The new wave of financial apps makes global banking as easy as ABC
Looking for an easier way to manage your money and multiple currencies while living abroad? Check out these banking apps
Living globally often means having to deal with different currencies and cross-border banking on a day-to-day basis, which can be problematic, inconvenient and downright expensive.
If you relish the idea of managing your money, payments, transfers and multiple currencies at your fingertips, then branchless, mobile-only banks can be a perfect solution for you.
These banks offer low fees, a prompt and efficient customer service, a quick and no-fuss opening of an account, advanced safety features and many more enticing perks.
They also feature real-time payment notifications, meaning you receive an alert every time there is some activity on your account. This not only makes it easier to keep track of your spending, but you can also immediately spot if someone’s using your account fraudulently.
Some of them go even further and offer an opportunity to open a bank account in other countries without proof of address. In addition, they offer several wallets of different currencies (including crypto and gold), and quite often promise to save customers a hefty amount of money on currency exchange.
Today we are going to have a more detailed look at some of the most interesting and advanced mobile banking apps out there, which can make your money managing routine easy, non-disruptive and cheap.
DiPocket provides their customers with a mobile banking and money managing app – DiP. The app is an alternative to expensive traditional bank accounts or can perfectly complement your current bank accounts. It is available in the EU countries.
Unlike many other neo-banking start-ups, it works on all its own IT systems rather than through third parties.
DiP was designed by professional expatriates exasperated by the amount of red tape it takes to open a bank account in a country you move to, and by the losses when transferring money internationally. They claim that by using DiP you will be able to:
- Open an account in the currency of the country you moved to and get a matching Mastercard® car
- Make and receive local payments (no need for a local bank account)
- Make and receive international bank transfers at discounted fees
With DiP it’s possible to register an account even before you move abroad, so that you can give your employer or your pension provider all necessary details to receive the payments.
Registering is super-easy. After installing the DiPocket App, fill in the required data and verify your phone number and e-mail. Choose a secret question and set a PIN-code. That’s the preliminary registration done.
When you have moved and settled in, you might want to opt for full registration which will give you access to bank transfers, higher limits, using your card abroad, sharing accounts or supervised accounts for teenagers.
For this you will need to scan a picture ID (i.e. passport), EU visa and a proof of your address.
At some point you will be asked to take two selfies for security reasons, so that it’s possible to identify you visually if you lose your access credential or your account is compromised.
You will get:
- Accounts and cards, available in GBP, EUR, PLN and USD, and accounts in CHF. More currencies are to be added soon, according to DiPocket.
- Dedicated (Polish) IBAN with an account holder name: DiPocket Limited – Client Funds
- Subaccount and additional DiPocket MasterCard® cards for your family
- Teenager accounts for financial independence under parents’ supervision
- Real-time transaction notifications and spending tracking
- A prepaid MasterCard cards in the currency of the host country,
- Additional DiPocket MasterCard card for your family when you open subaccounts
- Subaccounts in different currencies with additional cards
Fees and costs
Your main account and your first subaccount are free of charge, also you don’t pay anything for your DiPocket MasterCard cards issued for these accounts.
You can withdraw money from ATMs in Europe with a fee of EUR 0.75. DiP Transfers and Face-to-Face payments are free of charge. However, they will charge a fee of 1% for foreign currency transactions.
The app also promises low currency exchange fees (Mastercard rates plus 1% commission); no FX fees for customers visiting the UK, US or Eurozone countries; and low, flat fees for withdrawals at foreign ATMs.
Revolut is a digital ‘challenger bank’, offering hassle free global spending. Revolut claims its rates save customers 3% to 5% because it uses the ‘Spot Interbank’ exchange rate, the wholesale exchange rate. It’s quite popular and claims over 500,000 UK users (over a million across Europe).
Any legal resident of the European Economic Area and Switzerland who is over 18 years old can open a Revolut account.
Opening the account cannot be easier: after downloading the app you will be required to fill in personal details and verify your identity by taking a picture of a valid government issued photo ID and a picture of your face.
Non-EEA citizens might be requested to present a copy of legal right to remain in one of our supported countries (e.g. visa, residence permit).
Revolut works a bit like Amazon: you can have a standard (free) subscription with basic services or a Premium one (paid) with some extra perks. It will cost you £6.99 per month or £72.00 annually in advance (saving £11.88) to subscribe for Revolut Premium.
With Standard subscription you will get:
- Current account
- Free Euro IBAN account
- Free bank transfers up to 26 currencies
- Spending in 120 currencies
- £200 ATM withdrawals per month. Anything over the above limits is charged at 2% of value of ATM withdrawal.
- Interbank currency exchange rates
With Premium you get the same perks as with Standard plus:
- £400 or currency equivalent per month
- Free ATM withdrawals abroad (as opposed to £200 with Standard)
- Cryptocurrency exchange and transfer via the Bitstamp cryptocurrency exchange: bitcoin, ether, lightcoin
- Free overseas health insurance
Fees and costs
Subscription to Standard Revolut is free. Premium fee is £6.99 per month or £72.00 annually in advance. ATM withdrawals above the free limit are charges at 2%.
Revolut applies a mark-up on its rates at the weekend of 0.5%- 1.5% as the markets are closed.
Cryptocurrency exchange is charged at 1.5%
TransferWise Borderless Account
With TransferWise Borderless Account you can have international bank account details in the UK (GBP), Eurozone (EUR), the US (USD) and Australia (AUD). They do actually target expats – their homepage features reviews by very happy expat customers who have already signed up to the Borderless Account.
You will get:
- Australian account number and BSB code
- British account number and sort code
- European IBAN
- US account number and routing number
In short, TransferWise Borderless Account will provide you with instant international bank details to receive money from over 30 countries around the world including the UK, the US, Australia, and any country in the Eurozone, with no fees.
The Borderless Account allows you to hold over 40 currencies and quickly switch between them when you need.
You’ll always get the real exchange rate and the low, transparent fees.
You will be able to get the TransferWise debit Mastercard (only for customers in Europe at the moment) with which it is free to spend currencies you hold. You will also get cheap TransferWise conversion rates to other supported currencies, and Mastercard rates on the rest.
Fees and costs
It’s free to open an account and order a Mastercard. You can convert a currency using your card for a fee of 0.35%-2%.
ATM withdraw up to £200 per month is free, over £200 – at 2%.
You can spend in rare currencies at Mastercard rate all over the world where Mastercard is accepted.
One of the most curious financial apps trying to elbow its way through to the public, Glint offers the Glint account, smartphone app and Mastercard that allow you to store, exchange, send and spend currencies and, for the first-time, physical gold.
The founders say their aim is to “reintroduce gold as money, for the first time ever as a global currency that can be spent real-time at the electronic point of sale.”
It means that as a Glint customer you can use gold in real-time electronic point of sale payments via Mastercard no matter whether you are buying a pint in a local pub or a Heritage Bentley model.
You can buy physical gold and use it as money in real-time. And you can sell it for GBP sterling at any time. Your gold will be stored in insured and independent professional-market vaults in Zurich, Switzerland.
Soon, Glint promises, its customers will be able to use gold for payments to and from bank accounts.
The Glint Mastercard
With the Glint contactless payment card, you can shop and withdraw cash in both pounds and gold wherever Mastercard is accepted globally.
As well as pound sterling and gold Glint will soon be offering US dollars, Euro, Swiss Francs, Canadian Dollars, Japanese Yen and other currencies through the Glint app.
Signing up and ordering a card is free.
Vaulting for your gold is free with Brinks Zurich, one of the world’s most secure gold vaulting companies.
Buying and selling gold will be charged at 0.5%. Transfers use the ‘real exchange rate’, which is always shown clearly on the app.
You can apply for an account and a card through the website. The waiting list is pretty long, so don’t hope to get an account instantly. However, when you get it, it’s really easy to use the app, transfer cash in and buy/sell gold.
Sign up for LeuPay and you will get a dedicated IBAN with no monthly fees.
LeuPay works for both EU and non-EU residents and allows you to send or receive money to both domestic and international banks, while saving on currency exchange fees.
LeuPay offers dedicated IBANs in 10 major currencies (EUR, USD, GBP, CHF, RON, HRK, JPY, BGN, PLN, CZK) so that you can accept and send transfers across a wide variety of countries.
What can you do with multiple IBANs?
- Receive a non-residential bank account in Europe
- Receive salary payments in all supported currencies
- Make SEPA payments to EU countries (for a fee starting from 3 EUR)
- Pay for rent and utility costs via SEPA Direct Debit
- Get free IBAN certificates to present for employment, rental contracts or other legal agreements
What will you have:
- Free accounts with dedicated IBANs in 10 major currencies
- Free contactless VISA card for international payments
You can get two free VISA cards with your LeuPay account.
Fees and costs
It’s free to open an account and there are no monthly fees, too. You will pay 10 eurocents to send money to another LeuPay account. SEPA transfers will cost you €3, and there are charges for international money transfers.
First two cards are free. ATM cash withdrawal is charged at €2-4, depending on how much you want to withdraw.