Discover the Best 9 Checking Accounts for US Expats Living Abroad
Being a U.S. citizen living in a foreign country presents several challenges, including managing financial affairs. However, maintaining checking and other bank accounts in the United States can be convenient, particularly for paying bills or making payments in the country or receiving direct deposits. Unfortunately, using these accounts while overseas can be costly due to bank fees, which can range from $1 to $5 per transaction. Despite this, careful selection of the right checking account can significantly reduce costs and increase convenience for expatriates.
Top Checking Accounts for Expatriates
Here are some of the most popular checking accounts for U.S citizens living abroad to consider:
Capital One 360: Capital One 360 is ideal for expats looking for an interest-bearing solution that comes with no maintenance fees, foreign transaction fees, or ATM fees. Account holders can also use their debit cards without additional fees when abroad.
Citibank: Citibank offers significant advantages to expats, including a physical presence in over 40 countries, online services, financial planning services, and fee waivers. However, customers must maintain a minimum combined average monthly balance of $200,000 in eligible linked banking and investment accounts.
HSBC: HSBC offers premier checking accounts that come with no annual fees, no foreign transaction fees, and premier status for up to four family members. However, customers must maintain either a ,000 minimum balance or monthly third-party direct deposits of at least $5,000.
Alliant Credit Union: Alliant Credit Union is ideal for expats looking for high-interest checking accounts with no minimum balance requirement, monthly service fees, and ATM fee rebates of up to $20 per month. However, they may face 1% fees on all foreign ATM withdrawals and debit card purchases.
First Republic Bank: First Republic Bank offers ATM Rebate checking accounts that come with waived transaction fees on debit card use, free withdrawals on ATMs worldwide, and refunds for ATM fees charged by non-network ATMs.
Ally Bank: Ally Bank is an excellent choice for expats who want a robust online interface, free bill paying, and no maintenance fees or monthly minimums. While Ally Bank charges a standard foreign transaction fee of up to 1%, customers may face additional fees when they use non-Allpoint ATM machines overseas.
Fidelity Investments: Fidelity Investments offers expats the Cash Management Account with debit cards that can withdraw cash from over one million ATMs worldwide. They charge a 1% fee on foreign transactions for non-U.S. dollar transactions, and customers may be charged additional fees for currency conversions.
Navy Federal Credit Union: Navy Federal Credit Union offers active and retired members of the military advantageous checking accounts, including Flagship Checking accounts that pay tiered dividend rates with a maximum APY of 0.45% for balances over $25,000.
US Department of State Federal Credit Union: For U.S. citizens who are employed or have an immediate family member employed by the U.S. State Department, the US Department of State Federal Credit Union offers the Basic checking account with no minimum balance requirement and monthly reimbursements of up to $25 for foreign transaction fees.
Expats can reduce costs and increase convenience by carefully selecting the right checking account for their needs. While some banks require a minimum balance or other strict eligibility criteria, others offer ATM fee rebates, no fees on foreign transactions, and high-interest rates without any hidden charges. Understanding the different features and requirements of each account can help expats choose the checking account that works best for their needs.
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