The Best Current Accounts for Use Abroad

Posted on 9th June 2019

For longer stays abroad, it can make sense to get a bank account in the other country. Especially if it isn’t just a holiday, but a temporary residence or secondary residence due to temporary work or studies.

Students who are planning a semester or internship abroad, employees who have to join a work project in another country or people who simply travel a lot can benefit from having a bank account in the other country.

Before the period abroad, there is a lot to organize. The spectrum ranges from accommodation to health insurance. In addition you should also take care of a suitable current account for abroad. Otherwise there are high fees for collecting money abroad and for cashless payments.

If you are in such a situation and think about getting a current account for use abroad, you should consider a few things when choosing a bank account.

On this page you find a list of the best financial services for such bank accounts.

Those are virtual bank with a lot of benefits compared to traditional banks.

First of all, it’s super easy to open such a current account as it works all online. Another quite big difference are their fees and money exchange rate models – as international virtual banks those FinTech companies are specialized in cheap international transfers with no big hidden rates, which most traditional banks charge for international transfers.

Avoid the Cost Trap

If you have the wrong current account for a longer period of time, you could incur enormous costs.

An example: With the credit card of Deutsche Bank, customers pay 2.5% of the respective sum for withdrawals, but always at least €5.75. For withdrawals outside the EU, a further 1.75% and at least €1.50 are added for a foreign currency. Paying can also be expensive. Only within the euro zone do bank customers not have to pay any fees.

In other countries, on the other hand, many institutions charge a so-called foreign assignment fee. At Deutsche Bank, this amounts to 1.75% of turnover and at least €1.50 per payment transaction. It is easy to understand that these fees can add up to considerable expenses over several months.

Comparing those cost is important as it can save you a lot of money. If you haven’t checked those fees and rates at your signature bank yet, you should.

With a current account change a considerable saving potential can often be realized, the best virtual banks have low to no fees for the use of their bank cards or money transfers and exchanges. With some services, customers can even use their credit card to withdraw cash free of charge from almost any machine in the world.

Prefer a Toll Free Current Account for Abroad

In addition to these special fees for foreign assignments, other costs are of interest. A good bank is characterized by the fact that it waives the monthly account maintenance fees for students. There are three models: Some only offer a free current account to students up to a certain age.

For others, the account is free if the holder receives a certain minimum amount of money each month, such as a salary above a certain limit. The third option is best for students: unconditionally free student current account offers. This is another aspect where customers can save a lot of money, especially with branch banks where they often pay high double-digit amounts a year.

Free Credit Card and other Services

Especially abroad, a credit card often makes sense. Customers can use it to collect money from numerous ATMs and pay in many shops. Outside the euro zone, a VISA or MasterCard credit card is even indispensable.

Many hotel operators and car rental companies, for example, require a credit card for security reasons. That’s why people should consider this topic when choosing a current account.

The first step is to compare credit cards and find out whether the banks charge an annual basic fee. Second, before issuing cards, banks check their creditworthiness. They should also offer students a credit card and not insist on a certain minimum income. Thirdly, there are different types of credit cards. All transactions can be settled once a month, but this usually requires a high credit rating (Charge Card).

With other credit cards, the bank debits the transactions directly from the current account associated with the credit card (debit card). There are also prepaid credit cards that require customers to top up their credit in advance. Since the banks do not take any risks with this form, even people with very poor creditworthiness receive these cards, for example with a negative credit score. Those affected should concentrate on this variant when doing their research.

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