If you travel a lot, you have to deal with many different currencies. Difficult? Not at all! Just pay everywhere with your debit or credit card. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. But did you know traditional banks charge you for every transaction outside the Eurozone (If you have a European bank account)? This exchange rate is different per bank. If you have a lot to do with different currencies, it’s worth it to pay attention which bank offers the best conditions for paying outside the Eurozone. In this blog, I share two banks that are favorite by Digital Nomads.
Did you know banks charge you for every transaction outside the Eurozone?
Be smart and check which bank offers you the best conditions.
What exactly is that price surcharge?
With every transaction outside the Eurozone, your bank charges a price surcharge. This is a percentage of the purchase amount, which you pay extra to the bank because you make the payment in a foreign currency. This percentage is often 2% for payments with credit cards and Dutch debit cards; this varies from 0.5% to 1.2% per payment. There are also banks, such as ASN, Regio Bank and SNS, which charge a fixed amount of € 0.15 per payment. ABN Amro is the most expensive one. They cost a price surcharge of 1.2% and on top of that € 0.15 per transaction. These amounts may seem small, but count how much you pay at exchange rate if you do five transactions a day for a whole year.
What are the best banks for Digital Nomads?
The two most popular banks for Digital Nomads are N26 and Revolut. These two parties charge a much lower price surcharge than traditional banks, withdrawing money abroad is also much cheaper and, to top it all off, both the account and the credit card that you get with your bank account are entirely free. I have an account with both N26 and Revolut (because hey, it’s free!).
The German bank N26 is starting to become an increasingly significant player on the international banking market. This online bank aims for millennials and is fairly nomad-friendly, with its low(er) price deposit for cash withdrawals and free payments outside the Eurozone. The transparent Mastercard credit card (debit) is entirely free, just like their business account. International bank transfers are easy with Transferwise integration. And no, you do not have to live in Germany to open an account at N26. Although N26 only operates online, it is a real bank. Therefore, you will receive a (German) IBAN and your money will fall under the European bank guarantee. What I like about N26 is their super easy to use-app and excellent customer service.
Revolut calls itself ‘better than your bank.’ Why? Because this online player does not only provide a free Visa credit card (debit), it also does not charge a price surcharge for expenses outside the Eurozone. So, you can make ‘fairy free’ purchases. Also, Revolut can also create digital credit cards in addition to a physical credit card. At Revolut you get a (British) IBAN.
An essential disadvantage of the above banks is that both credit cards are prepaid credit cards. If you have to pay a deposit, such as when renting a car, this is not always accepted. And your purchases are not covered by the purchase guarantee that you have with a regular credit card. Furthermore, you can not pay through iDeal with these foreign accounts. That is why, in addition to these two accounts, I also have my Dutch bank accounts, which I use a lot in the Eurozone.