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Foreign Bank Accounts - worth keeping?

Financial discussion for any financial queries for Expats
Maylix
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Foreign Bank Accounts - worth keeping?

#189374

Postby Maylix » December 26th, 2018, 5:02 pm

Hi
Having done a couple of stints abroad, I have some bank accounts abroad (US and Eire) which I don't use now, but have kept them open as I think I will need them when I retire (I have a 401K in the US and company pension in EIre). Is it easy enough to get money out of those countries when it happens, so I should close them now, or is it worth keeping them open to use when I need them? They don't cost me anything, but it's irritating getting statements with zero balances and there's a small amount of admin involved. Anybody got a similar experience?
TIA
Maylix

stevensfo
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Re: Foreign Bank Accounts - worth keeping?

#189398

Postby stevensfo » December 26th, 2018, 8:29 pm

Maylix wrote:Hi
Having done a couple of stints abroad, I have some bank accounts abroad (US and Eire) which I don't use now, but have kept them open as I think I will need them when I retire (I have a 401K in the US and company pension in EIre). Is it easy enough to get money out of those countries when it happens, so I should close them now, or is it worth keeping them open to use when I need them? They don't cost me anything, but it's irritating getting statements with zero balances and there's a small amount of admin involved. Anybody got a similar experience?
TIA
Maylix



I have no idea about banks in the USA, but having spent nearly half my life working around Europe, I would strongly advise against closing any bank account, anywhere! You never know when they may come in handy, and if they're free to run, just keep them going. However, if they are not used for some time, they may become dormant and disappear. You normally receive a warning about this but it's very easy to forget, as I did one time!

It may be a good idea to get yourself a Revolut card and link it to both your Eire euro account and a UK account. Or forget about the Eire account and have the pension paid direct to Revolut. Just that it's very easy to manage and you have instant euro-pound conversion at very competitive rates, are able to transfer to wherever you want and can use the card everywhere.

Steve

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Re: Foreign Bank Accounts - worth keeping?

#189520

Postby dspp » December 27th, 2018, 4:43 pm

I'd keep them open for now provided:
- they are low cost
- they are in a language you understand (and I guess RoI and USA count)

It is extremely difficult to open these things, and likely to get more so. They can be very handy to have.

regards, dspp

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Re: Foreign Bank Accounts - worth keeping?

#211140

Postby Fletchsmile » March 28th, 2019, 6:54 pm

Globally the trend is generally towards becoming more and more difficult to open bank accounts, because of regulations eg KYC, AML, FATCA etc etc

So if you think you might need an account in a particlar country in the future it can make sense to keep it open. Plus

- Check out the minimum balances needed to avoid being charged fees, and ensure you keep above that. Below that minimum banks wil often charge until your account is emptied. Similarly any charges if it becomes dormant.

- Apply for internet banking if you don't have already before you leave the country.

- Ensure youre able to use whatever 2FA protections are in place when you use internet banking, eg one time passwords to a mobile phone, token rings cards etc

- Set up the basics and authorisations so that you can do international transfers while you are out of the country. Whether that be via: online banking being set up - you may find paperwork needed before you can do online; fax indemnity; allowing scans of FX transfer forms to be accepted etc

- Find out the basics about how long before they become dormant

- To avoid dormant accounts, have at least 2 accounts with any bank you're interested in. Then you can just transfer a small amount backwards and forwards using your online banking to keep it active

BTW Dormant accounts don't disappear as someone above wrote. They just get frozen. It's still your money and you can just reactivate them later.

Reactivating dormant accounts can be a pain in the proverbials though if you're in a differnt country. Some of the ones in Thailand for example require you to go to your bank and deposit say THB 100 in person together with your passport/ID card etc LOL

Life can often go in circles and as an expat you may well find yourself needing an account that you didn't expect to later in life :)

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Re: Foreign Bank Accounts - worth keeping?

#215051

Postby DiamondEcho » April 14th, 2019, 8:52 pm

Fletchsmile wrote:BTW Dormant accounts don't disappear as someone above wrote. They just get frozen. It's still your money and you can just reactivate them later.
Reactivating dormant accounts can be a pain in the proverbials though if you're in a differnt country. Some of the ones in Thailand for example require you to go to your bank and deposit say THB 100 in person together with your passport/ID card etc LOL


My wife had a parallel but reverse experience. As a non-Brit expat working in London she had an account with one of the big-4 high street banks. She maintained it after leaving for many years (without doing much with it), then without warning they closed it and froze the funds, and wrote and notified her that without warning that was what they'd done. Ironically c2 months later after 15+ years ex-UK we were due to return to the UK, so she wrote to her bank [essentially] 'but can't you wait just 2 months, I'll be permanently back in the UK then', but they replied that the account was effectively closed, and she was welcome to go through the (whole) reopening of a new a/c, with all the hoops to jump through (ID, proof od residency, address etc), if she wished.
So IME 'reactivating a dormant a/c', if possible, requires proving you qualify equal to a level for opening an a/c from scratch.

stevensfo
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Re: Foreign Bank Accounts - worth keeping?

#215142

Postby stevensfo » April 15th, 2019, 12:03 pm

DiamondEcho wrote:
Fletchsmile wrote:BTW Dormant accounts don't disappear as someone above wrote. They just get frozen. It's still your money and you can just reactivate them later.
Reactivating dormant accounts can be a pain in the proverbials though if you're in a differnt country. Some of the ones in Thailand for example require you to go to your bank and deposit say THB 100 in person together with your passport/ID card etc LOL


My wife had a parallel but reverse experience. As a non-Brit expat working in London she had an account with one of the big-4 high street banks. She maintained it after leaving for many years (without doing much with it), then without warning they closed it and froze the funds, and wrote and notified her that without warning that was what they'd done. Ironically c2 months later after 15+ years ex-UK we were due to return to the UK, so she wrote to her bank [essentially] 'but can't you wait just 2 months, I'll be permanently back in the UK then', but they replied that the account was effectively closed, and she was welcome to go through the (whole) reopening of a new a/c, with all the hoops to jump through (ID, proof od residency, address etc), if she wished.
So IME 'reactivating a dormant a/c', if possible, requires proving you qualify equal to a level for opening an a/c from scratch.


I had a similar experience with Barclays a few years ago. My account became dormant and I must have missed or forgotten about the 'warning' letter. One day I decided to start using it again and paid in some cash at the branch, only to get a phone call an hour later from them saying that my account was closed. I immediately went back and explained that I'd like to keep it open and I also had an old Barclays Stockbroker account. Impossible! He explained that the money doesn't disappear and will always be returned, but a dormant account cannot be re-activated after a certain number of months. I was furious but to be honest I have to admit that I wanted it only for nostalgic reasons. It was my very first bank account, opened when I was 17/18 and remembered the very attractive 'Personal advisor' assigned to me even though I was an impoverished student, and the hustle and bustle of the bank in those days, now almost empty of staff; just machines and a queue to see the one human being available.
So, never close an account and, as others have advised, keep them active. A small standing order to a charity will do the trick.

Steve

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Re: Foreign Bank Accounts - worth keeping?

#215802

Postby jaizan » April 18th, 2019, 12:03 am

As long as the cost is zero or modest, always keep overseas bank accounts.
Set up internet banking and do all you can to keep the account accessible.

Then if anyone ever tries to run the country like Venezuela (you know who), then you can move some money into hard currency before it is too late.
Backup plans are always good to have.


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