Expats warned over unnecessary bank charges


Old or forgotten bank accounts bank have been highlighted as something for expats to remain on top of, or risk facing unwanted charges.

As expats tend to have a number of interests around the world, it’s very common for them to also have a number international bank accounts, perhaps one at home, one in their new country of residence and also an offshore account that allows different currencies.

However, if you lose track of these accounts and allow one, or more, to slip under the minimum balanced then you could find yourself facing hefty penalty charges.

Many international banks are known to charge if accounts fall below the minimal cash level, and these administration charges can be as much as $40 per month.

Of course, both charges and minimum amounts vary, as one adviser explained: “Minimum required balances vary a great deal. I am aware of some banks in Jersey who require $50,000 or more, which in my view is very unreasonable. In Asia these balances can be even higher for foreign currencies. Thus if you had a minimum requirement of $50,000 and you let the balance fall below that, to say $45,000, you may be charged $25 per month, or $300 per year. That is expensive banking when you consider that your account may have very little movements but the bank is actually leveraging off your balance for loans which attract high interest rates.”

Despite these potential pitfalls it is important for expats to manage their money in an effective international manner, but what’s important is to make sure you only have the necessary bank accounts. Monitoring finances while leading a busy expat life can be difficult, and for this reason it’s always advised that you regularly consult a trusted IFA, who will help ensure your financial life is efficiently managed.