If you’re a frequent traveler, one of the best investments you’ll ever make is to open an account with one of the best banks for travelers.
This can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars each year in ATM withdrawal, foreign currency, and transaction fees.
Of course, there’s not just one bank that’s the best for all travelers. The one that’s right for you depends entirely on your client profile, where you typically travel, and the specific benefits you’re looking for.
To help you get started, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to the best banks for travelers. Read on for everything you need to know to pick the best bank for you and open an account successfully.
Which is the Best Bank for Travelers?
The best bank for travelers differs from person to person. It all depends on your client profile, including what countries you’re traveling to and what benefits you want to unlock. Most importantly you must also consider where you are eligible to start an account and where you are able to meet the bank-specific requirements.
With the right information, there are a number of excellent banks that non-resident individuals can open accounts with to help them save money on fees while traveling.
In this article, we’ll share everything you need to know about how to open the best bank account as a frequent traveler.
Here’s a look at everything we’ll cover in this article…
Table of Contents
- Benefits of Opening Accounts With the Best Bank for Travelers
- Criteria for Finding the Best Bank for Travelers
- Challenges of Finding the Best Bank for Travelers
- Where to Open Accounts as a Frequent Traveler
As a bonus, we’ll also share some jurisdictions where you can open accounts without setting foot in the country.
But, before diving in, if this is your first time visiting GlobalBanks, don’t forget to download your FREE Non-Resident Banking Starter Guide. It’s designed to help non-residents open accounts in top banking hubs around the world.
Benefits of Choosing the Best Bank for Travelers
For travelers, there are a lot of benefits to choosing a bank that caters to your lifestyle as a traveler.
With the right bank, you’ll be able to avoid being overcharged on fees while you travel or having your card or withdrawals suddenly restricted when you go abroad.
How to choose the best bank for travelers depends heavily on your particular client profile and where you travel to most. And while benefits will vary from bank to bank, here are some of the main benefits you will be able to tap into…
Benefits of Finding the Best Bank for Travelers:
- No minimum deposit required
- Low to no monthly maintenance fees
- No minimum account balance requirement
- Low to no foreign transaction fees
- Checking account has overdraft protection
- Low to no withdrawal fees at ATMs (even abroad)
- Accessible to a mobile app with online banking
- Ability to deposit cash via an ATM
- Access to offshore debit cards
- Access to credit cards with travel rewards
- And more…
Of course, not all banks offer all of the benefits listed above. So, it’s crucial to understand which ones are most important to you.
This way, you can determine which banks offer the benefits you’re after and apply to those banks exclusively.
Read on in the next section to learn how to choose a bank that gives you the benefits you’re looking for.
Criteria for Finding the Best Bank for Travelers
Many factors need to be considered before choosing a bank to open accounts with.
For instance, it’s important to know which services, products, and benefits you want to tap into as a frequent traveler.
That way, you’re an opening account not only with the best bank for travelers but with the best bank for your banking needs.
So, with that said, here’s a list of key features non-residents should look for when deciding which bank is best for them.
Factors to Look For in the Best Bank for Travelers:
- Mobile and Online Banking
- Low Fees
- Accessible ATMs
- Excellent Customer Service
- Limited Services
Let’s explore these features in further detail below:
1. Mobile and Online Banking
Technology is constantly evolving. And, so are banks. To find the best bank for travelers, you should be seeking a bank that has a solid online experience.
In other words, a bank that offers accessible mobile and online banking to manage your account whenever and wherever you are.
You may also want to look for a bank that allows the use of Apply Pay, Google Pay, or other mobile wallets.
This way, instead of purchasing items with a physical debit or credit card, you can simply complete purchases by the use of your mobile wallet.
2. Low Fees
Banking as a foreign non-resident can be expensive. Banks are known to squeeze out every last dime from their clients by charging for every service possible.
So, as a frequent traveler, it’s important to seek a bank that has little to no fees for the following services:
- Transfers (in between accounts and countries),
- Transactions, and
- Withdrawing from an ATM in a foreign country.
Of course, not every bank will waive every single fee. However, if you open with the right banks, most of these fees will be reduced. If you can find a bank that will waive all of these fees, it should definitely be at the top of your list.
3. Accessible ATMs
Finding the best bank for travelers also means access to a wide range of ATMs. In other words, a bank that is known worldwide and is easily accessible in a variety of countries. Particularly the ones that you are planning to visit.
This way, you have better chances of avoiding additional ATM fees.
Of course, not every bank has ATMs available worldwide. But, some do. Or they have relationships with other banks to waive fees between them.
So, if you often use an ATM to withdraw funds during travels, you need to choose a bank that offers this feature.
4. Excellent Customer Experience
As a frequent traveler, you should be seeking out a bank that not only offers exceptional customer service but a bank that matches your client profile.
For instance, to create a better banking experience, it can be beneficial to work with banks that cater to your banking needs as a digital nomad, business owner, etc.
This way, they are experienced working with similar clients and understand what you’re after. Not to mention, this can also help build your relationship with the bank for any future endeavors.
5. Limited Services
The last feature you should take into consideration when choosing the best bank for travelers is the bank’s limitations on services.
Meaning, does the bank have limited monthly transactions? Or, does the bank have restrictions on where their cards can be used?
These questions are important to address.
For instance, if you’re expecting to make multiple transactions per month during your travels, you don’t want to get hit with outrageous transaction fees.
Not to mention, you don’t want to be restricted on where and when you can use your card.
So, when you’re choosing the best bank for travelers, ensure you understand what limitations you have. This way, you won’t be caught off guard when your card is suddenly disabled or you’re stranded abroad and unable to withdraw more cash.
Now, once you’ve picked the best bank account for you as a traveler, it’s time to apply.
Read in the next section as we go through some of the most common challenges you might face while opening your account.
Challenges of Finding and Opening the Best Bank for Travelers
Without the proper information, opening an account with the best bank for travelers can be a daunting task.
Most banks won’t open accounts for frequent non-resident travelers. And, the banks that do, only accept certain client profiles from specific jurisdictions.
So, finding a bank that accepts non-resident travelers to open accounts can be a difficult process to navigate. You can easily waste a lot of time and money if you don’t know where to go.
Here is a list of the most common challenges non-resident travelers may face when trying to open a bank account.
Challenges of Finding & Opening the Best Bank for Travelers:
- Physical presence may be required to open an account
- May need to provide an acceptable reason for opening an account
- Some banks have limited card options
- May need to provide economic ties to the country
- Must be able to meet all bank-specific requirements
- Large minimum account deposits
- High minimum account balances
- Some banks have unreasonable maintenance fees
- And more…
As you can see, there are many challenges to finding and opening accounts with the best bank for travelers.
For the average person, the chances of facing these challenges are high.
This is especially true if you don’t know which bank accepts your client profile and meets your banking needs. You will have to do endless research to find which banks will take you.
Worst of all, in almost every case, banks’ official and unofficial requirements are not listed publicly. This makes it impossible to know beforehand if you are eligible and if you have all the required documentation.
That said, nearly all of these challenges can be avoided if you simply know which branch, bank, and banker to contact.
Below we’ll show you how to find out exactly where to go.
Where to Find the Best Bank For Travelers
With so many banking jurisdictions to choose from, how can you know what the best option is?
Fortunately, we’re here to help.
Below are some of the banking jurisdictions that are best suited for frequent foreign travelers.
But, it’s important to know that even though these banks do open accounts for foreign travelers, it truly comes down to whether or not you’re able to meet all bank-specific requirements.
So, before applying, make sure you’re aware of the requirements you need to meet and whether or not your specific client profile is eligible to apply.
With this in mind, let’s look at each banking jurisdiction one by one…
Best Bank for Travelers in Europe
Europe has a wide variety of options to choose from for individuals looking to open non-resident bank accounts.
This is especially true for frequent non-resident travelers.
Such options include opening accounts in the Channel Islands or through one of the many digital banking platforms that cater to Europeans.
Here’s a look at each of these options in more depth…
Best Bank for Travelers in the Channel Islands
The Channel Islands consisting of the Isle of Man, Jersey, and Guernsey all have unique banking options for frequent European travelers.
This is especially true if you’re looking for a banking hub that offers economic and political stability, and that caters to foreign non-residents.
Best of all, it is even possible for foreign non-residents to open accounts in the Channel islands remotely!
So, If you’re interested in learning more about how you can find the best bank for travelers in the Channel Islands, you’re in luck. We detail everything you need to know on how to choose the best bank that’s right for you in our premium members-only report “Banking in the Isle of Man: Expat Banking Goes Mainstream”.
Best Digital Banks for Travelers in Europe
In addition to traditional brick-and-mortar banking options, non-residents can consider opening accounts with digital banking platforms.
This is especially true for non-residents that have struggled to open accounts with traditional European banks in the past.
However, if you’re not an EU citizen, it’s not very straightforward to find out which digital banking platform is best for you.
Fortunately, we can help!
Our premium members-only report “European EMIs for Non-EEA Individuals” shares everything you need to know to find and open the best online bank account in Europe as a non-resident individual. Including breakdowns of each platform, who they’re suitable for, the account opening process, and more.
Best Bank for Travelers in the USA
If you spend the majority of your time traveling through the US, opening an account with a US bank can be beneficial.
Not only, are US banks more accepting of foreign non-resident applicants than any other banking jurisdiction, but you can even open an account without having to travel to the US.
Banking in the US can offer a number of unique benefits to foreign non-residents.
For instance, when you open with the best bank for travelers in the US, you’re opening the door to a wide range of products and services. This includes the ability to build a US credit history to access credit cards, financing, and mortgages.
Now, if you’re interested in finding the best bank for travelers in the US, you can get started by learning more from our premium members-only report “US Banking for Non-Residents, Foreigners, & Int’l Businesses”.
Bottom line: Which is the best bank for you as a traveler comes down to your client profile, banking needs, and what benefits you want to tap into.
If you’re ready to open an account with the best bank for you, and you’d like help to narrow down your search, we’d be happy to help.
Ready to Start Opening Accounts?
Whether you’re ready to open accounts with the best bank for travelers today or you’re just starting to explore your options, we can help.
GlobalBanks IQ gives you everything you need to start finding and opening accounts.
When you join GlobalBanks IQ, you immediately unlock the entire GlobalBanks Database of international banks. It’s home to 250+ banks in 50+ countries.
And, you get access to our library of premium (members-only) reports. These include proven account opening strategies, country-specific banking options, and lists of banks for specific client types.
Plus, you unlock our account opening checklists, dedicated account opening alerts, and much more.
To get started, click here to see if GlobalBanks IQ is the right choice for you.