Transfering money back home

After living and working abroad for a significant time one will have to face the annoying task of moving not only all of their belongings but also moving all of their finances. It can be a puzzle to figure out the best way to move one’s entire savings from one country to the next. Which way is ultimately the best? How can one do this without losing a depressing sum in conversion or banking fees? Is it best to wire the money directly to the home account? Some banks will write a certified check for the entire sum of the account that can be deposited into an overseas account once you make the move.
No one wants to take a gamble with their savings, or lose a large sum in the transfer and later find out there is a better, cheaper way. Knowing that I will eventually have to address this concern myself, I thought I would put it to you readers to share your experiences. How did you go about moving your finances internationally? Share your experience in the comments.

Posted by | Comments (5)  | June 22, 2011
Category: Money Management, Working Abroad

5 Responses to “Transfering money back home”

  1. Transfering money back home | Travel Guide And Holiday Says:

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  2. Kris Says:

    I think the banks will be able to get you one way or the other. You have to check with both the sending and the receiving institution on what fees apply. Getting a certified check might not cost anything, but there might be fees when cashing it. Same with wire transfers, I’ve been charged for both sending and receiving.

    I ended up actually leaving most of my money in the bank in the country I was leaving and still keep all my accounts open. If it’s a reputable (who can tell these days) bank, it might be a good idea to keep some money in overseas banks/assets/currency as a way to diversify. Just make sure to tell the IRS.

    Another idea is to maybe open an account with a large international bank that has a presence in both countries and see if that is a solution to the problem of hefty transfer fees. Or a bank that offers expat services. HSBC in particular seems to target this market segment:

  3. BethAnne Says:

    I have a checking/savings account with Schwab and a standard account at Sparkasse, a German bank. I get paid into my German account but generally withdraw money from Schwab, since they reimburse all ATM fees, even foreign ones, and I don’t live in Germany anymore.

    Since Schwab is big and international, they have [virtual, at least] branches around the world, so I can transfer money from my Sparkasse account to Schwab’s German branch [so no fees, since it’s still within Germany/the EU], and then they transfer it on to my actual Schwab account. It takes a few days, but…no fees!

  4. Simon Says:

    I have a multi-currency relationship with Citibank in the UK. I read mixed reports about them but for my purposes and from my experiences I only have praise for them. I’m told they operate semi-autonomously – country to country – but for my purposes everything seems to connect well – international transfers and getting very good exchange rates particularly when exchanging large sums. I tend to send and receive in the same currency and then choose an optimal moment to perform an exchange, if necessary/possible. One can also transfer between currency accounts online, with rate/amount confirmations so no surprises! Also for the frequent traveller (slightly off-topic), they issue a single card with an option to set the linked account dollar/euro/pound e.g. I link my dollar account when I go to the US so I can withdraw dollars from my corresponding account without fee.