Overseas bank accounts serve a multitude of people and purposes, and it is not just expats who need to access funds in foreign accounts. Due to the growth of international immigration, tourism, trade and commerce, money transfers are made all over the globe everyday, and an increasing number of people open bank accounts overseas to support these cross-border payments.
Whether related to work, studying, retirement or family reasons, people open bank accounts overseas for all sorts of reasons. Before setting up a bank account overseas, it is worth evaluating your current financial situation, especially if you are moving abroad. By reviewing your existing banking you will be able to assess which features you use most, which services you may continue to require as well as anything you may no longer need once you have made moved overseas.
At this stage it is important to contact the tax office and pension provider in your home country, to inform them of your move and new overseas bank account. Expats moving permanently overseas may want to learn more about switching accounts and claiming a pension abroad.
Once you have cleared up any outstanding finances, you can begin shopping around for a new overseas bank account. Also, if you want to know more about the process behind transferring money to a foreign bank account make sure to check our guide.
Generally, the following information is required to open a bank account overseas:
Due to the changing landscape, digital-only banking is highly desirable to customers around the world, especially those who wish to open an overseas bank account from outside a country. Whether you are choosing to bank with a traditional institution or opting for a challenger bank, there are many companies who allow customers to open an account online. However, it is important to find out whether your international bank account can be managed exclusively online, if this is something you wish to do.
Opening a new account over the phone is easy and convenient, and allows you to speak directly with a representative from the bank. You may incur charges for the phone call, depending where you are calling from. While you will be able to provide the above information over the phone, you may still be asked to visit the bank in person to verify documentation; this is something you can ask on the phone.
The most traditional and ultimately safest way to open a bank account is by visiting the bank branch and setting up an account in person. However, if you are opening a bank account with a digital-only bank, this will not be possible as they will not have physical locations. The importance of accessing in-person services is something to consider when deciding which provider to open an account with.
If you are applying for an overseas bank account you may be asked if you are a resident or non-resident. Anyone relocating for reasons such as work, retirement or studying, will usually qualify as a resident.
If you are considered a non-resident, this could result in tighter restrictions or limits to your overseas bank account. It is worth checking with the provider, as not all banks offer the same flexibility for non-residents and in some countries, non-residents are not allowed to open standard bank accounts.
If you have recently moved overseas, to the country you are opening a bank account in, you may be asked to prove your status as a resident. Not all banks require this information, however, so it is worth opting for a bank that welcomes expats and supports international bank transfers. Check out our guide to the Best International Banks for Expats.
In conclusion, it is possible open a bank account overseas and most banks make it easy to manage your finances online wherever you are in the world. While not all banks offer overseas residents the option to open a bank account, many do have options for non-residents, although you may be required to visit the bank in person when initially setting up your account. For anyone moving overseas, this is a straightforward requirement, but for those opening an overseas account from their home country, you may want to opt for a bank with quality online customer service. Check out our comparison engine to find out the best rates for any overseas payments you may need to make.
April is a trained journalist and the Content Editor for MoneyTransfers.com. She has 10 years experience writing about a diverse range of subjects, from financial services to arts and entertainment. When she’s not writing about global remittances she can be found daydreaming about her next holiday abroad.