Americans Need to Consider Banking Before Moving to Europe

Americans Need to Consider Banking Before Moving to Europe
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Foreigners from around the world have been moving to Europe to take advantage of the lower cost of living and in some cases the lower taxes. Several European countries have even begun to offer attractive golden visa programs, which in certain instances can lead to citizenship. Recently, a rising number of Americans in particular have been drawn to the allure of Europe, seeking new experiences and opportunities beyond their homeland’s borders. For some, this transition comes as a quest for a slower, more balanced pace of life, free from the relentless hustle and bustle often associated with American cities. Others make the change due to the appeal of universal healthcare, generous vacation policies, and strong social safety nets in several European countries 

But what many people are finding is that organizing their life in Europe is extremely challenging if you don’t already have a local bank account. This is because many European countries require an account that is domiciled locally in order to make basic payments, ranging from utility bills to monthly cell phone payments. 

Unfortunately, the process to open a European bank account as a non-resident is challenging to navigate, especially from abroad. In fact, in several popular European destinations, individuals are struggling to open accounts altogether. 

One example is opening accounts with banks in Portugal, which are notoriously difficult to access. One significant obstacle is the country’s strict anti-money laundering and know-your-customer regulations. Portuguese banks are required to conduct thorough due diligence on potential clients to verify their identity and source of funds. This often involves submitting a substantial amount of documentation, such as proof of address, tax identification numbers, and financial statements, which can be more complicated for non-residents. However, if applicants know which specific banks match their profile and are actually willing to onboard them prior to arriving in Portugal, account opening is possible.

That said, another option worth exploring is finding the best online bank account in Europe for your needs. Unlike the United States, Europe is home to a wide variety of digital banking platforms and services. Still, each platform has its own onboarding and residency requirements applicants need to navigate.

Have a Plan Beforehand

Individuals planning to spend extended periods of time in Europe or acquiring residency in Europe should consider opening bank accounts prior to moving. Having a bank account in place prior to arrival can help streamline the move and make obtaining other local services much easier. 

Lower Exchange Rates

Local European bank accounts in your preferred country also offer lower cost ATM withdrawals, lower currency exchange rates, and an immediate way to send and receive SEPA payments for services related to a move.

Use GlobalBanks IQ

GlobalBanks IQ is a membership platform that provides members with access to over 150 banks in 50 jurisdictions, including top European banks that accept foreign non-residents, international businesses, and support cross-border banking. Through the GlobalBanks database, members can quickly determine which banks meet their specific requirements and are suitable for their client profile. They can then follow step-by-step guides and in depth reports to navigate the account opening process and identify banks that match their needs. This is then supplemented with direct support from our team of banking experts in our members-only Q&A.

No matter which part of the process you’re in, be sure to trust the team at GlobalBanks throughout your journey of deciding where to bank when moving to Europe.

About GlobalBanks:

The GlobalBanks team comprises a group of subject-matter experts from across the banking world, including former bankers, analysts, investors, and entrepreneurs. All team members have in-depth knowledge and experience in various aspects of international banking. In particular, they have expertise in banking and payments for foreigners, non-residents, and both foreign and offshore companies. The team combines deep industry knowledge with first-hand experience and direct customer reviews to share the most suitable banking options and the most effective way to open accounts.

For more information about GlobalBanks, visit them online at

Kevin Smith
Head of Customer Success


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