any experience with these US bank accounts for [US] ex-pat living abroad

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asset_chaos
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any experience with these US bank accounts for [US] ex-pat living abroad

Post by asset_chaos » Tue Mar 05, 2019 7:56 pm

Due to Vanguard closing the advantage cash management account (discussed at length in this thread), I need a new account to pay the odd bill in the US. I live abroad, and Investopedia suggests these checking accounts for U.S. expats living abroad. Does anyone have experience they can share with any of these institutions, e.g. are they really set up to accept expat accounts (I have the US address of a relative I can use if need be).

Capital One 360 interest-bearing checking solution.

Schwab Bank (tried this 8 or 9 years ago and they wouldn't proceed w/ application w/o state id; my last US driver's license expired some time ago.)

Citibank (there is a citibank branch where I live)

HSBC (I won't keep $100k in the account to qualify for HSBC Premier checking, but there is an HSBC branch where I live)

Alliant Credit Union (can qualify with a donation to designated charity)

First Republic Bank

Ally Bank (had an account here, closed after bad service experience and moved to VanguardAdvantage)

Fidelity Investments

Navy Federal Credit Union (can qualify, I think, because dad was a veteran)

State Department Federal Credit Union (can qualify with a donation to designated charity; joining page is fully set up to input a foreign address, use a passport as the id, and touts for diplomatic staff on overseas assignment.)

I have a preference for credit unions, so will start my research with the credit unions, but thanks for any input about any of these or any other suggestions for accounts I should look at.
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Re: any experience with these US bank accounts for ex-pat living abroad [US ex-pat]

Post by LadyGeek » Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:58 pm

This thread is now in the Non-US Investing forum (bank). This forum addresses ex-pat issues. It might have a better chance for a reply.
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Re: any experience with these US bank accounts for [US] ex-pat living abroad

Post by whodidntante » Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:16 pm

I would not suggest Fidelity as an only account if you're living outside the USA. They've locked my accounts twice due to tripping whatever foreigner panic button they have. Or you could use Fidelity, but make sure you use a VPN every time.

ivk5
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Re: any experience with these US bank accounts for [US] ex-pat living abroad

Post by ivk5 » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:31 am

I have used Citibank, Cap One 360, Ally without issue. I always use relative’s US mailing address for financial institutions. No need to use VPN except when opening new accts (eg Ally CDs).

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Re: any experience with these US bank accounts for [US] ex-pat living abroad

Post by Skiandswim » Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:28 am

I had successfully used Capital One 360 for all my US bills, while living outside US. Works fine. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) has complicated opening US investment and banking accounts for US expats (one of many articles https://vagabondfinances.com/no-expats-allowed/ ). Y

Additional comments. Capital One Credit Card provides 1.5% cash back and no foreign fees. The foreign exchange rate (purchases in local currency) are very competitive. I use this on occasion for foreign expenses as a way to "move" funds from USA to overseas if needed. Charles Schwab Debit Card is great for cash withdrawals overseas; ATM fees reimbursed, competitive exchange rate and better than Capital One Debit Card.

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Re: any experience with these US bank accounts for [US] ex-pat living abroad

Post by peterinjapan » Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:38 am

Make sure you have a "base" in the U.S. I keep my company pretty much for this purpose, so I can have all the rights to invest in the U.S. as an American, although I live in Japan. Honestly, someone needs to sue the government to give us the right to open any account we please, even if we're living abroad. If we're asked to pay U.S. taxes no matter where we live, we should be entitled to all the rights of a U.S. citizen.

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Re: any experience with these US bank accounts for [US] ex-pat living abroad

Post by AlohaJoe » Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:09 am

Skiandswim wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:28 am
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) has complicated opening US investment and banking accounts for US expats (one of many articles https://vagabondfinances.com/no-expats-allowed/ ).
The article didn't actually offer a shred of evidence of that claim. All it says is

"Similarly, many overseas banks began rejecting new American clients"

Maybe someone somewhere had problems. I dunno. I've never heard an actual concrete claim that Bank X in Country Y has begun refusing all American citizens, though.

I've opened multiple bank accounts in four different countries since FATCA came around and never had a problem.

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Re: any experience with these US bank accounts for [US] ex-pat living abroad

Post by gtd98765 » Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:29 am

I have been banking with State Department FCU for years, including many abroad. They do a pretty good job, and are used to dealing with people over the phone/via the Internet, and outside US working hours. The interest rates they pay on deposit accounts are not super competitive, however.

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Re: any experience with these US bank accounts for [US] ex-pat living abroad

Post by TedSwippet » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:06 am

AlohaJoe wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:09 am
Maybe someone somewhere had problems. I dunno. I've never heard an actual concrete claim that Bank X in Country Y has begun refusing all American citizens, though.
It's real enough, albeit perhaps somewhat less prevalent for normal retail banking accounts than for things like investment accounts, retirement accounts, and mortgages. According to this survey from Democrats Abroad, page 4 and onwards, one in six Americans abroad have had an account closed or refused by a non-US bank as a result of FATCA.
Last edited by TedSwippet on Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: any experience with these US bank accounts for [US] ex-pat living abroad

Post by ivk5 » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:09 am

Skiandswim wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:28 am
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) has complicated opening US investment and banking accounts for US expats (one of many articles https://vagabondfinances.com/no-expats-allowed/ ).
TedSwippet wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:06 am
AlohaJoe wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:09 am
Maybe someone somewhere had problems. I dunno. I've never heard an actual concrete claim that Bank X in Country Y has begun refusing all American citizens, though.
It's real enough, albeit perhaps somewhat less prevalent for normal retail banking accounts than for things like investment accounts, retirement accounts, and mortgages. According to this survey from Democrats Abroad, page 4 and onwards, one in six Americans abroad have had an account closed or refused by a non-US bank as a result of FATCA.
The quote AlohaJoe was responding to was regarding US accounts, not non-US accounts.

We should all be able to agree that US persons have no end of problems opening non-US accounts thanks to FATCA/etc...

TedSwippet
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Re: any experience with these US bank accounts for [US] ex-pat living abroad

Post by TedSwippet » Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:01 pm

ivk5 wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:09 am
The quote AlohaJoe was responding to was regarding US accounts, not non-US accounts.

We should all be able to agree that US persons have no end of problems opening non-US accounts thanks to FATCA/etc...
Fair point, although the part of AlohaJoe's post that I quoted is far more general and refers to banks in any country refusing accounts to US citizens. Anyway ...

I have to admit though, that I do have a sort-of feeling that some set of new -- or newly enforced -- US regulations has complicated things for US banks, to the point where they would prefer to avoid non-US residents. Whether this is FATCA or something else isn't clear, though.

I've recently encountered difficulties with both Vanguard and my US credit union. In both cases they cited my 'foreign address' as the reason why I couldn't do what would be trivial and entirely routine for a US resident. Some make little sense at all; for example, I cannot use Vanguard's voice verification system because I am not in the US. How these are connected I have no idea. Although I'm a US non-resident alien, that didn't seem to come into things. It was simply my non-US address that triggered whatever 'foreign account' panic buttons they have.

Shrug. FATCA did introduce new and tighter 1042-S reporting requirements for US banks, but that would only affect accounts held by NRAs like me, and shouldn't change things for US citizens. Even so, some US financial institutions have been reported to insist on withholding 30% in tax on any payments made abroad, whether or not to US citizens and even though that 30% should a) only apply to NRAs, and then b) only if there is no lower treaty rate. So I'd say FATCA has probably changed the way US banks and similar look at payments made to non-US addresses.

Hard to say if it's resulted in any actual account closure or denial, though. And to the extent that it has, I imagine the offending banks might generally keep fairly quiet about it, for fear of opening themselves up to possible lawsuits.

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Re: any experience with these US bank accounts for [US] ex-pat living abroad

Post by Storamin » Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:25 pm

asset_chaos wrote:
Tue Mar 05, 2019 7:56 pm
Schwab Bank (tried this 8 or 9 years ago and they wouldn't proceed w/ application w/o state id; my last US driver's license expired some time ago.)
You can apply now for the Schwab international brokerage & checking account. Minimum is $25k or so. I'm pretty happy with them.

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Re: any experience with these US bank accounts for [US] ex-pat living abroad

Post by Vogatrice » Mon Apr 08, 2019 3:31 pm

Look into USAA Federal Savings Bank. It's for veterans and their descendants - not sure how far down the chain, but if your dad was a Vet, you are eligible. I've had an account for a long time, pre-FATCA. They are great to deal with, and are used to having overseas customers. I don't know if they have changed their stance since FATCA but they have been happy to have my business for years. I've been expat for 30 years and use this account to pay any U.S. bills and to exchange funds with my U.S. based family members (all of whom have USAA accounts) when we vacation together. Also I have a debit card from them which has nice low foreign transaction and ATM fees. I use it when traveling outside North America to get cash from foreign ATMs.

ivk5
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Re: any experience with these US bank accounts for [US] ex-pat living abroad

Post by ivk5 » Tue Apr 09, 2019 1:57 am

Vogatrice wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 3:31 pm
Also I have a debit card from them which has nice low foreign transaction and ATM fees.
It’s unnecessary to pay ANY foreign transaction fees or foreign ATM fees as a US expat, unless you like donating to financial institutions.

Many threads here on free options.

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Re: any experience with these US bank accounts for [US] ex-pat living abroad

Post by Kitty Telltales » Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:07 am

I've been using CapitalOne 360 since living abroad (Ing Direct when I opened the account). I've also maintained an account at Bank of America for several reasons. When in the States, sometimes it's necessary to use a physical bank e.g. cashing Savings bonds. Their numerous US locations have been a live saver at times. I actually enjoy the ritual of standing in line with all the other stressed out American folks on each visit. It's a part of my back in America experience each trip.

The biggest issue has been when I've needed to deposit the occasional paper check while abroad. Bank of America's mobile app worked better than CapitalOne 360's app which seemed to always recognize I was abroad and didn't work. I once had to mail off a check for a larger amount, above what either app would accept, to be deposited in CapitalOne 360 and it was an uneasy feeling. It has to be endorsed before mailing.

I use CapitalOne when I'm looking for a decent interest rate. Bank of America checking requires a minimum balance to be free but transfers between the 2 banks are quick.

ivk5
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Re: any experience with these US bank accounts for [US] ex-pat living abroad

Post by ivk5 » Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:36 am

Duplicate

typical.investor
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Re: any experience with these US bank accounts for [US] ex-pat living abroad

Post by typical.investor » Tue Apr 09, 2019 5:14 am

ivk5 wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:09 am
Skiandswim wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:28 am
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) has complicated opening US investment and banking accounts for US expats (one of many articles https://vagabondfinances.com/no-expats-allowed/ ).
TedSwippet wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:06 am
AlohaJoe wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:09 am
Maybe someone somewhere had problems. I dunno. I've never heard an actual concrete claim that Bank X in Country Y has begun refusing all American citizens, though.
It's real enough, albeit perhaps somewhat less prevalent for normal retail banking accounts than for things like investment accounts, retirement accounts, and mortgages. According to this survey from Democrats Abroad, page 4 and onwards, one in six Americans abroad have had an account closed or refused by a non-US bank as a result of FATCA.
The quote AlohaJoe was responding to was regarding US accounts, not non-US accounts.

We should all be able to agree that US persons have no end of problems opening non-US accounts thanks to FATCA/etc...
I've had my accounts frozen at US financial institutions just as the author of the linked article did.

I am currently running a small business out of my personal account because the best business accounts for sole proprietors in my country of residence are rejected for anyone who is a tax resident elsewhere, and they cite being subject to FACTA as indicating you are a tax resident elsewhere. I could structure it as a corporation but US taxation on 100% US owned foreign corporations is too much for me to do. I could open a more expensive account that accepts Americans, but higher transactions fees worry me.

I got rejected yesterday by the State Department FCU listed in this thread. Submitted by valid US drivers license and set up transfer from Wells Fargo, but was told they couldn't verify me as being credible (by KYC regulations) even though credit rating is really good.

Grow the business right. Yeah, I know the answer isn't complaining.

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