Having a convenient way to access your money, especially when you’re in another country, is always ideal. Since this will allow you to pay for goods, services, and anything else that you might need, it’s best that this is one of the things you prioritize before moving to Cambodia. To make things easier for you, the best option is to open a bank account.
However, as an expat living in Cambodia, there are things you need to consider before opening an account like which bank will be the most convenient for you to use and the accompanying benefits it has.
All the necessary questions you have on how to open a bank account in Cambodia as an expat have been answered and compiled into one complete guide so continue reading!
Banking 101 in Cambodia
Similar to other countries, there are numerous banks in Cambodia that you can choose from. All of these banks have different benefits to its customers so you cannot simply choose one at random since you have to make sure your chosen bank accommodates all your financial needs.
Here are some of the things you have to consider before choosing a bank for you:
- Do you need to use a local or international bank?
Using a local or international bank offers different benefits. Choosing an international bank allows you to have the convenience of transferring or receiving money easily with people outside of Cambodia. However, there are numerous fees you have to pay if you have an international card like convenience fees, automatic currency conversion if you’re sending money of a different currency, or even taxes on the sent/received money.
On the other hand, using a local bank is more convenient for daily transactions within Cambodia. So if you are staying in the country for an extended period of time, it’s best to use a local bank.
- Is the bank and its ATMs accessible in the country?
Among other things you have to consider is if the bank you want to open an account under has accessible ATMs in numerous places in Cambodia. This will make it easier for you to travel within the country without financial worries since you can easily access your money.
Since not all banks establish their ATMs in all rural areas, make sure that the bank you will choose will at least have branches in populous and major cities like Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.
- Do you need a high interest USD savings account?
To ensure your money does not remain stagnant in your account, you can get a high interest USD savings account in a bank. Some of the most popular banks and their interest rates at a one year fixed plan that you need to know are the following:
- LOLC → This bank’s monthly interest rate paid monthly is 7.75% or 8% paid at maturity
- Acleda Bank → This bank’s monthly interest rate paid monthly is 4.25% or 4.50% paid at maturity
- ABA Bank → This bank’s monthly interest rate paid monthly is 3.25% or 3.50% paid at maturity
Upon opening a bank account, you should be aware of the tax withheld by the bank. This is something that most people don’t realize they have to pay. Tax withholding is a form of tax where a bank will withhold taxes from an income before being paid out. The good news is that dividends paid to residents are tax-exempt while non-residents are subject to pay 14% advance tax on dividend distributions. Below is a table to understand the tax rates in Cambodia based on the nature of income.
|Nature of income||Tax rate (%)|
|Dividends||0||14 + Advance tax on dividend distributions (ATDD)|
|Fees for technical services||15||14|
If you’re not sure whether or not you have to pay withholding taxes, you can check with your employer or the official government agency for taxes in Cambodia.
- How is it like to withdraw money using a foreign or local bank in Cambodia?
Withdrawing money from your bank doesn’t charge you any convenience fees. However, if you use an international card to withdraw from a local bank, the average transaction can cost between $4 to $5.
Requirements to open a bank account
Opening a bank account in Cambodia as an expat is easy since you only need to prepare the following:
- A valid passport with at least six months’ validity left
- A one year extended Cambodian visa
- The required deposit amount for the account
Most banks only require the documents listed above to open a bank account. However, there are some institutions that require the following:
- A certificate of employment
- Proof of residency or copy of your lease
- Business registration if you’re self employed in Cambodia
- A photo of yourself in passport size with a white background
Once you have all the above, opening an account would only take a couple of minutes. Afterwards, you can then enjoy the convenience of having a Cambodian bank.
Best banks for expats in Cambodia
There are a variety of banking choices available in Cambodia that you can choose from. However, the top banks for expats and locals alike are the following:
- ABA Bank: The ABA Bank is one of the most popular ones used in Cambodia since it has 42 branches and is currently accepted as a payment method in most stores. Their minimum deposit amount is $10 for Cambodian residents and $50 for non-residents.
- ACLEDA Bank: One of the biggest banks in rural and urban areas is ACLEDA Bank. It has around 203 branches and is often accepted in most places. Additionally, for its current accounts, it has a minimum deposit of $1,000.
- SATHAPANA Bank: The SATHAPANA Bank has been one of the biggest money lenders in the country that transitioned into a big bank. They offer online accounts even if you don’t have a work visa and only have a minimum deposit of $10 if you’re opening a savings account.
- J-TRUST ROYAL Bank: The J-Trust Bank, which translates to Japanese Trust Bank, has 40 branches across Cambodia. The minimum deposit for opening an account here is $500 USD, with $100 USD to maintain as balance.
- BRED Bank: Popularly known for business & corporate banking, Bred Bank is one of the largest banking groups in France and the only EU bank in Cambodia. Opening a silver account here requires a minimum deposit of $100 USD and a maintaining balance of $1 USD.
- MAYBANK: One of the leading banks in Southeast Asia and the largest financial servicing company in Malaysia, Maybank in Cambodia has a total of 21 branches a full range of banking services to individuals and corporate sectors. To open a bank account, you will need $100 USD of minimum deposit and $10 USD as your maintaining balance.
To learn more about banks and loans in Cambodia, read Can Foreigners Get Home Loans in Cambodia.