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Managing your money 18 October 2021

5 reasons why international banking is not only for expats

There was a time when an international bank account was used mostly by high-fliers and corporate jet-setters who had a clear need for day-to-day offshore banking services.

Today, that is far from the case, with a growing number of clients adding an international bank account as an essential part of their broader financial plan.

This demand has been driven in part by globalisation, but even more so by rapid advances in technology that place powerful banking tools, quite literally, at your fingertips.

So, what had started out as functional transactional banking for a limited few is today more mainstream and accessible to a far wider audience.

Here are 5 reasons an international account is worth considering.

1) Risk diversification

The first reason you’d want to consider an international account is because it allows you to shift some of your eggs into another basket that will provide you with global diversification.

As has been highlighted by recent global events, risks are everywhere and not restricted to the political and currency instability that many developing economies have had to contend with.

It therefore makes sense to consider shifting some assets into other jurisdictions. This is a decision that is best made in consultation with a suitably-qualified advisor who can explain the legal and tax ramifications. Diversifying your risk may not shield you from every possible misfortune, but it will provide you with a buffer against all-out calamity.

One tactic you could use, if this makes sense to your overall financial plan, is to hold your assets in different currencies to counter exchange rate volatility.

2) Currency diversification

The tactic of spreading your risk across currencies  is a variation on the theme of mitigating currency risk if your home currency is weak or volatile. Few things destroy the value of your funds as quickly as a currency crisis.

An advisor would be useful to help understand the laws and make sure you don’t contravene any exchange control restrictions that apply to your international transactions. In some circumstances even making an electronic transfer of funds could be deemed as unlawful.

Using an international bank account is prudent in many ways, but must also be used responsibly in accordance with international laws. Legitimate reasons ranging from financing business transactions to guarding against a potential currency crisis are acceptable and prudent.

Holding cash in foreign currency also simplifies your life because you’re not constantly making foreign exchange transactions to pay for day-to-day expenses  if you’re travelling abroad.

3) Flexibility and agility

This ability to transact from your international account without the forex hassle is undoubtedly one of its most valuable benefits.

Whether for business or pleasure, an international account truly is the passport that allows you to live, work and play in the most convenient way.

Looking beyond the day-to-day, having funds in a foreign currency allows you to act quickly in response to opportunities you may otherwise miss.

4) Personal freedom

The final two benefits are more psychological than practical, but they underpin the appeal of an international bank account.

Being able to bank in a currency that best suits your needs, no matter where you are on the globe, breaks so many shackles that would traditionally have held you back.

And with this ability to bank as you want, you can also unlock new international financial services and opportunities you wouldn’t have had access to.

5) Peace of mind

Ultimately, all these benefits add up to give you a greater sense of security about your financial future.

The beauty of an international bank account is that you could use it simply to store money offshore when the exchange rate is favourable, or you can walk through the many doors that are now open to you.

While your international bank account is unlikely to limit the amount of funds you hold offshore, be sure to check whether exchange control or other restrictions apply to your international funds.

With a full suite of transactional banking, international savings, investment, lending and fiduciary services available to you *subject to terms and conditions, it’s easy to see why your international bank account is the ideal launching pad for your long-term financial planning. Which you can now manage using mobile or online banking services that allow you to bank anywhere, anytime.

Unlike expat banking of the past, a Standard Bank international bank account is a fully-featured transactional account that is but the starting point for your offshore banking journey.



Take your first step toward an international account today.

Open the door to a world of international banking services that allow you to live your dreams.