Immediately before Brexit happened many of the UK high Street banks warned of their plans to close Expat customers’ current accounts.
Expats have reported in social media that they have had letters to that effect.
According to the Telegraph in September 2023, Barclays was then writing to customers with a six-month warning that they would no longer be able to hold a Barclays UK current or savings account, leaving some customers unable to access their savings and pensions. The bank’s decision followed a review begun in 2021.
The bank did offer an alternative. Expats could open a global account with Barclays. However, customers needed to always have a minimum of £100,000 in their account. Dropping below that threshold would result in a monthly charge of £40.
Using the local currency is part of daily life. “Plastic fantastic” works for a lot of businesses that don’t take cash following Covid-19, but in some countries and rural areas, there is still a strong cash economy.
Opening a new bank account in your country of residence may not be the right solution. The account opening criteria may not suit your needs [some require hefty deposits to get you started], and the foreign government may introduce restrictions on how much can be withdrawn at any one time.
Create a wish list of what you would want from a bank abroad. Your requirements may include:
1. A good exchange rate
2. Instant access 24/7 to the account
3. A debit card
4. Ability to use different currencies
5. Instant flow of funds in and out of the account