Best banks for digital nomads

As every digital nomad knows, one of the main things you need to set up while embracing this lifestyle is the right bank account.

Every digital nomad has passed through the usual financial issues and has finally found a solution for them. But why should you experience these problems, if you can learn from here how to avoid useless costs? Such as high exchange rates, transaction fees, monthly bank expenses, ATM withdrawal charges, or financial tracking.

Keep reading to discover which one is the right one for you!

Updated July 2022

What makes a bank digital nomad friendly?

Like many other services, the country you come from, and more specifically your citizenship, defines which might be the best one for you as a digital nomad. Anyway, you should also know that some financial institutions will just need an address in a specific country to ship your debit card, regardless of your origins or residence (TransferWise for example). Some things you might want to take into consideration while choosing the right one, are:

  • cost
  • global ATM fees
  • exchanging currencies in one account
  • online customer service
  • receiving payments from all over the world
  • virtual debit cards
  • privacy and security

Your needs and opinions

When it comes to choosing a bank or any financial institution, we believe that it is important that you stay informed about what you are signing up for.

If you are pro-control and believe in the tax system, then most of the options will do well for you. But if you have a more anti-State mindset, you will probably want to dig more in and search for alternatives that can safely store your money and your privacy while giving you the sweet gift of freedom.

So, the next part of this article has two sections. The new hip Fintechs and some non-CRS banks from different countries. We will explain later the meaning of each – but just keep in mind that only the second ones will value your privacy and that the first ones are really easy-to-go free options.

The best FinTech banks for digital nomads in 2022

FinTech is short for financial technology. It is a term that goes for all the technology that is being applied to innovate and improve traditional financial methods. Mostly begin their journey as start-ups, and are developing quite fast. Also, blockchain technology is part of this area. They are comfortable and easy to use. Downsides? From my perspective (beware, I am not an economist or an expert), the biggest problem is that most of our money goes digital. As with these companies, we tend to stop using cash because that option usually comes with extra costs.

With that in mind, I have listed here some of the best online banks & financial institutions for digital nomads based in your country:

  1. Europe: N26, Revolut, Monese
  2. United Kingdom: Monzo, Starling
  3. North America: CapitalOne 360, Chime, STACK (Canada)
  4. South America: Klar (México), Nubank (Brazil), Brubank (Argentina)
  5. New Zealand & Australia: ANZ, Airwallex
  6. Anywhere: (TransferWise), now only Wise, is one of the best options as you can have also multicurrency
We can only talk about the services that we tried or that we are still using, so here are our favorite choices when it comes to Fintechs:

N26

N26 is a German neobank (which means it is only online, it does not have a physical branch, like most Fintechs) that offers private and business accounts in Euros.

To get a debit card and open an online account, you must be resident in one of the 22 countries of the European Union where they offer their services.

The standard option is free of charge, or you have the possibility of paying a monthly fee for extra services, check all the plans here.

This Fintech is very mobile-friendly, it has an appealing design, and it is really easy to use. Although, if you have to add cash into your account you will have to pay quite a high % of that amount, so we wouldn’t recommend it if that’s what you need it for. Another downside is that depending on the country you are in, you will be able to withdraw cash without a fee just a limited number of times (with the standard plan), so check it out beforehand.

Besides this, the account works great, as well as the customer service, it has free online SEPA payments, and the “spaces” feature in their app is quite comfortable to simply organize your money directly from your phone.

Revolut

I had a Revolut for a very short amount of time, while I was testing which Fintech company I wanted to use.

Well, I think it is way too complicated, bad user experience, with too many useless features (for me). So I wouldn’t recommend it, as the N26 has improved designs and seem to work way better. Although, they also offer a free-of-charge VISA debit card, and you have the possibility to create multi-currency spaces inside your account (if this is what you are going for, I would rather recommend the next option: Wise).

TransferWise

The best thing about the TransferWise account (now just Wise) is that you do not need to be resident in the EU to get your multi-currency card here. This is very useful for people that are in countries with bad fluctuating currencies, but also any kind of travelers. You just need an address in the EU where your Mastercard debit card can be shipped (it can be a friend or really anywhere you are staying at, even for a vacation).

It takes around 2 weeks to arrive and a small fee – that will be later on added to your balance – to get your card “home”.

Once you have it, you can use it worldwide, free of charge, and receive payments on a European IBAN based in Berlin and between other users. Have multi-currency accounts with overall exchange rates (this doesn’t apply to Argentina if you need to change money there at a good exchange rate, check our guide).

If you are a digital nomad, in our opinion, this is a must-have card that can help you out in many situations. If you don’t plan to use it as a main account (which makes sense) get one as an emergency thing, you know, just in case!

The best banks in non-CRS countries

When we talk about CRS, we refer to the acronym Common Reporting Standard. This is an automated legal exchange of your financial information that happens between most countries worldwide, in order to prevent tax evasion (stealth) and keep you more controlled. Some countries (hopefully) have a different jurisdiction and value your financial freedom and privacy. If this is your mindset, check out the following non-CRS countries and banks:

 Armenia: Ameriabank

You can easily open remotely, as a nonresident, your multicurrency banking account with Ameriabank from this link,the website is in Armenian, just click right with your mouse on the page and translate it into English with Google. — You only need your ID, but if you are from the USA, some more information will be required due to FATCA. They also have some interesting savings accounts that could be done online as well.

There is also Evocabank, but they ask much more requirements and the accounts cannot be opened online, so we would stick to the first one.

Macedonia: Stopanska Banka

In Macedonia, you will need to be in the place to open your bank account with Stopanska Banka, in multiple currencies MKD; EUR; USD; CHF; AUD; CAD; GBP; DKK; JPY; NOK, and SEK; but you don’t need to be a resident there and not many questions will be asked. You just need to be an adult and have your own identification with you to go through the process. Although they don’t seem to have a well-organized digital system yet, so as digital nomads we wouldn’t recommend yet opening an online account here, it is always good to have it as an option.

Montenegro: Erste Banka

Opening an account in Euros – or in other currencies such as Dollars, Francs, and Pounds with Erste Bank is simple and straightforward. You can do it by presenting just your ID at one of their branches in Montenegro or easily online from here. Just keep in mind that Montenegro and Serbia have a strict relationship with EU policies, so probably in the near future they will end up becoming a CRS country as well. Anyway, if you are interested in opening an account with some professionals in the Balkans you might find this website useful: balkanadvisor.com

Philippines: Metrobank

Metrobank is another legit option that doesn’t have a modern and appealing young design, like others, but it seems serious and functional. The only downside is that you cannot open your account online, so you will need to plan that travel to the Philippines ASAP if you want one!

If you want to go in deep into this topic, go read this article from the real expert: The Nomad Capitalist, as well as the Staatenlos website. True gems on the internet that will give you some general free information and paid personalized services.

Other useful financial apps

We cannot end this article without mentioning the following super-useful financial apps that made our lives easier in timeless situations.

Western Union

You can use Western Union to send money abroad to your family or friends’ accounts at very good exchange rates. Or to just send yourself money at any Western Union point when you are traveling in places where the official exchange rate doesn’t make sense. You just need to download their app (not available in certain countries) or you can just use the website to make a transfer from your account. Simple, fast, and sometimes really a lifesaver.

The only bad side is there is a fee to pay each time you do a transaction. When it comes to bank transfers is an established one, but when is cash pickup it’s a %. But still, it could be convenient, so do your math!

PayPal

PayPal needs no presentation, I guess everyone knows the most important digital wallet worldwide.

It is a very useful free service to have, to make and receive payments. As always, the downside is guess what… fees!

We hope you found this article useful, and if you have any other questions, or you want to add something that we missed, please leave a comment below! 👇🏼