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Best bank for accessing US accounts from Europe/UK?

Travel Forums Europe Best bank for accessing US accounts from Europe/UK?

1. Posted by michael_us (Budding Member 19 posts) 9y

CitiBank? HSBC? CapitalOne?

If you're living in an apartment overseas, do you open a local bank account to write rent checks? Or just pay cash?

2. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3736 posts) 9y

not sure which bank to recommend, but in terms of paying rent in most cases you would set up a standing order from your bank account, whereby the rent would be automatically transferred from your account to the landlord's each month. i have lived in places where i have paid by cash or cheque, but standing orders are the most common because its convenient for both parties.

3. Posted by michael_us (Budding Member 19 posts) 9y

CapitalOne was on the list because I read they reimbursed the 1% that Visa takes out of international transactions. But I took them off my list after reading about their business practices on So now it's down to Citibank or HSBC.

4. Posted by lagosmm (Budding Member 50 posts) 9y

I have been living in Canada for the past 3 years and am currently living in Norway, and I have been with my local bank (only found in my state county) the entire time. I found, over time, my two main concerns were: a debit card that allowed me to make atm withdrawls with a low exchange rate fee (0.5%) and a credit card with a low transaction fee (1%.) A lot of reward credit cards that you can earn points with (REI VISA, Marriott VISA, Continental MC) normally offer a 3% careful to read about international charges in the fine print. I also find because everything is online, it makes it easier to maintain old accounts and easy to pay bills in multiple countries.

I also opened local bank accounts in every country as well. Constantly changing currencies is very expensive over long periods of time, and with the way the dollar has been dropping, it is more like a benefit (especially since Canada and Norway are oil producing countries, their currencies have been doing quite well.) In addition, if you will be working in different countries, they often will require you to have a local account to transfer your earnings. Debit cards are difficult to use international (NOT with ATM.) My US debit card does not work as a debit card in Canada or norway (same with my canadian debit card) and many common places in Norway wont accept international visas (grocery stores, convenient stores, etc.) from my experience here.

I am considering switching to a larger bank because I spend less time in my local state, and I find I incur the most charges when I make withdrawals in other parts of the US. I am trying to prolong this as long as I can because I find my personal, small bank gives me huge benefits. However, internationally, it is not a problem.

There is also XE trade if you need to transfer funds between different country banks. I use this often.

5. Posted by michael_us (Budding Member 19 posts) 9y

Any challenges in opening a foreign bank account? Just show passport?

6. Posted by lagosmm (Budding Member 50 posts) 9y

It depends which country your in. In Canada, all I needed in a govt issued ID (I used my US drivers license) but in Norway I have to register for a temporary personal number (similar to a social security number) in Norway. I would be prepared and try to look up the qualifications online beforehand.

7. Posted by michael_us (Budding Member 19 posts) 9y

Citibank told me I could open Citibank accounts in both countries and transfer between them for free rather than do it with my Visa ATM card and pay 1% transaction fee.

Has anyone experienced tax consequences from opening an account in England? I'm already paying US income tax!

8. Posted by Wonkerer (Respected Member 592 posts) 9y

I've got an account with a Credit Union back home and so far this has done me well. I haven't been charged any fees and I have both a credit card and a debit card through them. I haven't had to pay bills, so I can't speak for that. I know that in Ireland in order to open a bank account I had to have a letter from my "employer" saying my nationality, dates of employment, address, etc., etc. - i.e. they were quite picky, but it's manageable with a job. Without a job I'm not sure. Also EU countries charge a fee of 20 or 30 euro a year to have bank account.

9. Posted by lagosmm (Budding Member 50 posts) 9y

Congratulation with Citibank! Now, if only I could find a partner bank that will drop the 1% charge in Canada :P

Regarding taxes: there is a tax treaty that allows you to pay taxes once. You may have to file both taxes in the UK and in the US but you will only have to pay them once, probably in the country that you reside in (depending which qualifications you meet.) I am an American citizen and I worked in Canada the summer...I working on this situation as well at the moment. (this is for you to get a better idea)

10. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 9y

Citibank is a very good option if you spent lots of time in Germany, as there is a Citibank branch in every big city. In the UK however I had problems finding one - I only found one lonely ATM in London, Oxford Street. (Bad when you are stuck in Glasgow.) The situation is similar in some other countries, branches are only available in the big cities.

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