Finance and Taxes
Long-term expatriates sometimes end up with financial responsibilities spread globally, having a rented and mortgaged home in their first country, children studying in different countries, and maybe a boat purchased and waiting to be used for retirement. Juggling different accounts in different currencies can be a nightmare and you need strong discipline to keep up checking them regularly.
Some expatriates hire professionals to look after their taxes, finances and home, or grant friends and relatives Power of Attorney. Regardless, you need to keep track and make sure that your accounts in each country are well stocked by regularly shifting money from one currency to the other.
Bank Services You Need
Before you decide on a bank you need to inquire and compare their services and charges.
What are your needs?
● Deposit account
● Multi-currency account
● Check book account
● Saving account
● Online checking of statements and credit card spending
● Telephone and fax banking
● Credit and debit cards
● Regular bill payments/standing orders/direct debits
● Electronic Money transmission (inquire about all fees and charges involved)
● Overdraft facilities
● Mortgage facilities
● Investment opportunities
● Help line
● Transfer of money between accounts
● International payments in all major currencies
Link Your Banks
Ask your banker to write a recommendation letter to a correspondent bank in the host country to facilitate local credit card applications and opening your bank accounts. Procedures are generally quite slow in Southeast Asia and this may help to speed up the
Keep your bank account at home and discuss procedures of money transfer and expenses involved and the best way of paying home country bills without delay.
Computer based bill-payments like Direct Debit (UK) or Check Free (US) will work in some
Southeast Asian countries, although with a premium for international access. Have a few checkbooks handed out (keep them in your safe!) as this is still the fastest and cheapest way to pay bills in your home country provided the mail service is reliable enough.
Major credit cards are accepted in Southeast Asian countries. It should be noted that, generally, most bills in excess of SGD $50 can be paid by credit cards.
Get your account contact person’s e-mail address and pass on yours to make sure you are
contacted in case of problems evolving. Always keep your banker informed of your address and leave the office address to contact you there if necessary.
A number of banks have recognized the special needs of expatriates and are offering offshore online bank accounts where customers can manage their financial transactions over the Internet. Services may include 24 hours support lines, tax advice and commission-free multi-currency account facilities.
The services are usually offered additionally to the full range of off-line support. Security is
guaranteed by offering the latest technology and expatriates receive user IDs and PIN numbers to access their accounts in connection with their nominated password. Check conditions with banks below how to organize your financial life!
Check if your mortgage contract is in force throughout your stay overseas and watch renewal dates way in advance. Advise your financing institution on your posting abroad and organize regular information about rate changes in case you are running a flexible rate program.
In case you decide to rent out your financed home during your overseas posting do not forget to inform your financing institution. You may require a written consent before renting out.