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12 Best Banks for Digital Nomads

So, are you thinking about becoming a digital nomad? I’ve gotta say, it’s a pretty great decision. You can have the flexibility to move abroad and live in new countries, all while making money from anywhere that has a decent WiFi connection. 

That being said, if you’re traveling all around the world and getting paid from countries where you’re not currently residing, banking can be a bit of a sticky issue.

Don’t worry though, because I’ve created a list of the 12 best banks for digital nomads, as well as a handy guide for things to look for in your bank, and aspects you need to consider as you live and work all around the world.

1. Wise

You might have heard of Wise and not even realize it. It used to be known as TransferWise and has over 11 million users worldwide, making it one of the most popular international banks and platforms in the world. You don’t get to that level without including a few amazing features and services along the way. 

One of the cool things is that you can withdraw cash from any ATM for free up to $250 USD at a time. Let’s be honest, when you’re a digital nomad traveling around, you don’t want to be carrying more cash than that anyway!

If you prefer to live in a cashless way, you can use your physical card as per usual, or you can use the digital card which is compatible with both Apple Pay and Google Pay, making it easy to just tap and go while you’re on the move.

A feature that I personally really like about using Wise is the fact that you can hold money in over 50 different currencies and actually set an alert for when you want to exchange the currency. This means you don’t have to sell yourself short when you move from country to country, but you also don’t have to manually check the rates and poise your hand over the exchange button!

Want to receive direct bank transfers without being buried in annoying fees? An awesome feature of Wise is the fact that you can nominate a local bank account in up to 10 countries or regions.

Not only does this help you with physical banking, but it also means that you can receive payment in these dedicated currencies wherever you are in the world! That’s pretty amazing, especially if you have an international client base.

Probably the best part of having a Wise bank account is that it’s completely free to set up and run. There isn’t even a premium version that gatekeeps some of the better features.

You can access everything without paying a penny in subscription fees. Sounds pretty great to me!

Pros

  • No subscription fees
  • Have up to 10 local banks for fee-free international currency payments
  • Hold money in over 50 different currencies.
  • Track all your transactions and international payments fully
  • Set alerts for better exchange rates
  • Request money feature, similar to Venmo or PayPal

Cons

  • Customer support is pretty slow and there isn’t a web chat option which is a shame
  • Once you hit a certain number of transfers, you need to send Wise more paperwork to be able to continue. This essentially proves that you’re a human.
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2. Revolut

Chances are that you’ve probably heard a lot about Revolut in the past. Honestly, it’s one of the best digital banks on the planet, so it’s super popular with both travelers and digital nomads. 

As you control your money from a handy but super secure app, it’s really easy to use when you’re on the go. When you sign up, you’re given a physical and a virtual card, so you can easily pay through Apple Pay or Google Pay, but you can also use a chip and pin, or withdraw cash at an ATM.

With a few different types of security measures, you can opt into adding a location-dependent measure, which you can change at anytime directly in the app. That makes it easy to be secure and safe from overseas scammers but also ensures it’s easy to update when you do move on to your next destination. 

One of the great things about Revolut is that there are no withdrawal fees. You can spend your money in over 140 different currencies at the current exchange rate, so it’s super flexible when it comes to jetting all around the world.

Want to save money? Revolut Vaults are great for organizing your savings accounts and setting goals for each pot of money. There are also features such as rounding up your loose change directly into a savings account or setting limitations on certain kinds of spending like eating out or transport. 

There is a range of plans: Revolut Standard which is free, Revolut Premium coming in at $9.99 per month, and Revolut Metal which is $16.99 per month. Obviously, the more expensive the plan, the more features and benefits you get access to, and the higher up the priority list you are if you need customer support.  

The differences are nominal and mostly surround international transfer allowances. The free version gets one per month, the Premium gets three transfers per month, and the Metal allows up to five transfers each month.

So, if you’re a digital nomad, I’d recommend going for the Metal plan so that you can get the most out of your fee-free international transfers each and every month.

If you do upgrade, you can also expect features like travel insurance, airport lounge access, and even cashback. Who doesn’t love getting money back for just spending it however you would normally? It’s a great feature and definitely worth the jump from Premium to Metal. 

Pros

  • Get your money exchanged at the daily rate
  • Trend forecasts for exchange rates, so you can wait for the best time to switch
  • Includes a crypto trading platform
  • Virtual and physical cards
  • Includes travel insurance on the paid plans
  • Decent security levels

Cons

  • It can be difficult to get a hold of customer service unless you pay for either Revolut Premium or Revolut Metal.

3. Chase

Who doesn’t love getting cash back on all your everyday purchases? This is one of the main huge selling points behind getting a Chase bank account. All purchases that you make, at home or abroad, come with an extra 1% cashback that’s paid on a monthly basis. 

Given that, like a lot of digital banks, currency exchange rates are converted at the current rate of the day, the extra 1% cashback, actually means that Chase offers one of the best exchange rates out there. 

If you’re looking to save while you’re out on the road, Chase also has two other bonus-filled ways to boost your money. You’ll get a bonus of 3.6% cashback on your savings each month on a standard savings account – which you can access at any time.

If you want to get a massive 5% cashback each and every month, you can round up your spending to the nearest pound or dollar and receive the difference in a dedicated savings account. I’m all here for passive income and making your money go further, so this is a huge plus point!

On the security side, the Chase cards are ridiculously secure because they don’t have any numbers on them at all.

Don’t get me wrong, this is annoying when it comes to online shopping, but on the whole, it does mean that if your card does get stolen and you don’t freeze it in your app in time, the thief only has until the contactless limit is hit, rather than buying a load of stuff online.

If you do want to use your Chase card online, all the numbers are easily accessible in the app. 

The major downside is that it’s currently only available to UK residents for setup. So, if you’re not based here, with a UK tax number, this might not be a good fit for you.

However, if you are a UK resident with a tax number, this is without a doubt one of the best digital nomad banks given the high cashback rates and lack of fees. 

Pros

  • Huge cashback on spending and saving
  • Secure cards with numberless features
  • Compatible with Google Pay and Apple Pay
  • Track your spending in-app and set restrictions
  • Spend abroad without any annoying fees 
  • 24/7 customer service

Cons

  • Currently only available to UK residents with a UK tax code
  • No overdraft available at all

4. Monzo

Let’s be honest, Monzo is one of the most famous and popular banks for travelers and digital nomads – and for good reason! If you’re looking to budget while you’re on the road, Monzo has a ton of amazing features that are going to help you get the most out of your money.

With segmented budgeting pots, allowing you to easily see where you’re spending the majority of your money, you can add limits to certain areas, like eating out or excursions. You can also add paper receipts through their Flux feature in the Monzo app. 

This might sound a bit old-school, but honestly, this is such a great feature. So, not only does it scan it so that you can view your receipts at a later date, but it also scans and itemizes the different purchases into the spending categories.

Overall, this gives you a much more well-rounded view of your budgeting, and allows you to split bills with your friends at the tap of a button – no calculations needed!

Just send your friends a notification in the app and they’ll be able to easily pay their share, similar to Venmo. You can also set up saving pots that reward you with 1.63% interest!

When it comes to spending your money abroad, there are a few downsides. You will get charged at the Mastercard exchange rate rather than the regular rate of the day, which is something that a lot of digital nomad-friendly cards offer.

This means that the rate can be a little lower than its competitors. 

On the whole, withdrawals are usually free with Monzo, but you’ll also be subjected to 3% withdrawal fees after a certain point. This is pretty high, but it only comes into play if you’re traveling outside the EU.

Otherwise, you can have free and unlimited cash withdrawals.

Pros

  • Great budgeting features
  • Competitive savings accounts
  • Free account plan
  • Easy to use and set up

Cons

  • Works off Mastercard exchange rate
  • Limits on free withdrawals outside of the EU
  • Only holds money in GBP
  • £1 fee when depositing with PayPoint
  • Only available in the UK

5. Chime

Okay, so stick with me on this one, because it is really different from any of the other banks on this list, but I’ve included it for a few very good reasons. Even though it’s only available in the US at the moment, Chime is one of the best cards and bank accounts if you’re looking to build up your credit score. 

That’s because Chime has a pretty unique feature that allows you to use your credit card overseas like a debit card. You top up your card and spend what you have, so you’re essentially using a debit card in all the ways that you’d normally experience.

The magic bit is that each transaction is recorded as a credit transaction, so you’re actually building up your credit score so that you can be eligible for better credit cards and bigger purchases further down the line.

In addition to all these great credit-building bonuses, you can also use your Chime card all around the world without transaction fees and easily manage your money on the app. As an even bigger bonus, you’ll get a 0.5% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) on your savings account which is a nice touch. 

Pros

  • A free account with tons of bonuses
  • Build up your credit score in a safe and reliable way
  • 0.5% Annual Percentage Yield (APY)
  • Use worldwide without international transaction fees. 

Cons

  • Currently can only hold money in USD – something that may cause you to lose money if you have to switch your currencies at less attractive rates during certain times. 
  • Lower allowances on spending and withdrawals than many overseas-centric banks and cards, as Chime is not specifically developed for overseas use.

6. N26

Being one of the banking hubs of the world, it’s no wonder that a German fintech company has made its way onto this list! N26 is a Euro-centric banking system that lets you transfer up to 50,000 Euros into the account without any fees whatsoever.

That’s massive and not many other digital nomad banking options offer this. 

N26 prides itself on being super simple to set up and use. In fact, according to them, you can set up a bank account with N26 in just eight minutes. That’s crazy! That doesn’t mean that it’s lacking in security though.

N26 accounts are super secure as they have a full European banking license and German IBAN which protects up to 100,000 Euros worth of your money. So, you can have tons of peace of mind while you travel and work all around the world. 

One of the biggest downsides of N26 bank accounts is the dreaded withdrawal fees. If you want cash, you’re going to have to pay for it one way or another. They have four different banking plans; Free, Smart, You, and Metal.

If you have Free or Smart you’re going to be paying an additional 1.7% withdrawal fee every time you take cash out of an ATM, regardless of where you are in the world. 

That being said, the different plans for N26 are pretty affordable the standard package that you initially get when you download the app is free. You can then upgrade to Smart, which is €4.90 per month, You which is €9.90 per month, or splash out on Metal which is €16.90 per month.

When you think about how many times you’re going to need to withdraw cash, that 1.7% definitely starts to creep up bit by bit. That means that it’s often an easy decision to fork out for either the You package or the Metal package which boasts unlimited withdrawals at ATMs all around the world.

In addition to that, you’ll also be rewarded with travel insurance, similar to the premium Revolut packages. For a digital nomad, having travel insurance included in your banking provider is a huge win-win!

Pros

  • Super quick sign-up
  • Massive transfer allowances
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Bonuses and perks on higher subscription plans
  • Free plan for budget users
  • Uses the exchange rate of the day

Cons

  • Only holds Euros which can mean a lot of exchanges – something that may cause you to lose money if you have to switch your currencies at less attractive rates during certain times. 
  • Support can be pretty slow, but once you get through they’re very efficient and helpful!

7. Starling 

As a relatively new digital bank, Starling is quickly gaining a decent following in the UK. The downside is that it’s only available in the UK, but if you’re eligible, it’s a great package that includes savings accounts with 1.63% interest – one of the best for a digital bank!

The app is super easy to use and set up which is a huge plus if you’re on the road and just want to quickly be able to manage your money. If you’re living in a place where cash is king, you’re going to love the Starling account because there are zero ATM fees, even when you’re abroad.

However, if you need to make any international transfers, these are subject to fees of up to £0.3-5.5 per transfer, plus a 0.4% currency exchange fee. So, if you’re needing to move your money around a lot overseas, this might not be the option for you.

However, if you’re looking to top up your card and just use cash, this might be a great shout.

That being said, it’s worth noting that you can only withdraw a maximum of £300 per day. This is very low for a withdrawal limit, especially if you need to pay for accommodation, excursions, or expensive travel connections. 

Pros

  • Easy to set up and access
  • Great savings options
  • Zero ATM fees, including internationally 

Cons

  • High international transfer fees
  • Subject to currency exchange fees
  • Low withdrawal limits
  • Only available in the UK
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8. Capital One 360

If you’re based in the US or will be traveling back there a lot over the next couple of years, it might be worth checking out the Capital One 360 bank account.

Considering that it’s more of a traditional bank, the setup is super quick and easy. It only takes around five minutes and you don’t need to deposit a cent to get started. 

Although this might not seem like the ideal bank for international travelers, if you’re either a digital nomad traveling around the US or are heading home a lot, this is well worth checking out.

When you’re in the US, you can benefit from free ATM withdrawals and a massive 50% off drinks at the CapitalOne cafes which is a pretty decent perk.

If you’re looking for a credit card that’s specifically geared towards digital nomads, the Capital One Venture X is a great option. It gives you a huge 2 points for every $1 spent without any international transaction fees.

So you can be racking up the rewards while you’re going about your daily business. 

Pros

  • Great perks for US nomads
  • No international transaction fees
  • Nomad-specific credit card
  • Easy-to-use app

Cons

  • The exchange rates are not at the real-time rate
  • Overdraft fees are super high if you choose to opt in

9. HSBC Global Money Account

This is another traditional bank that has a really great reputation as an international bank. In fact, you can find an HSBC presence on most continents, which is great if you’re stuck and want to try and find some in-country support. 

So, if you can find an HSBC ATM in your local area, you can avoid any ATM withdrawal fees which is really great considering they can be found all over the world. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re exempt from any international fees with the HSBC Global Money Account. 

Although there are no fees when it comes to international transfers, if you make transactions on your card overseas, you will be charged a fee. So keep an eye on this if you’re spending money on the road. The best way to get around this is to combine this traditional banking account with a more flexible digital banking card. 

One of the best things about HSBC is that you can hold money in eight different major world currencies, and the customer service is famously some of the best in the entire banking industry. That’s definitely something to factor in if you’re looking for a more traditional bank account. 

Pros

  • Can manually get free ATM withdrawal fees
  • Holds up to eight different currencies
  • No fees for international transfers
  • Amazing customer service
  • Large, established World Bank

Cons

  • Fees on international transactions
  • Not the real-time exchange rate
  • Some accounts have monthly fees

10. Monese

This is a super interesting up-and-coming digital nomad banking solution for a couple of reasons. Being able to hold money in GBP, EUR, and RON (Romanian Leu), and being able to directly deposit in 19 different currencies, it’s pretty flexible compared to a few different options on this list.

However, Monese is not the best when it comes to fees on the lower plan options. The four plans are Starter, which is the free option, Essential coming in at £1.95 per month, Classic for £5.95 per month, and finally Premium coming in at £14.95 per month. For Starter and Essential, you’re subject to a 2% transaction fee which is pretty huge.

Another reason to opt for one of the Monese paid plans is that there are restrictions to how much money you can add to your account each month on the free version. This, together with the 2% transaction fee, makes going for a Classic or Premium plan a no-brainer.

One of the coolest things about getting a Monese bank account is the PayPal integration. You can link your PayPal account directly to your Monese, and spend the money in your PayPal account through your Monese card.

If you’re a digital nomad who gets paid in PayPal, this is a great option if you don’t want to mess around with PayPal withdrawal fees or have to log in every time you want to access your money.

Another great feature comes in the set-up phase. Although you need to live in the UK or EU to be eligible, there’s no point where you have to prove your address. So, you can have a UK or EU bank account without having to have a permanent address. That can come in really handy!

Pros

  • Four different plans to choose from
  • PayPal integration for ease of spending
  • A UK bank account without needing an address

Cons

  • Very expensive fees unless you have Classic or Premium
  • Limits on withdrawals and transactions
  • Poor customer service if you’re in trouble

11. Charles Schwab

Okay, so Charles Schwab is pretty different from every other bank on this list because it’s a traditional bank rather than a digital one, but it specializes in international banking.

Offering everything from unlimited ATM withdrawals to zero transaction fees to no minimum set-up deposit, there is definitely a lot to love about banking with Charles Schwab. After all, they’ve stood the test of time for a good reason!

The major downside of choosing Charles Schwab is that it’s kind of difficult to top up your cash and deposit money into your account. So, you’ll still need another bank account to top this one up with, but pretty much any of these digital banks with allow you to do this. 

Another issue that is a blessing and a curse is Charles Schwab’s security. It’s a super secure bank and so their online banking services are really sensitive when you’re checking in overseas.

I’d definitely get a VPN like Nord VPN to access your online banking while you’re overseas – it just makes the process way easier and doesn’t set off alarm bells on the bank’s end. 

Pros

  • No fees on ATMs, transactions, and more!
  • Super secure online banking 
  • Traditional free banking
  • Amazing customer service

Cons

  • Difficult to deposit money into this account
  • Hard to access online banking overseas without a VPN

12. Payoneer

For our final banking option, we have something a little different. Essentially, Payoneer was set up as a competitor for PayPal and allows you to transfer money and invoice clients in numerous different currencies. However, you can also get a Payoneer card to seamlessly spend the money in your account. 

In order to withdraw your money, you’ll have to pay around a 2% charge, which is lower than PayPal at the moment, and honestly, these charges add up over time, so saving 3% per withdrawal is a huge bonus. The downside is that you’re also charged for wire transfers if your account stays dormant for a year. 

So, if you’re using Payoneer for invoicing clients and getting payments rather than utilizing wire transfers, this is largely going to be a decent option for you. However, setup isn’t the quickest process in the world.

There is a fairly lengthy verification process, which can be annoying, but does mean that you have a secure service that you can use all around the world.

One last thing to consider is that if you’re withdrawing your money to your Payoneer card or a local bank account you shouldn’t have an issue, however, you can’t withdraw your Payoneer money to cash or to certain locations. So, if you need convenient access to cash where you are, this might not be the best option for you.  

Pros

  • Cheap withdrawal fees compared to PayPal
  • Easy invoicing and usage
  • Attached card for easy withdrawal and spending

Cons

  • Long verification process
  • Not super easy to get cash from this account
  • High fees on wire transfers

Is PayPal Good for Digital Nomads?

So, I’ve briefly mentioned PayPal in my comparison with Payoneer, but honestly, I am not a fan of PayPal and only use it when I don’t have any other options. The fee for withdrawing your money is around 5% which definitely adds up as a digital nomad. 

While you can invoice and hold different currencies in your PayPal account – which is a great feature – PayPal can be temperamental, and their customer support leaves a lot to be desired if you do have an issue. 

For me, PayPal is a necessary evil. It’s one of the easiest and most secure ways to get paid as a freelancer or digital nomad, especially if you have clients from all over the world. At the moment, I use PayPal a lot, but that’s more because it seems to be an industry standard and a new payment champion hasn’t really arrived yet. I’ll be waiting!

Why Do Digital Nomads Need Specific Banks?

Okay, so you might be thinking, ‘Why do digital nomads need specific banks in the first place?’. Well, there are actually a few different reasons.

Realistically, most banks are set up specifically to help people living in one location. You need a standard address, you don’t pay fees to access your money when you’re in your home country, and you can always withdraw cash at one of the ATMs in your town and city.

It’s straightforward and it’s been that way for centuries now. 

One word that I wouldn’t use to describe banks is ‘flexible’, and if we’re being honest, that’s the main word I’d use to describe the digital nomad lifestyle. So, you see we’re at an impasse. 

The needs of digital nomads are completely different from most people. You need to be able to access your money in different countries without being penalized with hefty international fees. 

Flexibility and easy access are key. If you’re moving countries every couple of weeks or months, you don’t want to have to add banking paperwork and red tape on top of all the other bureaucracy that you’re going to be dealing with.

That’s why banks that are specifically geared toward digital nomads are a lifesaver when you’re out on the road.

What Makes a Good Digital Nomad Bank?

So, now you have an idea of why you need to be looking for a specific digital nomad-friendly bank, let’s dive into the particular features and aspects that you’ll need to look out for.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but they’re my top six things to look for in a good digital nomad bank, based on years of experience!

Top Customer Service

If you’re on the road, flitting from one time zone to the next and suddenly can’t use access your bank account, well that’s a pretty massive problem. Make sure that you choose a bank that has 24/7 customer service. This way, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, you’ll still be able to access support.

Another requirement of your bank’s customer service is being online. The sheer number of banks that only offer phone support – which can be super expensive even when you’re not overseas – is kind of insane!

Choose a bank that has additional customer service channels like email, web chat, and/or a dedicated customer service social media account.

Easy to Open and Access

When you’re on the move, you don’t have time to make a ton of visits to a physical branch with loads of paperwork. In fact, depending on where you go, there might not even be a branch in that country for your specific bank.

So, being able to open a bank account and access it with a few quick taps is a must. 

Online or In-app Control

In a similar vein, you’re going to want a bank that has either online banking or a dedicated app. Most banks are switching entirely to digital, so this is a pretty common feature, but it’s essential for any digital nomad.

You need to be able to move money, see your balance, and track transactions while you’re on the move, in whichever country you decide to end up in! 

No International Transaction Fees

One of the most annoying things about traveling overseas is having to deal with expensive international fees. Whether that’s a whole host of fees when you want to get cash out of an ATM, or you just struggle to get paid from foreign countries into your overseas bank account, it can be a bit of a nightmare sometimes.

After all, it’s your money, why should you need to pay a percentage to access it?

Easy to Top Up 

A lot of digital nomad bank accounts are also styled like cash cards for traveling overseas. So, that means that you can top them up from other accounts rather than being paid directly into that account. If that’s the case, you need to make sure that it’s easy to top your account up.

If you need to log into another bank app to add money to your digital nomad account then that might cause some issues. One of the most common methods is to link your accounts before you travel and then you can easily transfer money into your traveling account without raising any alarms with your home-based bank account. 

Easy to Withdraw Cash Abroad

Okay, one of my biggest money-related pet peeves, when I’m traveling and living abroad, is not being able to access cash on the road. In a lot of places, cash is still king. The fact that many banks still charge you to take your money out in foreign ATMs is ridiculous. 

A hallmark of a good digital nomad bank is one that doesn’t charge you withdrawal fees. If you need cash to survive, to be able to buy coffee in the morning or get a taxi around town at night, and you have to pay a premium to do so, that’s just not sustainable long-term at all! 

Business Banking

Okay, so as a digital nomad, a lot of the time, you’re running your own business. With the exception of remote workers, you’re going to have to run a lot of your accounts like a real business.

However, when you apply for a business bank account, the fees tend to get ramped up. The upside is that the transaction and transfer limits normally get way better, so you can actually run a real business.

Most of these digital bank accounts do offer business packages, so do your homework and see which options work for you. A lot of the time, for a business account, having a blend of a traditional bank in your home country where you pay taxes and a digital account that you can use on a daily basis is the best way to get around a lot of the annoying fees!

Final Thoughts

So, if you’re looking at the digital nomad lifestyle, you’re going to need to take a long, hard look at how you manage your money. No one wants to be losing out on a ton of money because of sky-high fees and poor currency conversion rates. We work too hard to be done like that!

With that in mind, take a look at all these different nomad-friendly banking solutions, see which ones you’re actually eligible for, and make the decision that works best for you. All digital nomads are different and need different things from their bank – here’s all the information, it’s up to you want you do with it!

What’s your favorite banking solution when you’re on the road and why? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll be sure to check it out!

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