Becoming a Digital Nomad is all about following what your heart tells you to do, and leaping into the unknown. Well, at least that is what most people seem to think, but we cannot claim that statement is absolutely true. Even though you need to have an adventurous spirit, you will also need to think some things through, and one of the most important issues are your banking options.
Before we get started, let’s just get some things out of the way:
- This is not a sponsored article, and all of the information you will get from here are our opinions and feedback from people in the digital nomad community.
- Also, it relates to Americans only, so please notice it might not be the same for individuals of different nationalities.
With that taken care of, let’s now focus on the good stuff. One of the first things we would advise you to do is to divide your money into separate accounts. One should be the savings account, checking account which you will use for ATM withdrawals and the one which will serve as your primary credit card. You will find your best options in the article below.
There are so many banks that offer pretty much the same deals, so how can you select the right one? While they might look roughly the same on the surface, once you go deeper into the matter, you will find out that Ally Bank is perhaps your best choice. What are your requirements here? Strong rates, excellent customer service, innovative way of doing business? Ally Bank checks out all of these boxes. They offer a solid 1% interest rate, and there is no minimum deposit required to open account. Some other banks might offer slightly better rates, but as far as the full package goes, Ally Bank should be near the very top of the list.
Barclays Online Savings Account often gets ignored, which is surprising, because they offer some terrific deals. With no monthly maintenance costs, no minimum balance requirements and excellent support center, it’s hard to find the flaw in their system. Furthermore, with only a 1.00% APY and rates which are far superior compared to other banks, it’s a pure miracle how more nomads aren't inclined to join Barclays.
Unlike the savings account, which is your long-term option, the checking account will serve as your wallet. We all have those tiny daily expenses, but when you find yourself in a foreign country, the last thing you would want to happen is to be stuck with a card that has an ATM fee. Even though it might not seem substantial, trust me when I say, these expenses can creep up out of nowhere. That is why it is crucial to make the right choice when it comes to your checking account, and the best possible option out there has to be Charles Schwab. Why? Let these bullet points provide the answer.
- It is completely free.
- Wire transfers are also completely free of charge with almost every major bank in the world.
- No ATM fees what so ever. Don’t worry if you see that the ATM still charged you a fee. At the end of the month Charles Schwab will reimburse all your expenses.
- Opening up a bank account is fairly simple, without the need to actually physically show up at one of their branches.
Naturally, not everything can be perfect, and just for the sakes of objectivity, let’s also point out some not-so-ideal traits of Charles Schwab. Unlike some other banks, they only offer passwords of up to 8 characters maximum, which is kinda weird, especially considering the fact that it’s only possible to use letters and numbers, without special characters. Furthermore, in case you’re just opening a checking account for the first time, know that it comes tied to Schwab One brokerage account. The good news is that this doesn’t add any additional costs and that you’re not obliged to use this service in the future.
Other than that, they also have a solid base of satisfied clients, which is a testimony to their greatness. Look no further, you’ve got your answer right here.
Still, just in case you aren’t impressed with what the Charles Schwab has to offer, we will also provide you with an alternative. Although it’s relatively young, Simple has already raised a few eyebrows with their unique business plan. Because we live in a digital era, this bank doesn’t even have a physical headquarters; everything remains online. However, with no annual fees, nor minimum balance requirements, we believe you won’t have a problem with that. Whether you choose to go through the mobile app or computer, you will get push notifications each time your balance changes. The innovative programs within the app allow you to set a budget, which they called Safe-to-spend, with the rest of the cash being stashed away for bills and other expenses. It’s definitely a smart idea which can save you a ton of money in the process. Simple does not charge any ATM fees on their part, and also has over 50,000 fee-free ATMs around the world where it’s possible to avoid any extra charges. Don’t know about you, but that sounds like a mighty fine offering to me.
Credit Card for Larger Purchases
While you’re traveling, you will also have some bigger expenses. No matter if we’re talking about plane tickets, a certain gadget, or a field trip, all of these things cost money, but did you know that you can be rewarded even for spending? Well, you probably did, but everything is different when you find yourself in a foreign country. What would be the best credit card for a Digital Nomad? Our advice would be to get the Capital One Quicksilver. The annual fee is set at $0, and it also offers free international transactions. As with many competitors, this card also offers a one-time $100 bonus after you record $500 of spending in the first 3 months. Oh yeah, did we forget to mention that it also offers 1.5% cash back on every purchase? Best of all, the cash back is unlimited. Even more impressive is the fact that these awards don’t have an expiration date, and it’s possible to redeem your cash back anytime you so desire. What’s not to like?
The perfect alternative can be found with Chase Saphire Preffered credit card. The annual fee is free of charge for the first year, and after that period, it’s set at $95. However, frequent travelers will appreciate the bonus points which this card offers in abundance. One of the main selling points is certainly a no transaction fee policy, with excellent travel support available 24/7. In case you spend over $4,000 in the first three months, you’ll get $625 back through the awesome Chase Ultimate Rewards! Additionally, you’ll also earn 2X more points for money spent at restaurants and cafes. It certainly seems that this card is tailor made for a nomadic lifestyle.
Funding accounts from a foreign country
At first look, this move seems awfully complicated, but fortunately, there are lots of options out there to help us with this transition. Among similar services, TransferWise stands out as probably the best option. We won’t go into details here because that would take ages, but trust me, this option can save you a ton of money. For a fee of only .05% per transaction, they offer better terms than pretty much any forex deal out there. Feel free to visit their website for further information.
These options are truly the best ones currently available, and thousands of people will confirm our story. Just one more tip before the end: Try not to carry all of your cards with you in your wallet, as it raises chances of losing all of them at the same time. There’s no need to explain why you wouldn’t want this to happen. Have a safe trip and good luck!