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What's the best bank for South African digital nomads?


in South Africa by @kirst85 | 5yr  | 12 comments

Iโ€™m a South African about to become a Nomad next year. I will still be employed by a South African company and receive a salary into my FNB bank account monthly.

I will be mostly based in Serbia but plan on travelling a lot. Does anyone have any advice on the best bank account to have? Is there a way to not get charged a small fortune in ATM charges and avoid getting my account frozen for using it in lots of countries?

Iโ€™m unsure of the best way to handle things. Should I try get another bank account outside of SA (Can I even do that)? I also have a British Passport if that makes a difference.

If any of you have any experienced advice I would be very grateful, Thanks in advance!

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@ronald | 2yr

Iโ€™m with FNB and my card (normal cheque card) worked fine throughout my 4 years + in Asia.

Also slightly off topic, this morning I noticed that FNB got a built in form that issues bank letters and stuff, specifically for visa applications - in the past I physically had to go to the bank to get that issued.

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@kirst85 | 5yr

Hi, so you are right, Capitec does work the same as you have said @theunis .
So Iโ€™ve opened an account.

However I have just come across this which looks amazing!


Itโ€™s free, its an app and Bank Card (which they will deliver worldwide)
You can send and spend money globally with zero fees. And they donโ€™t charge any conversion fees.
Works with a lot of currencies and worldwide, no ATM fees and uses the interbank exchange rate. Iโ€™m gonna sign up and see how it gos.

Here is a thread on this forum discussing the service.

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@theunisk | 5yr

@Kirst85 have you been using revolut? If so, how has it been working for you? How has your experience been with depositing money into the account & the fees involved?

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@theunisk | 5yr

Ah I had thought you could only get one if you were in the UK. I was actually planning on signing up when I go to London next month.
It does seem great, although there are still charges related to getting money into the account & the loss of interest you can earn from your Capitec account (4.7% or something). With the ZAR tanking, it seems like a good idea though. Let me know how it goes if you donโ€™t mind.

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@kirst85 | 5yr

Hi, here for an update.
Iโ€™m leaving in a month so I neglected this till now.

Iโ€™m with FNB currently, they charge 2.75% of the amount on swipes (thats the currency conversion fee)
For ATM withdrawals its 2.75% plus R50.
If you go into an actual bank to withdraw money its 2.75% plus R50 AND R 1.65 per R 100.

Iโ€™m upgrading from a gold to a platinum/premier account because its not that much more expensive and I get access to the 24/7 Platinum Call Centre where I can get issues sorted out should I have any.

I ruled out FNBโ€™s global account because these are the currencies supported:
US Dollar , Euro, GBP, Australian Dollar, Indian Rupee, Chinese Renminbi

If you are in a country that does not use those currencies (i.e. Serbia where I will mostly be based) then the fees become much higher and it makes it not worth it.

Iโ€™m going to Capitec tomorrow to check out their global one account to see if its still the same. It seems so from the website so its probably the way to go.

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@theunisk | 5yr

Should be - at least mine still works the same.
FYI you only need wifi to access the banking app and even if your phone is not connected, you can still generate token passwords offline using the app to log in using a browser (I give this unsolicited as I got incorrect/bad information from multiple capitec staff members regarding this).

Enjoy the balkans!

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@anon82020850 | 5yr

Just came across this article this morning which may also help you:

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@anon82020850 | 5yr

I can basically just confirm what @theunis saysโ€ฆ

When I left SA about 3 years ago I did research and at that time Capitec was the cheapest. Their actual transaction fee was around R40 for ATM withdrawals (though I see theunis says it is now R45), but the key was that they did not charge any currency conversion fees.

Some of the other banks had a little lower transaction fee, but all of them charged a 5% currency conversion fee on top which made the transaction very expensive.

For the past year I have been using a local bank in Thailand as I have sort-of settled down here for a while, but before that I used the Capitec bank card all the time and never had a any problems. I had to use it again about 3 months ago and all still worked fine.

Just make sure you tell them that you will be using it overseas for an extended period, so they donโ€™t block the transactions as suspicious.

I would suggest though that you have a backup card from another bank just in caseโ€ฆ

Edit: BTW, if you are going to be in Europe exclusively you can perhaps look into FNBโ€™s Global Account which is a foreign currency based account (https://www.fnb.co.za/travel-products/global-acc.html). That should protect you a but against the Rand fluctuating, and also since it is already in the foreign currency there should be no currency conversion fees. Not 100% sure about the details though, so just enquire at your bank.

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@kirst85 | 5yr

Thanks @jerriep

I was thinking multiple banks would be a good idea. I will check out the FNB Global Account and let you guys know what I find out. But I will also be doing a small bit of travel to the US & Canada, but maybe multiple accounts could solve that.

Do you know anything about the legal implications (in South Africa) of having an offshore bank account since you have one in Thailand?

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@anon82020850 | 5yr

I am not aware of any legal implications, but also my situation was a little different from what I suspect yours will be. I worked for a local Thai company so it was Thai income that went into my Thai bank account. As far as SARS was concerned I just had to declare it as foreign income. I never moved money from SA into my Thai bank account.

If I understand your situation correctly you want to take money out of the country and deposit in a foreign bank account? If so you will be limited by the exchange control laws. Last I checked the amount you are allowed to take out of the country per annum was quite generous - somewhere in the R1 million region.

You need to check on the Reserve Bankโ€™s website though, or consult with a professional in this area.

Share what you learn here though please :smile:

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@theunisk | 5yr

Heya. Iโ€™ve been travelling through the balkans for the past 3 months. Back home I did quite a bit of research on this, and overall I think capitec has the lowest fees - R45 for an international cash withdrawal and free swipes, which I havenโ€™t had any trouble with. For both of these, at times the exchange rate was the rate you get when you google it, at the worst it was around 0.5% above that - Not sure if this is simply due to the randโ€™s recent volatility though.

I wanted to look into https://number26.de/ further, but didnโ€™t get around to it. Not sure if itโ€™s possible to get an account with them if youโ€™re not a german resident (Iโ€™ve read some conflicting information around the web). The legal issues surrounding keeping money in a foreign bank account is not very clear to me though - SA is quite strict about forex. Capitec did warn me my account might get frozen if I use it overseas for longer than 3 months - couldnโ€™t explain why though.

Whereabouts will you be travelling to?

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@kirst85 | 5yr

Thanks @theunis
Iโ€™ve also looked into https://number26.de/ but as far as I could tell you have to have a German address for them to ship the card to. Also as you mentioned there may be a lot of legal implications in having an offshore account.

It does worry me that Capitec said the card could be frozen, I donโ€™t intend to be back in SA for about a year and a half at least. And only then for a visit.

Iโ€™m going to be travelling to Serbia initially. My boyfriend is originally from there and has family there. We plan on using it as a base as we can stay and live there very cheaply to save money to fund our travels. Our first plan after that is to visit Family in Canada for a short time, but after that mainly travelling around Europe & Eastern Europe - France, UK, Greece, Croatia, Turkey etc etc.

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Read and participate in 14,056 discussions on Nomad List

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Are there any digital nomads in the Islands e.g Bermuda, Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis?


in Antigua, Guatemala by @momo11 | 9d 9 days ago | 0 comments

Does anyone ever travel to any Islands like Bermuda, Barbados, Barbuda and St. Kitts & Nevis?

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Tax advisor for permanent nomads?


by @eljaques | 12d 12 days ago | 1 comment

I'm in need of a tax advisor who understands "our" typical situation. I'm all good on being legal on taxes at this point, but as I'm doing more investing and there's more compliance and KYC and such, it's getting more complicated to deal with this topic. Not living in my country of citizenship, company in another country, resident in yet another country, banking in a different country ... you know how it is, a pile of red flags.

Would be great to find a good tax advisor to sort things in a way that makes my situation as "explainable" and easily dealt with as possible. Any leads?

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How to get into the digital nomad lifestyle?


in Switzerland by @filiptk | 25d 24 days ago | 1 comment

Hi, I've got a question to anyone who had experience with the digital nomad lifestyle. I'm 24, I'm in my last year of university doing computer science, got 3 years of experience mostly doing web development.

I never liked the idea of staying in one place, getting a job and growing roots - hence the will to take the opportunity and travel the world. My main question is โ€“ how do I go about it? Are there any useful resources I could look into?

How do I go about insurance and such once I decide to move. I currently live in Switzerland and do freelance work for one company. It's not a lot, since my studies don't allow me to pick up a full time job, but it allows me to cover simple expenses.

I'd be happy to get some insight into how things work and also happy to network with anyone interested.

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What's the best thing to do with your phone/ your phone number when travelling?


in Poland by @davda1546 | 1mo 1 month ago | 6 comments

Hey, hope everyone is well!

We're leaving in a month to go travelling. Our first destination is still to be confirmed, but will likely be Poland or Slovakia. We will be moving around every month or two to different destinations.

The question we have is: what do people do with phones/ phone numbers when hopping from country to country? Ideally we'd just like one number for the whole trip (even better, the number we already have) wherever we go, rather than getting new SIMs with different numbers.

This is just so it's easier to keep in contact with family/ clients/ etc.

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What is the best online insurance for digital nomads ?


by @berberos | 3mo 2 months ago | 4 comments

Hi guys ! hope you are doing well.

I would love to get your feedback regarding the best insurance for digital nomads. i'm traveling around Asia since 1 year and for next 4 or 5 years. Would love to buy an insurance to cover especially :

- health

- laptop, phone ...

- Flights

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What's the best SIM card you can get for traveling to Spain?


in Spain by @gabygarreau | 4mo 4 months ago | 3 comments

Hi! I want to relocate to Spain and I was wondering if someone can recommend a SIM card with a good data package.

Thanks

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Any Ph.D students dissertating while a digital nomad?


by @larsheather | 7mo 6 months ago | 5 comments

Anyone know of any groups or resources for Ph.D. students working on dissertation while living as a digital nomad? I know there are several virtual writing groups around, but wondered if there were any specifically for digital nomads, particularly those who are dissertating.

Thanks!

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Does international health insurance for digital nomads exist?

 

by @al_steffen | 7mo 7 months ago | 59 comments

Hey Nomads!

Iโ€™m looking for an international health insurance (no travel insurance) for my nomadic life. It should cover the basic services and at least be accepted in the EU (itโ€™s ok if itโ€™s not accepted in the US as Iโ€™m aware they rarely are). Nice to have: enter into a contract online. Anyone got a good experience or a recommendation?

Thanks in advance!

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I dream of being a digital nomad? How do I do it?


by @programmingmark | 8mo 8 months ago | 2 comments

Hello digital nomad!

I dream of being an independent digital nomad. But it feels very elusive & unattainable with my success rate. In full disclosure, whilst I have dreamed about making money online since high school; I have not earned a single cent making money online. $0, nada, zilch!! On the contrary, I have spent a lot of time & money on books, podcasts. Even though I have spent a lot of time reading/listening to others, I do not have anything to show for it!

I have made attempts in the past to start an online business, but these fizzle out quite quickly when I do not see traction especially when the goal I have set myself is too high.

Instead of reaching for the ultimate nomadic lifestyle goal, I want to start much smaller. Really small! I am simply looking to make $50 profit per month from a new online business. Thatโ€™s it.

I need some advice from you please!

  • Is $50 profit too low? How long did it take you to earn $50 profit per month?

  • What is a good way of achieving this goal?

Thanks
Mark
aka the $0 online business entrepreneur

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How do digital nomads pay tax?


by @rodriigovieira | 9mo 9 months ago | 19 comments

Hello everyone! Iโ€™m new here and probably this is a very newbie question, but it doesnโ€™t leave my head.

How do you, nomads, pay your taxes? I mean, if youโ€™re constantly traveling, how are you going to pay taxes for a certain country if you are going to stay there a short period of time?
Or do you return to your โ€œoriginal countryโ€ and then pay them?

By the way, this forum has very nice cool formatting features! :smile:

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Central America - Where and what's next?


by @as11 | 9mo 9 months ago | 11 comments

Currently in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico and heading to Santa Teressa, Costa Rica next week.
Then Aruba in the Caribbean Sea for Christmas and New Year.

However I feel I want to head back to Central America to bring living costs down, rather than staying in the Caribbean Sea among the expensive Islands.

This means I have around 2 - 2,5 month of unplanned travelling.
Any digital nomads who have ideas about where to head in that timeframe?

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Best place for Digital Nomad in Latin America?


by @rose_davis | 11mo 11 months ago | 7 comments

Hi!

I am planning to move to Latin America for 3-4 months (Oct-January). Iโ€™ve narrowed down 6 different places that I want to visit before committing to settling down, but Iโ€™d love to get some community input.

Here are the cities Iโ€™m considering:

  • Quito, Ecuador
  • Cuenca, Ecuador
  • Medellin, Columbia
  • Cartagena, Columbia
  • Antigua, Guatemala
  • San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala

The most important things Iโ€™m looking for:

  • Fast/easily accessible internet
  • Easy to meet other nomads/make friends in general
  • Safe for women
  • Some sort of spiritual community (Iโ€™m also a yoga teacher)
  • Easily walkable city

Anyone have any experience with these places and can give some insight? Iโ€™m also completely open to other recommendations.

Thanks!
Rose

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How do we solve housing for digital nomads?

 

by @levelsio | 11mo 11 months ago | 61 comments

Thereโ€™s been a lot of discussion on this recently.

Nomads usually stay in hostels, hotels and short-term apartments. But itโ€™s all not very optimal.

Iโ€™ve heard people suggest getting funding and building a network of houses you can stay at for a subscription price (e.g. Bruno Haid is working on that).

I donโ€™t want do physical stuff, so Iโ€™m thinking of building a platform around making housing better for nomads.

What are the housing problems nomads face? And how can we solve them with products/services?

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What's the first step now that I can work remotely?


by @mariaplslourdes | 1yr 1 year ago | 4 comments

Hi everyone and nice to e-meet you!
finally, after so long I found a job that allows me to work remotely.
But now? Do you have any practical advice that I can use to approach this new world?
In particular, I have to put my tax situation in order, do you know a good tax advisor from whom I can ask for advice? (Iโ€™m Italian but I live in Franceโ€ฆI donโ€™t know how long it will beโ€ฆ) )
Beyond that, any advice is welcome.
Thank you!
Maria

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How is Sicily for digital nomads?


by @gaelm | 1yr 1 year ago | 15 comments

Hi all, I was looking for a cool spot in Southern Europe for winter and Iโ€™m considering Sicilyโ€ฆ Have you ever been there? If yes, how was your experience? If not, why?
thanks!

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How is Bari, Italy for digital nomads?


in Bari, Italy by @mitch_dina | 1yr 1 year ago | 7 comments

Greetings!
Does anyone have experience in Bari, Italy please? We are thinking of going from Dubrovnik, Croatia to Bari by boat in mid-March. Has anyone taken a boat across? Is it nice or can it be choppy? (We are trying to avoid planes, to reduce our carbon footprint, so adding more surface travel.) Also, any info you might be able to offer about Bari and the surrounds? Next step will likely be trains up Italy as the Spring progresses.

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How is Mauritius for digital nomads?


in Mauritius by @wakkos | 1yr 1 year ago | 14 comments

Hello all,

Iโ€™m planning on spending a couple of month in Mauritius Island and even when Iโ€™ve been there for a week, never rented or worked there.

Does anyone here has tips or experience to share about Mauritius?

Cheers!

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Are there any digital nomad fitness retreats?


by @ryanjames | 1yr 1 year ago | 1 comment

Hey all:

Does anyone here have any experience attending a full time fitness bootcamp or a fitness resort while working? I know there is one in Cambodia for digital nomads (Fitness Retreat Resort Kep Gym), unfortunately the time difference vs my work schedule would make my life suck if I tried to go there. Iโ€™m looking for a place between US and Europe timezones that lets you live with them, kicks your butt with fitness, but would also have good WiFi/accommodate working eight hours a day. Iโ€™m also open to other tangential ideas for something close-ish to get that same experience.

Thanks for any help!

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Best place to set up a company selling digital services?


by @pras_k | 1yr 1 year ago | 10 comments

Whatโ€™s the best place?
For residency Iโ€™m looking at Portugal and they have the NHR (non habitual resident) program which would exempt dividends from foreign income.
So all Iโ€™m really looking for is the best place to actually start the company.
Biggest factors are of course low taxes and ease of setting up the company plus a business bank account that enables me to receive payments through Stripe.

What I found so far:
Hong Kong
Corporate tax rate of 16.5% (8.25% for the first HK$2 million)
โŠ•/โŠ– offshore income from outside HK is exempt from taxation but itโ€™s not clear whether this can be done in the first year and prorated or if itโ€™s only through filing the offshore exemption claim. This might take two years and requires not income from HK at all. More info on that would be great
โŠ– seems very difficult to get a business bank account
โŠ– necessary services and fees are roughly around โ‚ฌ2000 / year
โŠ– accounting requirements seem to be very strict
โŠ• Doesnโ€™t require local partner
โŠ• Agencies available that seem to handle most of the work

Singapore
Corporate tax rate of 17% (0% on the first S$100k, 8.5% up to S$300k)
โŠ– requires a local director. What are the implications of this?

Malta
Corporate tax rate of 35%
There is the โ€œfull imputation systemโ€ but I donโ€™t really understand it.
"In most cases, the tax refund to the shareholder is 6/7 of the tax paid by the company on profits distributed as dividends. The tax refund rate may be different in the following cases: " This would result in an effective corporate tax of around 5%.
โŠ– European customers would have to pay VAT and Iโ€™d have to deal with that

Cyprus
Corporate tax rate of 12.5% and there seem to be ways to lower this
โŠ– European customers would have to pay VAT and Iโ€™d have to deal with that
โŠ– requires staying in Cyprus for 2 months / year

I find it surprising how much research this requires and how much โ€œit dependsโ€ information is out there when Iโ€™d assume that there are probably thousands of digital nomads who probably have very similar requirements.

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Do you "out" yourself as a digital nomad?


by @larsheather | 1yr 1 year ago | 2 comments

When you meet new people or reconnect with old friends, do you โ€œoutโ€ yourself as a digital nomad? The simple question โ€œwhere do you live?โ€ makes us uncertain now. We wonder if some places may be less welcoming to digital nomads, or if โ€œdigital nomadโ€ has a negative connotation in some places. If you are forthcoming from the start, does your status as a digital nomad make it hard to form friendships?

We would love to hear how other people navigate thisโ€ฆ how to balance being authentic in relationships vs. withholding the context (and allowing people to assume youโ€™re on vacation, for example).

Thanks!

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