What Is... The best bank for Digital Nomads?

We spoke to financial expert and digital nomad Alex Lielacher about how those who choose to work for themselves around the world can get the most out of their money and their living

As a digital nomad, managing your finances while travelling the world can be quite cumbersome at times. High currency conversion fees, extortionate ATM fees and expensive international money transfers can all make your financial life on the road more difficult.

“Digital nomads are people who leverage technology to earn a living and conduct their life in a nomadic manner.”

Fortunately, for digital nomads today, the financial technology (FinTech) sector is providing solutions that address these issues by delivering consumer-friendlier and cheaper alternatives.

International Money Transfers

I recall when I had to make a payment of £16 to pay the membership fee for a co-working space in Malaysia, my UK high street bank wanted to charge me £22 to process that international money transfer. Needless to say, I looked for cheaper alternatives and came across the remittance start-up TransferWise. By conducting the money transfer using TransferWise, instead of my high street bank, I was only charged £1.18 and managed to save about 90% on the fee.

TransferWise isn’t the only remittance start-up that is facilitating low-cost cross-border payments. UK-based Azimo and WorldRemit also offer cheap international money transfers via their mobile and web-based platforms. Whether you are paying freelancers, sending payments to friends or family or paying for goods and services overseas, there are now numerous fintech solutions that allow you to save money on your international money transfers.

Mobile Banking

When travelling the world, using mobile banking services is without a doubt the smartest and most efficient way to handle your basic banking activities. Fortunately for digital nomads, there are several mobile-only "challenger banks" emerging that allow users to bank on the go.

One that is particularly nomad-friendly is UK-based mobile banking start-up Monese. Monese allows users to set up a UK current account within a matter of minutes without the need of lengthy compliance checks. Monese also provides account holders with a debit card and the option to conduct low-cost international money transfers through its smartphone app.

Cards and Currency Conversions

To forgo costly currency conversion fees when making card payments you can choose to use Curve while on the move. The Curve Card allows you to upload all your credit and debit cards onto one card and it only charges you the MasterCard exchange rate plus 1% fee, which is one of the cheapest rates in the market. Furthermore, it allows you to spend abroad in 18 different currencies without being charged any FX fees when making payments in the specific currency’s region. That way you are able to reduce to constant burden of costly currency conversion fees while travelling.

Furthermore, the Curve app let’s you trace all your cards’ spending to make sure you stay on budget. This is an excellent feature for nomads, as staying on budget is a must for any long-term traveller.

Having said that, by far the biggest selling point of owning a Curve card is that it allows you to only have to carry one card while simultaneously carrying all your cards, from all your accounts - foreign or native to where you are today. Rather than packing a second suitcase for your financial world, just pop it into a single card and app. This reduces the burdens that every long-term traveller inevitably faces.

Instead of sticking with your high street bank to conduct your financial affairs, it’s wise to leverage the innovative new services offered by fintech start-ups to facilitate your financial affairs while travelling the world. You can reduce the costs of remittances, currency conversions and payments and, thereby, have more funds to spend more on adventures and amazing experiences.


Order your Curve now at imaginecurve.com.

Curve simply and securely connects your bank cards into one card, giving you an instant mobile view of your spend across different cards and saving you money abroad. Curve was built to help people who choose to work for themselves live the life they love.

Alex Lielacher

Alex runs the personal finance education platform Smart Money Smart Living, founded with the aim to empower millennials to take control of their financial future.

See more posts from Alex Lielacher