The single greatest deterrent for people looking to work remotely is not knowing the best banks for digital nomads. Most hurdles remote workers need to overcome involve: interest, currency exchange rates, and withdrawal fees. The fact of the matter is that many global banks have unreasonable charges for international withdrawals and offer little to no benefits for digital nomads.
Moreover, due to the variables which affect digital nomads, having a digital nomad finance plan can make a significant difference. As a result, the process of selecting the right banking option becomes that much more important.
To help ease the selection process, we have compiled our list of the six best banks for freelancers, remote workers, and digital nomads. But first, you have to be familiar with the criteria behind our list.
Remote work is often unpredictable, but the craftiest of digital nomads will use three crucial variables to their advantage. These are the things you need to consider to save money as a digital nomad:
Your citizenship will affect more than just your remote work finance. To put it simply, remote workers should always check the eligibility criteria for their chosen bank. They should also consider annual fees and withdrawal fees because they can chip away at your earnings. The last parameter – interest, ties in with savings. As savings accounts are most affected by interest rates, digital nomads should be aware of their bank of choice’s regulations regarding interest.
Now that you know the criteria behind both the most successful digital nomads and our list, you are ready to decide on a bank. The six best banks for digital nomads are N26, Charles Schwab, STACK, Revolt, PayPal, and Payoneer.
N26 – A European Nomad’s Best Bet
The German-based bank should be the first choice for European digital nomads. While it is considered to be one of the best banks for freelancers from Europe, most Americans would want to consider a different option because the bank’s policies are tailored to Europeans.
The bank offers exclusively online services, which makes it easy for digital nomads to keep track of their remote work finance. As long as the nomad’s residential address has been approved by N26, the bank’s services become almost immediately available.
N26 offers 24/7 customer support, zero foreign transaction fees, and virtually no annual fees. You can also keep track of your digital nomad finance plan through your expenses and spending habits. In addition, as long as you keep your balance under € 50,000, you are eligible for fee-free deposits.
Keep in mind that withdrawal fees for non-Europeans are significantly higher and, therefore, make the bank a less favorable option for some.
Charles Schwab – America’s Number One
The number of digital nomads originating from the United States has increased significantly. According to Project Untethered’s statistics on digital nomads, the number of nomads from the States went from 4.8 million (2018) to 15.5 million (2021) over the last three years. That is all the more reason for remote workers to know their best banking bet – Charles Schwab.
Schwab offers many benefits over other banks aiming to accommodate remote workers. For example, their debit cards work at the majority of ATMs around the globe. On top of that, at the end of each month, Schwab provides you with a complete refund on fees racked up from ATMs compatible with Schwab cards.
Even more enticing is that Schwab offers free travel insurance and emergency assistance. Travel insurance is unnecessary for digital nomads, but most opt for it as a safety precaution. The only downside to Schwab is that their services are exclusively for American citizens and direct cash deposits are not an option.
STACK – Canadian Exclusivity
STACK does not fit the definition of the term bank, as it is more of a reloadable debit card. Nevertheless, this reloadable debit card offers a lot of noteworthy services.
The best way to save money is a digital nomad is to avoid unnecessary fees. This ties in with the fact that STACK offers no foreign transaction fees and no ATM fees when you use a compatible machine. Besides, STACK users who are not concerned with additional fees can withdraw money from any ATMs worldwide. Other stack users can also transfer money to you free of charge and vice versa.
The reason why STACK is considered exclusively Canadian is that you can only deposit Canadian currency on the card. That, and the fact that you cannot deposit money without visiting a Canadian post office or bank.
Revolt – The High Earner’s Choice
The main reason why Revolt is the best when it comes to high earners is the Annual Percentage Yield. Most banks aimed towards digital nomads offer little to no APY. In contrast, Revolt’s APY is around 0.07%, which is a lot more than most banks offer.
Revolt, however, offers more than just a worthwhile APY. First of all, there is no limit on their in-network withdrawals. Additionally, their in-network withdrawals are free. Second of all, anyone using Revolt’s banking services can also hold and transfer money in over 30 currencies. Lastly, the only downside to Revolt is that some of their perks are locked behind upgrade plans and monthly fees. Regardless, the benefits are worth the small fees ($9.99 – $16.99 per month).
PayPal – Stability and Trust
Few banking options for digital nomads have withstood the test of time. PayPal, luckily, is one of those few. If you are looking for the best online checking account, PayPal might not be for you. If, however, you are looking for a trustworthy banking option – you have found the right one.
PayPal boasts a diverse array of users and over 20 accepted currencies. It is also considered one of the best banks for freelancers because there are no annual fees to keep your account open. You can also open a personal and business account.
Most digital nomad finance tips are based on the idea of avoiding unnecessary fees. Even though PayPal has been criticized for its surprisingly high fees and the 30% increase in transaction fees (now 3.49% + 49 cents), they are a low price to pay for stability and trust.
Payoneer – In Favor of Inclusivity
Payoneer has been gaining popularity because of one reason alone – inclusivity. Most of the previously mentioned banking options are not available to people from many parts of the world. Payoneer is one of the few exceptions.
Its appeal is based on availability, as it allows transactions to more than 150 countries. This allows for easy payments in various currencies, which aid nomad-owned businesses. Payoneer is solidifying its position through inclusive currency exchanges and fee-free VAT payments.
Although it is the last option for some, it may well be their best option. The only crucial problems include inactivity fees and high non-Payoneer transactions – the former of which is avoidable and the latter is not.
What’s the Best Bank for Digital Nomads?
When making your choice, remember that the three initial criteria should be your citizenship, your willingness to put up with fees, and potential interest. Decide on which of these criteria you are willing to compromise.
Some of the banks, like N26 and Schwab, can offer significant benefits to people of a given nationality. Some are even downright unavailable to most. You will also need to consider whether stability or security are high or low on your list of priorities. Certain banks, like PayPal, offer more stability in exchange for higher fees.
And even if face issues like exclusivity, you can always find a way around them. Payoneer, for example, is one such alternative. All that is left is for you to take charge of your digital nomad finance plan.