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Transferwise

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Sergios
6/28/2019 02:09 EST

I, after a wonderful time in Brittany, will be returning to Italy in late summer. This time to Chianti. Part of returning is the required bank business. I had an Italian account when I was in Sicily. Which I closed and replaced with a French account. Now I need to go back to an Italian account? There must be and is a better way. I looked at a few internet banks, including N26. What kept me from going with them is the simple matter of their not allowing direct deposits from the USA. It turns out that Transferwise is now licensed in most US states, I think 48 of them, which means they will setup a direct deposit system. Additionally using them, when they hold your money as a bank, makes the process of transferring money from your account to somebody else's in Europe simple, fast and cheap. I just paid a rent deposit to my future landlord in 24 hours and at a minimal cost and at a better exchange rate. I have not yet setup direct deposit, keeping my Schwab account. What I had to do is transfer money to Transferwise using my debit card. That took less than a minute.
I bring all this up because I think it simplifies finances as an expat. All the services needed, iban number, routing number, currency exchange, debit card is all available in one place and usable anywhere in Europe, in the states and many other countries. And they speak English and answer the phone when you call. It's a breath of fresh air compared to dealing with the Italian banks.

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Shtinky
6/28/2019 04:00 EST

You are right! It sounds like this could simplify our lives as expats. Are there fees for the banking part? How do they make their money? Is the money in the account insured? I will definitely look into it.

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Sergios
6/28/2019 04:28 EST

To open the account is free and fees are minimal. You should talk to them. Select an English speaking region so you get an English speaking agent. As for insurance, they are regulated by the British government. I don't think they have something like the FDIC. I don't intend to keep all my money in that bank but transfer the quantities I need to pay bills.

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Sergios
6/28/2019 04:33 EST

It's called Without Boarders.

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whidden39
6/28/2019 08:33 EST

Sergio’s, are you subject to limits on how much money you can transfer to Transferwise using your US debit card?

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Sergios
6/28/2019 08:48 EST

My debit card has a 1000 daily limit from Schwab at atms. I transferred 1600 yesterday so I don't think so but I'm not sure.

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Choosing an expat health insurance provider is an important decision. Get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA. With Cigna Global Health Options, you can create an international health insurance plan that's perfectly tailored for the needs of you and your family.

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Sergios
6/28/2019 09:21 EST

Whidden39, here you go.
Personal and business limits

Personal limit Business limit
All currencies except USD No limit No limit
USD limit, per transaction and per day 250,000 USD 3,000,000 USD
USD limit per year 1,000,000 USD

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whidden39
6/28/2019 11:12 EST

Those limits are quite generous. Surprised. Thanks.

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whidden39
6/28/2019 11:20 EST

So that I understand, do you use Transferwise as a conduit to someone else —as to your landlord? Transfer wise doesn’t hold funds in an account for some future use, right. A transfer is usually imminent, right? Also, when you say you aren’t able to set up direct deposit at a foreign bank, are you referring to a recurring payment like Social Security. Not clear on this, but always trust your solutions to satisfy everyday banking needs overseas.

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Sergios
6/28/2019 11:33 EST

Transferwise now is a bank in which you can hold funds. Like a checking account. The money can be transferred by using a debit card from another bank. Those funds can ba accessed by a debit card that they send to you. The advantage is that when I pay my rent, I can use the money in the transferwise account, borderless account, and it costs less than $5 to make the payment instead of the $50 or so that a wire costs.

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whidden39
6/29/2019 01:41 EST

Ah, that’s the piece I was missing — the checking account and the accompanying debit card. Makes sense. Thanks for the details.

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glorirz
6/29/2019 12:09 EST

Thanks for all the details about Transferwise. I want to add my own experience. I had begun a transfer that wasn't working, so I called their customer service line. I actually had to call twice. They have great customer service, and the delays were on my bank's end. They are friendly, and knowledgable. I learned that they just started functioning as a bank, whereas before they just transferred money. I easily applied for a debit card. The website explains the fees, exchange rates, etc. This could be a great way to keep money in a U.S. bank and access it it on the go.

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