Making a move overseas is always a stressful experience – packing up all of your belongings, giving up your current accommodation and having to take care of whatever financial responsibilities you might have. In fact, one of the main concerns of any expats, when they move, might be their access to money since the rules of opening an account in a foreign country may be different from what you’re familiar with at home.
One of the biggest mistakes expats make when they move overseas is closing the bank account at home and cancelling their credit card accounts. This is because you never know when you may be required to come back to your home country and that it may not be as easy to open a new bank account as soon as you like. While you would likely open a new bank account when you move to a new country, there are some compelling reasons for keeping a home bank account as well.
Reasons to keep a home bank account
Paying ongoing subscriptions and bills
Depending on your situation, you may have ongoing bills/services/debts you have to pay for. For instance, if you have a house in your home country, you’ll likely need to continue servicing your mortgage. Having a home bank account for this is definitely preferable compared to paying from an overseas account as you’ll likely incur a huge amount of fees by interbank transfer. Or perhaps you are renting out your current place and require your tenants to pay rent to a bank account. Again, paying it to a local account will help you save on transfer fees, as well as the cost on foreign exchange.
However, do remember to check that your bank does not charge you any fees for maintaining an account with them. If so, switch to one that’s free of charge. You might also consider switching to a bank that allows for multicurrency bank account or has branches both in your home and new country.
Before you leave, remember to change your mailing address to a trusted family member/friend’s place since the letters can be confidential. If not, you can always request for online correspondence.
Convenience when you come home
You might be gone for an indefinite amount of time, but most expats pay a visit home once in a while, or you might even go home more frequently if you haven’t moved too far away. Keeping a home bank account means it’ll make things easier when you go home – being able to withdraw cash for usage in local currencies without extra fees or to pay with a local debit card when you are out shopping or dining.
Maintain credit history
If you are going to be away from home for a while and decide to cancel all your bank accounts, you may face difficulty with opening a bank account when you come home. For certain countries, they may be more stringent with their account opening criteria, especially if you’ve been away for some time. When you come back, it could be difficult to open credit lines so if keeping a bank account at home incurs no cost, you might want to keep it there for future convenience.
One less thing to worry about when you move back home
Moving overseas can impose quite a bit of hassle, but the same goes for making a move back home. Imagine that you’ve cancelled your bank account at home and you want to transfer your funds from a foreign country back to your home country. How would you do that without an existing bank account? While going through third-party services may work, there could be substantial fees involved in the transfer, as well as incurring exchange rate loss. It’s also not wise to bring with you a huge wad of cash back home with you physically. Thus, having a bank account in place to use for credit purposes, moving money and paying for things at home will definitely help in the transition.
The above makes some compelling reasons to keep a bank account at home if there are not much of a cost involved to maintain one. It’d also be wise to get an online access to ensure you can carry out transactions between both countries.