Whether you are planning a working holiday or a permanent move overseas, how you manage banking from abroad can have a huge impact on the experience. Opening a bank account is one of those essential steps that must be taken early on if you are working overseas or need easier access to local money. One of the benefits of having accounts with a global bank like HSBC is that you can get things organised easily before your leave.
HSBC is one of the world’s largest financial organisations, operating in over 81 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, North and Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.
What that means is that wherever you are moving, there is a good chance that there will be an HSBC branch around, particularly in metropolitan regions.
With such a global focus, HSBC has also set up an International Banking centre that specialises in helping you make a move overseas.
The centre offers a range of financial services, including opening bank and credit card accounts in your destination country, outlining differences in policies and mapping where HSBC branches will be available for you to access.
HSBC also has a range of foreign currency accounts that can help you bank between Australia and other countries, so that you can pay for things using the right money whether you have moved for good or still travel back and forth.
But the benefits of HSBC’s International Banking centre go beyond the actual “banking”.
HSBC also has services and information to help you find ideal insurance options, family healthcare, insurance, taxation and even accommodation.
The resources available through this bank are even better if you have an HSBC Premier account, as HSBC outlines:
“In many HSBC Premier markets, we can open an account and arrange a credit card for you overseas, before you leave home, transferring your credit history so you can access your HSBC Premier services as soon as you arrive in a new country.
“Your HSBC Premier Relationship Manager understands expat life and can also offer access to a dedicated HSBC Premier international team, with a range of multi-currency (offshore) banking and investment solutions, helping you make the most of financial planning opportunities whilst you are living and working abroad.”
An HSBC Premier Relationship Manager is, in a way, like having a personal concierge. They can help with almost any enquiry and also refer you to more relevant resources when they are not familiar with any topics you raise.
While HSBC Premier accounts definitely offer you more benefits, they are not available for everyone.
But even if you do not have a Premier account before you leave, it could be worthwhile considering similar HSBC credit cards in the country you move to, so that the banking transition is easier and you do not have to deal with foreign currency fees every time you pay with plastic.
Like the HSBC credit cards available in Australia, there are usually a few options wherever you move.
In the UK, for example, HSBC has a standard credit card with a representative annual percentage rate (APR) of 17.9%, a student credit card with a 18.9% representative APR and a Premier card with a 11.9% APR.
HSBC Canada has a similar selection of credit cards but offers two Premier options, while the Hong Kong division has 10 cards to choose from.
The process of applying for a credit card is fairly similar wherever you are, which can make it hard to get a new card in a new country. Some places, like America, even have cards designed specifically for newcomers, though the terms and conditions can often seem a lot more restrictive.
The advantage that you have when you already use a global bank such as HSBC is that they will be able to communicate with the overseas managers and staff to support a new application.
They should also be able to find out more about credit in the country you are moving to so that you have a better idea of whether or not a card will be the right choice for your situation.
Very few other banks in Australia offer these types of services. In fact, Citi is the only other financial service provider that promotes international banking services.
While banking may be something you had planned to leave until you set foot in your new country, HSBC has made it easier to do beforehand.
And with all of the resources of the HSBC International Banking centre at hand, that means you can prepare for almost everything and hit the ground running when you finally land.
Pauline is a personal finance expert at CreditCard.com.au, with 8 years in money, budgeting and property reporting under her belt. Pauline is passionate about seeing Aussies win by making their money – and their credit cards – work smarter, harder and bigger.
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