Let’s talk about money.
If you are new to remote work or freelancing, just like with everything in life, you are bound to make mistakes. These mistakes, if related to money, can be a real headache. Trust me, I’ve been there.
Expensive international money transfers, hidden bank fees, currency exchange losses… these are all real threats to expats and remote workers that can make a serious dent in your bank account at the end of the month. Although the banking industry is slowly improving and getting up to speed to what customers nowadays need, they’re still far behind.
Over the past few years, we have been able to try different tools and platforms that have made our lives abroad a bit easier. These are some of the best:
TransferWise has been our go-to tool for international transfers for the last three years. I am actually pretty sure I was one of their first users in Spain and have been a loyal advocate since then (where’s my free t-shirt!?).
In a nutshell: TransferWise is a UK-based company founded by some of the former co-founders at Skype which allows you to send money abroad in different currencies for just a 0.5% fee. Their pricing is extremely low and that’s the reason why they have been so successful.
Feel free to signup using this link to obtain a free transfer for up to 500 GBP.
Transferwise’s Borderless Account
This is Transferwise’s latest feature, and one that I am very excited about. This product allows you to have an online wallet where you can hold up to 28 currencies!
Here’s how it works: I am an EU resident with a TransferWise account. I select which currency I would like to activate first (let’s say, US Dollars) and in a matter of seconds they send you your new US Bank account details where you can start receiving payments right away:
Again, if you don’t have a free TransferWise account, feel free to signup here.
Monese is a mobile bank that allows anyone to have a bank account in Euros or UK Pounds without having a local address, being a resident or having any sort of credit history check. They actually target expats and migrants as their ideal customer.
All you need to do is download their mobile app, and setup your bank account in just a couple of minutes. Plans start at less than 6€/month after their 30-day free trial.
Moneytis is the “Trivago” or “TripAdvisor” for Money Transfers. Moneytis is a fully-remote company that started off in Switzerland just a few years ago.
This platform is a money transfer comparison site where users can see how much it would cost them to send money abroad. They compare offers from traditional providers such as Western Union or MoneyGram to online tools like TransferWise or WorldRemmit.
Travel Credit Cards
You don’t have to be a frequent flyer to take advantage of a travel credit card. Even if you only fly a few times a year, getting a credit card with miles/points rewards can save you hundreds of dollars a year.
This section, however, will require a bit of research on your side. Travel credit card options vary from one country to another. There are lots of them out there. We have used Bank Of America Travel Rewards in the past and are currently using Barclaycard Arrival+, which comes with a $500 USD credit towards travel expenses once you spend $3,000 USD in the first 3 months with it.
If you are a credit card user anyway, why not get one that gives you free money back just for the sake of using it? Just make sure to take a careful look at their fees and conditions before you commit to be certain there aren’t any issues, and always ask a financial adviser if you have any doubts.
Travel Debit Cards
I am still not sure if this is even a thing, but there are lots of traditional banks that allow you to withdraw money from any ATM anywhere in the world.
We currently have a Charles Schwab Investor Checking account. Don’t let the fancy name scare you away, it’s just a regular checking account that comes with a debit card that allows you to withdraw money from any ATM in the world for free. You’ll initially be charged any ATM fees, but will later be fully reimbursed at the end of the month.
I have also been using EVO Bank (Spain) for over three years. They allow you to withdraw money from virtually any ATM in the world and have totally free bank account options for individuals.