreciate very quickly, making it desirable to have more control on the exchange rates so you can use it to avoid unnecessary losses, and even turn it to your advantage. Fortunately, this becomes possible by opening a Foreign Currency Deposit Account with a Thai bank.
What are the Advantages
When you live in Thailand on a long-term basis, you will only use Thai Baht as your spending currency. If your earning currency is in one of the major foreign currencies such as US Dollars or Euros, you will have to convert it. This is usually done at the time of transfer from your income source into Thailand, which is usually done with no consideration of the exchange rate, leaving you vulnerable to unfavorable currency fluctuations. With a Foreign Currency Deposit Account, instead of converting at the time of transfer, you can convert your income at will, by withdrawing from the account when the exchange rates are favorable. This can represent a great advantage when you receive a pension from your home country or when you transfer a large amount of foreign currency and want to control the timing of the exchange.
Which banks offer this type of account
Currently most Thai banks offer to open a Foreign Currency Deposit Account, but the conditions may vary depending on the bank. From experience, as of July 2015 the easiest bank to open such an account is the Krungsri Bank (previously known as Bank of Ayudhya, also know as the "yellow bank"), which requires only a copy of your passport, certificate of local residence, and the equivalent of 500 USD of foreign currency. The Bangkok Bank also offers this type of account, but require a letter from your embassy to confirm the source of the income. Since bank policies change quite often, it is best to check often the conditions offered by each bank to make the most convenient decision.
How to open such an account
Opening a bank account in Thailand is easy when you are staying on a long-term visa, such as Retirement, Business, or Family Support, and it can actually be quite a pleasant experience as the staff are usually very friendly. You will usually need a copy of your passport, certificate of local residence, and a certificate of the source of income. The certificate of local residence usually can be just a rental contract although recently the banks require a signed confirmation from a Thai national. The certificate of the source of income is especially for pensions and government income, if you have business income you may have to discuss with the bank manager regarding which documents will allow them to open such a bank account for you.