Moving to another country involves huge life changes. These are changes expats are willing to make, as living abroad may be the ideal plan for them for many reasons.
Due to the big move, expats need to manage their finances away from their home country. From living expenses and investments to business, they need a bank account to handle their money effectively.
FAQs About Opening a Bank Account Abroad
Expat bank accounts need a distinct set of requirements, and expats often have questions about opening one. Luckily, this article answers the frequently asked questions about opening a bank account for expats abroad.
1. I’m not a resident here. Am I allowed to open a bank account?
One of the requirements for opening a bank account is proof of address. A person can’t open an account if they are not a resident. In this case, an option is to open an account in an international bank that is also available in the country you’re moving to.
International banks are more convenient because their services are available all over the world. These banks may also be subject to the insurance policies of the foreign country, giving you more security for deposits. Moreover, they are not as strict when it comes to applying for loans.
2. What should I know about the local currency and denominations?
Take note of the banknote and coin denominations for every country. The denominations can tell you its purchasing capacity. Being familiar with the local currency and denominations will also allow you to better gauge them against your home country’s currency and denomination, especially when you need foreign exchange.
Beware of the changes in denominations as well. Some countries are introducing new coins and banknotes while slowly phasing out old ones. These changes can be in the appearance of the money or the actual denominations. You want to avoid using invalid notes and coins.
3. How should I pick a bank account?
As an expat, it’s safe to choose big, established local banks because of their stability. These banks have lesser risks of undergoing closure without notice.
You can also choose international banks since their services are available globally. Their availability in the country you’re moving to is important because international banks may not be as accessible as local banks. This also applies to the number of branches and ATMs available in the country.
Make sure that your bank caters to your needs as an expat. It also helps to consider accessibility, services, and fees when choosing which bank to open an account in.
4. What are the requirements to open a bank account?
The requirements for opening an account may vary from bank to bank, but some documents are constantly required. For expats, banks may need specific forms and documents. The common requirements are the following:
- Government-issued IDs. Foreigners are often asked to present their passport and Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card (ACR I-Card).
- ID picture. The bank may ask for 1×1, 2×2, or passport size.
- Proof of address. Examples of possible proofs are current utility bills or contract of lease.
Aside from documents, the bank may need a minimum deposit to open a bank account and a referral. The minimum deposit amount depends on the bank and the type of account you are applying for. They may also need a reference from your bank in your home country or an existing customer of the bank you want to open an account in.
5. Can I make insured bank deposits?
Yes, but it depends on the country. For example, in the Philippines, the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation insures up to Php 500,000 or US$10,000 of your total money in a bank. Take note that this amount applies to a per bank basis, not per account. Check the existing insurance policies in your country and take note of the limitations, as well.
6. Do I have to look out for hidden bank fees?
Banks often charge expat fees, and they can cost you a lot. When opening an account or while doing your research, ask for a list of all fees that you may incur for your bank account. Look out for recurring costs, fees for inbound and outbound transfers, and account closure.
Fund transfers can cost you money as well. Some banks limit transactions that you can make with your expat bank account. They will either restrict transfers or conversions to specific countries and currencies or charge an expensive fee.
You’re All Set
Opening a bank account for expats abroad needs residency requirements. For stability and security, choose an established international bank. Before opening an account, be sure to do your research because there may be hidden fees for your transactions. When you’ve successfully opened an account, check if your country has further requirements.
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