Digital nomads are always on the lookout for the best option to save them money no matter where they’re staying. Apart from finding strong WiFi, a great community, and cheap places to stay in, digital nomads also have to think about their cash management.
Finding a digital bank or a money transfer service that will be reliable and affordable should be on the top of the list for nomads everywhere.
We present you the best digital banks for digital nomads that offer personal and freelance or small business accounts. They have low to no fees, fair currency conversion rates (in most cases), and many other tools and perks to support your digital nomad lifestyle.
Some of these digital banks are only for people from certain countries. That’s why we’ve included a few that are available to Europeans, a few for Americans, and some that are international – spanning many countries around the world. For more digital banks specific to territories, visit our dedicated page.
Digital Banking for Digital Nomads
- Easy to open an account online
- Free for personal and freelance use
- Free to receive salary and payments
- Exchange rate not marked-up
- Withdraw money from 2.3 million ATMs
- Spend in local currency with your card
Wise, formerly TransferWise, has been on top of digital banking lists for digital nomads for a long time. It’s best known for its low fees on worldwide money transfers. The company offers a personal account, but many people don’t know that there’s also a business account geared towards freelancers.
It’s free to open and has no monthly fees. You can receive money for free, move money between your accounts in seconds, and pay other people or pay invoices in 70+ countries.
The person sending you money doesn’t have to have a Wise account. You can even invoice clients or withdraw money from platforms like UpWork, Freelancer.com, and many other.
Although it’s free to open an account, there is a one-time fee of $31 to start receiving money at their affordable rates. Also, there are free ATM withdrawals but only up to £200 or equivalent in 30 days. After that, they’ll take 2%.
You can also seamlessly pay in the local currency to save on conversion fees. It’s way cheaper than other business cards.
Wise has implemented tools and reports to help freelancers stay on top of their money. But even if you only use their personal account, you’ll save on fees and be hassle-free. For people that can never settle, Wise is a superb choice.
Read more in our Wise review.
- 100% mobile banking
- Free payments worldwide
- Unlimited free withdrawals in any currency (You & Metal plans)
- Flight, luggage, medical, mobility insurance (You & Metal)
- No hidden fees
- Deposit protection
- Spending statistics
N26 is a German digital bank available to the EEA residents (Europe) and the US. It was available in the UK until recently. The company offers personal and business accounts, both of which are an excellent choice for digital nomads.
There are four tiers of accounts in Europe and one in the US. The good news is that they all offer free payments worldwide in any currency. Depending on the account, you can also get unlimited free ATM withdrawals worldwide, also in any currency.
There are also all sorts of insurances that are included (with You and Metal accounts). There’s medical travel insurance, trip insurance, pandemic travel coverage, flight and luggage insurance, but also car-sharing, car rental, and phone insurance.
With insurance, make sure to check the fine print. There’s no point in getting it if you won’t be properly covered or get your money back.
Again, it all depends if you’re from the US or Europe and which account you choose. Even the most expensive account, Metal, is worth it with all the perks you get.
- Online sign-up
- Multi-currency accounts
- Accept payments on your website
- Access on the web or via the app
- Loans and overdrafts
- Free international and local payments
- Integrates with accounting tools
Revolut is a well-known and established digital bank from the UK that is also available all over Europe, the US, Australia, Japan, Singapore, and soon Canada. The fintech has already accrued more than 15 million customers and 500k+ businesses.
They offer three or four different accounts, depending on where you’re from. To get the most out of the account, you’ll have to upgrade to the Metal Account ($16.99/£12.99/m). It offers up to $1,200/m free ATM withdrawals, three free international transfers per month, overseas medical insurance, delayed baggage and flight, 0.14% APY on your savings, LoungeKey Pass access, a metal card, and much more.
All Revolut accounts offer free and instant transfers to other Revolut users in 30+ currencies, cryptocurrencies, and even commodities like gold and silver.
There’s also an unlimited number of bank accounts for your business in 28 currencies, making it a wise choice for digital nomads. If you need to cut corners or just need a basic business account, the free Revolut account will be sufficient for you. For anyone else that’s doing “serious” business, one of the paid options would be better suited.
Read more in our Revolut review.
- Combine all your cards
- Curve customer protection up to 100,000€
- Up to €600/m fee-free international ATM withdrawals
- 1% Cashback
- Worldwide Travel Insurance
- Rental car collision waiver insurance
- Available in Europe
Curve is a digital bank account that lets you combine all your other bank accounts, credit and debit cards, and even loyalty cards into a single Curve card. It’s only available if you’re from Europe, unfortunately.
There are three accounts to choose from, depending on how many foreign transfers you need to make or how much money you need to withdraw from ATMs. But if you want to avail of worldwide travel insurance, phone insurance, LoungeKey access, rental car collision waiver insurance, and an 18g metal card, you’ll need to upgrade to the Curve Metal account (€14.99/m).
You’ll also get unlimited access to fair FX rates and fee-free ATM withdrawals up to €600 per month.
- Sign up online
- For freelancers and SMEs
- Flexible withdrawal options
- No account fees if used regularly
- Free Mastercard
- Connects to freelance marketplaces
Payoneer is an excellent choice for freelancers and digital nomads. It connects to a range of freelance marketplaces like Fiverr, Upwork, and PeoplePerHour, to name a few, and lets you seamlessly receive payments for your work.
But what if you’re dealing with clients on an individual basis and not via marketplaces? In that case, you can still accept payments over ACH, credit and debit cards, or local bank transfers.
You can accept payments in USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, AUD, JPY, and CNH with up to a 1% fee when getting paid by US clients and free when getting paid from clients elsewhere.
Many digital nomads operate Shopify stores or sell products on Amazon, Lazada, eBay, etc. If that’s your case, you can profit from getting paid into one account but in various currencies, if required.
You can also efficiently track and control upcoming, incoming, and outgoing payments, POS transactions, fees, and withdrawals. And with the integrated Amazon Store Manager, sellers can see the big picture by gathering all Amazon income information in one place.
Their Mastercard is the costliest option charging $3.15 per ATM withdrawal and is, in general, not the best option to spend your cash.
- Easy to set up
- You probably already have an account
- Widely known and used
- Create and send invoices
- Competitive merchant fees
- Integrates easily with other tools
PayPal is a ubiquitous payments service and processor. It’s available for personal use but also for businesses and freelancers. It gets a bad rep, but hundreds of millions of people and rising are continuously using it. I’ve never had any issues with PayPal during what’s probably been ten years of using it.
They also can have hefty fees, but that depends on how you use them. If you’re only using USD, for example, it’s not so bad. If you’re processing more than $3,000 per month, you can apply for their merchant rate. There’s also a variety of premium accounts that have monthly fees, different features, and different transaction fees that you might look into to find the best deal.
I like it because my clients like it and use it, and frankly, sometimes it’s the only option. I’m also not keeping all my funds in their account – only how much I need for a month’s expenses etc.
You can also order their debit and credit cards, depending on where you live. There’s also the digital credit line and interest-free installments at your disposal.
- No foreign transaction fees
- Free Allpoint ATM withdrawals
- Free ACH transfers
- Free Varo to Varo transfers
- No monthly fees
- Free account closing
Varo Bank account is an excellent choice for US citizens as it has almost no fees whether you’re at home or abroad. Yes, that’s right, Varo checking account has no minimum balance, offers no fees on overdrafts, no fees on transfers, no fees at Allpoint ATMs, and no fees to replace your debit card.
Allpoint’s ATMs are available in the US, UK, Mexico, Canada, Australia, and Puerto Rico. The bank supports transfers from external bank accounts or the likes of Venmo, Paypal, Cash App, and more, and they’ll often appear in your Varo account instantly.
The app even allows you to deposit checks by using the camera. The app itself is well-designed and lets you track spending in real-time, and uses automatic categorization.
- For freelancers and SMEs
- Bookkeeping and invoicing tools
- Easy to open
- Payment matching
- Business debit Mastercard
- VAT balance in real-time
Holvi is a Finnish fintech company that’s been serving freelancers and SMEs since 2011. It offers two accounts with clear and simple pricing.
They offer services in Finland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, and the Netherlands. And, you have to have your main residence in the same country as your company is registered. It also doesn’t support FATCA reporting, so it’s not available to US citizens.
Holvi also only accepts two currencies – GBP and EUR via bank payments. From their app, you can manage self-employed income and expense receipts and prep for tax returns. Track VAT in real-time, scan and save receipts, and export bookkeeping data.
It’s great for self-employed people that do their own tax returns or the ones that have an accountant. It also works with other accounting software that you might already be using.
3 Best Money Transfer Services for Digital Nomads
We all like to see our hard-earned money stay as much as intact as it can as it travels through various financial institutions and accounts. There’s nothing worse than seeing a big chunk of it disappear to a bank or money transfer service along the way.
- Available in the EEA and the UK
- Fixed fee
- Transfer to 100+ countries
- Instant processing
- Paysend Global account
- Paysend Smartcard
- Business accounts
Paysend hasn’t been around for a long time, so they’re not as well-known as some other money transfers, but they do many things right. Paysend is more like a digital bank, with their Global Account and multi-currency wallet and card than a simple money transfer service.
You can open a Global Account if you’re from the EEA or the UK. Simply download the app, and off you go.
Digital nomads will appreciate that they can hold up to 7 different currencies (GBP, EUR, USD, CNY, CZK, RUB, CHF) in their account.
If you just need to send money abroad, you don’t need a Global Account, and the recipient doesn’t need a Paysend account at all. You can simply send money to their card or bank account. The company delivers money to 100+ countries worldwide, so you should be covered.
- Personal and business use
- For freelancers or sole traders
- Fast and cheap transfers
- Many countries supported
TransferGo is a top-rated money transfer service that offers quick and secure money transfers all over the world. The company supports both personal and business customers. So, whether you’re a freelancer or own a small company, you’re covered.
Both card and bank transfers are supported with more than 20 currencies and over 60 countries. As with any great modern money transfer service, TransferGo has mobile applications for Android and iOS, making it easy and convenient to transfer money directly from your smartphone.
TransferGo’s transfers have two speeds – Express (under 30 minutes) and Free (up to three days). If you’re in a hurry or want to save a bit of money, there’s an option for you.
The company does one thing and does it well. It will transfer your hard-earned money worldwide reliably and for a fraction of the cost, a bank would.
- Low-cost transfers
- No hidden fees
- Track your transfers
- $7 billion sent every month
- More than 111k reviews on TrustPilot
We’ve circled back to Wise. There must be a good reason for that. And there is, of course. It’s simply one of the best, if not the best, solution for frequent travelers and digital nomads out there.
Whether you have a small business set-up or you’re a freelancer, Wise can accommodate you. Their money transfer service is truly fair and cheap compared to other digital banks and money transfer services. It’s also light years ahead of traditional banks and money transfer companies that are still stuck in the last century.
Advantages of Digital Banks for Digital Nomads
Even if you already have an existing bank account in your home country, you should consider opening a digital bank account as there are many advantages. We’ll shortly discuss a few of them here.
Remote account opening
Convenience is the name of the game for digital banks, and digital nomads should take advantage of that. If you’re already in a different country and you decided to open an account, you can still do it, and without going to a branch (as there aren’t any).
Digital banks make this especially easy as you can be up and running in as little as 5 minutes.
Low to no fees
If you’re sick and tired of paying fees for everything under the sun with traditional banks, then this will come as a relief. Most digital banks don’t charge many fees, and even if you sign up for their premium accounts with monthly subscriptions, you can get a lot out of them.
Make sure to go through their pricing page to see where you can save the most money, as not all digital accounts are the same. As some of them don’t charge monthly fees, I’d recommend opening more than one digital account as different banks offer different perks.
This is a big issue for some of us. Even though the world is inching towards digital payments and even digital currencies, not all countries accept card payments just as readily. In fact, even some western countries are still predominantly using cash payments.
If you need plenty of cash in your current country, it would be wise to find a digital bank account with high limits on free foreign cash withdrawals per month.
Digital nomads often get paid in different currencies. If that’s the case with you, find a digital bank account that supports more than one currency. Some of them support more than ten. You would be nuts for not taking advantage of that.
The Bottom Line
Digital nomads can take advantage of the many features and benefits that digital banks have to offer. Whether you choose a business, freelancer account, or just stick with a personal one, is up to you. But the fact that you’ll pay fewer fees and have much more convenience than if you were using a traditional bank account is already worth it.