Picking a Bank in a New Country
Money makes the world go around. You always need to have access to your cash, regardless of where you are. That’s why when moving to a new country, finding a new bank and opening an account should be one of your first priorities. Understanding a country’s financial regulations and rules can be difficult at first, but by doing proper research, you can easily overcome any obstacles in your path.
1. See if Your Existing Bank Has Any Branches Nearby
These days, many banks have international branches. You might not even need to open a new account if you can find your old bank in your new country. If your bank doesn’t have any physical branches, they might have partnerships with local banks. Check their website to see if they have any information on banking while in your new country. If you’re old school and reluctant to create yet another account, you might even be able to use mail deposits and withdrawals to manage your money.
2. Open Your Bank Account Before You Move
Assuming you’ve been planning your move for a while and aren’t just spontaneously jumping ship, you should try to open your bank account ahead of time. This will ensure you have funds waiting for you when you get there. However, many banks require you to apply in person, especially if you’re an international resident. If this is the case, at least research the bank you’ll want to use so that you can make a stop as soon as you’re settled in.
3. Have Necessary Documentation Ready
Because you’re not a citizen of the country, banks can choose to be rather picky when letting you open an account. They’ll probably want to see all of your documentation, including your passport, visa or green card, proof of address, and even a letter of reference from an employer. While this might sound like a bit much, they’re often doing this to make sure you’re a legal resident who won’t try and commit any sort of financial scam.
4. Research Fees and Stipulations
International banks often don’t work the same as U.S. banks. They might charge fees to keep an account open or every time you receive or withdrawal money. It’s important to look into the fine print to make sure you’re not going to be paying an exorbitant amount of extra money. Additionally, if you’re converting your money from USD to the local currency, make sure the bank offers a favorable exchange rate.
5. Make Sure the Bank Is Insured
In the US, most banks are insured by the FDIC so that if there’s a bank robbery, fire, or stock market crash, your money will still be available to you. Not all countries have such strict banking guidelines, however. Therefore, make sure you find a bank that offers similar protection. You don’t want to transfer over your life savings, only to have it vanish in the blink of an eye because of some tragic disaster.
If you’re able to follow all of these tips, you’ll be able to choose a bank with ease. Having a physical branch to go to near your new home will make it so much easier to manage your funds and stay financially secure. For more help exploring your banking options as an expat, contact International Citizens Group, Inc. today.