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Solutions for setting up a bank account overseas

When moving abroad banking isn’t exactly what you want to be thinking about, but it often becomes a headache. It seems the process of setting up a bank account in a foreign country is never smooth.

The answer to whether you should be bothered is obvious: if you want to avoid fluctuating retail exchange rates, hefty conversion charges and card acceptance issues, you need a local bank account. Also, if you want to make and receive domestic payments, such as income, and operate your finances in the local currency, you need a local bank account. So here’s how to avoid those banking headaches when setting up your new, foreign bank account.

Speak to your current bank

Talk to your current banking provider before you leave to see what international banking solutions they provide. Many banks are part of an international group or have partnerships with branches all over the world. Your current bank may be able to begin, or even complete the set-up of a bank account in your destination country, all before you even leave. This is the ideal scenario.

Organize your proof of address

If you’re among the majority that have to set up your account at your destination, changing your address early will help you later. As part of the application process, most banks will ask for proof of address at your new home. This is documentation from an official institution with your name and new address; hard to come by when you’ve just arrived. To get your new proof of address easily and quickly, change your address with your current bank before you leave and request a statement to be sent. 

Shop around

Research which bank and which products you want to apply for. Not only do banks’ accounts, rates, fees, benefits, rewards, insurances and services vary, but their application requirements will also vary. You may find that some banks have more relaxed requirements when setting up a new account. Remember that banks are hungry for you to be their customer, so the power should be in your hands. 

Begin the process remotely and early

Some banks will require you to book an appointment to set up an account. Some will allow you to begin an application online. Whatever you can do remotely, do it and start it as soon as possible. This includes preparing required documents. By starting early and even from home, you’ll avoid delays with booked-out appointments, unknown application requirements or difficult documentation.

Find an interim banking solution

Because this process always takes time, you’ll need a banking solution to hit the ground running at your destination. Mobile app-based banks take just minutes to set up, offer competitive or even no fees and send you a card which you top up and spend in the local currency. You may even find that you prefer the modern, app-based bank over the traditional branch bank you apply for.  Prepaid travel cards are also a safe, cashless option, but they generally have unfavorable exchange rates and fees. 

You’ll have no credit rating

Your credit history won’t travel with you to your new country, so your credit rating will be back to square one. Any credit you apply for will be capped at low levels, so, to help your future-self, take out a credit card or overdraft facility when you open your bank account. This way you can begin to build a credit history for any services that check your credit score in future.

Be exchange-wise

Finally, when you’re ready to send money to your new bank account, do it at the right time with the right service. International money transfers are logical, but expensive. New services are emerging that do it better, such as Moneycorp, with competitive rates and smart features for expats managing foreign currencies. Knowing when to transfer with exchange rates in your favor will save you money which is why Moneycorp can even notify you when a currency reaches your chosen rate. 

So, banking headache avoided! Here at Crown Relocations, we make sure your whole move is as smooth as possible. As part of our end-to-end moving services, we can refer you to the appropriate banks, as well as help sorting everything else to do with your move. So don’t hesitate to get in touch with your local team today.


Banking tips for moving abroad

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