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The best international bank accounts for digital nomads, travelers & expats

Managing your finances across multiple countries and currencies is tricky, especially if you don't have a fixed abode, are traveling regularly or you're living abroad. But a variety of international, multi-currency accounts make banking across borders easy, affordable and user-friendly.

    Opening an international bank account

    Last updatedNovember 2018
    Written byCaroline Sieg

    “Please upload a utility bill in your name that is not older than 3 months. Mobile phone statements are not acceptable.”

    For digital nomads (or, as some prefer to say, location-independent people) who do not have a fixed abode, dealing with admin and finances makes you want to pull your hair out. Even if you’re not a digital nomad per se, finding best bank for international travel is tricky.

    For example, when you want to set up a new bank account but you don’t have an address, it can often be tough to get around proof of residency requirements. Then there are heaps of people who do have a permanent address they maintain, but who are constantly living and/or working in foreign countries, getting paid in different currencies from various international clients or need to pay vendors or freelancers based all over the place. But a slew of new banks are disrupting the status quo.

    We’re in the money transfer business and some of the best players in this sphere are providing innovative solutions that go beyond the basic service and sending money online,  so we’re always keeping an eye on what’s happening in this space. This business changes fast, but right now here’s a roundup of some of our favorite–and most interesting– international bank accounts for digital nomads. A few don’t require stacks of utility bills or other required documentation that many traditional financial institutions ask for, some offer great options to reduce fees while traveling and several offer the chance to hold bank accounts in multiple currencies. All of these offer competitive foreign exchange rates and a mobile app, though for the most up-to-date fees and rates do a price comparison here.


    • Monese

      ✓ No proof of address required
      ✓ Accounts in EUR and GBP

      No permanent address? Want a UK account in British Pounds or a European account in Euros? These guys make it easy. UK-based Monese offers three account options. And you can open a Monese account and bank 20 EU countries, plus the UK.  They’ve simplified their pricing so that the amounts for various services are the same number in either Euros or Pounds. For example, an ATM fee will cost £1 and €1  for accounts in Pounds or Euros. You can open just a UK account, just a euro account, or both. Each account gets you an IBAN number and a contactless debit card and there is no proof of address and no credit check. You’ll just need a postal address to send the physical card to.

      The starter account is zero per month and gets you a debit card (which requires a one-time fee of £/€4.95 , £/€1 cash withdrawals. The primary account has a £/€4.95 monthly fee and comes with a free debit card and six free cash withdrawals per month. Then there’s the premium account at £/€14.95 per month—it offers unlimited free cash withdrawals, a free debit card.

      You have the option to get instant or cash top-ups at a post office or at a PayPoint (a system for paying bills in United Kingdom, Ireland and Romania)), and if you have both a UK and Euro account with Monese you can exchange money between the two. For more details about Monese check out our review.

    • TransferWise

      ✓ Proof of address required
      ✓ Accounts in EUR, GBP, USD, and AUD

      Currency overload! The TransferWise Borderless account gives you banking details in the UK (GBP), the US (USD), Germany (EUR), and Australia (AUD). You can hold over 40 currencies in your TransferWise borderless account and accounts holders get a free ATM debit card, too.

      However. If you don’t have a permanent address, sorry. TransferWise requires proof of address in the form of a utility bill (gas, landline phone, electricity), a bank or credit card statement or a tax bill (less than three months old), a vehicle registration, a driver’s license with your address or a document from the government or a financial institution. And no, mobile phone bills won’t work.

      Our review contains more details about TransferWise in general, or check out our post covering the TransferWise Borderless account.

    • Revolut

      ✓ No proof of address required
      ✓ Accounts in EUR and GBP

      UK-based Revolut offers three types of accounts–all include a UK and Euro account, a debit card, a virtual debit card and the ability to hold and exchange money in 25 currencies, and the more you pay, the more you can withdraw each month. The fee options 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, 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 nor a credit check. For more about Revolut, check out our review.


    International bank accounts or EU or EEA residents only

    (except Malta and Cyprus)

    N26

    ✓ No proof of address required
    ✓ Accounts in EUR 

    Originally from Germany, N26 offers a Euro account and aims to launch in the UK and the US in late 2018 or early 2019. You can open the account online from anywhere, but you will need a European postal address, though it does appear to be quite easy to simply use a friend’s address and using a c/o address. There are a few plans–from free to 16.90 per month. All give you free euro ATM cash withdrawals and the paid plans offer perks like no FX fee on currency exchanges and travel insurance. Overall, this currently a very EU-centric account (you can currently only make a bank transfer between European accounts, but you can just use a different service for money transfers beyond Europe) but we are keen to see what their expansion into the UK and the US offers, so stay tuned.


    International bank accounts for US residents only

    Charles Schwab

    ✓ Proof of address required
    ✓ Accounts in USD

    The darling of digital nomads who also happen to be US residents is The Charles Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking® Account. Despite the mouthful of a name, this 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.

    You’ll need a US address, a social security number or a TIN (taxpayer ID number),  plus an ID. Bet=yond this, requirements vary–some green card holders have had to send in a copy of their document. 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.


    Whatever you choose, fees and exchange rates change quickly and in order to secure the best rate, it’s always best to do a money transfer price comparison before each transaction.

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