What's the best bank account for a global nomad?

Yes, I’m using N26 actively myself. They follow Mastercard’s rates, which you can find here: https://www.mastercard.com/global/currencyconversion/

Exact markup compared to interbank varies a bit per currency pair, you can check the spread yourself on the page above. But from my experience, any bank that says 1% currency conversion fee really means 1% in addition to the MC or Visa rates, not the interbank rate…

An example:
These are MC’s rates for yesterday:
1 USD in EUR = 0.887705
1 EUR in USD = 1.126200

At these rates you can start with 100 EUR, change them to USD and back and end up with
100 EUR * 1.126200 * 0.887705 = 99.9733371 EUR

That means there’s a currency markup of only 0.01333145% per transaction. Not bad.

And I’ve personally tested that both N26 and Schwab actually give the rates they claim.


Yes, that is indeed not too bad.
If I am withdrawing from my HK HSBC card at a foreign ATM, I would usually have a difference of some 2% - same with Citibank HK.
I just received a Revolut card (a MasterCard). They claim to charge no fee / markup on most currencies. Well, we will see …

I used https://www.xoom.com/ to transfer money to myself when I arrive at certain countries. I did this before paypal bought them though so not sure how they work now. Worth a look though - worked fantastic when I visited Argentina a few years ago.

Get Charles Schwab checking account. They refund all your ATM fees. Full stop.

If you are doing business in multiple countries, then you need Transferwise borderless bank account. It’s the boss and having run the numbers, it comes up trumps.

I did an explainer video on youtube, just add this to the end of the YouTube URL. I promise it’s not spam just good advice /watch?v=urqtltmxiVw&t=108s

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Depending on how much money you’re talking, a good option can be Bank of Georgia SOLO + TBC Status accounts in Georgia.

You can open a bank account with just a passport, qualify for personal banking with a much smaller deposit than in most countries, and get an Amex Platinum, free withdrawals around the world, etc. + access to term deposit options with very favourable interest rates.