Let's skip ahead a little and pretend you've already landed that cushy job teaching English in Phuket. Before your lucrative job allows you to start rolling in the dough getting a whopping $30 a day, you'll need a place to put that cash. More accurately stated, your new employer needs a place to transfer the money to you. Nearly all English teaching positions are paid on a monthly basis. Granted, there are a few "part-time" English teaching jobs out there in which you are paid at the end of each week. But you still need a place for the school to transfer you the money. Having a checking account from your home country obviously won't cut it. The international transfer fee ALONE will probably be 25% of your monthly income. And trust me when I say this, with only 30K baht a month as your salary teaching English, you will need every last penny in order to live comfortably in Phuket. One of the many Siam Commercial Banks in PhuketIn reading other websites about TEFL teachers, I have not seen much info out there regarding which bank to use or even what one needs to set up an account at a Thai bank. And you definitely need a Savings account at one in order to get your monthly salary. No Thai school is going to give you 30,000 baht in cash every month for a whole slew of reasons.
So which bank is best for a foreigner to open if he/she intends to become an English teacher? I am sure there are many opinions out there regarding this very topic, but like I said I haven't seen anything in print, so I am going to speak from personal experience. Before I even landed my first teaching gig, I wanted a Thai bank account in order to deposit the cash I initially brought over from the U.S. Not because I thought it would be stolen, moreso because I knew I would spend it in an irresponsible way which is very easy to do in Thailand. (Just check out our bar/nightclub section).With that said, I stopped into three different banks. Siam Commercial Bank, Bangkok Bank, and Bank of Ayuda. Of these banks, I personally found Siam Bank the easiest and most convenient bank to open a bank account. That is not to say the others aren't as easy, but there seemed to be less paperwork (read less restrictions) at Siam Bank for a foreigner being able to open up an account. Where the other banks asked for a work permit, proof of residency etc., Siam Commercial bank simply needed a copy of my passport and an initial deposit of 2,000 baht. And with that, I had a new Thai bank account, and still am banking with them 3 years later.Again, this is strictly my personal experience. The three banks mentioned above are the more visible banks in Phuket, meaning they have the most locations in and around Phuket. This is important because if you are trying to live in Phuket on a teacher's salary, you most definitely want to withdraw your money from you bank's ATM. If you don't, like in Western countries, you are hit with a 150-250 baht fee each time you make an ATM withdrawal. When you are only making 1000 baht a day, it behooves you to use your bank's ATM. And you want a bank with tons of locations and tons of ATMs so you don't spend an hour trying to sae 200 baht.
Once you have an account with a bank, you'll be given a passbook and ATM card. Your employer simply needs to know your account number and what bank you are using, and at the end of the month the school will make a transfer right into your account. When setting up your bank account initially, be sure to let the bank know your cell phone number and sign up for text alerts. These are a God send. They instantaneously send a text to your phone as soon as there is any type of activity in your account. So when you are desperately awaiting that bank transfer on February 1st, you'll know instantly when your involuntary anorexia stint can end.
For more info or to find a location near you, check out Siam Commercial Bank's website.
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