Maintaining Your Foreign Bank Account From Overseas

Setting up a foreign bank account is beneficial for individuals who travel often and need access to their money.  Managing and maintaining a foreign bank account overseas may be easy to do, depending on the type of bank you are doing business.  As more and more institutions provide online services and a way to access cash through worldwide networks of automatic teller machines (ATMs), the process for managing your account is simpler.

Here are a few steps that may help you better manager your foreign bank account and have the control you need.  Depending on the country you are in, these steps should make your life easier and make you feel more comfortable with having your money in an overseas account.

Step 1: Set up a Foreign Bank Account

If you travel extensively, the first step you need to take is to set up a foreign bank account.  You should choose a bank in or near the area in which you will be working or traveling in order to have local access to your funds.  Your employer may be able to help you locate information about good banks to establish a relationship.  In many cases, the employer may automatically establish a banking relationship for you because it's their banking choice. The bank should be reputable and safe.  Obtain whatever information you can with regard to the bank’s financing, regulatory history and banking philosophy.

Step 2: Establish Online Access
The easiest way to stay on top of your foreign bank account information is to establish an online account.  You should be able to access your information in real time via the web, handheld device or any other electronic device. Having electronic access will make it easier to check your account balance, request banking services and receive statements.  Having online access will also make it easier to track your account in situations where you may need to travel between foreign countries.

Step 3: Create a Local Contact
Establish a local contact at the foreign bank at your local branch.  This individual should be bilingual and have experience working with foreign residents. This representative will be helpful, should problems or concerns with your account ever arise.  This person can act as your initial point of contact for problem resolution or help navigate through processes necessary to solve your issues.
Having a foreign bank account does not mean that you have to give up the comforts and expectations you have when maintaining a U.S. account.  These steps should provide you with a way to maintain control of your assets and give you a way to know what is happening with your account on a consistent basis. Keep in mind that foreign banks may run a little differently. For example, some may close for two hours in the middle of the day.  Asks as many questions as you can upfront to gain a better understanding of the bank itself.

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