Banking

Old Feb 9th 2009, 3:18 pm
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Default Banking

Hi there - I'm very new to all this so please excuse any stupid questions I may ask! I'm wondering if it's worth using a foreign exchange company or just deal with the banking myself? In a nutshell, I will be joining my husband in US within 5 months - he has been working for a company over here which has now become permanent. We wish to rent in the US and keep our property in the UK to rent out to cover the mortgage ( we do not want to commit to a permanent move yet!). We do not have any large amounts of money to transfer and just wish to be able to move money across from US to UK to pay mortgage and any other costs.
So I am unsure as to whether using a financial company is the best thing for what seems to be small dealings. Does anyone know of a bank we could use that would be available in both countries? Is HSBC a good bet as a so-called international bank?
Any advice would be appreciated - Many thanks
D.C
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Old Feb 9th 2009, 3:41 pm
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Default Re: Banking

My first bit of advice is KEEP A UK bank account. They are basically impossible to open once you leave the country and having one will be very helpful not only for the mortgage but also for 'little things' here and there.

Now, as for which one to use, I'm afraid I'm going to have to let others chime in. HSBC and Citibank have branches in both countries, though technically I'm not sure if they are the same legal entity in both (i.e. Citibank PLC UK vs. Citibank Inc USA). This can lead to some odd behavior in which they don't necessarily treat a bank in one country as being the same as their bank and thus you have some fees to pay for transfers, etc. I think HSBC is better but not sure of all the details.
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Old Feb 9th 2009, 3:59 pm
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Default Re: Banking

Originally Posted by penguinsix View Post
My first bit of advice is KEEP A UK bank account. They are basically impossible to open once you leave the country and having one will be very helpful not only for the mortgage but also for 'little things' here and there.

Now, as for which one to use, I'm afraid I'm going to have to let others chime in. HSBC and Citibank have branches in both countries, though technically I'm not sure if they are the same legal entity in both (i.e. Citibank PLC UK vs. Citibank Inc USA). This can lead to some odd behavior in which they don't necessarily treat a bank in one country as being the same as their bank and thus you have some fees to pay for transfers, etc. I think HSBC is better but not sure of all the details.
Many thanks - I did think about closing down the UK account but it does make sense to keep something open. I'll look into HSBC a bit more.
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Old Feb 9th 2009, 4:16 pm
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Default Re: Banking

If you're happy with your current UK bank account, and it has internet banking, I'd stick with it.

On the US end, I'd go for a bank that has plenty of branches and good free ATM coverage where you'll be living.

Then use a service like XETrade (or the other one that everyone on here recommends - UKForex?) to shift money from one place to the other. You get a better exchange rate than most banks will give, you can see exactly what the rate will be, it's dead easy, and almost as quick as a within-the-UK transfer.

I'm not sure that any advantages that an international bank could offer would outway the disadvantages of possible limited branch coverage etc. As penguinsix says, to some extent it's more of a branding exercise than truly international banking anyway...
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Old Feb 9th 2009, 4:22 pm
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Default Re: Banking

Originally Posted by penguinsix View Post
My first bit of advice is KEEP A UK bank account. They are basically impossible to open once you leave the country and having one will be very helpful not only for the mortgage but also for 'little things' here and there.

Now, as for which one to use, I'm afraid I'm going to have to let others chime in. HSBC and Citibank have branches in both countries, though technically I'm not sure if they are the same legal entity in both (i.e. Citibank PLC UK vs. Citibank Inc USA). This can lead to some odd behavior in which they don't necessarily treat a bank in one country as being the same as their bank and thus you have some fees to pay for transfers, etc. I think HSBC is better but not sure of all the details.
I have a Citibank 'US' account with funds cleared in New York. So far I haven't incurred any charges for using the account. The only snag is that if I use my card here in the UK I will have to pay the exchange fees as though I were a US tourist in the UK.
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Old Feb 9th 2009, 4:37 pm
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Default Re: Banking

XE trade are superb - definitely open an account with them.
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Old Feb 9th 2009, 4:39 pm
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Default Re: Banking

Originally Posted by rew1000 View Post
If you're happy with your current UK bank account, and it has internet banking, I'd stick with it.

On the US end, I'd go for a bank that has plenty of branches and good free ATM coverage where you'll be living.

Then use a service like XETrade (or the other one that everyone on here recommends - UKForex?) to shift money from one place to the other. You get a better exchange rate than most banks will give, you can see exactly what the rate will be, it's dead easy, and almost as quick as a within-the-UK transfer.

I'm not sure that any advantages that an international bank could offer would outway the disadvantages of possible limited branch coverage etc. As penguinsix says, to some extent it's more of a branding exercise than truly international banking anyway...
Thanks for this - I guess I don't really need to change banks if I'm keeping the account open. My husband will be opening a US bank account now he has his Soc. Sec. number so we will have one foot in each country then. I think I'll advise him to go for one with branches/ATM coverage as you've mentioned - probably near to place of work for convenience.
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Old Feb 9th 2009, 4:40 pm
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Default Re: Banking

Keep you UK bank account - honestly do not close it. It's a nightmare if you do and go back.

Go into your bank (a big branch - not some dinky village one) - many of them can "convert" your account to their US counterpart if they have one. HSBC is pretty good with that though I'm not too sure about the rest. Don't phone them - go see somebody. If they can your problem is solved. If not- go open an HSBC account and have it converted over.
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Old Feb 9th 2009, 4:43 pm
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Default Re: Banking

Originally Posted by cranston View Post
XE trade are superb - definitely open an account with them.
Thanks for the recommendation - all advice is appreciated as it makes me feel less overwhelmed by the many things to do/organise!!
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Old Feb 9th 2009, 5:25 pm
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Default Re: Banking

It is a lot to ddeal with

HSBC really did come through for us - I went into a branch near where I was looking to rent and explained what I was looking for and as a premier customer they really rolled out the red carpet for us. I couldn't recommend them more highly - however this may just be the branch I was lucky enough to stumble upon...

Good luck!
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Old Feb 9th 2009, 6:43 pm
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Default Re: Banking

Originally Posted by Swisstony View Post
It is a lot to ddeal with

HSBC really did come through for us - I went into a branch near where I was looking to rent and explained what I was looking for and as a premier customer they really rolled out the red carpet for us. I couldn't recommend them more highly - however this may just be the branch I was lucky enough to stumble upon...

Good luck!
That sounds great - was it anywhere near Morris County, NJ?
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Old Feb 10th 2009, 7:57 am
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Default Re: Banking

consider opening a UK Amex account if you dont have one already.

When you get to the US you can transfer the account over which will help building your US credit score.
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