When your life becomes “international” and you start considering the works of a world without barriers - inevitably banking becomes an international asset as well. This also applies if you’re planning to spend a good portion of your time either traveling, living, or working abroad.
There are some things you need to consider when looking for the best international bank account, like withdrawal fees, transfer fees, and currency exchange rates. You should also evaluate your options depending on your nationality, your tax residency, your employment contract and how long you’re planning to travel or live abroad.
Thankfully, it’s now easier than ever to explore your options and open a foreign bank account - even remotely! Here’s a run down of some of these options:
Perhaps the most convenient option today is N26.
The N26 bank account is a fee-free “deposit account” that you can open in under 8 minutes. You can deposit money with cash or transfer money from another account at any time, as many times as you want. You can also withdraw money from the account at an ATM, transfer money to other accounts, or spend money using your bank card, or by direct debit.
The standard N26 bank account is free and doesn’t charge any opening or maintenance fees. The N26 You bank account costs €9.90 per month and the N26 Metal account is available for €16.90 per month, with a 12-month commitment period. To open an N26 account, no deposit or minimum income is required.
If you meet the eligibility criteria, you can open an account with N26. Signing up to N26 is quick and easy—it takes just a few minutes, your smartphone and a verified form of ID. Once you have verified your identity, your bank account will be ready to go and your Mastercard will reach you in the following days. You can start right here.
Can you imagine an online bank with zero physical branches? Monzo is one of them. In order to open an account in Monzo, you need to be at least 16 years old and live in the UK full time, with the right to reside there. You’ll also need your phone and a valid ID.
A Monzo account allows instant spending notifications, stress-free traveling, easy budgeting and support from real people, anytime. You can use it to pay in shops, restaurants and online, anywhere in the world and in any currency, with no fees.
They will pass Mastercard's exchange rate directly on to you, and don't add fees or additional charges. Withdrawals from an ATM are fee-free in the European Economic Area (EEA). For other countries, you can take out £200 for free every 30 days. After that, they will charge you 3%.
“Money without borders”: TransferWise is not as much as a bank but a new alternative to it: a multi-currency account. It’s one of the favorite options for international travelers and remote workers.
You can set up an account online for free, without visiting any physical location, and in seconds. You just need to complete your profile and upload your ID documents to verify your account for security. Then you can start sending and receiving money around the world.
It's free to get your international bank details and free to receive money using those bank details. You can also get a debit Mastercard to access your money anywhere in the globe.
TransferWise also offers the best rate for sending money — just like the one used by Google or Reuters. Combine that with a low, upfront fee, and you get international transfers that are cheap, fair and transparent.
Ally Bank is a reliable bank with a long trajectory that is now fully-online and charges zero maintenance fees for your account. Yes - that’s right. No maintenance fees and no minimums on accounts, either.
Signing up for an Ally Bank account is easy. You do have to provide information about your identity (including your Social Security number) and answer some questions. But once this process is finished - you’re all ready to start earning from your own account!
Why do I say earn money? Well, there is the 0.50% annual percentage yield (APY) earned by accounts with a minimum daily balance above $15,000. Accounts with lesser amounts still earn too — 0.10%.
And finally - they offer an amazing Customer Support that can help anytime - even considering time zone differences when you’re abroad!
Air New Zealand OneSmart
Again- not a bank, technically speaking. But Air New Zealand OneSmart is a reloadable multi-currency prepaid card that can be used anywhere in the world.
It allows you to easily manage your money while you’re overseas by loading directly into foreign currency – there are eight to choose from: Australian Dollars, Singapore Dollars, Hong Kong Dollars, Japanese Yen, Great British Pounds, Euros, Canadian Dollars, and United States Dollars. Your card will intelligently select the currency of the country you are in if you have that currency loaded.
You can withdraw local currency from any ATM where Mastercard is accepted. Every month, your first three ATM withdrawals are free. And finally, you can earn 1 Airpoints Dollar for every NZD $100 spent overseas. It’s Air New Zealand’s card, after all!
Charles Schwab Bank
Are you an American living outside of the U.S.? Schwab might be a great option for your banking needs now that you’ve gone international.
Some of the advantages that this bank includes: professional support from a team that’s always ready to jump on a call, an international wire team, competitive rates of exchange, a Schwab Visa® debit card that you can use at any ATM in the world, and Schwab will refund the fees (among many others).
One of the main advantages: there are no foreign transaction fees, which makes using your credit or debit card a lot less expensive.
Ready to start? You can open an account online, by phone, or in one of over 300 branches.