Live or work abroad? Offshore banking could help

Thursday, 10 March 2011 10:56

Living or working abroad can be a great experience – and choosing offshore banking services while overseas can help to make it even better.

Managing your finances while in another country is different to doing so back in the UK – not only do you have to contend with a different currency, but you also have to deal with the foreign exchange fees, language barriers and local rules and regulations that come with banking overseas.

However, if you choose offshore banking services from a bank you are familiar with rather than opting for a local organisation in the country you live or work in, you might find the process of keeping an eye on your money much easier.

Offshore banking can cover a range of services, whether you're looking for a bank account to pay your salary into, a mortgage, offshore savings accounts or investment options.

Setting up offshore banking couldn't be easier, as you can apply for the account or product you need before you leave the UK so it is all set up and ready for you to use when you arrive at your destination.

This is compared with the often long process of applying for services from a local bank and having to grapple with the language barrier and other issues before you can start putting your money where you need it the most.

One of the main benefits of offshore banking is that you can choose to manage your money in the currency of your choice – so if you would rather have your wages paid into your international bank account in the local currency than in sterling, you can do so and enjoy the advantages of not having to make conversions between the two.

This also means you can shop and withdraw cash from local ATMs in the currency you want.

Meanwhile, offshore savings accounts offer further upsides in the form of potential tax efficiencies.

Depending on your personal circumstances, you may be able to take advantage of favourable tax terms when you open an offshore savings account.

Add to this the wide range of savings vehicles available – whether you require instant, no-notice access to your account or a long-term product that locks your money away to earn a great rate of interest – and you have all the makings of a beneficial savings scheme.

If you eventually choose to remortgage the property you live in while you work or live abroad, you can do so with the help of products from your offshore banking provider.

So whether you need the finance for another big purchase or for the purpose of funding renovations, you may be able to acquire the right product for your needs at a competitive rate.

Some banks additionally offer advice services that connect you with legal and tax experts familiar with local laws, so you can apply for your second mortgage rest assured that you'll have access to the guidance you need.

Another component of international personal banking is investments. Nowadays, providers have a wide range of offshore investment options to choose from, so it's possible to select a vehicle that gives you the return you desire at a level of risk you're comfortable with while you live or work abroad.

Of course, offshore banking is not necessarily for everyone, so it's a good idea to take professional advice before you apply for any financial products.

But with an increasing number of people living, working and retiring abroad these days, there are many customers for whom offshore banking could be a boon.



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