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March 12, 2024

Thailand Unveils Virtual Bank Licensing Framework

Thailand’s Ministry of Finance has issued the Notification re: Criteria, Methods and Conditions for Applying for and Issuing Licenses to Operate Virtual Bank Business, which was published in the Government Gazette on March 4, 2024. This notification opens an opportunity for qualified experts in technology, digital services, and diverse data usage fields to apply for virtual bank licenses to provide financial services through new digital channels. The main goal is to serve the financial needs of target groups that may not have received sufficient or tailored financial services from the traditional banking system.

Licensing Timeline

  • Application submission period: 6 months (March 20–September 19, 2024).
  • Announcement of successful applicants: Mid-2025 (approx. 9 months–1 year from the end of the submission period)
  • After the announcement, successful licensees must demonstrate their readiness to commence virtual bank operations within 1 year (extendable for up to 1 additional year) via the following:
    • Having paid-up registered capital of THB 5 billion and plans to increase the paid-up registered capital to at least THB 10 billion after the initial business period;
    • Establishment or adjustment of a financial business group;
    • Procurement of human resources, IT systems, and relevant risk management tools.

Number of Licenses to be Issued

No written or specified limit, subject to the discretion of the Bank of Thailand (BOT).

Key Qualifications

Applicants must have the following:

  • Experience and resources to support virtual banking operations according to the business model and plan.
  • Expertise and experience in conducting business that utilizes technology and provides services through digital channels.
  • Experience demonstrating the ability to obtain, access, manage, and utilize data, including development of systems or data connections to facilitate user activities, allowing them to use their data to conduct transactions with other providers.


In assessing applicants’ qualifications for a virtual bank license, the BOT will consider the following criteria:

  • Whether the applicant possesses the key qualifications;
  • Whether the applicant can conduct business operations following the BOT’s expected green line (i.e., financial services meet customers’ needs, good customer experience, fair competition) and avoiding its red line (i.e., unsustainable business operations, inappropriate competition, stakeholder conflict of interest);
  • Whether the applicant has the potential and ability to operate a virtual banking business using flexible, sustainable, secure, and trusted technology; knowledge, skills, and appropriate governance; ability in risk management, financial business, and maintenance of a strong culture of risk mitigation; and status and financial support from shareholders.

For more information on Thailand’s regulations pertaining to virtual banks or any other financial technology, please contact Athistha (Nop) Chitranukroh at [email protected], Pornpan Wichawut at [email protected], or Rada Lamsam at [email protected].

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