Best Multi-Сurrency Account
If you travel frequently or invest in foreign markets, you’ll want to open a multi-currency account. These accounts allow you to store funds in multiple currencies, so if you’re concerned about the value of your foreign investment or are traveling abroad, you can avoid exchange fees and take care of business in your local currency while abroad. With that in mind, this AskWallet post answers the question “What is the best multi-currency account?”.
Become A Global Player: Choose The Best Multi-Currency Account
A multi-currency account (or currency account) is an interest-bearing bank account that provides its users the ability to hold balances in two or more currencies, enabling them to take advantage of differing interest rates between the currencies and transfer money between them at low cost. The best multi-currency accounts offer competitive interest rates, low charges, and exchange rates plus the security of some of the most trustworthy banks in the world.
Before choosing your account, make sure to compare all aspects of their service by going through our guide on how to choose a multi-currency account and reading our reviews of some of the best multi-currency accounts available today.
What is a Multi-currency Account?
A multi-currency account is an account that allows you to store and trade in a variety of different currencies. Whether it’s for business or personal use, a multi-currency account is beneficial because it allows you to hold various currencies without actually having to deal with all those banknotes and coins in your wallet. If you’re traveling abroad, for example, you can use a multi-currency account to easily pay for goods and services without racking up large currency exchange fees from your bank or EMI.
When Will a Multi-currency Account Work For You (or Not)?
Figuring out if a multi-currency is right for you either for personal use or for your business will be an easy decision. There is a lot to like about foreign currency accounts especially the ones provided by Money transfer apps and EMI. This serves as a cheaper and more accessible option in comparison to traditional banks.
However, this doesn’t mean that there is the right choice for everyone. The account will work for you if you:
- Travel often and regularly trade with multiple countries and currencies.
- Live in or plan to move to another country where your current bank doesn’t have a presence.
- Plan to send or receive payments in multiple currencies.
- Are looking to accrue interest in a variety of currencies.
- Run an e-commerce site that takes payments in a multitude of currencies.
- If you are a Freelancer who collaborates with clients from all over the world and gets paid in several currencies.
- Participate in transnational trade (both import and export)
A multi-currency account may not work for you if:
- You don’t travel overseas, don’t plan to, and don’t want to have more than one currency account.
- You want a cost-effective solution to save, receive, and spend several currencies from one account.
Advantages Of Having A Multi-Currency Account
There are a plethora of advantages that come with using a multi-currency account. Here are just a few of them:
- Allows you to easily purchase overseas services and products.
- Allows you to accept international payments in local currency.
- Guarantees instant money transfers, which minimizes fees and delays that can occur when sending or receiving money between countries.
- A useful backup should your primary account be unavailable.
Disadvantages Of A Multi-Currency Account
Despite these benefits, multi-currency accounts do come with a few disadvantages. First, it can be more difficult to save money in multiple currencies than it is to have one main bank account and one currency for savings. Another disadvantage is that if you need to make transactions in a currency that’s not supported by your bank, fees may apply. For example, in order to exchange USD into EUR using PayPal in some countries—like France—you’ll pay a fee of around 3%. Finally, if you tend to make international transactions often or frequently, then opening multiple accounts may cost you time and money.
Top 5 Multi-Currency account providers
In 2022, finding alternatives to traditional banks and all the services they provide has never been easier. Multicurrency accounts provided by traditional banks are riddled with so many unnecessary levies and fees. However, this was when online banks and EMIs come to the rescue. Many electronic money institutions not only make it easier to get an account but do away with the fees and let you change money at a mid-market rate.
Here are some of the best alternatives to the traditional multi-currency account:
N26 is a German neobank that provides its users with all the same features as a traditional bank. N26 offers a multi-currency account, prepaid cards, and many more all without any paperwork or account fees.
The N26 multi-currency account offers a number of practical benefits for travelers, including instant currency conversion and free ATM withdrawals. While it doesn’t offer fee-free foreign transactions like some other accounts, its support for 25 different currencies makes it an excellent choice for globetrotters.
The N26 Visa card is also accepted at millions of locations around the world and can be used in more than 35 million brick-and-mortar stores in over 200 countries. What’s more, N26 keeps fees to a minimum; there are no extra fees when using your card abroad or withdrawing money from an ATM. This makes it a great option for young people who regularly travel outside their home country.
Wise (Formerly TransferWise)
Founded in London in 2011, Wise enables its users to send money around various countries and currencies for very low fees. A quick visit to its website will confirm that the company’s strategy is heavily focused on a strong user experience, which probably helps explain why it has attracted more than two million customers since its launch.
The free service lets you transfer up to £1,000/month while it charges 0.35% if you want to transfer over £15,000/month (you can check out their pricing here). It also offers business accounts targeted at online sellers who are looking for better rates when they convert their payments into other currencies.
Other features of the wise multi-currency account include:
- No incoming payment fees (except $7.50 for USD wire transfer).
- Available in more than 200 countries.
- Over 2.3 million ATMs for cash withdrawals.
- Support is available in a variety of languages around the world.
- Exchange and store 54 different currencies.
Users of Revolut can hold both cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies in one account. The company claims to support 30+ currencies and provides no fees on any currency conversions. According to their website, Revolut works with MasterCard to process payments from your customers in any currency you choose - no extra setup is needed.
Money is automatically converted into your base currency for free, so there are no hidden fees when processing global transactions. A convenient app supports payment processing by connecting users directly to payment terminals with just a swipe of their smartphone screen. With Revolut, you can transfer money internationally within seconds at no extra cost; exchange rates are transparent and set within market standards every time a transaction is made.
Other features of the Revolut multi-currency account include:
- There are no fees for exchanging 14 fiat currencies, and there is no monthly restriction.
- International ATM withdrawals are free up to $1,200 per month.
- Send money in 28 different currencies both domestically and abroad.
- Budgeting features are built into the mobile app to help you manage your funds.
- Ability to simply share bills with anyone
Starling Bank is one of several fintech startups trying to shake up banking by offering easy-to-use apps and an emphasis on transparency. Starling has no branches and doesn’t use legacy systems, but says it can provide customers with better service than banks (its app has been downloaded more than 10,000 times since launching in January 2016).
Starling's accounts are based on a multicurrency system: you have a base currency (i.e., British pounds), with currencies for other countries as sub-accounts attached to that primary account. This lets you track your spending, set budgets, and set rules for managing your money—all without paying extra fees or dealing with a physical bank teller.
Bunq, a digital banking app and product provider, helps people bank for free and has opened up a multi-currency account. This is both useful for people who travel frequently and those who want to save in different currencies. Bunq offers several unique features as well. Customers can spend money from their accounts at real brick-and-mortar stores around Europe or have them directly transferred into Euros in an online wallet, saving on international currency fees when they travel or shop online.
Best Alternatives to Multi-Currency accounts
There are many alternative multi-currency accounts out there that didn’t make it to the list. Some of these alternatives might not outright provide a multi-currency account. However, they allow for seamless and low-cost conversion of funds from one currency to another. Here is a list of the best alternative:
How to choose a service
For the most part, the number of your transactions will decide what type of service is ideal for you. If you need to send and receive money abroad regularly it’s best to choose an account with an international bank or an EMI.
An alternative would be a cash passport account that allows you to withdraw at any ATM worldwide without fees (drawbacks: currency exchange rates won’t be on your side if using ATMs). If not so frequent but still often then getting a debit card is probably your best option as they are free.
Other things to keep in mind when choosing a multi-currency account include:
Is currency conversion necessary? If yes, what types of currencies do you need to deal with? It’s best to choose a bank that has an office in your country. One added bonus is customer service access in your own language. The most common foreign currency that needs converting is Euros. If you don’t do transactions in euros then it may not be worth switching banks just for Euro accounts or a Euro account provider such as Transferwise (fee is 0% for amounts above £10k or €10k). And vice versa if you are using other currencies.
Having access to your money from anywhere can be crucial for someone with a regular business abroad. Different banks have different tools and abilities in terms of online banking, check them out before choosing one. Make sure it supports all devices and that you’re comfortable using it on whichever device you use most often.
How are fees charged? Is there a monthly fee or any other maintenance fees? If you are going to be making frequent currency conversions make sure you know how much those transactions will cost you in total over time. Or if your accounts include free international transfers then make sure to do a currency conversion comparison so that it’s clear how much is saved by switching bank accounts.
Best for the UK
If you live in a country that uses pounds sterling and need an account that allows you to transact in multiple currencies—such as U.S. dollars, euros, and other major world currencies. There are many UK traditional banks as well as neobanks that provide multi-currency accounts. However, not all multi-currency accounts are made the same. So, you will have to check the market and find the right one for you.
Some of the banks and EMIs offering multi-currency accounts in the UK include:
Creating a Wise multi-currency account has become increasingly popular for ex-pats who travel regularly for work or pleasure. With a single account, individuals can pay bills and shop at overseas websites without worrying about foreign exchange fees or fluctuating exchange rates. For business owners who often accept payments from overseas clients, multi-currency accounts offer an extra layer of security that protects both you and your clientele.
Barclays offer multi-currency accounts and they allow you to hold more than one currency at once. This means that you can easily convert money when you go abroad, which will save you time and money. Most of these accounts also provide better exchange rates than those offered by most card providers. If that’s important to you then it might be worth checking out other providers. However, if convenience is your main priority, then opening an account with Barclays could make sense for your situation.
Having a multi-currency account with Lloyds Bank is a great way to simplify financial matters and allow you to have complete control over your cash flow. This can be useful if you are receiving income from several sources (such as wages and freelance work) or if you travel between multiple countries regularly
Best for the USA
In the US, you can open a multi-currency account with almost any bank or financial institution. Many even offer them as a no-fee, no-minimum account. However, some do have higher fees and minimums than others. Before opening an account, make sure you thoroughly research how much it will cost and how to avoid unnecessary fees.
Generally speaking, if your balance is low ($500 or below), then look for an institution that doesn’t charge a monthly fee; these are typically no-fee accounts and are easy to come by.
The best bank for the US include:
The Capital One 360 Bank Account is a great place to keep multiple currencies. It offers competitive interest rates and allows you to link your bank account for easy transfers. A multi-currency account is perfect for travelers, ex-pats, business owners, or anyone who needs to move money between currencies. What’s more, there are no fees or transaction charges attached. You can transfer in any amount at any time and pay no fees!
Wells Fargo multi-currency account
Wells Fargo is one of America’s biggest banks and, as you might expect, it offers multi-currency accounts. It also gives you a 30-day money-back guarantee, so it’s easy to give it a try if you’re not sure if a multi-currency account is right for you. One thing that really stands out with Wells Fargo is its Foreign Transaction Fee Rebate Program.
One of our favorite foreign exchange companies is Payoneer. They have a great no annual fee multi-currency account for U.S. residents and there are no currency limits on transferring funds into or out of your Payoneer account, making it ideal for frequent travelers who want to make sure they’re using their money wisely when abroad.
Best for Europe
Europe is the breeding ground for some of the world-leading online banks offering multi-currency accounts. However, there are also a handful of traditional banks in Europe that are also offering the same services at affordable prices. Here is our list of the best multi-currency accounts in Europe:
FCA authorized and regulated, FairFX is a multi-currency money transfer service. FairFX enables its users to transfer funds to almost any bank account in over 130 countries using major credit cards and a wide range of other payment options. The user-friendly design of its website makes it simple for you to use and convert your money at today’s mid-market rate so that you can get more for your money! Pay no hidden charges, fees, or markups when sending an international money transfer.
N26 offers free multi-currency accounts. It has a direct Visa card and supports 7 fiat currencies (USD, EUR, GBP, CHF, JPY, CAD, and AUD). N26 is available to customers in Austria, Germany, and France. The account can be managed via an iOS or Android app. You can order a card for free and it will arrive within 5–7 days. Money transfers are fee-free within Europe (EUR 1 minimum transfer amount) as well as all your transactions such as receiving payments from other users of N26 anywhere in the world.
Best for Canada
Revolut is a completely free app and service that allows you to use, save, exchange, and spend over 26 currencies. You can instantly transfer money to friends, businesses, or family members abroad. The best part of Revolut is that it includes a multi-currency account which is very useful in order to store your foreign currency safely.
Bunq is a multi-currency account that is completely free to use. It supports deposits, withdrawals, and currency conversion in 13 different currencies including USD, EUR, GBP, and many more. The best part about Bunq though is their low fees. There are no transfer fees or any other hidden charges.
Best for Australia / Oceania
Wise (ex. TransferWise)was founded in 2011 to provide a faster and cheaper alternative to money transfers. It gives users access to more than 60 currencies through Wise and offers them significantly lower fees than they would pay with a bank transfer or typical currency exchange provider.
There are many different advantages to using Payoneer’s multi-currency card. First of all, it is a VISA card that allows users to withdraw money at ATMs in any country. Also, there are no transaction fees associated with using it outside of your country (the fee structure is explained on their website).
Best for Rest of the World
As we have already seen in our reviews, there are a variety of options available to choose from when it comes to multi-currency accounts. The most important thing is, to be honest with yourself about your financial goals and choose an account that will help you achieve them.
Of course, everyone’s situation is different so these are only guidelines on how to choose wisely; make sure you read all documentation carefully before opening any type of account. There may also be other factors like lifestyle or location that should play into your decision as well – which currency could prove more valuable for you personally? Just remember, having multiple currencies can prove beneficial regardless of whether you’re planning on buying something abroad or simply trying to get ahead financially.