Introduction to foreign and international currencies

by Barclays Wealth International on November 8, 2010

World currencies | Barclays Wealth International - World currency guide

Who might need foreign and international currency services?

People who need foreign and international currencies include anyone who may be considering the following:

  • Moving abroad to live, work, retire or study
  • Investing overseas
  • Buying a property in a different currency
  • Travelling frequently to other countries
  • Moving euros across borders within the eurozone.

The main reasons for opening an international bank account

Reducing costs

By holding an international bank account in the currency in which you are operating you can reduce or even eliminate some of the costs associated with moving and exchanging money.

Making life simple

Most good international banking facilities will provide credit1 or debit cards in major currencies such as dollars, sterling and euros. This can further reduce transaction charges and make life a lot simpler when spending money overseas.

The online and telephone banking facilities that come as standard with a good international bank account will help you to manage your finances from anywhere in the world at whatever time suits you2.

An international bank with branches in different locations worldwide will be able to eliminate the challenges of having to understand local procedures and language.

Foreign exchange choices

International banks can offer foreign exchange services that will make the transaction less vulnerable to exchange rate changes. These services include spot trades, forward exchange contracts that fix an exchange rate in advance and options that give more flexibility and can be used to protect the value of a deal.

Mortgages and loans

Opening an international bank account can allow you to take out a mortgage in the currency in which you are being paid which can cut the cost of regular currency exchanges and transfers.

However, if a foreign currency loan is taken against a UK property, the relative size of the loan compared to the value of the property can be adversely affected by exchange rate movements.

See our guide to foreign currency mortgages.

Offshore

When considering moving money internationally it makes sense to investigate potential tax efficiencies. These can apply to mortgages, investments and savings. In all such cases, though, it is highly recommended that you seek independent professional tax advice in advance.

See our guide to offshore banking.

Dollar currency

The US dollar has obvious attractions as a currency in which to invest, trade or hold capital. An international banking facility can help non-US residents with the security related administration of setting up a dollar currency account.

See our dollar international banking guide.

Euro currency

The euro is unusual in that it is the currency of many different countries. Legislation has been passed by the European Union (EU) to make transferring euros as simple and low cost as possible. To this end it has created the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), which also includes Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Monaco.

See our euro international banking guide

Hong Kong dollar currency

A Hong Kong dollar currency facility helps give access to the investment opportunities of China while being underpinned by the stability of the US dollar.

Hong Kong has a low tax environment making it especially attractive as a place to live, work and invest.

Japanese yen currency

A Japanese yen currency account can make travelling or doing business in Japan much easier as it saves you having to set up a banking facility in Japan.

Sterling currency

The UK is an attractive destination for workers, students and property investment. An international banking facility can help a newcomer with unfamiliar procedures such as those related to buying a property.

See our sterling international banking guide.

Swiss franc currency

The tax structure and financial tradition of Switzerland make it an attractive destination for investment and wealth planning. It is also included within the SEPA so it has the benefits of easy movement of euros across the eurozone.

See our Swiss franc international banking guide.

For more information or to apply

Barclays Wealth International offers a range of international currency products and services including day-to-day banking, savings, investments and mortgages3. Talk to them today to see how they can help you.

Call their team on +44 (0)141 352 3902†.

Visit their website.

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If your loan is denominated in a currency other than sterling CHANGES IN THE EXCHANGE RATE MAY INCREASE THE STERLING EQUIVALENT OF YOUR DEBT.

Terms and conditions apply to all mortgage products. We strongly recommend that you obtain your own independent tax advice before proceeding with an offshore mortgage.

Barclays Wealth will require a first charge over the property.

Barclays Wealth is a responsible lender and when considering your application for borrowing, your financial circumstances will be appraised. Remember should you run into difficulties please contact us immediately.

In all forms of advertising and marketing material where repayments are quoted, we will show clearly a typical Annual Percentage Rate (APR). We will also clearly indicate in all lending-related advertising issued in Jersey that we abide by the Code of Practice for Consumer Lending.

1 Subject to application and status.

2 Access may also be limited in some countries due to the prohibited transmission of encrypted data over telephone lines. Please contact your local embassy to check your country’s legal position. Accounts will be held in individual currencies.

3 Barclays Wealth International offers mortgages for properties in the UK, Jersey, Guernsey, Gibraltar and the Isle of Man only.

Lines are open 7am to 8pm weekdays and 8am to 5pm weekends and UK bank holidays, local time. Call charges may vary. Please check with your local telecoms provider. Calls may be recorded for training and security purposes.

The services described on this page are provided by the following companies, which are part of Barclays Wealth: Barclays Bank PLC in UK, Gibraltar, Cyprus, Barclays Private Clients International Limited in Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man and Barclays Bank (Suisse) SA in Switzerland. The International Corporate e-Banking or e-FX Dealer products described on this page are provided by the following companies, which are part of Barclays Wealth: Barclays Bank PLC in UK, Gibraltar, Cyprus, and Barclays Private Clients International Limited in Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man. For further information on these companies and Barclays Wealth please read the Important Information. Each Barclays Wealth company reserves the right to make a final determination on whether or not you are eligible for any particular product or service.

Products and services on this site may not be available in certain jurisdictions. In particular, these products and services are not being offered in Japan or the United States or to US residents. For full details of exclusions and disclaimers please see the Important Information before proceeding. Each Barclays Wealth company reserves the right to make a final determination on whether or not you are eligible for any particular product or service.

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