If you’re planning to relocate, you’re probably wondering, “Can I keep my bank account if I move abroad?”
The answer to this depends on several factors. First of all, is the move temporary or long-term?
Next, where are you moving to? Do you plan on returning? Do you need to notify your bank of the move? Does your current bank have regulations on using your account internationally?
As you can see, this is a complex question to answer.
But, with the right information, you’ll be able to answer this question with confidence.
Read on for everything you need to know to determine whether or not it’s the right move to keep your bank account when you move abroad.
Note: if you choose to open a bank account while living abroad, you will need to understand the process of how to open a bank account as a non-resident.
Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.
Table of Contents
- Can I Keep My Bank Account if I Move Overseas?
- What Are the Benefits of Keeping Your Bank Account When Living Abroad?
- What Are the Challenges of Keeping Accounts When Moving Abroad?
- Should I Keep My Account if I Move Abroad?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Do You Want Help Opening Bank Accounts?
Can I Keep My Bank Account if I Move Overseas?
It is possible to keep your bank account if you move abroad. However, you may face restrictions and higher fees when using your account internationally. Read on for what you need to be aware of and the best banking strategy for those who are moving abroad.
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What Are the Benefits of Keeping Your Bank Account When Living Abroad?
There are many benefits to keeping your bank account when moving abroad.
Unfortunately, some banks may not allow you to keep your account active while living in a different country. In fact, there could be the risk of experiencing a blocked account due to a lack of transactions.
With that in mind, when you move abroad you may be better served by opening an account elsewhere.
We cover this in more detail below. But for now, let’s look at the benefits of keeping your bank account when moving abroad. That way you can make an informed decision on whether or not it’s the right decision for you.
Benefits of Keeping Your Bank Account When Moving Abroad
- Enables you to manage any financial obligations in your home country
- Reduces the difficulty of re-opening an account if you’re to return from abroad
- Makes it easier to send money to family in your home country
- Keeps your credit history active
- Reduces transaction fees when paying bills in your home country
- Provides diversification away from local-country currencies and economies
As you can see, keeping your bank account when moving abroad can make sense. And, can be beneficial, especially if you’re only moving temporarily.
If you’re receiving income, have a family to support, or intend to keep assets (such as property) in your home country, keeping your bank account when you move abroad can be very useful.
In addition, you avoid hurting your credit score and facing the difficult process of re-opening a bank account if you return to your home country.
However, there are some cases where keeping your bank account when you move abroad isn’t a good idea. Here are some of the potential issues you can run into if you decide to keep your bank account while living abroad.
What Are the Challenges of Keeping Accounts When Moving Abroad?
Managing your bank account from abroad can often be very frustrating. This is especially true if you’re unaware of the restrictions your bank has on your account.
Generally, this information is not publicly known. In fact, often only people on the inside are aware of the specific bank account regulations that need to be followed.
With that in mind, here are three potential issues you may face if you choose to keep your bank account when moving abroad.
Potential Issues of Keeping Your Account When Moving Abroad
- Bank does not support non-residents
- Account access restrictions
- Higher fees
There may not be many issues on the list, but they can be a huge headache if you don’t properly know how to navigate them.
So, with that in mind, let’s look at each of these issues in further detail…
Not All Banks Support Non-Residents
If you choose to keep your account when you move abroad but change your address to a different country, you’ll likely run into a few issues. This is because not all banks support non-resident clients.
If your particular bank does not accept non-residents and notices a foreign address they will freeze your account. Or worse, close the account completely. Usually without any advance notice.
Note that some banking software will not even give you an option to put an international address on file.
In both situations, you may need to use the address of a friend or family member who you trust to receive your bank correspondence to maintain the account.
Account Access Restrictions
Certain banks may restrict access to your account based on the location that you are accessing your account from.
For instance, if you move to Asia from the US and try to access the account while you’re abroad, the bank may note a foreign IP address and decide to freeze your bank account for security purposes. With some banks, a physical visit will then be required to unfreeze your account.
You can just imagine how much of a headache that would be.
So, to avoid this from happening to you when moving abroad, it’s important to understand your bank’s regulations on accessing accounts from abroad.
Higher Fees May Apply
Most domestic bank accounts are not properly equipped to support international lifestyles.
In fact, they frequently charge significantly higher foreign transaction fees and foreign currency fees when used abroad.
So, when you ask yourself “can I keep my bank account if I move abroad?” it’s important to first verify with your bank whether or not your account is a good choice to support your lifestyle abroad.
Taking the time to contact your bank and ask them about these items, can save you hundreds of dollars in unnecessary fees and help you avoid the possibility of a frozen bank account.
Bottom line: Yes, you can keep your bank account if you move abroad. But, you need to check first with your bank to make sure that you aren’t blindsided by account restrictions or unexpected fees when you do.
That said, relying on your home bank account may not be the best option when living abroad. Here’s what you should do instead.
Should I Keep My Account When I Move Abroad?
While it may be a good idea to keep your bank account when you move abroad for any financial obligations you might have back home, it’s highly advisable to also open a new account abroad.
You can generally do this with traditional banks in the new country that you’re residing in, but another option is to open an international bank account that caters specifically to expats, non-residents, and foreign businesses that will support your banking needs while living abroad.
Of course, the best solution for you will depend on where you currently live and where you’re moving to.
But, generally speaking, the following banking jurisdictions are excellent options to open accounts with no matter where you go.
Isle of Man
The Isle of Man is a popular banking destination for many foreign non-residents, expats, and digital nomads.
In fact, the country has a robust banking system specifically focused on catering to foreign non-residents that are looking for a stable banking jurisdiction while living outside of their home country.
Best of all, you don’t have to step foot in the country to open an account. This is because most banks in the Isle of Man offer remote account opening to non-resident individuals.
If you’re interested in learning more about opening a non-resident bank account in the Isle of Man, we’ve got you covered.
Our premium members-only report “Banking in the Isle of Man: Expat Banking Goes Mainstream” covers everything you need to know on how to choose the best bank that’s right for you.
Similar to the Isle of Man, Jersey is highly populated with non-resident banking clients. In fact, banks here offer specific services designed to support non-resident banking. Including non-residents looking to open accounts while living abroad.
Of course, like banking anywhere, you’ll still need to overcome a strict onboarding process in order to open an account.
With that said, opening an account here can offer many benefits to the right non-resident client.
To find out more about how to open a bank account in Jersey and which client profiles can benefit from banking here, check out our free article: Jersey Bank Account Opening [Start Here].
Another excellent alternative banking option is Singapore.
Singapore is known for being one of the best banking jurisdictions in the world, thanks to its stable, well-managed, and conservative banking system.
With that in mind, being one of the best means strict account opening requirements. And, for many non-residents, if you don’t know which bank, branch, or banker to open with directly, you may find it impossible to open an account in the country.
But, if you do know where to go, Singapore is a great option for non-residents to open bank accounts when living abroad. You do not need to have any ties to the country in order to open an account and you’ll get access to a number of top-notch banking benefits and services.
We detail the entire account opening process for foreign non-residents, including why you should consider opening here, the benefits you can unlock, and how to get started in our premium members-only report “Banking in Singapore: Global Banking at Its Best (and How to Get In)”.
Next is Panama, which is a great banking option for non-residents looking to open an international bank account when living abroad.
In fact, for many foreign non-residents, Panama is one of the most attractive banking hubs out there given that the country uses the US dollar, has a stable economy, and has smaller deposit requirements.
Another great perk is that bank accounts here can be opened 100% remotely. If you know which banks to approach.
But, like banking anywhere, opening an account in Panama can be difficult. Not to mention, time-consuming and frustrating due to language barriers and inexperienced customer service.
That said, most account opening challenges can often be completely avoided by knowing which bank to contact directly.
So, if you’re interested in learning more about how you can open a non-resident bank account in Panama when you move abroad, look no further.
We outline everything you need to know, including which Panamian banks accept foreign non-residents, how to apply for accounts remotely, and which banks are best suited to different client types, in our premium members-only report “Panama Offshore Banking: Ultimate Guide to Account Opening”.
Frequently Asked Banking Questions
Below are three of the most common questions we receive from people exploring if they can keep their bank account if they move abroad. If you have further questions you would like answered, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.
Should I Close My Bank Account if I Am Moving Abroad?
Whether or not you should close your bank account if you are moving abroad will depend on if you are moving abroad permanently or temporarily. But also, it will depend on the bank you have the account with and whether or not the bank will allow you to hold the account while living abroad.
What Happens to My Bank Account if I Move to Another Country?
If you are moving to another country, it’s important to understand the regulations and restrictions the bank may have on your account. These restrictions can impact whether or not you should close or keep open your bank account.
Do You Need to Tell Your Bank if You Are Moving Abroad?
Yes, you should tell your bank if you are moving abroad because you may not be aware of the banking restrictions your account has. In other words, you might end up being charged outrageous banking fees when using your account internationally. Or worse, the bank may freeze (or close) your account due to suspicious activity they were not warned about.
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