A foreign currency account is a great way to grow your savings and protect them from possible risks of different kinds.
Most banks offer individuals to open personal accounts in more than one currency. So you may decide to have an account in your local currency plus another one in, let’s say, USD, EUR, or CNY. However, in this case, your savings will not be securely protected from the bankruptcy of local banks, hyperinflation, devaluation, and other effects of political and economic instability in your part of the world.
Is your intention to shield yourself from financial vulnerability, keep your wealth distanced from possible threats of ill-wishers, prevent the hazards of the sudden unjustified freezing of accounts by law enforcement agencies? The best solution would be to open several accounts in different currencies with foreign banks. In this case, at least some of your savings will remain safely intact.
Considering the modern reality, wherever you live and generate income, it is even better to have at least two accounts. These can be a Foreign Currency Non Resident account (FCNR) and a Resident Foreign Currency account (RFC). The more accounts you hold, the better.
What are the most common reasons for opening a personal account abroad?
Reasons to open personal bank accounts in foreign currency
Besides the risk diversification rationale, individuals most often open foreign currency accounts for the following purposes:
- shopping worldwide: online international transfers of payment for services or goods
- property investment abroad: foreign real estate acquisition
- financial support to/from family and friends: transfer of tuition fees and livelihood to cover books, medicine, rent, etc.
- investments: deposits in foreign currency poised to earn interest on flexible exchange rates
- tourism expenditure: payments for international travel insurance, transfers, meals, the purchase of travel guides, souvenirs, etc.
- fees or salary abroad: honoraria paid by a foreign employer.
You have the right to open an account in any currency accepted by the chosen bank. Most clients open accounts in US dollars and euros. However, there are other reliable currencies, such as British pounds, Japanese yen, Swiss francs, etc. When you become a client of a reliable and reputable foreign bank, your status, credibility, and opportunities get stronger.
of personal bank accounts abroad for
persons depositing €5000+. Expert services
based on 7+ years of experience in banking.
of personal bank accounts abroad for persons depositing €5000+. Expert services based on 7+ years of experience in banking.
Where is it better to open bank accounts in foreign currency for individuals?
So, what banks do our experts recommend? The first option is easy to guess: let us revisit Swiss banks’ terms and benefits:
- multi-currency accounts
- the initial deposit in the amount of 5 thousand Euros, US dollars or Swiss francs
- the minimum account balance of 1 thousand Euros, US dollars or Swiss francs
- embossed and anonymous Visa, MasterCard, and other cards
- services in different languages, including online banking support and a personal account manager
- remote set-up involving a web-based interview with the banker (no need for an in-person visit), online documents submission and verification, no notarization required
- wealth management services
- deposit insurance for up to 100 thousand Swiss francs.
As an example, we can recommend a bank in Switzerland that will suit both the seasoned wealthy clients and those who open an account abroad for the first time. This bank does not require a current account statement or recent testimonials from another financial institution. Read our articles, refer to our experts, give it a thought, and you will see that Swiss banks are more welcoming and accessible than some might think.
Portugal is another country where we recommend opening a personal foreign currency bank account. Here’s what the Portuguese banks offer:
- accounts in Euros or US dollars
- the initial down payment in the amount of 50 euros, and a deposit / minimum account balance of 35 thousand Euros
- embossed Visa cards
- services in English and Portuguese
- remote opening without any interview
- deposit protection – insured for up to 100 thousand Euros.
We recommend a particular Portuguese bank which is a convenient solution for clients who:
- plan to get a Golden visa and citizenship in Portugal
- consider life insurance and pension savings programs
- prefer European banks with a good attitude to non-residents, inexpensive service, and unsophisticated requirements.
Georgia is the third country on our shortlist of banks to open personal foreign currency accounts this year. A Georgian bank account comes with the following features:
- Georgian lari, US dollar, British pound, or Euro as the main currency of your account
- deposit only 100 Euros, and you will not need to maintain a minimum balance in the future (these are the main advantages of the Georgian bank)
- Visa Electron and Cirrus Maestro debit cards
- services, online banking, customer support, etc. available in the most popular languages in Europe
- accounts opening allowed in person or remotely by proxy
- it takes only 3 days to open an account
- no deposit insurance (and hence, unfortunately, Georgian banks are not an ideal choice for clients wishing to deposit large sums).
We particularly recommend one of the Georgian banks for those clients who:
- need to open foreign currency accounts in a good, inexpensive bank that does not raise financial requirements for its customers
- look for a bank offering a wide range of deposit types
- appreciate special perks and VIP services – Visa and MasterCard cards as a gift, a privileged insurance package, and much more.
Other countries recommended for opening foreign currency accounts are Germany, Liechtenstein, Macedonia,Nevis, Belize, and others. The choice will depend on your goals, the banking services you need, and many other aspects.
Payment systems ready to open bank accounts in foreign currency for individuals
If you want to open a foreign account for individuals, we recommend that you should also pay attention to payment systems. How do they differ from banks? What are their advantages?
Payment systems are undoubtedly an excellent option for residents of certain ‘high-risk’ countries. Payment systems are more loyal to them, and their compliance procedures are milder.
However, this does not mean that they are less reliable than banks. In some cases, they can be considered even more sustainable. Many of them are not engaged in borrowing money or gambling in the stock markets that are very risky and often lead to bankruptcy. Moreover, payment systems open accounts for new customers much faster than conventional foreign banks. They also require fewer documents.
When choosing where to open an account – with a classic bank or a payment system – you need to decide for what purpose you want to open a foreign currency account. If it is all about small sums, frequent payments, and high-risk activities, it will be faster and more profitable to open an account with a payment system. If you are after saving funds, deposits, diversification, then it is better to apply to a bank.
If your goal is mutual settlements, please be sure, when choosing a payment system, that it processes payments to the countries that you target. Also, not all non-bank financial institutions can support transfers of large amounts. This should also be taken into account.
Many payment systems were founded in London. This was quite natural because it is in the UK that many startups in the field of financial technology were based. In general, more than 300 payment systems have been licensed in Europe alone. And then there is Asia (Singapore and Hong Kong payment systems), the United States, Canada, etc. It is not easy to make the best choice from this variety.
We recommend that you should consider the British and Lithuanian payment systems. Clients of these institutions can open multi-currency accounts, conduct SEPA, SWIFT, and other transfers, issue cards, etc.
We offer you a free private online consultation to discuss and choose a suitable payment system or bank for you to open a foreign account. Each payment system that we hand-pick for our customers is assessed by us for reliability, license, reputation in the market, and customer satisfaction. We never trust the word of mouth, never take public information for granted. For over a decade our experts have been working with a variety of banks and payment systems. Your consultation with our experts is a chance to discuss your needs and opportunities. This is how we can be as sure as you that a particular payment system recommended by us would meet your goals and requirements.
To sum up, you should never rely on one currency account only. Such complacency can be very misleading. If you are interested in our expert recommendations customized to your plans, just book a free consultation by writing to our e-mail address given at the top of this page.
Why do I need a currency account?
A foreign account will protect your savings from risks in your home country. It can be open for a variety of purposes, for example, to simplify payments abroad, to invest, to gain access to financial products and services that are not available in your country of residence.
What do I need to do to open a foreign currency account for individuals?
To open a foreign currency account abroad, an individual needs to choose a suitable reliable financial provider offering relevant services. The package of documents depends on the specific country and the institution. If you want to open an account as soon and easily as possible we recommend payment systems. If you need more conventional banking or just need to open a deposit account, we can recommend some reputable banks.
In which bank is it more profitable to open a personal foreign currency account?
When choosing a bank, you should focus on your goals for opening a foreign currency account abroad. What services do you need? Are you ready to visit the bank abroad or do you want to open an account via the Internet? What currencies are you interested in? Are you ready to deposit a certain amount when opening an account? The choice of a foreign bank for an individual wishing to open a foreign currency account will depend on the answers to all these and other questions.