Long reads

Resuming a cross-border life: bringing your bank along for the journey

Marco Mottadelli

Marco Mottadelli

Head of Global Brokerage, Fineco Bank

Despite the new threat posed by the spread of the delta variant, more people travelled to and inside the European Union during the last two months than any post-pandemic period. We are slowly, sometimes fitfully, shifting away from the local and hyper-local way of living our lives towards something approaching the cosmopolitan and international approach that was so common before the pandemic struck.

With the return of physical movement, so too comes the promise of additional need to store and spend money in jurisdictions. This was already an area of rapid development and the focus of fintech innovation before the pandemic. Now the newly-liberated will be able to take advantage of systems architected and deployed over the past 24 months. Even for those not quite ready to travel, it’s a perfect time to start thinking about what a cross-border life might mean for your finances.

This summer’s holidays will be the first time many will venture out of the UK that’s signed a final status agreement with the European Union. That’s the return of roaming charges for certain mobile carriers, as the continent drifts further away from Britain. The same can be true for cash withdrawals, on which out of network fees never disappeared. It’s important to check on withdrawal fees on cash, especially when traveling to areas where a cash society is more important. Some digital banks may advertise fee-free transactions, but still charge a foreign transaction fee or tack on extra charges for more than one visit to a cashpoint in a single month. An extra round of drinks or a steep club entrance fee can mean pay double because of an unexpected withdrawal. Being abroad means the ability to send money and also get it both physically and through credit and debit products.

Some of the biggest surprises buried inside the separation agreement were for those living in countries where they don’t have citizenship. Europeans were generally aware of the need to receive settled status, but there were reports of chaos and scrambling by pensioners living full-time on the coasts of Portugal and Spain. Some now are forced to spend at least a part of the year in the UK, necessitating the need to manage their affairs while abroad. Shuttling back and forth also means it is more valuable to have a provider that can issue payments directly in Euro, while also retaining the ability to make payments in pounds.

The European Union’s continuous investment in its payment infrastructure, through the faster payments initiative and other measures, are making it more viable than ever to move money around the bloc. A secondary bank account denominated in Euro is a chance to directly pay for materials across the continent, something especially important now that additional fees and taxes are in place on shipping which may make acquiring things locally while on holiday more attractive.

And when it comes to considerations around banking products, it’s important not to forget a group that’s seen a boost from the pandemic – digital nomads. With companies dropping in-person working requirements, more people are choosing to live in part or whole away from large international cities. That means more diverse spending, and the need to still manage money. This is a boom for digital banks who don’t offer or require physical locations for services – perfect for those who might not know where they be in a week or a month.

Banking services have made great strides in being more conducive to customer demands over the past decade. The integration of additional services, including pension management and stock trading, inside a single application, makes it simpler to get an overall review of one’s financial situation. Fineco does this, and offers a product well suited for all means of cross-border life, no matter the cause or frequency. 

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