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Top 5 Multi-Currency Wallets

Updated on August 23, 2021 09:53 am
Multi-currency

Digital technology has enabled us to connect, interact and engage in a world of possibilities. The question we have to ask is - why don't we have global banking for a global village?

Answer - Multi-currency accounts. It allows hyperlocal banking for global citizens. 

You can purchase a product from another country sitting in the very comfort of your home. Sending money internationally to your family or friends from any part of the globe is possible with just a click or a tap. Exchanging currency through tedious processes and several mediums are the talks of yesterday. Today, opening and operating more than one bank account in different countries is a matter of choice.

If you are a global business or an expat working abroad, you may already have a multi-currency account. If you are uncertain and wondering if you require a multi-currency account, here's what you need to know.

What Is A Multi-Currency Account?

A multi-currency bank, also known as a foreign currency account or borderless account allows you to hold multiple currencies in a single bank account. It allows you to deposit and withdraw money in different currencies. The best feature - it allows you to make transactions in multiple currencies through a single operational bank account, accessible in respective currencies to make payments and receivables.

Most global businesses have a foreign currency or multi-currency account. It makes monetary transactions and finance operations easier with reduced currency exchange fees. It makes managing international transactions in different currencies easy.

Most expats or individuals who frequently travel open a multi-currency account Or carry a multi-currency card to access banking facilities such as making payments, deposits, and transfers in real-time.

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Although there are transactional charges, these are comparatively lower than charges levied on transactions made through a normal bank account in your residential country.

This enables saving money in foreign currency possible through a multi-currency account. There are financial institutions other than banks that offer multi-currency accounts to individuals, enabling them to send money or make payments from one country to another and in different currencies.

Advantages Of Having A Multi-Currency Account

If you are an individual who travels frequently, or indulges in online purchase of products from different countries, or hires services while abroad or from abroad, then constantly converting currency can be an arduous task.

Here are the advantages of owning a multi-currency account:

  • Manage your money when abroad through global banking account access offered by multi-currency banks like CitiBank
  • Hold more than one currency in your account, like USD, GBP, EUR, HKD, etc.
  • Make instant transfers or payments abroad with your debit card provided by global banking or financial organizations like Western Union, Citibank, and Moneygram
  • It facilitates easier and faster money conversions and transactions in different currencies with access to your account from any global branches
  • It is easily accessible and operative through online and mobile banking facilities offered by the issuing bank where you hold a multi-currency account 

Besides these, you also earn an interest depending on the interest rates in the respective countries and eligibility.

Disadvantages Of A Multi-Currency Account

While your multi-currency account is accessible through any of the bank branches abroad, it is limited by your bank's payment network such as VISA or Mastercard, and the number of currencies covered. The most common currencies banks cover are Canadian Dollar (CAD), UK Sterling (GBP), US Dollar (USD), Euro (EUR), Australian Dollar (AUD), Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), Japanese Yen (JPY), Singapore Dollar(S$), South African Rand (R), Swedish Krona (SEK), Swiss Franc (CHF), etc.

However, there are certain disadvantages:

  • There is an additional fee or transaction charge levied on opening a multi-currency account
  • There is an additional conversion fee when you send money to different countries in most cases
  • There might be an annual maintenance charge on the account or a very high minimum balance requirement
  • Charges on every transaction may not affect an individual significantly but over time making multiple transactions per day can add to additional costs
  • Several banks may have a high minimum requirement for opening an international banks account
  • The interest rates comparatively may not be high as your standard savings account

Also, the constant fluctuations in the value of money will affect the total balance of your foreign currency account.



Top 5 Major Banks Offering Multi-Currency Accounts

There are several such banks with global branches offering multi-currency accounts to not only global businesses and entrepreneurs but also to individuals, such as:

CitiBank

The Citi International Personal Bank offers an offshore banking and multi-currency account including a debit card facility for transfers across 16 different currencies.

To qualify you must maintain a minimum balance of $200,000 USD or currency value equivalent per day. The account offers

  • Debit card facility, to use at any global ATM machine as well as paying for goods and services hired abroad
  • It provides free online banking services
  • Access to global fund transferring and savings facilities in 21 different currencies free of charge although exchange rates will apply on cross-currency transfers
  • Access to a range of investments in different currencies and Foreign Exchange solutions on fluctuating exchange rates

Currencies supported by Citi are Euro (EUR), Great British Pound (GBP), Australian Dollars (AUD), Canadian Dollars (CAD), Danish Krone (DKK), Hong Kong Dollars (HKD), Japanese Yen (JPY), New Zealand Dollar (NZD), Norwegian Krone (NOK), Polish Zloty (PLN), Russian Rubles (RUB), United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED), US Dollars (USD), South African Rand (ZAR), Swedish Krona (SEK), Swiss Francs (CHF)

HSBC

HSBC offers Expat banking accounts, current accounts in three currencies, and linked savings accounts in 19 currencies.

To open a multi-currency account with HSBC, you must be 18 years or above and meet one of the following criteria:

  • own a minimum of 50,000 GBP or equivalent currency
  • have a sole salary of 100,000 GBP or equivalent currency
  • is a qualified HSBC Premier account holder in another country.

An HSBC Premier client in the U.S must have one of the following:

  • owns at least $75,000 in total deposits and/or investments
  • or at least have $5,000 in total direct deposits per month
  • or an active U.S. residential mortgage loan, an original loan amount of about $500,000

Currencies supported are Canadian Dollar (CAD), UK Sterling (GBP), US Dollar (USD), Euro (EUR), Australian Dollar (AUD), Czech Koruna (CZK), Danish Krone (DKK), Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), Hungarian Forint (HUF), Israeli Shekel (ILS), Japanese Yen (JPY), New Zealand Dollar (NZD), Chinese Renminbi (CNY), Saudi Arabian Riyal (SAR), South African Rand (ZAR), Swedish Krona (SEK), Swiss Franc (CHF), Singapore Dollar (SGD), Thai Baht (THB), UAE Dirham (AED), Norwegian Krone (NOK), Philippine Peso (PHP), Polish Zloty (PLN)

TIAA Bank

The TIAA Bank offers transactions in 21 different currencies through the World Currency Access Deposit Account.

To qualify you must have $2,500 to open an account or commit to a $100/month purchase plan.

Supported currencies: Australian Dollar (AUD), Brazilian Real (R$), British Pound (GBP), Canadian Dollar (CAD), Chinese Yuan (CNY), Czech Koruna (CZK), Danish Krone (DKK), Euro (EUR), Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), New Zealand Dollar (NZD), Norwegian Krone (KR), Polish Zloty (Z), Russian Ruble (RUB), Hungarian Forint (HUF), Indian Rupee (INR), Japanese Yen (JPY), Singapore Dollar(S$), South African Rand (R), Swedish Krona (SEK), Swiss Franc (CHF)

DBS

The DBS Corporate Multi-Currency Account helps maintain balances and perform transactions in 9 different currencies:

  • Does not permit currency conversions when transacting and adds no administrative costs
  • Simple to operate through online service
  • Automatically creates an EEFC (Exchange Earners' Foreign Currency) account as soon as funds are received and
  • Automatically links new currencies for transaction initiation and reporting

Supported currencies: Singapore Dollar (SGD), US Dollar (USD), Australian Dollar (AUD), Canadian Dollar (CAD), Euro (EUR), Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), British Pound (GBP), Japanese Yen (JPY), Swiss Franc (CHF) and Indian Rupee (INR)

However, every bank has its own policies and regulations subject to the laws of their local land and governance of countries where their branches operate. It is advisable to first learn about the policies and laws prevalent in your home country, followed by the bank of choice and respective countries and their currencies which will vary from country to country. If you are unsure about opening a multi-currency bank account, perhaps try owning a multi-currency debit card, like the Wise multi-currency debit card.

Wise

Wise is a mediatory financial institute facilitating multi-currency electronic money accounts. It is not a banking institution. It safeguards your transactions but is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) or any other protection scheme, unlike a bank account. You cannot get an overdraft or loan, nor earn any interest.

However, the Wise debit card benefits in the following way:

  • You can hold and receive money in about 50 currencies around the world with low conversion fees and zero transaction fees
  • You can get account details for some currencies you are to receive money in
  • You can send money from your account to a bank account whenever against a fixed fee charged, and a conversion fee when you send to a different currency
  • And, you can spend the currencies in your account around the world using the Wise debit card but first learn if the Wise card is available in your country

It is currently available for multi-currency account-holder residents in the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, Switzerland, and EEA.

In conclusion, a multi-currency account is a necessity in a digital world, managing transactions in multiple currencies is cheaper and faster with all your banking needs streamlined in one place. If you are only looking to transfer money internationally, online money transfer companies are likely to give you better rates. Compare before sending money internationally.

Banking regulations vary depending on the countries and local laws. For example, HSBC may offer multi-currency accounts but not in all countries where it operates. Such examples would be specific to countries or eligibilities. Hence, it is important to check with your local branch office if they offer similar services in your countries as regulations vary in each.

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