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Expat Investor : December 2008
RETAIL BANKING Continued from page 7 your incomings and outgoings. Ask whether your bank’s internet service will enable you to: ? View and control your savings, investments, and current accounts. ? Set up, modify and cancel standing orders and direct debits. ? Move money free of charge between accounts. ? Discuss your finances, including your investments, with a named manager via secure email. 3) Check out your multi-currency requirements. Most expats are juggling their financial affairs in two, if not more, currencies. Not sure if you need a multi-currency account? Ask yourself the following: 1) What currency do I get paid in? 2) What currency do I make my regular outgoings in? 3) Which currencies are my savings and investments in? 4) Which currency do I intend to retire in? If you are paid in one currency, say euros or dollars, but have outgoings in another, such as sterling for mortgage repayments or school fees, amulti-currency account denominated in both currencies will keep any currency exchange costs down as your money moves around. 4) Check out any additional services your offshore bank may be offering. Are you getting the best available deal? As well as offering you current and savings accounts and those all- important slivers of plastic, will your bank: ? help you clarify your expatriate status with HM Revenue & Customs? ? advise you about local taxation liabilities in your country of residence? ? facilitate moving your existing mortgage offshore or, if seeking a mortgage, will it offer you competitive borrowing facilities? ? advise you about life assurance and other forms of protection? ? inform you about investment opportunities? 5) Sample the local fare. A local bank could be just the ticket if you are going to be resident in one place for six months or more. Ask these questions: ? How many branches does the bank have and where are they? ? What types of accounts are on offer? ? What is the minimum deposit necessary to open an account? ? What is the minimum balance required to avoid charges? ? What e-banking services are offered and are they available in English? ? Does the bank offer overdraft facilities? ? What, if any, special conditions apply to a foreign account holder seeking a loan? ? What credit and debit cards are available? ? Are there any services (for example, foreign exchange transactions) that cannot be undertaken at all branches? ? Does the bank accept foreign currency transfers and at what cost? ? What are the fees for standing orders, withdrawing cash from ATMs, making money transfers to the UK, or another country? Check out these four offshore bank accounts Compare and contrast what’s on the market for banking expats with this account checklist. dollars, and a chequebook available in sterling or euro. This account offers international money transfers at what the Bank calls “reduced rates”, standing orders, and the minimum balance is set at £5,000, €10,000 or US$10,000. No interest is payable if the balance falls below these minimum sums. www.offshore.hbsc.com LLOYDSTSB OFFSHORE International Account This account is also denominated in sterling, euro and US dollars. In sterling, both a debit card and chequebook are offered. Expats can run an account with just £100 minimum balance. Whereas the first three months of banking is fee free, thereafter there’s a monthly charge of £7.50. Benefits and features offered with this account include 24 hour phone and internet banking, representative offices located around the world, competitive interest rates, global money transmission service, and other extras and discounts. The account is also denominated in euro and US dollars. www.lloydstsb-offshore.com ABBEY INTERNATIONAL Offshore Gold Current Account Described by the Bank as an everyday offshore bank account, it promises to be both “flexible and rewarding,” giving expats access to their money, wherever they are in the world. The Gold account can be denominated in sterling, euro or US dollar, or a combination of two or all three. The minimum opening deposit sums are £5,000, €7,500 or US$7,500. With this account, variable interest rates are tiered – so the greater the balance, the higher the gross rate. It comes with a VISA deferred debit card and chequebook. www.abbeyinternational.com HSBC BANK INTERNATIONAL Offshore Bank Account Day-to-day banking is eased by this Bank’s “flexible” international current account which is available in sterling, euro or US dollar. It’s backed up by a 24-hour phone and internet banking service. Account holders are offered an internationally accepted debit card denominated in sterling or US We make SAVINGS simple for you 1 Year Fixed Rate Bond £ Also available * 6 Months Fixed Rate Bond * International 30 * Monthly interest option 5.60% Gross/AER 8 EXPAT INVESTOR ? December 2008 expatinvestor.com 5.35% € Gross/AER Download an application form at www.irishpermanentintl.com +44(0)1624 641641 Individual product terms and conditions apply. Interest rates are quoted gross p.a. without any deduction of tax. AER stands for Annual Equivalent Rate and illustrates what the interest rate would be if interest was paid and compounded once each year. The minimum opening balance is £10,000/£10,000 or US $10,000. Irish Permanent International is a registered business name of Irish Permanent (IOM) Limited. Licensed by the Isle of Man Financial Supervision Commission to take deposits and carry on investment business. Registered Office: 12/14 Ridgeway Street, Douglas, Isle of Man. IM1 1EN. Irish Permanent International is part of the Irish Life and Permanent plc Group. NATWEST INTERNATIONAL Current Plus This account is managed by phone and online. It comes with a chequebook and debit card and the use of a Cashcard abroad (Cirrus). There’s inbuilt flexibility with an overdraft facility and accountholders can apply for a Gold or Classic credit card (a choice of MasterCard or VISA is offered). The Bank says there are no account fees and accountholders earn interest on their account balances. www.natwestoffshore.com 3.40% $ Gross/AER for a personal service Part of Irish Life and Permanent plc Group Fast Facts 10003
January February 2009