If you go abroad to work for a short period of time, you will probably end up keeping your own bank account back in the UK. Clients can pay you directly into that, and you can then get access to your money via an ATM whenever you want.
However, if you are going away for a longer period of time, things become more complicated and you may decide to open an offshore bank account.
Can You Keep Your Own Bank Account?
One of the big questions that people from the UK ask when they go abroad is whether they can keep their bank accounts from back home, and the answer is that it depends. Some banks allow you to do so, whereas others do not.
Expats like to keep their bank accounts because many have expenses that they have to continue paying back home, and if you are working remotely it makes it easy to receive payments from clients or employers. It also makes it a lot easier to have a bank account set up if you decide to return home because opening a new one can be a hassle.
The ExpatMoneyChannel currently has a campaign in place to give expats the right to keep their bank accounts back home and open bank accounts while living abroad (you can sign up here).
What Are Offshore Bank Accounts?
If you cannot keep your bank account, one of the only options available is to open an offshore bank account. These are bank accounts that are not based in the UK but in an offshore territory like Guernsey or Jersey, and they are offered by many of the larger banks such as HSBC and Barclays.
Sometimes offshore accounts provide free ATM withdrawals and the option to keep your money in various currencies, as well as access to credit. You may also be able to get help and advice when you are abroad through the bank’s local branches.
However, there is usually a monthly charge involved, and you may also have to make a minimum deposit. Also, the level of protection for your savings is lower. In UK banks, savings of up to £80,000 are protected, whereas this is not the same for offshore accounts.
One other major benefit is that you will not have to reclaim the tax on any interest you make. If you are living abroad as a resident of another country, you will not normally have to pay tax in the UK on any interest that you earn on your savings. If you have a standard bank account, you may need to ask your bank to stop taking tax from your savings, but you won’t have to worry about this with an offshore account.
Consider Your Banking Options
Offshore banking can be a great option for remote workers, but it really depends upon your situation. If your bank does not let you keep your bank account when you move abroad, it could be even more useful. However, even if you can keep your bank account, you may want an offshore account for the other benefits it provides. Look into your options and choose which works best for you, and make sure you take a trip to your bank to talk over your options a few months before you leave home.