Getting settled in a foreign country typically prompts the need to open a foreign bank or expand your international banking options. And in many countries, this can be a very tricky and complicated process, so it’s important to understand the dynamics and process for opening a foreign bank account for your move abroad. 

If your local bank has a global presence, then you may be able to continue with your local bank and open a foreign branch. This is the easiest option. However, if you don’t have that option available, then you might have some questions in regards to transferring money abroad, currency exchange rates and the process for opening a foreign bank account. 

We've covered a few important things for expats opening a foreign bank account to consider in order to plan ahead. If in the end you still aren’t certain on which bank to choose or how to get setup, then we recommend speaking to an on-demand relocation specialist on our expat moving platform to give you personalized guidance to opening your international bank account. 

International Payment Transfer 

Setting up global transfers may be a little tricky, especially if it’s your first time sending money abroad, but it’s important to understand the process or things to consider for a quick and secure transfer to your international bank account. 

Here are some things to consider for your foreign money transfers: 

  • Always check the best options by talking to the service provider 
  • Check if you can transfer money through your local bank account
  • Transaction fees and exchange rate 
  • Time frame 
  • Wire transfer tracking

Once you understand what your local banking options are for sending money and all fees associated with this, you’ll be able to compare the rates and process with external money transferring options that may offer fewer transaction fees. 

In some cases, many expats have even changed their local bank to offer a more global option for transferring funds between country branches, so it’s good to see what your local bank offers so that you can manage money between countries, if you plan on doing so after your move abroad.

Open A Foreign Bank Account 

Depending on the country you are moving to, the requirements can be very different. But despite the difference from branch to branch and country to country, it’s very important to prepare all your paperwork so that you’re ready to open a bank account from your home country (if available) or upon arrival. 

The first step is to decide which bank branch is best for you, if you are not going to continue with your local bank. Understand the banking options, account types, transaction and monthly fees, spending limits, support and assistance. Once you’ve narrowed down which bank you find best suits you and your family’s financial needs, then it’s good to begin preparing the documentation and preparing as much as possible. 

When you’re ready to open your bank account abroad, here are somethings to prepare: 

  • Know documentation and paperwork required
  • Check about the initial deposits, rules and regulations
  • Types of bank accounts
  • Check if you can do it online or offline 
  • Determine whether translations are required 

Getting setup with a foreign bank account can be a stressful experience, especially if there’s a language barrier or as an American living abroad, but there are many tips and tricks on how to navigate the highly-regulated banking industry so that you can get settled abroad. If you need further assistance on opening a foreign bank account or want to speak with a local about the options available, you can chat with our on-demand relocation specialists or expats on our expat moving platform. 

Currency Exchange 

If you’re an avid traveler, then you are probably well versed in currency exchange and preparing mentally for the exchange when living in a foreign country. But when moving abroad and transferring large sums of money to a foreign bank account, the fees certainly add up, so it’s important to find the cheapest way for currency exchange. 

Getting the best exchange rate will help you save a lot of money on currency exchange, so here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Plan your travel ahead 
  • Have a check on documentation required 
  • Contact local bank about currency exchange rates 
  • Avoid currency exchange at airports 
  • Don't forget to take the international travel Insurance

It’s also wise to have money in the foreign currency before you leave your home country, so that you have cash on hand when you arrive. It can be rather difficult to exchange money at the airport, and rather costly, so if you can get a better deal at your bank, it’s highly recommended. To find the current currency exchange rate and prepare your international transfer, sign up on our expat moving platform to start your international transfer by the best expat-vetted currency exchange companies around the world.