Last updated 1 August 2016

Five top tips for banking abroad

What about access to your money once you've left Blighty? How are you going to spend and with what currency? Come to think of it, how will you continue to run your financial affairs - be that spending, saving, investing - once you've gone? Don't panic - follow these five tips to ensure your banking arrangements  continue uninterrupted wherever you are in the world. 

1) Start up a dossier of all necessary documentation. The following documentation is necessary to comply with worldwide Know Your Customer (KYC)/Customer Due Diligence (CDD) legislation. 

- Proof of your identity (you'll need a notarised copy of your passport).
- Proof of your current address including the date of our arrival there.
- Proof of the nature and location of your employment.
- Information about the sources of your wealth (for example, income, property,   investments, inheritance).
- Details of any regular transactions you expect to make.
- (For banks) a statement of your reasons for wanting to open an offshore account.

2) Most travellers need an online account. Anyone based in one country with a bank positioned in another needs an online bank account to keep tabs on all incomings and outgoings. Your bank's internet service should enable you to:

- View and control your savings, investments, and current accounts.
- Set up, modify and cancel standing orders and direct debits.
- Move money free of charge between accounts.
- Discuss your finances, including your investments, with a named manager via   secure email.    


3) You cannot travel away from the UK's shores without finding yourself juggling money between two, if not more, currencies. Not sure if you need a multi-currency account? Ask yourself the following:


- What currency do I get paid in?
- What currency do I make my regular outgoings in?
- Which currencies are my savings and investments in?
- Which currency do I intend to retire in?

4) What about the additional services an offshore bank may be offering? As well as current and savings accounts, check out if your bank will:

- help clarify your expatriate status with HM Revenue & Customs?
- advise about local taxation liabilities in your country of residence?
- facilitate moving your existing mortgage offshore or, if seeking a mortgage, will it   offer you competitive borrowing facilities?
- advise about life assurance and other forms of protection?
- inform you about investment opportunities?

5) If you are going to be resident in one place for six months or more, then in all likelihood you'll need to open a local bank account. When comparing accounts and services on offer, here's the list of essential questions: 

- How many branches does the bank have and where are they?
- What types of accounts are on offer?
- What is the minimum deposit necessary to open an account?
- What is the minimum balance required to avoid charges?
- What e-banking services are offered and are they available in English?
- Does the bank offer overdraft facilities?
- What special conditions apply to a foreign account holder seeking loan?
- What credit and debit cards are available?
- Are there any services that cannot be undertaken at all branches?
- Does the bank accept foreign currency transfers and at what cost?
- What are the fees for money transmission activities?

Photo: Bankenverband - Bundesverband deutscher Banken

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