- Opening a bank account when you move to a new country is a necessary prerequisite to managing your funds, sending international transfers and exchanging currencies.
- Many banks in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada open accounts to foreigners and offer special programs or benefits to help immigrants settle in.
- Some banks may impose certain minimum balance, deposit, or income requirements for account eligibility.
Opening a bank account is one of the first tasks you’ll need to do to settle into a new country. Many banks don’t restrict accounts to residents, and some even offer accounts that come with benefits for foreigners, such as introductory bonuses, low ATM fees and reduced opening deposit requirements.
Read more to learn which bank accounts are best for foreigners in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada.
HSBC Premier Checking
As an international bank, HSBC can help foreigners manage their finances in the United States and other countries. For a $50 monthly maintenance fee, the HSBC Premier Checking account has no fees on everyday banking transactions. You can also take your account global with the ability to access HSBC ATMs around the world, transfer funds globally and receive priority service and support from HSBC locations.
To become an HSBC Premier client in the States, you’ll need to satisfy the following conditions:
- Have at least $75,000 in deposits and/or investments.
- Have at least $5,000 in total direct deposits per month.
- Maintain a U.S. residential mortgage loan with an original loan amount of at least $500,000.1
Citibank is a global bank that provides financial services to foreigners in the United States and other countries.
The Citigold International Account Package lets you access perks such as personalized financial advice, extensive products and services and fee waivers and reimbursements for eligible accounts that average a monthly balance of $200,000 USD or more.
If you maintain a monthly balance of $500,000 or more between all your linked accounts, you’ll unlock benefits such as higher daily limits on:
- Withdrawals through ATM and point-of-sale purchases;
- Pin based transactions, and;
- Signature purchase transactions.2
Bank of America Advantage Banking
Bank of America is one of the world’s top-ranked international banks. The Advantage Banking checking account has three settings to suit various lifestyles, each of which provides benefits including fraud protection, debit card control, mobile deposits and access to thousands of financial centers and ATMs.
The SafeBalance account is a great option for individuals with low balances and comes with no monthly fee for eligible clients. The Advantage Plus account provides overdraft protection and paper check options and waives monthly fees if you maintain a $1,500 balance or have at least one qualifying deposit of $250 or more. The Advantage Relationship option offers perks for higher balances, such as no fees on select services and earned interest on held balances.3
Chase Bank Total Checking
Chase Bank is an international financial services firm and one of the largest banks in the United States. Clients with a Chase Total Checking account get convenient access to 4,700 branches, 16,000 ATMs and online and mobile banking services.
The standard monthly fee is $12, but Chase will waive it if you meet any of the following conditions during a monthly statement period:
- Received electronic deposits totaling $500 or more.
- Maintained a balance of $1,500 or more.
- Average a beginning day balance of $5,000 or more in combination with your checking account and any other linked accounts.4
Lloyds International Current Account
Lloyds Bank has been serving clients since 1765, and its International Current Account gives account holders access to an account in their choice of three currencies, including sterling, euros, and U.S. dollars. Lloyds also doesn’t charge fees for sending or receiving money transfers, and clients can access their money any time from around the world with online banking and Visa debit cards.
There’s no monthly fee for the first three months after you open the account. After that, the fee is £7.50, €8, or $10 USD, depending on which currency your account is in. To be eligible for this account, you need a gross annual income of $61,133 or have $30,566 in available savings.5
Barclays Bank International Bank Account
Barclays Bank International Bank Account provides foreigners with services for daily money management, such as receiving payments, paying bills, making overseas transactions, or transferring funds. Clients can open an account in any of three major currencies — USDs, sterling, and euros — and access their account and money worldwide at any time via online banking or at one of Barclays’ global ATMs.
To qualify for an account, your home residence must be included in one of the qualifying countries that Barclays serves. You must also have a minimum of $122,267 or currency equivalent in savings and investments across all your linked accounts.6
HSBC Global Money Account
The HSBC Global Money Account is intended for individuals who regularly travel internationally and bank in multiple currencies. You can make online transactions through the HSBC mobile banking app on your smartphone with two-factor authentication for extra security. Many currencies are eligible under this account, including euros, Canadian dollars, U.S. dollars, and sterling.
There are no fees for the account and transfers made through the account. Based on your customer relationship status with HSBC, you’ll get a preferential exchange rate when making international transfers. To get a Global Money Account, you must have an eligible HSBC deposit account and reside in one of several eligible countries, including the United States, Argentina, Chile, or Switzerland.7
NatWest International Select
For a monthly account fee of about $10, the NatWest International Select account provides foreigners with the essentials to manage their international banking needs.
Clients can manage their accounts and view multiple currencies from within the NatWest online banking app, instantly transfer up to $122,267 per day and lock and unlock debit cards for added security and control. This account can also be set up in conjunction with a Cash Management account, which helps clients grow their savings while keeping money easily accessible.
To qualify for an International Select account, clients must meet the following conditions:
- Be aged 18 or older.
- Be a resident in an eligible country.
- Open the account with a minimum $30,566 deposit or have a $48,906 salary.8
CIBC Welcome to Canada Banking Package
CIBC is welcoming to newcomers and has over 1,100 locations across Canada. With the CIBC Smart Account for Newcomers, you’ll receive approximately $300 when you sign up, pay no monthly fee for two years and enjoy unlimited transactions. The monthly fee is $16.95 after two years, but CIBC can waive it if you maintain a daily balance of $3,116.
This account also allows you to transfer funds to over 120 countries, including the United States, China, and India, with no transfer fees. It also sets you up to open a credit card account to start building credit history in Canada.9
Scotiabank StartRight Program
Scotiabank has a range of products and services for newcomers, international students, and other foreigners. If you apply ahead of traveling or moving, the Scotiabank International Account and StartRight Program allows you to transfer money and show proof of funds as well as set up a checking account quickly once you’ve arrived.
The program provides other benefits, such as:
- No monthly account fees on the Preferred Package checking account;
- Unlimited no-fee international money transfers;
- Free small safety deposit box for one year;
- Specialized mortgage options
- Credit cards designed for newcomers, and;
- Access to over 2,700 branches worldwide and 3,600 ATMs in Canada.10
RBC Newcomer Advantage
RBC is one of Canada’s largest banks and offers the RBC Newcomer Advantage account to help foreigners get a strong start in Canada. This account provides benefits such as no monthly fee banking, unlimited debit transactions, two free international money transfers per month and no fee to use any bank’s ATMs in Canada. You can do all your banking online through the RBC mobile app or from its large branch and ATM network in Canada.11
BMO NewStart Program
The BMO NewStart Program provides a range of products and services that make opening a bank account in Canada easy.12 A Performance checking account is one of the best options for newcomers, providing benefits such as:
- Unlimited BMO global money transfers for one year with no fees;13
- No monthly fee for one year;
- Opening cash bonus;
- Savings interest rate of 3.5 percent;
- Additional Canadian or U.S. dollar savings accounts at no cost, and;
- Unlimited domestic e-transfers and transactions.
This program is open to permanent residents and foreign workers who have arrived in Canada within the last five years.14