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Old 21.12.2011, 05:34
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International bank options? (American Expat)

Looks like banking options are a bit diverse. I desire to have the ability to use my credit cards that are linked to an Account in the US, or at least be able to pay them from my US account. I would prefer a true international bank, that allows me to move my money around. I thought UBS was this bank, but was wrong.

Who do you prefer? Why?
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Old 21.12.2011, 11:12
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Re: International bank options? (American Expat)

I haven't found anything like you're talking about that will work for Americans. As a result, we have a Swiss credit card, an American credit card, a Swiss bank account with Credit Suisse and an American account with Bank of America. As needed, money is transferred to the American bank account. American credit card is used sparingly. I would be curious if others have different experiences.
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Old 21.12.2011, 21:35
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Re: International bank options? (American Expat)

There is no option like that. You will need to build and maintain separate finances during your time here; acquire an account with a local bank and also with Swiss debit/credit cards.
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Old 21.12.2011, 21:59
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Re: International bank options? (American Expat)

Might give HSBC a try as you see ads saying they're your local bank worldwide, but I have no experience of banking with them and you do need to have several thousand you want to deposit to get one of their supposedly international accounts.

As anowheels says, just set up Swiss bank accounts/credit cards and transfer money between accounts as needed. That's what we do with our UK finances. You can sometimes even make a little money with transfers depending on what the currency exchange rates are like; was better a few years ago of course. Shouldn't be that expensive: a UBS monthly standing order costs us CHF5 to send to UK and our bank there takes off £6 from the amount when it arrives at their end and those figures are for both small and large amounts. It's very easy to stop and start a standing order either by e-bank or simply sending them the altered form in the post.
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Old 22.12.2011, 00:21
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Re: International bank options? (American Expat)

Even with HSBC you can't really do that. Even with "global" banks like HSBC each countries has a separate entity. I think this is related to each nations banking laws.

I'm sure some of our banking EFers could shed more light on this.
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Old 26.12.2011, 03:07
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Re: International bank options? (American Expat)

I haven't even managed to find a US bank (tried HSBC and Chase) that can open an account in any other currency than USD, so the sort of cross-border sophistication you're looking for seems vanishingly unlikely!

We've recently moved to the US and are hitting banking walls all over the place, thanks to parochialism and FATCA: the US banks are in denial that there are any other countries or currencies in the world, and the banks in other countries don't want US citizens or resident taxpayers holding accounts. We've ended up with accounts in 3 currencies spread over 3 countries - not ideal, but then neither are the exchange rates.
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Old 26.12.2011, 11:03
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Re: International bank options? (American Expat)

We bank with one of the biggies, and keep separate US and CH accounts. Given the complexities of being an American abroad, this is the solution that works out best for us.

To make it simpler, choose US and CH advisers who are used to working together.

Oh, and once you have experienced the wailing and gnashing of teeth that is part and parcel of life under FBAR/FATCA - do drop your senators and congressional representatives a note describing the difficulties you encounter as you do your bit to promote US interests abroad...
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Old 30.12.2011, 10:47
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Re: International bank options? (American Expat)

Yes, I also have the same scheme, separate US and CH accounts. If there are any better options out there please tell me.

I believe FATCA has been postponed and only FBAR filing to the Treasury Department will be required for accounts held abroad during the 2012 calendar year. Any updates on FATCA? I hope it gets tossed away!

Whichever presidential candidate promises to reduce taxes (or even better, repeal the IRS tax code that requires Americans abroad to file and pay taxes) has my vote in the upcoming elections!
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Old 30.12.2011, 11:11
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Re: International bank options? (American Expat)

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Yes, I also have the same scheme, separate US and CH accounts. If there are any better options out there please tell me.

I believe FATCA has been postponed and only FBAR filing to the Treasury Department will be required for accounts held abroad during the 2012 calendar year. Any updates on FATCA? I hope it gets tossed away!

Whichever presidential candidate promises to reduce taxes (or even better, repeal the IRS tax code that requires Americans abroad to file and pay taxes) has my vote in the upcoming elections!
I would suggest Post Finance although there are no affiliates in the US.

Basically, banking in the US and banking in Switzerland are two different animals and should be treated as such.
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Old 30.12.2011, 18:36
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Re: International bank options? (American Expat)

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Looks like banking options are a bit diverse. I desire to have the ability to use my credit cards that are linked to an Account in the US, or at least be able to pay them from my US account. I would prefer a true international bank, that allows me to move my money around. I thought UBS was this bank, but was wrong.

Who do you prefer? Why?
I use USAA in the US and UBS here. USAA is a great bank to have and are truly international as they support the US military. Transfers from UBS cost 10 chf and when I transfer monthly then the exchange rates aren't so bad. You don't need to be in the military to bank with USAA and they offer the best prices in the US banking industry. I also use ING Direct in the states to get a bit better interest rate.
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Old 30.12.2011, 19:39
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Re: International bank options? (American Expat)

Thanks everyone, lots of great options here.
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Old 30.12.2011, 20:41
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Re: International bank options? (American Expat)

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Yes, I also have the same scheme, separate US and CH accounts. If there are any better options out there please tell me.

I believe FATCA has been postponed and only FBAR filing to the Treasury Department will be required for accounts held abroad during the 2012 calendar year. Any updates on FATCA? I hope it gets tossed away!

Whichever presidential candidate promises to reduce taxes (or even better, repeal the IRS tax code that requires Americans abroad to file and pay taxes) has my vote in the upcoming elections!
FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance) seems to be in effect now. Though I believe only if you have more than $50,000 in a foreign account. There's a new form (8938) to be filled out next year. I did a quick search and this link seems to explain it:
http://www.irs.gov/businesses/corpor...236664,00.html
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Old 30.12.2011, 22:07
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Re: International bank options? (American Expat)

Its hard for a new American client to set up Swiss accounts these days. Its a liability for them.

Barclays is great. They have locations all over the offshore world. I would also suggest HSBC in HK or Sing. Alternatively DBS in Singapore is also a very good bank for the things you are after. They dont mind that youre American.



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Looks like banking options are a bit diverse. I desire to have the ability to use my credit cards that are linked to an Account in the US, or at least be able to pay them from my US account. I would prefer a true international bank, that allows me to move my money around. I thought UBS was this bank, but was wrong.

Who do you prefer? Why?
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Old 30.12.2011, 22:09
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Re: International bank options? (American Expat)

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Basically, banking in the US and banking in Switzerland are two different animals and should be treated as such.
Yes, thats the truth..... Mix the two and you will end up with a great IRS audit and you will get put on lists you dont want to be on at the State Dept.
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