Thailand Expects First Virtual Bank by Mid-2026 after Opening for Applications

Thailand reveals terms and conditions for the application to acquire the license of virtual banks, which will be applicable within the next six months after the enforcement of this decree, which is in the next 15 days, according to the guidance released on Tuesday by the Finance Ministry.

The aim to establish a virtual bank is to support SMEs, underserved and unserved people.

Applicants must demonstrate sufficient experience and resources to support the commercial banking business along with good governance, it said in a statement. After the submission period ends, the Thai central bank and the finance ministry will consider applications within nine months.

As of now, there are three big conglomerates that have expressed interest in applying for the license. Advanced Info Service Public Company Limited (SET: ADVANC),Krung Thai Public Company Limited (SET: KTB), PTT Oil and Retail Business Public Company Limited (SET: OR) and Gulf Energy Development Public Company Limited (SET: GULF) have joined hands to establish a new joint venture to enter the race.

Meanwhile, the Chearavanont Family’s CP Group, through its digital payment service unit TrueMoney, and a Chinese partner will establish another subsidiary to participate.

Lastly, SCB X Public Company Limited (SET: SCB) will join the Korean KakaoBank to form a consortium for the license as well.


The statement from the finance ministry also said that it will give the Bank of Thailand authorities to grant the licence for virtual banks at an appropriate number. Though it did not specify the exact number, the central bank has been so prudent on the establishment of virtual banks that it once stated that the license will be limited to only three.

Approved banks must prepare and begin operations of the virtual bank within one year, the statement said. Following this timeline, the expected commercial date of Thailand’s first virtual bank should be around June 2026.