Digital nomads enjoy the freedom and flexibility of being able to work from anywhere with an internet connection, allowing them to balance work and leisure in a way that suits their lifestyle. They travel frequently, often staying in one place for a few weeks or months before moving on to the next destination.
However, expats and digital nomads face unique challenges when it comes to managing their finances. They need a bank that understands their lifestyle and offers services that cater to their needs.
For example, digital nomads require a bank that offers low fees and transaction charges since they frequently move money across borders. They also need a bank that provides easy access to their accounts from anywhere in the world, with mobile banking features that allow them to make transactions on the go.
10 Best Banks for Digital Nomads
Without further ado, here’s our lineup of the best bank accounts for digital nomads.
Revolut is a digital bank that’s headquartered in London. While it doesn’t offer a traditional bank account, its money management app can be a great option. Once you download it, you can make global exchanges with more than 30 currencies and transfer money abroad instantly. Revolut will give you 10 free international transfers per month plus a debit card with cash back rewards.
Also, if you invest in a Premium or Metal plan, you can enjoy additional perks, like travel insurance and access to airport lounges while you wait for your flights. In addition, you’ll get to use 55,000 fee-free ATMs and be able to withdraw up to $1,200 from out-of-network ATMs each month. If you’re interested in a Revolut account, you’ll need to provide a name, address, and ID. The bank does not require a credit check or proof of address.
When most people think of international financial accounts, Chime doesn’t typically come to mind first as it’s a financial technology or fintech company in the U.S. Even though it doesn’t provide a multi-currency account, its cards don’t charge foreign transaction fees and offers free cash withdrawals at ATMs across the globe.
This is great news if you’re looking for an affordable way to cover your international purchases. Chime’s main offerings you might want to consider include the Chime Checking Account, the Chime High Yield Savings Account, and the Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card.
It’s important to note that Chime is designed to be used as a mobile app so it could be a solid pick if you like the idea of mobile banking. The app will send you daily notifications on your account balance and international transactions. Rest assured you can disable them at any time.
3. Capital One
Capital One is one of the largest banks in the U.S. but we had to include it in this list because of its primary checking account, the Capital One 360 Checking. If you consider yourself an expat, often make online purchases from different countries, and would like to avoid a monthly fee or foreign transaction fee, this account can make sense.
You won’t have to pay any transaction fees if you use your card overseas, plus you may open the account without a minimum opening deposit requirement or monthly fees. To reap the benefits of the Capital One 360 Checking, you must be a U.S. resident with a U.S. mailing address and Social Security number.
Wise, which was formerly known as Transferwise, should be on your radar if you do business abroad. The UK-based fintech company will let you create a local bank account that accepts multiple currencies, making it a breeze to meet your digital nomad banking needs. Wise also integrates with popular payment platforms, such as Amazon Payments and Stripe for easy direct deposits.
We can’t forget to mention the Wise borderless account that may be worthwhile whether you’re studying abroad, an expat, or a freelancer with international clients. It comes with low fees and can be accessed by just about anyone. However, Wise is not an actual bank account so you may have trouble receiving direct deposit payments. For this reason, it might be a good supplement to an existing bank account.
To take advantage of Wise, you’ll need a bank or credit card statement, tax bill, proof of address, driver’s license, or government document.
Chase is an excellent choice for digital nomads and expats living abroad due to its global presence and user-friendly digital banking platform. Chase’s online banking system is user-friendly and provides a range of features, including bill pay, mobile check deposit, and international money transfers.
For those living abroad, Chase’s credit and debit cards also offer no foreign transaction fees, making it an affordable option for international travelers. In particular, the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve are widely considered to be among the best credit cards available.
Furthermore, Chase Bank provides 24/7 customer service support, ensuring that its customers can get assistance with any issues they may encounter, regardless of their time zone.
HSBC serves about 40 million customers across 63 countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, North America and Latin America. If you’re an international traveler, you can’t go wrong with the HSBC Everyday Global Account, which makes it easy to make purchases in 10 different foreign currencies with no transaction fees or monthly service fees. It truly offers a fee-free banking experience.
In addition, there are no ATM fees so you can enjoy fee free ATM withdrawals and many promotions throughout the year. HSBC also offers Visa Zero Liability, which can protect you from fraud and give you some much-needed peace of mind. We can’t forget that HSBC offers over 55,000 ATMs, many of which are in the Allpoint network, as well as 24/7 customer support via phone and Twitter.
There’s a good chance you’ve heard of Citibank as it’s a well-known bank in the U.S. It has a presence in 97 markets and supports clients in more than 160 countries. With the Citibank Plus account, you can manage your money in up to 21 different currencies.
Citibank will waive your maintenance fee as long as you maintain a certain balance and reimburse you for foreign ATM withdrawals when you use ATMs outside its network. Additionally, you may send money abroad quickly and won’t have to pay a penny if you’re sending the funds to another Citibank account. Another great perk is the handy mobile app that offers convenient banking while on the go.
Monzo is a challenger bank in the UK that’s recently increased in popularity. You can open an account for free, divide it into “pots” to better manage and save your money, and get a free debit card, which can be sent to any address in the UK. You can use it for a variety of debit card transactions and ATM withdrawals abroad.
You won’t pay any fees when you make purchases on your card and can receive a limited amount of free ATM withdrawals every month. Monzo is also compatible with Apple Pay and Google Pay. Plus, there’s a convenient mobile app with useful budgeting tools that may help you take control of your spending. Note that Monzo is fully digital so you can’t count on it for in-person support or local branches.
9. Charles Schwab Bank
You can open a U.S. bank account through Charles Schwab and won’t have to worry about foreign transaction fees or opening fees. Plus, you can enjoy unlimited rebates on international withdrawals.
In the event you move to a different country, you can open another Charles Schwab account but you may have to meet a high minimum deposit threshold. If you need assistance while you’re traveling, you’ll be thrilled to know you can receive it via phone or email.
10. Bank of America
Despite the word America in its name, Bank of America can be a smart option if you’re looking for a digital nomad bank account. In fact, it attracts many frequent travelers.
It serves more than 35 countries and has locations throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle Each so you shouldn’t have an issue finding a branch near you. Bank of America offers a variety of bank accounts you may find appealing as well as a well-designed mobile app.
Features to Consider When Choosing the Best Bank for Digital Nomads
When exploring different digital nomad banks, consider these features.
Every financial institution provides its own unique experience. First, think about whether you’d like an online-only bank or one with branches you can visit. Then, think about the size of the bank that would be best for you.
A smaller bank might be a better fit if you prefer personal service as well as better rates and lower fees. A larger bank, however, might make more sense if you’d like access to a wider range of products and resources.
Some banks offer a few accounts and banking services while others pride themselves on a long list of offerings, like checking accounts, savings accounts, investment accounts, and many others. To determine the account types you need, think about your goals.
Are you looking for someone to park your cash so you can access it while you’re abroad? If so, you might be in the market for a basic checking account or high yield investor checking account with no foreign transaction fees and ATM fee reimbursement.
If you’re a business owner, you may require additional services like international wire transfers between accounts and countries without paying costly fees.
ATMs and Debit Cards
Chances are you can benefit from a digital nomad bank account with ATM access. If you need to make purchases abroad frequently or every once in a while, you should opt for an account with debit cards that are compatible everywhere. This usually means you’re in the market for a Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express debit card.
Keep in mind that many countries don’t accept cards with magnetic strips so you will need a card with an EMV chip. Ideally, it would also allow for contactless payments, which are quite popular abroad.
Note that while debit card purchases may make sense in some situations, credit cards come with greater protections, which can be helpful if your card gets lost or stolen. If possible, use your debit card at ATMs and credit card every time you make a purchase.
At the end of the day, you don’t want to be stuck with sky-high fees that deter you from your financial goals. Here are some fees to be aware of as you search for the best banks for digital nomads.
Foreign transaction fees: These fees can kick in whenever you make a withdrawal or purchase in a foreign currency. Your bank might charge them all the time, in certain situations, or not at all.
ATM fees: If you need to withdraw money from an ATM, you may be on the hook for ATM fees. The chances of this are higher if you opt for an out-of-network ATM. The good news is some banks offer free withdrawals or will reimburse you for ATM fees while you’re abroad.
Monthly maintenance fees: You may face a monthly maintenance fee or service fee to keep your account open. Typically, the more features your account has, the more expensive this fee will be. Fortunately, some banks pride themselves on low banking costs and zero monthly fees.
Depending on what you plan to do with the bank account you open, interest rates may or may not be important. If your sole purpose is to get easy access to cash while you’re traveling to a different country, interest rates probably aren’t a big deal. But if you’d like to use your account for saving or investment purposes, a higher rate is ideal. The higher the rate, the easier it will be for you to meet your goals.
Security should be a top priority when you explore digital nomad bank accounts. Reputable banks have certain account holders protections in place for if your debit or credit card gets lost or stolen, for example. They also make it a breeze to report fraudulent activity from anywhere.
Some banks also have a security feature known as two-factor authentication. This requires you to use your password and a special code you receive via call or text every time you log in. It provides extra security in the event your device gets lost or stolen.
In a perfect world, you’d never have any questions or issues with your bank account. Since this is unlikely, you shouldn’t overlook the importance of customer service. The bank you choose will determine how easy or difficult it is to receive assistance.
If you can, opt for a digital bank with 24/7 customer service. Otherwise, you may get stuck if you have an urgent need and customer service is only available during select business hours.
If you visit a bank’s website, you’ll find no shortage of information on its benefits and why you should become a customer. However, one of the best ways to determine whether a bank account is worth it is through customer reviews. Do your due diligence and read real reviews on reputable, third-party websites.
Also, look at ratings on websites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to get a better idea of a bank’s reputation. If you notice a lot of negative reviews and poor ratings, you may want to look elsewhere.
Online Banking Features
As a digital nomad, you’ll likely be doing a lot of your banking online. Look for a bank that offers robust online banking features, such as the ability to view account balances and transaction histories, transfer funds, and pay bills online.
Choosing a good bank is essential for digital nomads who need access to their money while traveling the world. With the right bank, you can manage your finances easily and efficiently while enjoying the freedom of a location-independent lifestyle.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a digital nomad?
A digital nomad is someone who works remotely and has the ability to work from anywhere in the world as long as they have an internet connection. They often travel frequently and have a location-independent lifestyle.
Why do digital nomads need a specific bank?
As a digital nomad, you’ll need to find a bank that caters to your specific financial needs; one that offers easy online access, enables low-fee transactions, and facilitates international transfers without hefty costs. Traditional banks may not be able to provide you with these services, which is why it’s important to investigate other options.
What is the best bank for digital nomads and expats?
There is not one bank that checks off everyone’s boxes. The right option for you depends on your goals. You may choose an account that allows for easy money transfer abroad. Or you may prefer one that eliminates foreign transaction fees. It’s up to you and what you hope to accomplish.
How can I avoid transaction fees when banking as a digital nomad?
To avoid transaction fees when banking as a digital nomad, you should look for a bank that offers fee-free ATM withdrawals and has low foreign transaction fees. You may also want to consider using a debit or credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.
Do I need to have a permanent address to open a bank account as a digital nomad?
You do not necessarily need a permanent address to open a bank account as a digital nomad. Some banks allow you to use a post office box or a friend’s address as your mailing address. You may also be able to use a virtual mailbox service.
Can I open a bank account in a foreign country as a digital nomad?
Most countries prohibit non-residents from opening bank accounts. You’ll find that you’ll likely need a local mailing address. Unfortunately, financial institutions don’t typically accept hotel or short-term rental addresses.
Can I use my digital nomad bank account for personal transactions?
Yes, you can use your digital nomad bank account for personal transactions. However, it’s best to keep your business and personal finances separate to make accounting and tax reporting easier.
Will my digital nomad bank account have all the features of a traditional bank account?
Your digital nomad bank account may not have all the features of a traditional bank account, but it should have the features that are most important for your lifestyle, such as online banking and low transaction fees. Be sure to research the banks you’re considering to ensure they offer the services you need.
What should I do if I lose my debit card while traveling?
If you lose your debit card while traveling, you should contact your bank immediately to report the loss and request a replacement card. You should also carry a backup debit card or credit card in case of emergencies.
What are the best banks for international wire transfers?
If you’d like to make many international wire transfers, there are certain banks with solid bank transfer rules you should explore. Several examples are Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Citibank, PNC, and US Bank.