What are the best banks for digital nomads?
If you are anything like me, you value convenience and hate paying huge fees.
But that’s the exact problem we face with most traditional banks as digital nomads. They aren’t convenient and it seems like there is always another fee you have to pay them.
And if that’s not enough…
Most banks aren’t set up to handle things online and aren’t flexible. Part of the reason to become a digital nomad is to have more flexibility!
Ready for some good news? Your digital nomad banking life is about to get a whole lot easier (and convenient).
Here’s everything you need to know about the best banks for digital nomads and how to choose the right one for you.
The Digital Nomad Banking Problem
Banks have been around since 1800 bc.
And if we are honest, It sometimes feels like they haven’t changed all that much.
The problem today for digital nomads is that banks are primarily designed for people who live in one location. They have the same street address and have the same bills to pay each month.
The best banks for digital nomads need to be flexible and handle lots of tasks. Your average traditional bank just isn’t going to cut it.
And that’s just the beginning…
As soon as you start moving or spending money around the world, the bank is there to get their fee. They charge a fee to:
- Exchange the currency
- Make the international transaction
- Withdraw money from an ATM
And don’t forget the foreign exchange commission they whack on top of that.
For people on the move all the time, traditional banks are hard to work with and can end up costing you a fortune in fees. That’s why we need good banks for digital nomads.
What Makes The Best Banks For Digital Nomads?
When choosing a digital nomad bank you need to think about your lifestyle.
Simply – What bank is going to make your life easiest?
Every digital nomad bank should be:
- Easy to sign up with
- Have no international transaction fees
- Handle everything online
- Customer service
Here’s what I mean.
Easy to sign up with
Digital nomad banks need to be easy to sign up with. You don’t want to be dealing with tons of paperwork, and you certainly don’t want to have to visit a branch physically.
Digital nomad banks allow you securely sign up online and it often takes less than 10 minutes!
Have No International Transaction Fees
I hate international transaction fees.
Every time I have to pay one – it makes my blood boil. In today’s world you shouldn’t have to pay a 3-5% fee when buying a coffee in a foreign country.
The truth is that even neobanks have fees. But they don’t charge a dedicated transaction fee. They only charge a small amount (usually less than 0.5%) to exchange one currency into another currency.
As a digital nomad, you will be making lots of small transactions in foreign countries every day. You don’t want to pay fees on each of those transactions.
Handle Everything Online
I applied to open a checking account with a well-known bank in Australia last October.
At the time we were in Athens, Greece. I applied online using their online application form and everything went smooth.
2 days later I got a response from their team saying they needed to verify my identity. To do that I either had to go into one of their branches or get it done at a local post office.
What happened when I told them I was overseas?
They simply told me I would have to wait until I was back. Compare that with Revolut or Wise where I opened both accounts online in less than 5 minutes without ever talking to anyone.
Even identity verification was done quickly online.
Your digital nomad bank needs to have the technology to handle anything online.
24/7 Customer Service
This can’t be ignored.
When travelling full-time as a digital nomad, things go wrong from time to time. You could say it comes with the digital nomad lifestyle.
The best banks for digital nomads provide live chat and call support 24 hours a day.
Your digital nomad bank should offer reliable customer support whenever you need it.
This is the benefit of digital banking.
Banks For Digital Nomads vs Traditional Banks
I am not against traditional banks completely.
It’s still important that you have at least one bank account with a sizeable traditional banking organization. I have even recommended a few traditional banks for digital nomads below.
But I don’t think you should use a traditional bank for everyday transactions – especially when you are not in your home country.
The best banks for digital nomads are neobanks.
Neobanks are actually financial technology companies, so they aren’t really banks at all. They operate exclusively online and make it easier to do your everyday banking.
Because they don’t have huge overheads, they offer cheaper (or zero) fees and generally specialize in some particular area of finance. This is what makes them so good for digital nomads.
They are low hassle, more transparent with customers and provide services your traditional just can’t (or won’t).
What Are The Best Banks For Digital Nomads?
There are lots of banks for digital nomads out there. But you only want to use the best ones.
The best banks for digital nomads are:
Here’s what you need to know about each of them.
Revolut is the definition of digital banking from an app.
It’s also my favourite bank for digital nomads.
Revolut makes it easy to add money to your account and spend money in over 140 currencies at the real international exchange rate. You can hold and make direct deposits in over 25+ currencies.
Revolut even allows you to follow the trend line of a currency so you know when its a good time to exchange.
The app is really good and you can easily manage your entire account from your phone. The user interface feels a little complicated at the beginning but once you get used to it you realize how good it is.
One thing I love about Revolut is the savings vaults.
Vaults are like individual accounts that you can save money in. It makes it easy to save and manage your money. You can even add round-ups into your vaults to save money on auto-pilot.
Revolut also has excellent security. You have 5 different security options on your cards including location security which is an awesome feature for digital nomads.
If you keep a digital nomad budget, Revolut has budgeting and analytics built into the apps so you can easily track your spending month to month.
Revolut has 3 plans:
- Revolut Standard – Free
- Revolut Premium – $9.99/month
- Revolut Metal – $16.99/month
The paid plans offer more perks including discounted lounge access, cashback, priority customer support and travel insurance.
I personally have the metal plan and recommend it if you use the card for your everyday purchases. The cashback alone can easily cover the monthly fee.
- Foreign exchange rate at the real rate
- Hold money in 30+ different currencies in the same account
- Free virtual debit cards and crypto trading
- Includes good travel insurance in most countries
- Complete control over account security
- Good variety of paid account plans
- Support takes a long time unless you have paid plans
Revolut is available in Australia, EEA, Canadian, Singapore, Japan and the United States.
Revolut is rolling out its business bank accounts. They offer similar benefits to their personal accounts and are available to EU and US customers.
Want to learn more about Revolut? Check out my complete Revolut review. It covers everything you need to know. Signup for Revolut now and get a free $10 welcome bonus when you make your first transaction!
2. Wise (Formerly TransferWise)
Wise is one of the most popular and best banks for digital nomads.
It was one of the first to break the international market and make strategic deals with big traditional banks to operate in almost any country.
Wise has over 11 million users and handles more than $8.2 billion in international transactions every single month. They are considered one of the most reliable banks for digital nomads.
All transactions are offered at the real international exchange rate and Wise has some of the lowest currency conversion fees available.
Because their user base has grown so quickly, they are considered a big competitor to PayPal – and I agree!
Use the Wise card in more than 170 countries and withdraw money from 2.3 million ATMs worldwide. Wise offers free cash withdrawals up to $250 USD per month. The card is Apple pay and Google pay compatible.
You can also hold money in 50+ currencies and even schedule exchanges when currencies drop to a certain level.
Want a local bank account?
Wise gives you the option to have a local bank account in 10 countries/regions, including the US, Europe, UK, Australia and Singapore. This means you can receive direct payment in any of those currencies.
It really is an international bank designed for full-time travelers.
Wise is entirely free to open an account and they don’t offer any paid premium accounts.
- Hold money in 56 different currencies in one account
- Get local bank account details for 10 different currencies including US, Europe, UK, Australia and Singapore
- Fast direct deposits to most countries in the world
- Track international transfer every step of the way
- Easily request money from other people and receive it in a local currency
- When you hit a specific transfer limit Wise will require more documentation
- Support can be slower at times and they don’t offer live chat
Wise is available in 170 countries but debit cards are limited to the US, Europe, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Singapore.
Wise also offers borderless business accounts which I recommend using to run your business. We have a couple and they are great!
Interested in learning more about Wise? Check out our complete Wise Review.
N26 is one of the most popular banks for digital nomads in Europe.
It is a German-based fintech company offering excellent services for full-time travelers and digital nomads that make many everyday transactions in foreign countries. N26 biggest competitor is Revolut.
You can open an account in less than 8 minutes and manage your money directly from their app.
N26 allows you to deposit up to €50,000 into your account with zero deposit fees.
With N26 you can create “spaces” that operate similarly to the vaults in Revolut. One of the things that make N26 great is its simplicity. It’s easy to spend money, transfer to different accounts and navigate the app in general.
Traveling to countries where you need physical cash?
N26 doesn’t offer free withdrawals at ATMs worldwide unless you have their Your or Metal account. You will have to pay 1.7% every time, which quickly adds up.
Security and support is something N26 does really well.
They offer 24/7 live chat support within the app. Premium account holders also get access to 24/7 phone support. N26 operates with a full European banking license and German IBAN so your money is protected up to €100,000.
N26 offers 4 different accounts:
- Standard – Free
- Smart – €4.90/month
- You – €9.90/month
- Metal – €16.90/month
The You and Metal plans are no brainers if you plan to use N26 as your primary checking account. They offer a ton more benefits including excellent travel insurance and unlimited free ATM withdrawals in any country.
- The foreign exchange rate is at the real rate
- Easy to use app to manage your entire account
- No international exchange fees
- Apple, Google Pay and Wise integration
- Free plan or a good variety of paid plans for premium users
- Can hold only one currency which is Euros
- Support is great but can be very slow
N26 is now only available to European citizens and residents. As of 18th of January 2022, they have pulled out of the United States.
N26 has great business bank accounts which offer flexibility. They are available to EU customers and are well worth it to help manage your money better.
Chime is worth considering as one of your digital nomad banks if you are from the US.
They have over 11 million users and they grew by more than 3.5 million users last year.
They aren’t like the other digital nomad banks on this list. Chime doesn’t offer multiple accounts in multiple currencies and isn’t designed specifically for travellers.
Why are they on the list then?
They offer a lot of other benefits. The signup process is easy and your account should be activated within minutes. Chime is completely digital so you don’t need to worry about physical paperwork.
They also offer great support and charge no fees for any of their accounts.
You can use your Chime card while overseas and you won’t pay any international transactions fees. Chime also comes with a savings account which will get you 0.50% Annual Percentage Yield (APY).
While this isn’t amazing, it’s something most other digital nomad banks don’t offer.
But where Chime really shines is their Credit Builder account. Credit Builder is like a debit card that acts as a credit card. You can transfer the money onto your credit card and you can spend as much as you transferred.
Each transaction is then recorded like a credit transaction. How does this help?
If you are looking for a way to build your credit score or even get a credit score, Chime’s Credit Builder is a great way to do it. You can use it for your everyday purchases and you don’t get hit with international transaction fees.
It’s a safe and easy way to increase your credit score if you can’t apply for a good digital nomad credit card yet.
- Great lineup of free account options
- Competitive savings APY for US banks
- Cool automated savings tool
- Receive direct deposits up to two days early
- Credit builder account is a fantastic way to increase your credit score
- Only hold money in USD
- Stricter spending limits on withdrawals and purchases than most banks
Chime is only available in the US at this time. If you want to join, use Ashley’s referral link (chime.com/r/ashleyelliott94) which will get you $100 when you sign up. Let us know if you have any questions and DM me on Insta.
Monzo is one of the UK’s best banks for digital nomads and travelers.
They have a great app that is easy to use and you can control your entire financial life from it. It’s hassle-free to sign up and super easy to add money to your account.
Monzo allows you to create your own “pots” which are similar to Revolut vaults or N26 spaces. You can automatically round up spare change to go into a pot every time you make a transaction.
Like tracking your expenses?
Monzo automatically categorizes each of your transactions so you can see where you spend all of your money at the end of the month. If you are savings-focused, you can open a saving pot and earn up to 1.63% AER, which is quite a good rate for digital banks.
The Monzo Mastercard doesn’t charge any international transaction fees when spending abroad.
Monzo has a few other cool extra features over the digital nomad banks on the list….
You can add and view actual receipts in the app via Flux – not just your statements. Monzo then allows you to break down the receipt item-by-item.
Why is this so cool?
For you budgeting nerds, you can track the amount you spend on each item per month, not just spending categories. And if you split a bill with a friend you can move individual items into tabs and keep track of who owes you what.
Simply send your friends a notification of what they owe and include the receipt as well. Your friend just needs to hit one button on their Monzo app and the money is transferred instantly to your account.
I think this is a really awesome feature that uses the power of digital banks.
But there are a couple of downsides to Monzo worth pointing out. The biggest is that each foreign transaction goes off the Mastercard exchange rate.
This means you’re not getting the exact real exchange rate like other digital nomad banks offer and you’ll pay a little bit more per transaction.
Monzo offers a limited amount of free cash withdrawals overseas and charges 3% after that. You can’t pay for a more premium plan like you can with other digital banks to get more (or unlimited) ATM withdrawals.
ATM withdrawals are free and unlimited within the EU, so it’s not a huge deal if you’re predominantly in Europe.
- Great lineup of free account options
- Cool features for budgeting and splitting payments
- Competitive savings and interest rates
- Pots are a great feature to save more
- Only hold money in GBP
- £1 fee when depositing with PayPoint
- ATM withdrawals fees are expensive after the free amount
- No premium accounts to upgrade to
You can also only deposit and hold money in GBP. Monzo is only available in the UK and only offers free account plans.
For digital nomads from Europe, Monese is an up and coming band worth checking out.
They haven’t been around as long as N26 or Revolut but offer unique features that make it a real competitor.
You can add GPB, EUR or RON to your Monese account and spend overseas at the real exchange rate.
One drawback is that they charge up to 2% transaction fees on the starter and essential plan. That’s a lot.
Adding money to Monese is also only free up to a certain amount if you don’t have the paid plans. This sucks if you spend more than the free top-up amount each month.
Monese allows you to direct deposit money in 19 different currencies which isn’t as much as other banks but is probably enough for most people.
One cool thing about Monese is you don’t need a physical EU or UK address to open an account. You need to “live” in the EU or UK but don’t need an address to sign up.
It’s super easy to add money to your account for free and depending on how you choose to add money it’s often instant.
Do you use PayPal?
You can integrate PayPal directly with Monese. That means you can spend money directly from your PayPal account using your Monese card. It’s a cool feature if you often receive or send money in PayPal.
Monese has 4 account plans:
- Starter – Free
- Essential – £1.95 /month
- Classic – £5.95 /month
- Premium – £14.95 /month
The premium plans give you higher free ATM withdrawal limits, low transaction fees, priority support and better insurance.
- Enjoy a UK bank account without proof of residence or credit history
- Set up joint accounts for you and a partner
- Great integration with PayPal
- Classic and premium plans offer good benefits
- Monthly limits on ATM withdrawals, top-ups and spending
- Pretty bad customer support (not efficient or fast)
- Expensive international fees if you don’t have a paid account
Monese could be worth it but only if you are going for the higher paid plans. The fees on the Starter and Essential plan are pretty bad. If you aren’t interested in paying for the classic or premium plan, it’s probably better to look at Wise or Revolut.
Monese is available to 20 countries in Europe, including the UK.
7. Charles Schwab
Charles Schwab is an established bank that has been around for a long time.
They make the list of best banks for digital nomads because they are internationally friendly.
Their checking account doesn’t charge fees:
- No international transaction fees
- Unlimited ATM rebates
- No account service fees
They also don’t require a minimum to start open a bank account!
Charles Schwab is ideal for long-term travelers who want a traditional established bank and don’t want to pay fees.
Unfortunately it isn’t super easy to deposit money. You still need another bank account to transfer to your Charles Schwab account. Simply opening an account with any other digital nomad bank will solve this problem.
Charles Schwab internet banking is also really sensitive when you log in from overseas.
I recommend only using a good digital nomad VPN when accessing your accounts overseas. We use NordVPN because they are secure and offer good speeds.
If you are looking for a traditional bank to pair with a digital bank, Charles Schwab is a good option.
Charles Schwab Pros:
- No international transaction fees
- Unlimited ATM rebates
- No account service fees
- No minimum deposit is required to open an account
- Traditional banking services plus investment services
- Great customer service
Charles Schwab Cons:
- Need a good VPN to access account overseas
- Not super easy to deposit money and takes time
Charles Schwab is only available to US and Canadian citizens or residents at this time.
8. Capital One 360
Capital One 360 is a checking account from Capital One bank available to US citizens and residents.
And it’s an excellent option for a few reasons.
They charge no monthly account fees and you can open an account right now with no deposit. The signup process is super smooth and can take less than 5 minutes – that’s rare for an established “traditional’ bank.
If you are constantly traveling back to the US, you get a few perks like free ATM withdrawals in the US and the CapitalOne cafes. Capital One cardholders get 50% off drinks at selected cafes (this alone would get me on board).
Capital One’s banking app is also one of the best I’ve seen from a traditional bank in the US. It’s easy to use and you can manage most day to day things on it.
Capital One has a really good digital nomad credit card called the Capital One Venture X card. You get 2 points for every $1 you spend and there are no international transaction fees.
Considering this card in the future? Opening an account with them now is a great thing to do.
Capital One 360 Pros:
- No monthly account fees
- Fast and smooth signup process
- Cool perks while in the US
- Great app to manage your account easily
- Receive payments up to 2 days early
- No foreign exchange fees
Capital One 360 Cons:
- Exchange rate no at the real exchange rate
- Opt-in overdraft fees can be really high
Capital One 360 is only available in the US and is highly recommended if you want an established bank.
9. HSBC Global Money Account
Need a good traditional bank that’s digital nomad friendly?
HSBC is one of the most recognized international banks in the world. They also offer some great perks to digital nomad customers with their Global Money Account.
First of all HSBC Is the definition of an international bank.
They have tons of locations in many major cities across Asia, Latin America, North America, Europe and more. They are known for having great customer service both online and physically in their branch locations.
Because HSBC has such a big global presence you can manually avoid ATM fees using their network of ATMs worldwide. This is a big bonus!
HSBC also allows you to exchange and hold money in 8 currencies including USD, EUR, CAD, GBP and AUD.
The thing you will need to watch is the fees. They have different fees depending where you sign up from. HSBC won’t charge fees on international transfers but they do charge fees when making transactions on your card. The international exchange rate isn’t the real rate, but it’s pretty good!
HSBC has a great app that makes it easy to manage your money overseas. Getting an HSBC account to go with a digital bank will give you the most benefits.
HSBC Global Money Account Pros:
- Large international bank
- Excellent customer support
- Lots of different accounts are available
- Complete network of ATMs worldwide
HSBC Global Money Account Cons:
- Fees can be high for international transactions
- Does charge monthly account fees on some accounts
HSBC is available in lots of different countries worldwide.
PayPal: For When You Have Too
I’m not a huge fan of PayPal because they also charge huge fees.
But the one thing I will say about them is they are reliable and safe. That’s why so many people use PayPal around the world.
You can change and send money all over the world instantly. Sometimes that’s worth paying for.
I have a personal and business PayPal account, and I use them ONLY when I have no other option.
Honourable Mentions For Digital Nomad Banks
Below are some banks that don’t make the core “recommended” best banks for digital nomads list but are worth mentioning.
- Payoneer – A good option for digital nomads to receive payments from clients in different currencies. They are more of a direct competitor to PayPal but do have a physical card you can get.
- Starling – New digital bank only available in the UK. It is very similar to Monzo but not quite as good yet. One benefit is you can open a savings account and earn up to 1.63% AER.
- STACK – Up and coming digital bank only available in Canada. No monthly fees, free ATM withdrawals and no international transfer fees. You can only add CAD to the card and then spend in any currency worldwide.
Summing this section up, I would stick to the list of best banks for digital nomads unless you are from the UK or Canada. Then it might be worth checking out these newer country-specific banks.
Best Banks For Digital Nomads Comparison
I get it:
There is a ton of information above so how do you make the right choice?
Here’s a table to help you compare the best digital nomad bank for you. All of the details are for each digital nomad bank’s free plan:
|Digital Nomad Bank||Eligible Countries||Account Plans||Foreign Exchange Fees||ATM Withdrawal Fees||Local Foreign Account Details||Savings Account Interest Rates|
|Revolut||European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, Singapore, Switzerland, Japan, UK, and US.||- Standard: Free|
- Premium: $9.99/month
- Metal: $16.99/month
|None up to $1000 per month.||Free withdrawals up to $1200 per month.||Your home currency only. Revolut has 10 planned for the future.||Earn 0.05% APY (Annual percentage yield) on your savings.|
|Wise||Available to 56+ countries. Debit cards are limited to US, Europe, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Japan & Singapore.||Free plan only.||None.||2 free withdrawals up to $250 total per month.||10 local currency account details including GBP, USD, EUR, SGD, AUD & CAD.||None.|
|N26||Europe.||- Standard: Free|
- Smart: €4.90/month
- You: €9.90/month
- Metal: €16.90/month
|None.||1.7% on all withdrawals.||Euro only.||Earn up to 1.15% APY (Annual percentage yield) in savings account.|
|Chime||United States.||Free Plan Only.||None.||Free within the US at selected ATMs. $2.50 per withdrawal overseas.||USD only.||Earn up to 0.50% APY in a savings account.|
|Monzo||United Kingdom.||Free Plan Only.||None.||Unlimited free withdrawals in most EU countries. Free up $250 per month outside of EU.||GBP only.||1.63% on money in a savings pot.|
|Monese||Europe.||- Starter: Free|
- Essential: £1.95 /month
- Classic: £5.95 /month
- Premium: £14.95 /month
|2.5% on weekdays & 3.5% on weekends.||Free £200 per month. 2% after that.||GBP and Euro.||2.20% of money in a savings account.|
|Charles Schwab||United States & Canada (checking and savings accounts).||Free Plan Only.||None.||None||USD only.||0.05% of money in a savings account.|
|Capital One 360||United States.||Free Plan Only.||None.||None||USD only.||0.40% on money in a 360 savings account.|
|HSBC Global Money Account||Worldwide.||Depends On Location.||2% - 3%.||Free at most HSBC ATMs but it may change per country.||Local currency only.||0.01% on money in savings. Interest can be higher with more money.|
Important Details For The Comparison
For Revolut and Monese you can get no foreign exchange fees when you sign up for their premium paid plans. N26 offers free unlimited ATM withdrawals on the You and Metal plans.
Please note that plan perks differ depending on which country you sign up in.
Our Digital Nomad Banking Strategy
I don’t recommend that you go and open up an account with every one of the banks.
It’s just not necessary. Choose 2-3 that will make your life most manageable and go sign up with them.
These are the banks that Ashley and I use for both our personal and business accounts.
For personal digital banks we use:
Wise is primarily for receiving and sending large sums of money internationally. We use both Revolut and Chime on a daily basis.
At this point we use a bank in Australia as our main traditional bank. This bank holds our savings because they offer far better interest rates.
Business banking can be annoying.
Lots of banks think that they can ramp up the service and transaction fees because it’s a business account. As you no know, I hate paying fees.
For business we use Wise as our digital business bank account. This means we save a ton of money on international transactions such as paying for software charged in a foreign currency.
We also use one of the bigger traditional banks as our main business account in Australia. This holds most of the money we keep in the business. We transfer it from this account to the Wise business account whenever we need to pay something internationally.
Wrapping It Up
So there you have it.
The best banks for digital nomads.
As you can see there are quite a few to choose from and they make your life easier. The good news is that banks in general are starting to realize that allowing easy international banking is important.
I expect to see even more innovation in the near future which will make digital nomad banking even easier – And of course less fees!
Which digital nomad banks do I recommend the most?
Revolut and Wise are the best banks for digital nomads.
I have accounts with both of them and between them pay very few international fees. For EU citizens or residents N26 is also a very good option. They have excellent perks on their premium accounts such as the insurance.
Did I miss one of your recommended best banks for digital nomads?
Let me know in the comments so I can check it out.