Is anyone using Charles Schwab vs N26 banks?

Hi nomads! I’m trying to figure out all props and cons of using Charles Schwab vs N26 banks. Is anyone using those banks? If yea - what you like/dont like about it. And if income is mostly in US which one is better to open?


Love to know a little more info to give you the best advice.

Is this a personal or business account?
Do you have a social?
Are you open to other banks apart from those above?

Personal account as i’m freelancing. Now i use payoneer, but they take like around 10% for withdrawals and support is like the worst one ever. The problem is that i’m not EU citizen and i don’t have social. I’m looking for a bank which allow to open an account without residency, with lowest fees for transactions around the world. Would be great to have this account in usd

  1. The best bank I’ve seen is - NO FEES ever but requires a social.

  2. The next idea I have would be to get out as they do all the work for you and even set up a US account and you don’t have to be stateside. Does have a cost up-front though but could be worth it.

  3. Can you visit the US? I know I was able to set up an account by just walking into a branch. I went with Chase as they integrate perfectly with Square Cash.

Schwab took my address change for my brokerage accounts and instantly shut down my checking account when they found out I was overseas. A big waste of time.

Schwab is great, but only if you have a SSN. You might be able to get N26 by having it shipped to a friend living in Germany or another country where they operate, but they don’t support all passports/nationalities (but it doesn’t hurt to try).

Revolut is also nice, but it’s not a fully featured bank account, just a prepaid card. You can hold USD, GBP and EUR on it, and there’s no FX fee when exchanging currencies. I think they have temporarily paused access for people outside Europe, but I think they will open up again once they get their own Mastercard license. I haven’t tried, but in theory you should be able to top up from your Payoneer card to your Revolut card, but you’ll probably be charged a FX fee.

If you can travel to the US, you can open a bank account at e.g. Chase, Wells Fargo, etc, but those cards are expensive to use abroad (usually 3-5% FX fee) and you’re charged quite significant fees ($10-15/mo) if you don’t maintain around $1500 minimum balance. Alternatively you can open only a savings account, then the minimum balance is often just $300 or so (if not there’s a ~$5 fee), and just use Transferwise or something similar to move the money to your day-to-day spending account. Or you can try opening an account in a local credit union. They normally have less fees. For example Patelco in the San Francisco Bay Area offers a checking and savings account free of charge (no monthly fees), with a debit card with only 1% FX fee.

My experience with Schwab has been flawless. Their card is honored at plenty of ATMs. ALL ATM fees are rebated, there are no currency fees and conversions are always posted at the current day’s rate. I couldn’t be happier.

I’ve had a Schwab High Yield Checking account for several years. It’s been awesome with the exception of how long it takes me to get money transferred into it. There is a 4-5 day hold once received by Schwab, which means more like 5-7 days from when I initiate the transfer from my regular personal checking. I’ve tried hacking around that to no avail (Square Cash / Dwolla).

See this thread for more on the topic: How can you avoid foreign banking, ATM, and transaction fees?

I make sure to use the card periodically when I go through the US, but literally only a couple times a year. Otherwise all my withdrawals are international and I’ve had them refund over $100 in fees in a single month.

I am using N26. I am non European, I was able to register in Berlin with my address ( I did not a visa at that time).

I only use it for spending money in Europe and transfer money through an account in Dubai, so zero fees for transfer.

It depends again on how large are your transactions. :wink:

Been using Schwab for years and it’s still the only bank I’ll actually rave about if given half a chance. I get all my deposits pretty much immediately, even the mobile check deposits I manually make, they return ATM fees wherever I happen to be withdrawing money from, their customer service people all speak English and go out of their way to be helpful and they’ll even do sweet little things, like reimbursing the cost to call them from a hotel line if my Skype connection is crap.
The only problem is that you do need an SSN to open the checking account, but I think there are exceptions if you open a brokerage/investment account, i.e. they allow citizens/residents of certain countries but not others.

Schwab customer service is great, I’m not sure I’d ever be able to go back to another bank. I rarely have to wait for an operator, and the people you get are always competent and friendly.

And yeah, the ATM fee refunds are ridiculously useful.

Yep, Schwab is excellent for traveling. Works everywhere, doesn’t tend to lock your card, customer service is easy to reach and helpful, etc. ATM fee rebates help a ton as well.

As mentioned above, it does seem like there can be additional hold time with some deposits though…however, this hasn’t proven to be an issue for me yet.