Local banking for expats


If you intend to open a local bank account, here are some important questions to ask before you take the plunge.

  • What type of accounts can they offer you?
  • How big is the bank and how accessible are they in the country and abroad?
  • Do they have a multi-currency account option?
  • What is the minimum deposit to open an account?
  • What is the minimum balance to avoid charges?
  • What are the fees for standing orders, withdrawing cash from ATMs, making money transfers to your home country, or another country?
  • What are the services they offer through e-banking and are they available in English?
  • Do they offer overdraft facilities?
  • What kinds of credit and debit cards are available?
  • What are the conditions for a loan to a foreign account holder?
  • Are there any transactions that cannot be done at all branches?
  • Do they accept foreign currency transfers and how much would it cost?

Local Bank System

When you move to your new country of residence and decide to open a local bank account, it's important to understand the local banking system. If you don't get familiar with the local banking system, you may find yourself at great risk of losing money. Banks are sometime happy to chip in regular monthly fee or transaction fees. A good way to get to know your bank is to sit down with the account manager and ask all the questions (link to Local Banking for Expats)

When you open an account, make sure that you have all the basic documents necessary. Most of the time, you will need proof of identity like your passport or an international driver’s license or ID card, a confirmation of your billing address, and possibly an employment reference. These are just some of the basic requirements for opening a bank account anywhere in the world. It might also be a good idea to open a local bank account with international branches, such as HSBC or Citibank for more international services and requirements while having local access.

Local bank charges

Getting to know the local bank charges is part of familiarising yourself with the local banking system. Find out if there are fees when you withdraw cash, go under a certain amount of balance in your account, or even when you use your debit card abroad. Find out if there are any charges on even the most basic transactions in your local bank account.


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