Moving abroad is amongst the most hectic things you will do. That additional pressure of moving to a new country means much can be overlooked. The most urgent part of your finances to deal with is getting yourself a current account.
To help, we have put together a simple article on the banking options available to you:
There are three main options:
- Maintaining your account in the UK
- Opening an account in your new country of residence
- Opening an offshore account
Maintaining an account in the UK
Most UK bank accounts can be used and accessed worldwide, via the internet and telephone banking. Of course most debit and credit cards will also work worldwide, but you may face extra costs arising from exchange rate charges. Payments both in and out will be in a foreign currency and you will get charged a commission on this as well as suffering from an unfavourable foreign exchange rate. It’s also difficult to register your British bank account to your foreign address which can make purchasing goods online difficult.
As a primary account, it is at best a temporary solution. It might be practical to keep some money in a UK account for visits to use as and when you return to the UK, but you should find a better solution for your day to day spending abroad.
Opening an account in your new country of residence
Opening a local account does have some benefits, including the ability to receive your salary and pay for things in the local currency. However, it may prove difficult to open a local account with little or no credit history (in your new country) and potentially no proof of residence (if you have just moved and haven’t got a permanent residence yet). In many places you cannot purchase or rent property without a bank account, and you cannot get a bank account without a residential address. This can be quite a frustrating situation.
Bear in mind the importance of your new country’s political and economic stability. Regulation can be sporadic and your money may not be as safe as it first appears in a local account.
Opening an offshore account
Open an offshore bank account and you’ll get a top-quality current account with big name credit cards, a multi-currency account, typically fantastic English speaking customer service, a high level of security for your shorter term cash, secure internet banking, confidentiality, privacy, and the ability to do business with a company well versed in the specific needs of an expat or international person.