10 Best Banks for Digital Nomads Who Love Convenience [2021]

world map with banks for digital nomads scattered all over it

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If you’re lucky enough to work remotely and travel the world full time, then you know that one of the most important decisions as a digital nomad is where to store all your hard-earned cash.

Turns out, most banks are not set up for “worldwide citizens” like us.

And if you choose the wrong one, you’ll quickly realize how much of a PITA it is.

The best banks for digital nomads are those that:

  • Can be opened quickly and easily from any device (including smartphones).
  • Don’t come with expensive withdrawal and transfer fees.
  • Don’t require your physical presence to fix problems.

In this guide, I’ll give you the top banks (and virtual banks) that check all these boxes.

Let’s dive in.

The Digital Nomad Banking Problem

Banking can cause a lot of issues for people who are constantly on the road. 

If you don’t have a set address, where do all your statements get sent? What about a replacement card? 

graphic illustrating digital nomad banking problems

The best banks for nomads need to be able to handle a lot of tasks. They also need to work with different currencies and not have an extortionate list of fees.

It seems like a lot to ask, doesn’t it?

But, banks like this do exist—and some even throw in bonus travel perks like comprehensive insurance when you open an account. 

How cool is that?

Best of all, there’s no need to scour through fine print when choosing where to park your money—we’ve done all the research for you!

So, sit back, relax, and get ready to discover the best international banks for digital nomads around the world.

What is the best bank for travelers?

The best banks for digital nomads and travelers are:

Ultimately, the best bank for you will depend on where you’re from. 

To jump straight to details on the best banks for your nationality, click the links below:

Here’s a handy table to help you quickly compare your options:

table comparing the best banks for digital nomads

Oftentimes the big, global banks have crappy exchange rates, high conversion fees, and hefty charges for international cash withdrawals.

Smaller, online branches like Revolut and online payment gateways like Wise (formerly Tranferwise) are almost always the better option for digital nomads.

This is because they charge zero (or very tiny) fees to receive payments. 

If you’re working abroad, one of the most important and frequent payments going into your account is your income. 

Many traditional banks like to dip their greedy fingers into these payments. Companies like Wise, on the other hand, let you keep your hard-earned money. 

In fact—no matter which country you’re from—if you will be sending or receiving money internationally, you’ll almost always save a big chunk of change by opening up a Wise account (it’s free!)  

Speaking of international money transfers, this detailed Remitly vs Xoom vs Wise comparison guide will help you determine the best method to send and receive money across borders.

But enough about transfers, let’s talk about banks!

North America: Best Banks for Digital Nomads

world map showing digital nomad banking in United States

If you are a U.S. citizen, you need a Charles Schwab Checking Account. Here’s why:

Charles Schwab

Minimum amount to open – None
Interest earnings – 0.05% on savings account
Eligible countries – Checking and savings accounts for U.S. citizens only
Customer service – 24/7 online chat, customer service number, email
Annual fees – None
Cash withdrawal fees – None. They also refund your ATM fees across the world!

One of the more competitive international banks, Charles Schwab is a popular option for U.S. citizens. It’s also a great option for investment and trade accounts.

The Good:

The main advantage of Charles Schwab is its lack of fees. Many of their banking options, including the incredibly popular ‘High Yield Investor Checking Account’, offer unlimited rebates on ATM fees, no services fees, and no foreign transaction fees. 

This is ideal for long-term travelers who want trouble-free transactions, no monthly fees, and no minimum requirements. 

The ATM fee reimbursements alone have saved me hundreds of dollars over the years.

The Bad:

The interest rate on their savings account is rather low (0.03% APY). It’s only available to US and Canadian residents—everyone else is out of luck.

It’s also tricky to deposit money directly into your account. Normally you’ll still need an account with a “normal” bank to transfer your money to Schwab (which you then can withdraw from any ATM worldwide).

Warning: If you’re a U.S. citizen trying to open an account from outside the country, your account might get flagged. Before applying, try using a VPN and setting your location to the U.S. If it doesn’t work, you may have to verify your identity by visiting a branch.

Alternatives for North Americans

Wise (formerly Transferwise)

Minimum amount to open – roughly $20, but this balance is added to your account
Interest earnings – None
Eligible countries – Hold and convert money in 56+ currencies. Debit cards available for citizens of the U.S., Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Japan
Customer service – Online chat 24/7; Phone during business hours
Annual fees – None
Cash withdrawal fees – Varies by country. Usually two free withdrawals/month (up to a certain limit).

Used primarily as a way to make quick and easy international money transfers, Wise is an up-and-coming virtual banking option for remote workers. 

It’s more similar to Paypal than an official bank like N26. Nevertheless, it’s still a top choice as you can receive money from all of its 65 eligible countries for a small transparent fee (a fraction of the cost of Paypal). This makes it ideal for freelancers. 

It also has the lowest fees when sending large sums of cash (over $1000). 

If that weren’t enough, they also offer a borderless account that allows you to hold up to 40 currencies at once. 

The downsides are:

  • You can’t order the physical card if you’re based outside of Europe
  • It doesn’t have  fancy savings or spending features – it’s mainly just for cheap transfers.

Payoneer

Minimum amount to open – None
Interest earnings – None
Eligible countries – Worldwide (withdraw in 150+ currencies)
Customer service – Customer service number and live chat.
Annual fees – $29.95
Cash withdrawal fees – $3.15

With support for over 200 countries and 150 currencies, Payoneer is another banking option that’s more of an international payment platform than a physical bank. 

You can directly withdraw cash with debit cards, and if you are based in the US, you can also make payments using an e-check. 

You can easily pay other Payoneer users and receive money from online stores such as Amazon, Fiverr,  Wish and Upwork at no extra cost. 

Some jobs, like teaching English with Palfish, actually require you to receive your payments through Payoneer.

Payoneer will send new users a new credit card which is delivered free of charge. They accept payments in more countries than Paypal, which is a definite plus. Receiving payments from pretty much anywhere around the globe is fee-free.

The downside is every transaction incurs a flat $3 fee. The other fees are also slightly higher than Paypal’s with a currency conversion charge of 2% to 2.75% depending on the country. 

They also have a rather restrictive monthly payment limit of $20,000, and you can only transfer money to other Payoneer accounts. 

Overall, it’s a great banking option for receiving payments as you can receive money for free from anywhere in the world and collect payments from stores too, which is ideal for digital nomads. 

Europe Banking Options for Travelers

World  map showing best bank for digital nomads in Europe

Europe has their own slew of banking options for remote workers and digital nomads—each with their own set of pros and cons.

N26

Minimum amount to open – None
Interest earnings – Up to 1.15% interest on their savings accounts
Eligible countries – EU and the U.S.
Customer service – Web app chat, email, phone
Annual fees – None
Cash withdrawal fees – No fees within EU countries, elsewhere it charges 1.7%

N26 is one of the most popular digital banking options across Europe, and they’ve recently  branched into the U.S. as well. 

The German-founded company is one of the best digital nomad banks because it’s incredibly user-friendly, can be completely managed through your smartphone, and can be used anywhere in the world that accepts Mastercard payments. 

The Good:

They offer different plans to suit everyone’s needs, as well as a completely metal card for their highest tier (which costs €16.90 per month). 

They also include a comprehensive travel insurance package (with relevant pandemic cover), mobile, sport, car, and phone insurance, personalized spending statistics, and the ability to easily round up your spare change and save the difference.

The Bad:

If you’re traveling to a Non-EU country that relies heavily on cash payments as opposed to using a card, its 1.7% ATM withdrawal fee can work out quite expensive.

Alternatives for Europeans

Starling

Minimum amount to open – None
Interest earnings – 0.05% AER variable on up to £85,000
Eligible countries – UK
Customer service – Available 24/7 via the in-app messaging service
Annual fees – None
Cash withdrawal fees – None, but the Mastercard exchange rate will apply

Starling Bank is one of the top banks for digital nomads based in the UK. 

The app-based bank offers a full current account that you can open within minutes via your phone. 

Features include immediate check-cashing of up to £500 via the app, instant notifications when money enters or leaves your account, and the ability to request or send payment to other Starling users with their ‘Split the Bill’ and ‘Settle Up’ features. 

Starling’s personal spending insights will give you a peek into how you’ve been handling your money, and you can even set personal spending or saving goals. 

If you think you may have misplaced your card, you can lock/unlock it via the app. 

You also earn a small amount of in-credit interest, which is rare with online banks.

Best of all, there are no fees for spending or cash withdrawals abroad, making it a top-pick debit card for travelers.

There are a few downsides, though. You’re limited to 6 withdrawals per day that cap out at £300.  As it’s an app-based bank, you can also only access it if you have internet. Lastly, you have to be a UK resident to open an account (but once the account is open, you can use your card in 190 countries around the globe). 

Monzo

Minimum amount to open – None
Interest earnings – None, although earn up to 1.63% AER when you open a Savings Pot
Eligible countries – the UK
Customer service – App messaging service, email, phone
Annual fees – None
Cash withdrawal fees – No spending fees. Unlimited fee-free ATM withdrawals in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway if you use Monzo as your main account. In other countries, withdrawals are fee-free for up to £200/30-day period.

Another of the UK’s best banks for travelers, the Monzo VS Starling debate is an ongoing one. 

Like Starling, Monzo gives you real-time notifications when you use your debit card, lets you easily split bills, and allows you to send and receive money from other Monzo users. You can also set budget limits, and get insights into your spending. 

And that’s not all. Monzo outshines Starling with a few cool extra features….

You can view actual receipts (instead of just statements) via the app and use Monzo to track item-by-item what you’ve bought. You can even use shared tabs to keep track of who owes you what. 

Monzo also lets you automatically set aside your spare change to gradually boost your savings over time, and even lock your savings pots to prevent you from secretly dipping in. 

Monzo has no fees for spending abroad, but goes off the Mastercard Exchange rate for currency transfers. This means you may get slightly less bang for your buck. 

They offer a limited amount of fee-free cash withdrawals overseas and, while it’s also an app-based bank with no physical branches, you can pay in cash anywhere with PayPoint for just a £1 fee.

Monese

Minimum amount to open – None
Interest earnings – 2.20% AER on their savings accounts
Eligible countries – 20 countries around Europe including the UK, Germany, and Spain
Customer service – Customer service number, email, and in-app chat
Annual fees – None
Cash withdrawal fees – The first €200 per month is free, then withdrawals have a 2% fee

Another of the top banks for nomads in Europe, Monese has a bunch of features that make it a worthy choice. 

The company is based in the UK, but you can open an account from all over the EU. 

Similar to N26, Monese offers a reliable solution to managing international payments and offers a range of different plans.

On their handy app, you can track and receive notifications about payment activity, check exchange rates, and use their range of budgeting tools to stay on track with your savings. 

Setting up an account is simple and can be done from your phone. You can also move money internationally in more than 19 different currencies.

However, a few downsides are card payments are limited to €2000. After that, there’s a 2% fee. Similar fees occur if you withdraw more than €200 monthly on their free plan. But, if you upgrade to their paid options, these limits decrease. 

Also, they aren’t officially a real bank as they don’t have a banking license. This means your money isn’t protected by the European Deposit Scheme. That said, with an easy-to-navigate mobile app, great customer service, and a seriously competitive savings interest rate, Monese is definitely worth considering. 

Oceania: Nomad-Friendly Banks

world map with a digital nomad bank in Australia

Citibank

Minimum amount to open – None
Interest earnings – 0.05% gross p.a./AER
Eligible countries – 20 countries worldwide including Australia, the U.S., and the UK
Customer service – Customer service number, email, and in-app chat
Annual fees – $12
Cash withdrawal fees – 2.75% transaction fee applied on non-Citibank ATMs

Citibank conquers both the online and in-branch banking dilemma for digital nomads. They are a multi-national bank with branches over the world.

For travelers based in Australia, it has a wide range of perks which make it an attractive option that can save you money.

The Good:

No overseas fees! 

When you use their debit card in any country around the world (or shopping online), you won’t be charged anything extra. 

Citibank won’t charge you to transfer money around the world either. They have branches all over the place, so you’ll be able to have face-to-face bank visits in some countries. They also have worldwide ATMs that also offer fee-free withdrawals. 

To top it off, they even offer a free bottle of wine when you dine at their selected dining partners. You really can’t argue with that!

The Bad:

You’re forced to open both a checking and savings account—you can’t pick just one. 

Their savings rates are also rather low, and they will charge you 10% for every transfer that you make to cover an overdraft.

While they have branches and ATMs worldwide, it can be a pain tracking them down.

Alternatives for Oceania

Revolut

Minimum amount to open – None
Interest earnings – Savings accounts earn 0.65% AER on USD and 0.40% AER on GBP, paid daily
Eligible countries – currently Australia, the European Economic Area (EEA), Canada, Singapore, Switzerland, Japan, and the United States
Customer service – Via online/in-app chat or email
Annual fees – None
Cash withdrawal fees – Depending on your tier, you’ll have monthly withdrawal limits of $A350, $A700, or $A1400 – anything more will incur a 2% fee

Revolut is one of the most popular digital nomad banking options on this list. 

It started as a UK-based app-only bank, but has taken off and is now accepted globally in more than 120 countries—including Australia and the US. 

Their tier system allows you to choose the right bank account for your needs—ranging from their free plan to the most expensive ‘Metal’ plan costing A$29.99 per month.

But, with this, you get access to their premium features including: 

  • 1% cashback in all currencies
  • Unlimited spending
  • Transfers and exchanges daily
  • Interest of up to £120
  • Inclusive worldwide travel insurance
  • Ability to trade stocks and cryptocurrencies
  • A pretty funky metal card 

They’ll even send free airport lounge passes for you and up to 3 friends if your flight is delayed by more than one hour—Now that is excellent customer service!

A few of the features available on all plans include easy payments to other Revolut cardholders, money-transfers at the interbank rate of up to £5,000 per month, and the ability to change your money into 30 different currencies.

Downsides include a slight surcharge on weekends and public holidays and lack of face-to-face customer service. 

There is also an ATM withdrawal limit of A$350 (or currency equivalent) per month. 

That said, for many digital nomads, this is still one of the best banking options.

PayPal

Minimum amount to open – None
Interest earningsNone.
Eligible countries – Over 200 countries/regions
Customer service – Contact number, in-app chat
Annual fees – None
Cash withdrawal fees – $2.50 + 2.5% foreign transaction fee (for those eligible for a Paypal debit card)

Paypal is hands-down the most popular digital banking platforms in the world (despite its weaknesses). 

Not many people realize that it’s more than just a money-transferring platform—it can also be used as a primary bank account for full-time travelers. 

The best part about Paypal is how easy it is to use across the globe. 

You can send and receive money from over 200 countries/regions and in 25 different international currencies. 

Its security is paramount with email sign-in, two-factor authentication,, and the ability to pay with just a secure password.

You can also link your Paypal account to your bank card and pay with the balance of your card. 

It’s ideal for remote workers because you can open both a personal and a business account. This means you can send a sharable Paypal link to your clients and easily separate your personal and work expenses. 

The biggest downside to Paypal are the fees. 

Paypal will charge 5.00% of the transaction amount on all international payments and charge 3.00% above the base exchange rate for currency exchanges. If that sounds confusing, it’s because it is. Unlike Wise (known for its transparency), it is very difficult to decipher all of Paypal’s fees.

It’s free to transfer money to your bank account, but that doesn’t help you much if you need cash. In this case, you’ll be at the mercy of your normal banks cash withdrawal policies.

Paypal recently released a debit card in some countries where you can withdraw money directly from your Paypal balance, but you’ll get hit with a $2.50 withdrawal fee, plus a 2.5% foreign transaction fee—not the cheapest way to get cash.

Digital nomad banks for high-earners with complex situations

There is a stark difference between a nomad freelancer who earns a few thousand dollars per month and an international businessman with worldwide investments and a high income 

If you have complex financial needs, the best bank for you might not be on the list above.

Your bank account needs to be able to do a lot more than receive payments and pay simple bills. 

You may need to transfer money all over the globe, pay for both business assets and staff wages, and run multiple companies based in various countries.

Most of the online banking options above are offered by Fintech (Financial technology) companies that aren’t capable of handling these tasks (or they’ll ask too many questions).

That’s where non-CRS countries come into play. 

CRS stands for Common Reporting Standard—an information-gathering requirement mainly used to prevent people from dodging tax laws. 

They require anyone who opens a bank account to disclose where they permanently reside and where they pay taxes. Of course, if you’re a digital nomad, then this poses a bit of a problem because, technically, you won’t permanently reside anywhere.

Basically, the more questions a bank asks, the more likely you are to run into issues. And banks in Non-CRS countries ask less questions.

Some non-CRS countries include Cambodia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Montenegro, Paraguay, the Philippines, or Serbia.

The downside to this type of digital nomad banking is that you typically have to travel to the country to open your account in person.

Depending on your situation, this could be worth it. But until you get around to it, this virtual account may be your best friend:

Wise Business

Minimum amount to open – £16
Interest earnings – None
Eligible countries – Europe, Australia, New Zealand, the US, Singapore, and Japan
Customer service – 24/7 Chat, Phone during business hours
Annual fees – None
Cash withdrawal fees – The first €200 is free, withdrawals cost 2% after

Wise Business is advertised as the ‘only business account you need to go global’—and they’re not wrong! 

They’ve revolutionized the way businesses can manage their finances around the world and have stuck by the same fee-free motto that they offer their personal account holders.

The Good:

You can open a business account in the UK, U.S., Eurozone, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore. Each account comes complete with all the unique bank details needed to make international payments. 

You can easily accept and send transfers in your company name, open currency wallets in more than 50 different currencies, and convert currencies using the real exchange rate. 

You can also pay up to 1000 people at once, (handy when doing Payroll and can save you hours on admin), use your account’s debit card for expenses worldwide, and eliminate the 2% Stripe fee by taking Stripe payments through your business.

The Bad:

They’ve kept their £200 free cash withdrawal limit on their business account as well as their personal. They additionally charge 0.4% interest on EUR balances above €70,000 (but not other currencies), and they have an online card spending limit of £10,000 per day and £30,000 per month.

How to Choose Which Digital Nomad Bank is Right for You?

As you can see, you have many options—perhaps too many options. How do you choose?

Well, after narrowing it down to which banks are available in your country, you need to list out your needs.

What exactly will you be using your account for?

Is it just a way to send and receive money abroad as cheaply as possible? (hint: Wise)

Or do you want a full-on banking service, complete with checking and savings accounts that earn interest?

Which features will you actually use, and which aren’t that important?

By asking yourself these questions, you should be able to zone in on the best option for you. 

Figuring all this out might seem like a pain now. But once your accounts are up and running, it’s smooth sailing.

Digital nomad life is hard enough as it is…

Taking the time to choose the right bank will make it much easier.

Mitch's Travel Recommendations:
Travel Planning Resources - Everything you need to plan your trip on one convenient page.
Safetywing Insurance - This cheap travel insurance has saved me over $15,000 in medical bills.
Booking.com - Book accommodation without adding your credit card (in case you need to cancel).
Skyscanner - Find cheap flights.
Trusted House Sitters - Take care of pets in exchange for free (sometimes luxury) accommodation.
Flexjobs - Find remote jobs without having to sift through crappy ones.
Skillshare - Free trial to take unlimited classes that teach digital nomad skills.
Anytime Mailbox - Virtual mail service that can handle your mail while you’re away.
Wise - Send and receive money abroad cheaply (great for freelancers).

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