The Expat Banking Poll: Vote & win an iPad

Do you trust the banks in the country you’re living in? Or do you feel safer dealing with banks from home?

Whatever your opinion, we want to know what you think about managing money abroad. In fact, we’re so keen to hear what you’ve got to say, we’ve teamed up with Lloyds TSB International to offer you the chance to win an iPad!

Just answer two simple questions and tell us your story to be entered into the prize draw. What are you waiting for?

Update: This poll is now closed. Thank you for your participation.


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Deborah says:

I banked in Japan. Efficient and very reliable, helpful customer services. I used the bank for my salary and sending money home.

Jabir says:

Well am in Tanzania and using CRDB bank services, I have faith on them and they have a good service to me thus why I trust them.

Eagle says:

In Algeria my country as many others 3th world countries, we have always old banking system, no credit card, no internationbal wire, no ecommerce solutions, so we are really blocked !!!! I am always using Moneybookers, AlertPay, LibertyReserve, Payoneer Card, EntroPay and such solutions and i am seeking now to open a new bank account in Europe or in an offshore banking solution to be able to resolve and manage my small ecommerce business, hope to do soon!

Thanks & Good luck for all 🙂

i am student and i was living in cyprus . my parents sent me every month and when i opened the account in Marfin Laike Bank there was no opening fee for account as well as i got my money on time .staff was very friendly . now i opened account in Deutsche Bank and they are also providing me so many facility so i m happy and its a good experience .

Nudlijunior says:

Hi, I was very excited to move to Germany. The first thing I did was to check out the top 10 list of the banks in Germany. Biggest capital, biggest chain, lowest risk. 🙂 That’s how I chose a bice bank where cash withdraw is for free and the Internet banking is awesome, Even international transfers are for free. It’s great! Such a freedom!!

Roy Hayes says:

Having lived in Spain for 17 years we of course use the Spanish Banking system. Very expensive and very slow compared to the UK. Thinking of returning to the UK we have set up LloydTSB here in Spain and moved our accounts over to that expecting it to be better than the usual Spanish Bank. Not so! Exactly the same and in some ways worse. For example: A transfer from Lloyds UK to Lloyds Spain can take up to 8 days! UK to a Spanish Bank 3 days. Account costs equal or in some cases higher. Getting information sometimes difficult etc, etc.

H.E. says:

I use to trust banking in the UAE, but with the current economic downturn; I have noticed that many banks are going bankrupt, and other banks are selling their customer information to marketing companies, which is really scary.

Also, every other bank is giving away credit cards that are free for life and they give you a limit of over 15 – 20 times your salary if not more. This all shows how much the economy is weak, and that banks are ripping people off.

H.E. says:

I use to trust banking in the UAE, but with the current economic downturn; I have noticed that many banks are going bankrupt, and other banks are selling their customer information to marketing companies, which is really scary.

Daire Gohery says:

I don’t trust the banks in Germany and I do in Ireland. I am Irish and I have been living in Berlin for two years now and I found the banks to be rip off merchants. I am charged every time I withdraw money from my Sp*****asse account. If I withdraw money from another bank, my bank deduct €4.99 from my account. I asked them ‘why are you charging me for withdrawing money from another bank?’ and they claim it is the other banks that charge me. I recently found out that this is untrue as when I take money out of the same banks using my Irish bank card I receive no charges, therefore it can only be my own German bank charging me. I am also charged for money transfers from my bank account to another bank account (outside of my own German account) and charged even more money for international transfers. Also, I receive a charge of €12 every 3 months for usage of printed bank statements . In Ireland on the other hand, I pay €20 per year for their service and receive free withdrawals, transfers and printed statements. I have just moved back to Ireland where I am happy and free of all unfair financial treatment.

Johnny Boghossian says:

After the recesision in usa and in europe and bank getting bankrupt i dont trust banks in my country lebann or abroad because they are careless with the people’s money.

Natalie says:

Hello, i lived in Athens, Greece for a year, i was a scholarship holder, so every month from my foundation i got a cheque and went to a bank to receive money. So i didn’t want to have it in cash, so i tried to learn whether i could get a card, but they told as far as i didn’t pay taxes and didn’t have special tax payer number or account (not sure whether it’s the right term, sorry i am not English native speaker) so i couldn’t get a card. Later i learnt that in another bank it was possible to get the card.

dan says:

My credit card’s magnetic strip became faulty, so I had to order a new card. I came back to the bank a few days later to pick it up, gave my name and I was issued with my new card. When I left, it dawned on me that I had not been asked for any identification to collect it. What made me slightly more baffled is that when I went the following week to transfer some money, I wasn’t allowed to do so because I didn’t have any id.

I guess the other thing I find funny when banking in Spain is the fact that the workers in the banks don’t like working late and if you get to the bank at 15:45, the workers make every effort to tell you that you’re too late (the banks usually shut at 16:00).

lukasz says:

Ing Bank is the best for every kind of costumers. Easy going and simple the best. Wirtual account which they offer isthe easiest thing which ive got from them.

Clive Dsouza says:

Here My salary transactions is with Emirates NBD. The service is excellent , no complains either on the counter or phone banking. I would suggest my friends with the same experience i am getting.

Even with my Debit or Credit card the service is 100% and they have even waived my Credit card charges even after 1 year which says for a Gold Debit card AED 400/- shall be charged from the 1st year completion but they gave me a choice to purchase anything of AED 2700/- within 3 months and the charges shall be waived and this was an excellent opportunity. Thanks , Collar Up To Emirates NBD

Raj says:

very honestly, bank which i amdealing in Qatar is quite trustable. i am not experience to buy/ pay money thruh foreign currency. further, i dont use credit/ debit cards. as an ordinary expat of India working in Qatar. And i never go for online business thruh the banks interpretation. i never trust other online business hands over emails. but really, just is useful/ and trustatble informative to me. for the long experience is given from justlanded website. reappy appreciable to the web owners and their marketing people who work and collect informations from whole countries of expats., really appreciable. Thank you and will be more advance in soon. your new look is more attractive than that of earlier face of jstlanded site.


I live in an Island in Greece so I have an account at National Bank of Greece. One day I go for sending money in my bank account from home – Romania. This operation I did it before – so I thought they can see my number of account from the other bank. They said I have to give all the details again ???!!!??? So how can a bank can not see what your doing in your account? Isn’t it a bit from grandma’ age? :d

Ahmad says:

I relocated to Kuwait and making a preloaded visa card was very easy to shop online and control my budget.

Joan says:

Opening a bank account in Italy is almost as much paperwork as a home mortgage in the USA. After several trips to the bank because they always wanted more documents my account was opened. It has been three years and everything is functioning normally. The banking fees in Italy are quite high, something you have to adjust to as an expat.

Emeka Okwuagwu says:

Hi all, a friend of my travelled to US which he has an account but he has made a transaction for a long period of time getting to his bank for an urgent transaction he was ask to bring his details of his valid travelling document.
Distance from his residence to the bank will take 3 hrs drive.

Filipe says:

Here in Belgium I have a account with ING, i’m not super satisfied with it since they are changes their fess all the time and there is nothing you can do about it.
Besides that it’s a ok bank, they can speak English (as almost everybody in Brussels) and you can find one in everywhere you go in Brussels.

I have no idea if there is community banking here in Belgium, but I would like to check it out if they have it.

Alena Kononova says:

I was born and live 33 years in Russia. Then I start my new life in Finland. I received Viza credit card from finnish bank and I can trust to it. When I travel around the world, my payment is always successful. I can’t say the same about russian bank.

Sylvia says:

When I moved overseas, I opened a bank account that I knew was international – available in the region I had moved to, as well as in my home country. I was annoyed to find out that,even though this seems convenient, the branches can not work together. When I moved to a new county, I had a close the account in that country and wait to open it in another. It wasn’t as convenient as I was under the impression that it would be…

Geert Karel says:

When I’m using a ATM other that the ones from my own bank (BBVA) with my Spanish bankcard, these banks will take a comission of up to 4% of the amount requested. When I use my Belgian card they will take 0%. According to my info European Regulation forbid to take those comissions. Same story when I want to transfer some money from my Spanish account to my Belgian one, the BBVA will count some % of ‘expences’. I think all that is forbidden by EU regulations but the Spanish banks just don’t bother to follow those rules.

Valentin says:

I found the process of opening a bank account in my “new” quiet smooth. For my ease I am doing everything with them, from accounts, cards, insurance, investments, and other services such as transfers abroad, FX, etc. I am aware that sometimes they dont have the best rates and fees for these services, however as I said just to make things easier. However, I dont find the communication between my bank and myself very smooth, on the contrary. I have to look how it would be cheaper for me, without them giving me any help. Rates and fees are not very transparent. What is worst is when I try to communicate with my branch directly, if I dont find my representative, people wont really put effort in helping me, at least thats my impression. But I have that feeling for the banking services in the country in general. Back home service was more personal.

Balan Ramakrishnan says:

Basically the banker was the person who could help you to make your dreams come true. The local community bank was the only way you were going to be able to get capital to buy a house, buy a car, or start a business. Its role has diminished but not completely over time as you have had innovation in financial markets making access to capital much easier.
Life without bank is impossible.

Mohammed says:

Am surprised by the rates the banks in Belgium charge. On other hand, the level of security when transacting online and other such features makes it even.

Kirsty says:

Banking is always a struggle when you can’t freely communicate in your mother-tongue. I’ve had a couple of bad experiences with my bank in Germany with them for example, not informing me properly of the fact that setting up an automatic payment was costing a ridiculous fee each month. I suppose when you’re in your own country you read more of the fine print and ask more questions and when you’re abroad you would hope people make more of an effort to make things clear to you, but you can’t count on it.

Seba C says:

Living in Denmark has got it’s perks. I moved here 3 years ago. I have 2 accounts and have never had any issues. But two years ago I used my card excessively online and it happened: i was “card-jacked”. By the end of the month someone had used my card about 1000 EURO worth. Naturally furious and upset, I went to the bank and I was calmly explained that I will get my money back and a new card in a few days. It was completely painless. I suppose many banks are insured, but this was not a small sum and they didn’t make me fill out any forms of any kind, they didn’t even ask me if anyone else uses my card. It was almost too good to be true.
Appart from this, the 3 cards I use now arrived in my post box in a matter a few days after ordering them. Furthermore, many of the large banks have user-friendly, secure and fast ebanking iphone/ipad apps. I use one of them regularly and it’s great.
Danske Bank, the national bank of Denmark, has a great Visa credit card option where you pay 100 danish krone (about 13 EUR) per year and get a credit limit of over 1000 EUR no questions asked.

Lynda Dagdeviren says:

I have lived in Turkey for 16yrs but still bank in the UK I purchase goods online using this bank as well aspaying any UK bills. I have banked with a number of different banks in Turkey – I tend to avoid the private ones as a number “crashed” my first few years here and can still recall the riots by their customers ! I currently bank with HSBC but a totally different banking experience to the HSBC in UK. One example I opened a business account with online access. The bank set it up so my manager could access the online system but not me. It took me over 6 months to sort that out. One advantage of banking here is I can have accounts in any currency but they also have a system wherein if you have more than a certain amount in your bank they “place it” in another system. You can access it when you need – except via the ATM! but you cannot opt out of the system.
In general the banks are improving here, they are non smoking areas with a desk system and bi lingual staff. Prior to this you had to battle to get a place at the desk, no privacy at all and you would have to wait till the cashier had finished thier..tea,smoke, conversation with a friend or just drying her nails!!!

Lair says:

I totally trust my credit union back in the U.S. I think the bank I opened an account with in India several months ago is okay, but I don’t have enough experience with them yet to really judge.

Marce says:

We have been in Valencia (Spain) for 10 years and unfortunately we work with a local bank (CAM). Language isn’t always a barrier and can be overcome, but the preconceive idea then have that we foreigners are stupids and they can mislead us to their advantage is something you can’t change. We are not the only one who we have been mislead into false pretenses for their benefit. The CAM is full of big scandals on how they have payed themselves hugh pensions while repossessing properties by refusing re negotiations of mortgages. Their are in such a trouble right now that the Bank of Spain has intervened them. But hell this is Spain, so what is done is done, so no good will come of this. In a nutshell I wouldn’t trust a local or regional bank again!.

B. Morris says:

Setting up a bank account in Kuwait proved to be quite a journey. The bank we chose had plenty of English speaking personel and for the most part the people at NBK (National Bank of Kuwait) were very polite. But they didn’t seem to understand the problem we had logging on to their intenet site and iot took 3 trips into a main bank to get the service set up properly. Compared to several other banks in this area, when I tried to cash checks drawn on their bank, I would say that NBK is the easiest for ex-pats to deal with.

Jayne says:

Before I moved to Saudi Arabia, I set up an HSBC account in the States because it has branches in Riyadh. When I moved overseas and tried to access my online account, the security to obtain your passport was expat proof — meaning the bank insisted on sending me the password through the regular postal mail. For anyone that’s lived in Saudi, there is no door-to-door postal service, and it takes, like, a month to receive a letter, inshallah. Even expedited mail can take weeks. So, in the end, the frustration of it all pushed me to close my account and just keep my bank account in the United States.

naomi says:

I keep my US bank account in order to have credit cards and Paypal options. In the US, it is possible to have a bank account with little or no fees. In Italy, where I have my Euro bank account, there are monthly and annual taxes and fees to pay, plus services in Italy are just starting to become commercially up to US standards. One thing to note is if you close an Italian bank account, you have to pay a fee! Unheard of in the US. I went for years without an Italian bank account, but found that to get paid for certain jobs, it was necessary to have one because cashing a check is very difficult – you have to go to the specific bank where the check-writer has an account. And, unlike US banks, although banks in Italy have several chains and locations, they still function as independent banks and you usually have to go to the same back where you opened the account. Again, not like US banks where nationally, you can use any service from the bank chain. They are not digitally connected in Italy! For all of these reasons, I recommend keeping one’s home-country bank account, especially if you want to apply for a loan or make payments in that country.

andrej says:

I had no idea that community banking still existed. It does here

Teddy444 says:

I relocated to Costa Rica for a few months. I prepared well and did my research for possible banks to work with. It turns out that the specific village i chose to live had only one decent bank. Unfortunately this specific bank could not open a new account to expats but only to resident. I had to rely on my home town bank. Thank god for Online access.

Dimitris says:

I’m very happy with my German Bank (Sparkasse Aachen) so far. Friendly personnel, great e-banking site.

tecia ricketts says:

I am surprise community banking exist. Sounds interesting

Elisabeth Bystrom says:

Getting over the language barrier is the biggest step, but so far my banking experiences have been very easy and straightforward in Germany. My local branch is very helpful and all services are on-line, just like home.

Dede says:

A bit compliacted since French is my first language… Felt a bit lost…But succeeded to have one in the Netherlands and have to use my botfriend to guide me throught the process. thinkig about changing it to another bank who has english and Dutch services. Much more better for expatraites like me.

Bikash Gyawali says:

Here in Malta, I have been doing my banking with HSBC, which is a global Bank and offers so much facilities. I have enjoyed its services and feel very secure as well as happy with this reputed global bank.

Elena says:

Switzerland: they are fast, efficient and helpful, except that they won’t open an investment account for you if you are affliated with the USA. Online banking is very secured and easy!

Srikant says:

What if the local regulations change overnight? Just kidding. But maybe it’s just that you feel more secure with familiar names, especially bank names that you’re familiar with since childhood.

Alex says:

My sister was relocating to the UK for work, she did her homework and as she would be travelling a lot, set up a Lloyds 3 Currency Account (Pounds, Euros & USD) so that she could travel and withdraw funds in the currency of the country she was in. She orgaised it all before leaving Australia. We only wish you could adjust the USD for AUD.
I’m looking to become an expat and will be signing up for this account when I do.

Adrian Collins says:

I must admit, I find dealing with my bank in Italy a bit intimidating seeing as I have a very low level of Italian. I still use my bank account in the UK to make online purchases (I generally buy UK products and have them shipped over) and limit the use of my Italian bank as much as possible. Otherwise, I know I’ll have a nightmare trying to deal with any problems, which is inevitable when making online purchases.

Gavin Doughty says:

I actually work for a retail bank HSBC in Paris and have found that for most of the international clients the language barrier is not so much as a problem as the cultural ones. A lack of cultural awareness leads to many unsatisfied customers and this is something that causes a lot of problems for many expats. The lack of customer service is inherent within France and French businesses and even after 5 years here I still experience and am frustrated by very low service levels on an almost daily basis. When newly arrived expat experience these below standard levels of customer service at the banks many choose to simply bank from home.

Bonnie says:

I had no idea that community banking still existed. It does here and I love it!

Michelle says:

The above is a bit vague, I trust the Canadian Banking system strongly, and the British banking system only moderately after experiencing the crashes in 2008.

Bryan Johnson says:

I think getting a bank account set up in a new country is rarely a smooth process – especially if there’s a language barrier to contend with. I chose to bank with Barclays in Spain because it’s a UK bank and they allow me to transfer money to my account at home free of charge. And if I’m having trouble communicating in Spanish, you can usually get an English speaker on the phone to help you out. I’ve had a few things charged to my account by mistake (this can happen with any bank), but they were really helpful and quick to sort it out.

Reuben says:

When I was looking for an apartment in Madrid, language was a big challenge, especially when trying to understanding the advert in the first place. I come from a country where ‘unfurnished’ means it has no furniture, simple really. However here it is likely that this actually means ‘totally bear without anything just the walls and windows and the front door’. So to my surprise when I visited a few ‘unfurnished’ apartments one weekend I walked into what looked like a building site and the agent would ask ‘so what do you think, it has nice natural light’. Yes it does and the distinct smell of cement and emptiness.