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Travelling & Relocation 12 August 2020

Moving abroad? Here’s how you can open an international bank account

Manage your money in multiple currencies while living abroad with an international bank account.

Are you planning on a move overseas? You may be wondering how you’ll make payments and get access to your money while in a new country. Here’s what you should consider when choosing an international banking partner, and how you can go about opening up an international bank account.

1. WHAT IS AN INTERNATIONAL BANK ACCOUNT?

An international bank account is an account that resides in a separate, secure jurisdiction where you tend not to be a citizen or resident, which accommodates multiple currencies and provides a base for effective every-day financial management and onward investment.

For example, if you live in one country, but your business is in another, or you’ve emigrated but still have financial obligations at home, an international bank account can help you avoid heavy foreign transaction fees and being subject to fluctuating exchange rates while you’re abroad.

Similarly, if you’re looking to invest abroad, diversify your assets or grow your wealth, an international bank account gives you access to a wide choice of funds and investment opportunities that might not otherwise be available to you.

For business people who travel extensively or spend more than three months at a time in a different country, an international bank account also makes sense, as you have online access to your bank account 24/7, 365 days a year. International bank accounts allow you to maintain your balances in a range of different currencies, which minimises the impact of exchange rate fluctuations and allows you to manage your affairs more efficiently. Plus, you always know exactly how much of a specific currency you have on hand.

2. WHY DO I NEED AN INTERNATIONAL BANK ACCOUNT?

There are pros and cons to opening an international bank account, but depending on your circumstances the pros can significantly outweigh the cons.

The pros typically involve receiving your salary and managing regular payments, managing your financial affairs more effectively through multi-currency accounts held in one secure location, protecting and growing your assets, as well as mitigating foreign exchange risk and enabling efficient tax planning.

Another main reason why an international bank account is beneficial is for investment purposes. It’s an excellent way to diversify your risk and access international money markets.

Now for the cons. Moving your money into a bank account abroad can require minimum balances to keep the account open and associated fees.

Depending on which bank you open your account with, think about how easy it is to access your money. It’s important to find out what happens if you need to withdraw money in a hurry. Can everything be done online, and do you have a personal banker assisting you? Are there any restrictions you need to know about?

3. WHAT SHOULD I CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING AN INTERNATIONAL BANK ACCOUNT?

If you’ve come to the conclusion that an international bank account will support your global lifestyle and business situation, there are a few key factors to consider when choosing your international banking partner.

For example, are your funds secure? The Isle of Man, for example, is a transparent, highly regulated jurisdiction. It also protects   deposits up to a specified value as part of the Depositors’ Compensation Scheme.

How easy is it to access your funds, make transfers and payments? What level of support and service will you receive? We’ve mentioned that one of the key benefits of an international bank account is online banking and 24/7 access – does the account offer this?

Can you operate in multiple currencies? What is the minimum balance requirement if there is one? How well do you know the bank, and does your banker have specialist knowledge of the currencies and countries that you are operating in? Can the bank offer offshore investment advice and give you access to global funds?

It’s also important to know which currencies the account supports, and if there are limits on deposits and withdrawals.

4. HOW TO OPEN A STANDARD BANK INTERNATIONAL BANK ACCOUNT

To open aninternational bank account that supports your global lifestyle and wealth management, you can choose from a range of different options.

To open an Optimum bank account, you will need to meet the minimum opening balance and provide proof of address and identity with either certified or original copies. You also need to meet certain eligibility criteria and might have to provide other supporting documentation.


Find out more about how you can open a Platinum Optimum bank account.

NEXT STEPS

To find out how you can handle all of your day-to-day banking, savings, investments, loans and forex through an international bank account with Standard Bank, visit our international banking solutions page.