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The 9 Best International Bank Accounts for Expats & Digital Nomads in 2022

Sep 23, 2022
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As a digital nomad or long-time expat, you have likely come across location-specific services and slow processing in your home country's traditional banking system.

When looking for the best bank for expats, you will want to keep an eye out for much more nomad-friendly services.

What Makes a Good Online International Bank Account?

The best banks for expats will provide the following digital services to you:

  1. charges zero international card transaction fees;
  2. has generous limits for ATM withdrawals abroad;
  3. comes with a mobile app and virtual card; and
  4. can be opened remotely from your computer or smartphone.

In this guide, we explore your options for the best banks for expats in the US, the UK, Europe, Oceania, and around the world.

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Explore the best banks for expats in 2022:

  • US Expats: Chime charges no foreign transaction fees and access fee-free ATMs across the US, the UK, Mexico, and more | Read the review.
  • UK Expats: Monzo offers very high savings interest rates and offers one of the best budgeting apps | Read the review.
  • EU Expats: Revolut users from the EU get a powerful multi-currency account, an IBAN, and a UK sort code | Read the review.
  • Oceania Expats: Wise gives you account details in 10 countries and pots to hold up to 50 foreign currencies | Read the review.

Revolut — Best All-Round Bank Account for Expats

UK-based Revolut offers one of the best digital bank accounts in the world, entirely accessible from a single virtual card or Revolut debit card.

While the GBP and EUR account details are offered to only a select number of nationalities, the multi-currency account gives any nationality the ability to hold and exchange money in 30+ currencies. You can spend like a local, trade stocks, earn interest, and earn rewards. Paid memberships also include perks like travel insurance and no fees for debit cards.

The standard account (zero monthly fees) allows you to withdraw £200 or €200 per month from ATMs, the premium account (£6.99 per month) up to £400 or €400 and the metal account (£12.99 per month) up to £600 or €600. After these limits, your international ATM withdrawal incurs a charge of 2% of the amount.

To open an account, you’ll need a name, postal address (this can be c/o) and proof of identification, but you don’t need a proof of address or a credit check. 

For more about Revolut, check out our review or watch our YouTube review.

Wise — Best Multi-Currency Account and Card

The Wise Multi-Currency Account provides you with your very own bank details in the UK (GBP), the US (USD), Eurozone (EUR), New Zealand (NZD), Australia (AUD), and 5 other countries. That means you can get directly debited into any of the 10 supported currencies.

The account is free to open and need to only pay a small fee to have the card delivered to you. Their incredible technology allows you to convert your home currency into 50+ other currencies on the app at the real mid-market exchange rate. Instead of getting charged hidden weak exchange rates, Wise charges you a transparent, up-front, and industry-low fixed fee per conversion. When you present your card abroad, merchants and ATMs will treat you like a local.

Wise requires proof of address in the form of a utility bill, bank or credit card statement, tax bill, vehicle registration, driver’s license, or government document.

Learn more about the Wise Multi-Currency Account with our in-depth review or watch our YouTube review.

N26 — Best Fully-Licensed Neobank for EU Expats

N26 offers a complete digital bank account, available in the European Union with deposits insured up to €100,000 by the German Deposit Protection Scheme. You can open the account online from anywhere, but you will need a European postal address.

You only get EUR local bank account details, so you won't be able to get paid like a local business by clients outside of the Eurozone (if you have US customers, for example).

However, N26 is great for using your balance abroad 🌎:

On the basic plan, you have no monthly limit of 0% FX commission on foreign card transactions and ATM withdrawal fees of 1.70% outside of the EU. N26 is also fully integrated with Wise money transfer, giving you access to some of the lowest international money transfer fees on the market. As of 2022, you can earn up to 1.38% interest on savings per year.

Learn more about Europe's most famous neobank with our N26 Review or watch our YouTube review.

Chime — Best American Digital Bank for Free ATMs

Chime is one of the most widely-used neobanks in the United States, available to those with a social security number. While it does not offer a multi-currency account option for travelers, your Chime cards charge zero international card transaction fees and provide you with access to fee-free ATMs worldwide (although mostly in Mexico and the Anglosphere).

You only get USD bank details with Chime, but you can open up to three different account types: checking, savings, and credit builder. Chime uses Plaid software to integrate your traditional banks (such as BoA or Chase) for seamless ACH transfers.

The Chime savings interest rate averages at 1%, which is far above the national average. The credit builder Visa card even helps you build your credit score without having to actually take on any debt. To enjoy these perks while spending abroad at a low cost makes Chime an ideal bank account for American digital nomads.

Read more about Chime's benefits with our Chime review.

Monzo — Best Savings and Budgeting for UK Digital Nomads

Monzo is an excellent UK neobank, fully authorised in the UK by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Monzo is often ideal for UK nomads because it doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees or hike up the exchange rate on international purchases with its Mastercard. Its joint account feature is rare in the neobank industry, making it ideal for that digital nomad power couple or a travelling family.

Monzo's powerful app has excellent budgeting and auto-saving features. You can funnel money into Savings Pots and let them accrue interest at rates above 1%. In addition to Wise money transfer integration, Monzo also offers fee-free ATM withdrawals but at a limit of £200 per 30 days.

Learn more with our in-depth Monzo review or watch our YouTube review.

Starling Bank — Best International Bank Account for UK Expats

Starling Bank is a fully-authorised bank in the UK that is well known for fee-free banking and excellent customer service. In addition, you get access to an impressively complete range of financial services (including overdraft, loans, joint account, youth card, pensions, Euro balance, interest, no foreign transaction fees, etc).

We think Starling Bank offers one of the best online banks in the UK, which is why we recommend it as a complete replacement for an account at a high-street bank.

The Monzo vs Starling Bank rivalry, which you can learn more about in our dedicated video, will likely continue for many years. While Monzo is an excellent choice for international spenders and nomads seeking streamlined digital banking, Starling Bank's multi-currency accounts are attractive to expats who have a permanent or semi-permanent situation in the Eurozone.

Read on about Starling Bank in our full review or watch our YouTube review.

Monese — Best UK Account Not Requiring Proof of UK Address

Want a UK account in British Pounds or a European account in Euros but have no permanent address? Monese makes it easy.

Any resident in the European Economic Area (EEA) can open a UK account, a euro account, or both. Each account gets you an IBAN number and a free contactless debit card, plus there is no proof of address and no credit check. You’ll just need a postal address, email, and valid ID to send the physical card.

The simple plan is zero per month and gets you a debit card, and £1.50 cash withdrawals. The classic plan has a £5.95 monthly fee and comes with a free debit card and a £500 limit of free cash withdrawals per month. Then there’s the premium plan at £14.95 per month — it offers a £1,500 limit of free cash withdrawals and a free debit card. Only the classic and premium plans offer no foreign transaction fees.

For more details about Monese, check out our our dedicated review or watch our YouTube review.

Payoneer — Best Business Bank Account for Digital Nomads

Payoneer is a world-class digital payments system that offers an attractive business account option for SMEs and self-employed professionals relying on frequent cross-border payments and receipts. It is free to sign up and is available for dozens of nationalities around the world. Accessing local bank accounts in nine countries (including USD, GBP, & EUR) means you will be able to avoid costly international wires by withdrawing your revenue in local currency.

Your Payoneer account comes with card pay-out processing functionality, a debit Mastercard debit card, and inexpensive international transfers. Getting paid by your customers via bank transfer is cheap but Payoneer charges 3% to process card payments (same as charges with Stripe).

You will incur fees when converting foreign revenue into other currencies. If you are an American business that gets paid by EU customers, for example, then you will get charged when you decide to move your EUR revenue from your EU Payoneer account to your US Payoneer account.

Competitors like Wise Business beat Payoneer here in terms of fees, but Payoneer wins in terms of its direct integration into marketplaces like Google Adsense, AirBnb, Rakuten, and Ebay.

Learn more about Payoneer's solutions and fees with our complete review.

Charles Schwab — Best Checking Account for US Expats

The darling of digital nomads who also happen to be US residents is The Charles Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking® Account has been the darling of US digital nomads.

This USD account is actually a standard US bank account that also offers the option to do some investing. But the key selling point for international folks is that most everything is free–from free cash withdrawals anywhere in the world to zero monthly costs. The account comes with a free Visa debit card and you can link the account to Apple Pay®, Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Microsoft Wallet.

Its average percentage yield on savings exceeds its competitors, namely Bank of America, Chase, and Wells Fargo. Unlike the other big-name banks, this Schwab account charges no monthly maintenance fees and no foreign card transaction fees.

You’ll need a US address, a social security number or an ITIN (taxpayer ID number),  plus a government-issued ID. Beyond this, requirements vary — green card holders may have to send in a copy of their documents. You can open the account online but if you are outside the US when you open it, use a VPN. Otherwise, they will ask you to present yourself at a Schwab office.

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Never Use PayPal for Online International Banking

As a final word of advice, we strongly urge you to avoid using PayPal when making transactions overseas or sending money internationally.

They charge high foreign transaction fees and purposely trick users into paying dynamic currency conversion fees.

Learn how to avoid PayPal's hidden currency conversion fees with our guide and informative YouTube video.

Summing Up: The Best Banks for Expats and Digital Nomads

Here are the best banks for digital nomads and expats in 2022:

  1. Revolut — Best overall digital nomad bank account
  2. Wise — Best multi-currency account for digital nomads
  3. N26 — Best fully-licensed neobank in Europe
  4. Chime — Best fee-free ATM access for Americans
  5. Monzo — Best for savings interest rate for the UK
  6. Starling Bank — Best international UK bank account
  7. Monese — Best for instant account opening for digital nomad
  8. Payoneer — Best business account for digital nomad entrepreneurs
  9. Charles Schwab — Best US bank for international spending

Best US Banks That Are International

Here's a list based on eligibility by proof of US residency or citizenship:

Top Banks for UK Expat Banking

These are digital bank accounts available to those from the United Kingdom:

Best Banks for Expats from the Eurozone

Have a look at the best digital banks for European digital nomads:

Top Banks for Nomads from Oceania

Here are some digital nomad bank accounts for Australians and New Zealanders:

Filter your results

Compare the Best Neobanks for Digital Nomads and Expats:

  1. Tinkoff Black Debit Card
    Tinkoff Black Debit Card Monito Score 9.2
    open
    • Languages
      Russian
    • Country availability
      Russia
    • Services
      Travel card
    • Monthly fee
      Moderate
    • Card delivery time
      Fast
    • Best for
      Everyday banking
    • Bank details
      No account details (balance only)
    • Supported currencies
      Russian ruble +2
    • Overdraft true
    • Annual interest rate
      High
    • Supports cash deposits true
    • International transfers true
  2. Starling Bank
    Starling Bank Monito Score 9.1
    open
    • Languages
      English
    • Country availability
      United Kingdom
    • Services
      Full bank account
    • Monthly fee
      Very low
    • Card delivery time
      Mid
    • Best for
      Everyday banking
    • Bank details
      UK account no. & sort code
    • Supported currencies
      Pound sterling
    • Overdraft true
    • Annual interest rate
      Low
    • Supports cash deposits true
    • International transfers true
  3. Monzo
    Monzo Monito Score 9.0
    open
    • Languages
      English
    • Country availability
      United Kingdom
    • Services
      Full bank account
    • Monthly fee
      Very low
    • Card delivery time
      Fast
    • Best for
      Everyday banking +1
    • Bank details
      UK account no. & sort code
    • Supported currencies
      Pound sterling +2
    • Overdraft true
    • Annual interest rate
      High
    • Supports cash deposits true
    • International transfers true

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