Last editedFeb 20233 min read
Whether you run a self-employed business on the go or need to accept payments from far-flung customers across the globe, an international business bank account is a must. International bank accounts often cost more due to currency rates, charge extra fees, and require onerous paperwork to open. Fortunately, the international bank account landscape is changing with the rise of remote working, offering more options than ever.
What is an international bank account?
Today’s fintech apps have expanded the definition of banking. So, what is an international bank account in this context? It includes any traditional bank or banking app that allows you to hold, transfer, and receive funds across borders. These are often easy to manage remotely, serving the needs of business owners who might have their companies registered in a country where they don’t have full-time residence. The best international business bank accounts not only offer remote management, but also account for multiple currencies and cross-border transactions.
How to choose the best international business bank account
There’s no shortage of options, so how can you choose the best for your business? Keep the following factors in mind when conducting your own comparison:
Currency exchange rates
App and website integrations
What is the best bank account for international business?
Here are our top choices when it comes to international business bank accounts. Most will save you money on currency conversion fees, and all will let you receive payments from customers in multiple locations.
Formerly known as Transferwise, Wise allows business owners to create a local bank account that accepts multiple currencies – enabling truly borderless transactions. For UK-based businesses, this means you can get set up with a local UK account number and sort code. Additional countries currently include the United States, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, Australia, New Zealand, Romania, and Singapore.
When you set up your business bank account from the country of your choice, it’s fully legitimate and registered with your company’s name to help customers recognise incoming and outgoing payments. Businesses can open separate currency wallets and receive a debit card with low exchange fees. Wise integrates with Stripe and Amazon Payments, among others.
Another top option for international businesses is Airwallex, which offers multi-currency bank accounts. This Australian-based fintech company allows you to open up to eleven accounts in different currencies to send or receive payments, with fees ranging from 0.5% to 1% depending on the currency. Account holders can also receive payments from apps like PayPal, Amazon, and Shopify. At the moment, only Australian account holders can receive physical debit cards, but these will be launched in the US and UK shortly.
Revolut is another banking app offering international accounts. First launched in 2015, it now counts over 16 million customers worldwide. You can pick and choose from a variety of business account types. At the Standard level, you’ll have access to a UK current account, payments card, and Euro IBAN account for sending and receiving payments. Revolut accounts also enable international money transfers at no charge and access to a cryptocurrency exchange. Users can transfer funds in 30 currencies at the interbank exchange rate, split bills, and spend money abroad without fees.
While some other options on this list allow you to open an international business bank account from anywhere, Starling Bank’s accounts are only available for UK residents. However, those who qualify benefit from perks like free spending abroad. Use the Starling app to send money to 39 countries in up to 21 currencies. The most basic plan is free of charge, but those who require more advanced features can upgrade to the Business Toolkit for accounting integration for £7 per month.
While GoCardless doesn’t directly offer international business bank accounts, it does connect direct debit systems across multiple regions and markets for easy payment management. GoCardless currently connects eight bank debit schemes across 30 countries, with streamlined pricing and competitive transfer rates for affordable cross-border payments.
If your business holds a UK bank account, you can accept payments directly at a rate of 2% + 20p per transaction. This is taken in your customer’s own currency for convenience. International transfers are cheaper than many other popular options. For example, GoCardless came out 75% cheaper than PayPal for a $5,000 transfer when compared directly.
We can help
GoCardless helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of admin your team needs to deal with when chasing invoices. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.