Scott asked 3 years ago

Dear Dreams,
I am moving abroad and my biggest concern is the conversion from a US bank to a foreign bank. What do you recommend? Should I keep my bank account in the USA if I plan to be abroad for a year? Do they require you to open a bank account abroad or can I use my bank US bank account?

1 Answers
Josh Dreams Staff answered 3 years ago

Banking while abroad can be quite an anxious affair, but, thankfully, it can be quickly overcome. So, with that in mind, let’s talk about the first few steps you should take as well as some essential tips to remember.

Begin With a Bank Account in the USA

Go to your current bank as well as its competitors and find out which would offer you the best services while abroad. That includes a toll free international support line, internet services for managing and transferring funds, and additional benefits that might exist and make one bank more advantageous than another. Award yourself bonus points if you can find a bank that has branches or affiliates in both countries.

Ask about how international money transfers work as well as currency exchange and ATM fees. This should be followed by their policies and fees on account usage while in additional countries as well as policies on sending replacement cards internationally.

Lastly, and probably a bit debate worthy, consider adding a trusted individual to help you manage your account while you are abroad. This is not a step for everyone but might be beneficial under specific circumstances.

Create a Bank Account Abroad

When living abroad it might be to your benefit, if not a requirement, to open a bank account. Beyond having a place for your school to send your payments, sometimes you can actually receive better interest rates, qualify for local credit cards with discounts, or other services for managing your money or travel. Don’t forget, paying utility, phone, and other local bills can be considerably easier, and often cheaper, with a local bank!

Generally, the school you work with will require, and often help you to set up, a local bank account for depositing your income. So, before doing so, you should make an effort to ask the school and, if possible, potential future coworkers what they would recommend. Often there is more than one banking option that you should consider depending on how long you or your money will stay or how you would like your money handled.

Regardless of what might come, having a US bank account to rely on is a great foundation for avoiding any of the potential banking pitfalls while traveling abroad. Even if you have problems with your international account, if your primary account in the USA is dependable, you will are going to be safer while living abroad.

Some Important Tips

1. Set up a PayPal or similar secondary way to make payments while abroad. If possible, find out what locals use most often as this might come in handy. Moreover, accounts are often free, so why not!

2. Ask for all required information (SWIFT, IBAN, routing numbers, etc…) to send and receive money between all of your accounts

3. Copy all important banking documents and account information (including money transfer details). Ideally, make a copy available to a second party in case of emergency.

4. At the bank, be patient and ask questions until you feel comfortable. Take your time to understand.

5. Shop around and find a bank that makes you feel comfortable about banking with them while abroad and locally.

Best of luck and feel free to contact us again if you would like to know more!

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