What are good US-based banks for digital nomads?

For some of us maintaining a US Based Bank is just a necessity. Either we never pick up residency abroad, or have a US based business for which a US based account makes life easy.

Purely online personal banking is a growing trend. Schwab has a great checking account that reimburses ATM fees and has no international fees, Simple is a new online only bank with tons of great features (though not so great for nomads abroad).

Anyone know of similar services for small business online?

Features I’m looking for:

  • Business accounts (not a human name on the account)
  • Great website experience
  • Photo Check deposit
  • Cheap / below-average transfer and wire fees
  • Cheap fees / minimum balance requirements
    I prefer storing my cash in personal accounts or investment accounts
  • Free international use of cards
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I thought I’d share this review of small business bank:

Banks for business suck. Also, a SmallBusinessBank review. Definitely read the article and the comments.

The TL;DR is that SBB has sketchily closed people’s accounts for dubious reasons, their web app is a mess, and the android app can’t make it through a check deposit without crashing.

Everbank might be the only alternative these days :expressionless:

I use Capital One 360. No minimums, interest paid on all funds, depending on balance, no ATM fees, No international fees, I can create as many named sub-accounts as I need which helps with budgeting, photo deposits, etc. They used to be ING Direct.


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@wanderingdev, interesting! I had an ING Direct account back in the day, but I didn’t know they now had a business product offering. It looks like its just a savings account though… can you receive check deposits and wires? Also, you have an ATM card for the savings account?

I don’t use it for business so you would have to read the description or contact them. I just mentioned them because I know they have business accounts and their personal accounts fit your requirements so their business might as well.

If it’s like my 360 checking account, incoming domestic wires are free, but they don’t do incoming international wires – a big strike against it if you have overseas clients who pay by wire transfer only. Love the zero international fees, though. That includes ATM, too, @Ramblurr, yes. I lucked out and found a no-fee ATM close to my place in Barcelona, so between that and my debit card, it’s just like being home.

I have a Charles Schwab High Investor Savings Account. No foreign ATM fees. And for a credit card I use United Mileage Plus Card & Amex Platinum - no foreign transaction fees. For my business account I have a JPMorgan Chase - all of these are connected so I can transfer money easily. Typical married banking I use Ally - high interest on savings!

Just got my application to Everbank rejected. The official reason was that they can’t open accounts for businesses operating outside the USA, despite the fact I am a US citizen, have (mostly) US clients, and do all my business legally from the USA.

As my address I gave them my mail forwarding address in SD, but they wanted a physical location. If I had given them some address, a friend or family, I suspect they would have given me the account without any hassle.

But I was trying to do it without any hinkyness, and, well, now I’m still stuck with BoA’s expensive business checking :cry:

@Juan: Yea, the no incoming international wire transfer fees are why I can’t use Capital One 360.

So I’m still looking for an digital nomad friendly bank with small business products ala Simple.

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Having said that, @Ramblurr, I just used TransferWise for the first time today and because the money never travels across borders, you can use it to receive money from clients abroad just fine, even on Capital One 360 – free for the sender on the 1st transaction too, and with significantly less fees (and time + hassle) than PayPal etc. afterwards.

This is a godsend, though it doesn’t work in the country where I have the most clients (Brazil), at least not in the direction I need it to (Brazil=>USA), so I’m hoping they figure that out soon.

Capital One is a good one if you have a SSN (or perhaps TIN), but they don’t let you wire money in or out (to me, domestic ACH is not a wire) and there are no business accounts.

We’ve used Schwab’s brokerage and high-yield checking accounts for the last 4 years abroad and would definitely recommend them. No ATM fees, wires are super easy and quick, overdraft protection from your brokerage account at no cost, and excellent customer service. This is probably with all US banks, but it’s important to keep a US resident address active or they’ll close your account. I mentioned that I relocated to SA a few months ago and they said they’d need to close my account. I gave them my parents address and said I’m back in the states a few months a year, all was sorted.

I absolutely LOVE CapitalOne 360, but they only offer a business savings at the moment. I called them not long ago and they said they’ll be offering a business checking sometime in the not-so-distant future. Otherwise, great bank.

I question Capital One’s ethics in my experience dealing with them.

Yes, can understand that, but Capital One 360 is a separate branch of the company that used to be ING. I’ve had great service and no problems with in 8 years.

all the research I’ve been doing I keep hearing Charles Swab is great for traveling… I use TDbank which also don’t have many fees and reimburses you for some fees also.

Anyone not from the US (maybe Belgium/Netherlands) has a Charles Swab international account? Looks like it’s the same as the one for US citizens, but with a $10 000 minimum deposit :confused:

Not a lot of other/better options for me in Belgium I’m afraid…

I have a Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card, not international fees and good points on travel + dining. Might not be easiest card to obtain however.

Word of warning about using Simple.com debit card abroad: DON’T

  • High fees.
  • They’ve blocked my card twice, despite me notifying them of travel.
  • They blocked the entire country of South Africa whilst I was there!!
  • No Chip, easy target of card skimmers (I got skimmed in London).

Well, how about looking into Number26 in Germany for example? See my recent Medium post about it for details: https://medium.com/nomad-gate/the-world-s-best-bank-accounts-for-international-travelers-and-nomads-3257e6839cff

I think the international Schwab account is meant for investing, not regular checking accounts, so even with a $10K deposit you would be out of luck. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding Number26 or any of the other banks I mention in the post.

Note: these are personal accounts, not business accounts, if that’s what you were looking for.

Yea, my intention of this thread was to discussbusiness bank accounts, which is an even further under-served market than personal bank accounts for full time travelers.

Anyone know of similar services for small business online?
Yes. I use Wells Fargo for my LLC and I think they are reasonable.

Business accounts (not a human name on the account)
Yup. You will likely have to set it up in person though.

Great website experience
Its not Simple, but it’s reasonable for a bank. Integrates nicely with most accounting software. They show you your check deposits, they have PDFs of statements, bill pay is good.

Photo check deposit
On my account, it’s $2.5k daily limit and a $5k monthly limit. It’s kind of terrible.

I use Earth Class Mail for my business mail and they can deposit paper checks of any size. It’s $15 per mailing and $5 per check in the mailing. ECM ends up being a lot cheaper than paying the 3% on accepting Paypal.

Cheap / below-average transfer and wire fees
Most of my clients pay electronically through international wires or ACH. Incoming transfers are $15 for domestic transfers and $16 for international. Outgoing transfers are $30 for domestic transfers and depends for international. As with all wires, there is sometimes an arbitrary amount of money taken out by intermediary banks. It’s usually a small amount (under $50). See the simple business account summary and the Wells Fargo service fees for more.

To take money out of the company you can do bill pay to send checks to yourself or free/cheap transfers via ACH. You can also set up direct deposit and payroll, but those have monthly fees which are fair, but don’t really fit with my company’s variable revenue.

Cheap fees / minimum balance requirements
Depends on the type of account but for the basic account, the monthly fee is $10. That fee is waived if you have an average monthly balance of $500 and choose to receive online statements only.

Free international use of cards
$5 per ATM withdrawal outside of the US and 3% of international debit card purchase fee. There might also be currency conversion fees, but I don’t think so. See the simple business account summary and the Wells Fargo service fees for more.

I’d recommend getting a Capital One Spark Business credit card for your company purchases because they have no foreign transaction fees. And you can get a [Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking] (http://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/banking_lending/checking_account) account for the free international ATM withdrawals and have the company reimburse you for the personal money you are using.

Personal banking
For personal banking, I like to have a primary and backup accounts. I like Schwab and Ally for checking. Both have free ATM withdrawals and Ally has crazy high limits ($50k) for photo deposit and good rates on savings accounts.

For credit cards, I like Capital One Spark Business (you can register yourself as a business) for it’s 2% unlimited cashback and the Chase Sapphire for good points on flights, hotels, and restaurants. Both have no foreign transaction fees.