Having an international bank account is a must-have if you want to control your finances while you are overseas. It enables you to save up on money transfers and other potential risks in your current country to your funds.
But before you open one, here are the things you need to look out for:
Get Documents Ready
Every bank in every country has its own set of requirements that expats need to meet so they can open a bank account. Check with your chosen bank regarding the conditions they have for international accounts and prepare for them.
Aside from your passport and proof of residency, you may also need to provide copies of your recent bank statement, birth certificate, and employment certificate.
Some may even ask for a credit check or character reference before you can open an account.
Do note that you may need to get some documents translated and notarized if they are not in the host country’s official language.
These procedures can take time.
Read the Fine Print
Every bank account you open comes with its own terms and conditions. These conditions may include extra fees if your account is below the expected minimum balance for the account and other services you will attach to the account.
Withdrawal fees can also be very high if you opened an international bank account. So watch out for those small fine print before you sign on the dotted line.
Do shop around first or ask other expats in our forum for recommendations.
Check the Exchange Rate
Getting an international multi-currency account does not have a lot of fees when you use it. But you will have to check the exchange rate to see if you will get more out of your money.
To determine if you are getting the best exchange rate, compute how much you or your recipient will receive based on the exchange rate set by the bank when you transfer or withdraw money.
How Your Money Will Be Protected
You can never tell how banks will stay open, regardless of whether they are a large bank.
Every country has various regulations on how these banks operate and different coverage when something happens to these banks. Check with the bank if they have insurance coverage for its depositors in case they shut down operations or declare bankruptcy
Making Sure Customer Service Is International
For international accounts, it is not very easy to get a response to your inquiries because you can’t physically go to the bank to ask for an update.
But with the popularity of international banks, they are all offering alternative ways to communicate with their clients, even if they cannot visit.
See what contact options are available for international clients with the bank. If you can’t find them, you can ask the bank directly.
As expats, we must make sure our money is safe and protected, especially if we are still uncertain about our future. With an international bank account, we can control how our cash flows without having to risk withdrawing all of it and end up spending it haphazardly.
Have you done your research on the banks offering these international accounts? What have you decided to do?
By: Kally Tay