8 Free International Bank Accounts (+ 5 With Low Fees)

International bank accounts are available through banks that operate in the U.S. and around the world, and some charge few to no fees. Below, we’ve gathered the details about 13 free and low-cost international bank accounts. To gather this information, we contacted each bank’s customer service department.

What to Know Before Opening an International Bank Account

Opening an international bank account includes many of the same requirements that banks request for regular U.S. bank accounts. Expect to provide a passport or driver’s license, along with basic personal information like your birthdate, Social Security number, and current address. The bank will also request your income and employment information, as well as your current banking and finance details.

Banks are required to verify the identity of account holders, so even if you apply online, you will be expected to scan or mail required documents to the bank. Additional documentation may be requested, depending on the country, to protect against money laundering. Restrictions on ID verification have reduced the availability of international accounts for non-residents; banks headquartered outside of the U.S. may require prospective non-resident account holders to apply at a branch in person.

If you decide to open an offshore account, you’ll need to keep in mind the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). This act requires other countries to report U.S. account holders and account balances to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Under this agreement, many offshore banks and financial institutions have registered with the IRS and will disclose information about your international account.

What We Recommend

During our research, we found several free and low-fee bank account options that you can apply for and maintain online; most of them have locations both within the U.S. and in other countries. Charles Schwab is the best option for fee-free banking, as it has no minimum balance requirement, and it provides global ATM fee reimbursement for some accounts. Capital One 360 is also fee-free, with the exception of global ATM fees (which it may partially reimburse for some account holders). While HSBC is headquartered in London and requires greater minimum balances, it offers a good fee-free option for its Premier account holders.

Comparison Table

You can use the table below for a quick comparison of the banks with free or low-fee international bank accounts, then click any bank’s name or scroll to the list for more details.

Bank Fee-Free? Minimum Deposit Online Application? Online Account Management?
Charles Schwab Yes (some accounts fully reimbursed for global ATM fees) None Yes Yes
Capital One Yes (some accounts partially reimbursed for global ATM fees) None Yes Yes
HSBC Yes (Premier accounts) $75,000 Yes Yes
Wells Fargo Yes (Portfolio Checking) $25,000 Yes Yes
Bank of the West Yes (Premier Checking with $25,000 balance) None Yes Yes
U.S. Bank Yes (Platinum Checking with $25,000 balance) $25,000 Yes Yes
Citibank Yes (Citi Gold and Citi Priority accounts) $50,000 to $200,000 Yes Yes
Chase Bank Yes (Sapphire Checking) $75,000 Yes Yes
Bank of America No None Yes Yes
Barclays No £25,000 Yes Yes
Caye International Bank No $1,000 Yes Yes
Cayman National Bank No $1,000 to $100,000 Yes Yes
UBS Bank No $5,000 Yes Yes

The List

1. Charles Schwab

  • Fee-free? Yes, except global ATMs, which may be reimbursed depending on your account type
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, CA; locations in 12 countries
  • Minimum deposit? None, but applicants must be a U.S. resident with a U.S. address
  • Online application and account management? Yes
  • Find out more

2. Capital One

  • Fee-free? Yes, for the 360 Checking account, except for global ATM fees (there is a $10 or 3% fee per transaction; customers may be reimbursed up to $15 per month for foreign ATM fees)
  • Headquarters: McLean, VA
  • Minimum deposit? None
  • Online application and account management? Yes
  • Find out more

3. HSBC

  • Fee-free? Yes, for Premier customers; non-Premier customers should contact their branch for fee information
  • Headquarters: London, England; locations in over 30 countries and territories
  • Minimum deposit: $75,000 in deposits/investments, $5,000 per month direct deposits, or a mortgage loan of at least $500,000 to qualify for Premier status
  • Online application and account management? Yes
  • Find out more

4. Wells Fargo

  • Fee-free? Yes, with a Portfolio Checking account and $25,000 monthly balance; other accounts have monthly service fees up to $30, plus 3% foreign transaction fees
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, CA; locations in more than 40 countries and territories
  • Minimum deposit: A $25 minimum is required to open a checking account
  • Online application and account management? Yes
  • Find out more

5. Bank of the West

  • Fee-free? Yes, for Premier Checking with a $25,000 balance
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, CA; over 70 locations worldwide
  • Minimum deposit: None, but a $25,000 monthly balance is required to remain fee-free
  • Online application and account management? Yes
  • Find out more

6. U.S. Bank

  • Fee-free? Yes, for Platinum Checking with $25,000 balance
  • Headquarters: Minneapolis, MN
  • Minimum deposit: $25,000
  • Online application and account management? Yes
  • Find out more

7. Citibank

  • Fee-free? Yes, for Citi Gold and Citi Priority accounts; a 3% ATM foreign exchange fee applies for all other Citi accounts
  • Headquarters: New York, NY; locations in over 30 countries
  • Minimum deposit: A $200,000 minimum balance for Citi Gold; $50,000 minimum balance for Citi Priority
  • Online application and account management? Yes
  • Find out more

8. Chase Bank

  • Fee-free? Yes, with Sapphire Checking; other accounts have a maintenance fee of up to $25 per month
  • Headquarters: New York, New York USA; locations in more than 100 countries
  • Minimum deposit: $75,000 in deposits to your Sapphire Checking for free worldwide ATM use and no charge for foreign rate exchange transactions; all other accounts pay about 3% in transaction fees
  • Online application and account management? Yes
  • Find out more

Low-Cost International Bank Accounts

9. Bank of America

  • Fee-free? No — there is a $25 monthly service fee, about 3% foreign transaction fees, and ATM fees with limited rebates
  • Headquarters: Charlotte, NC; locations in more than 35 countries
  • Minimum deposit: None, but fees will be assessed for balances below the minimum (which varies by account)
  • Online application and account management? Yes
  • Find out more

10. Barclays

  • Fee-free? No — about 3% per transaction on fees outside the United Kingdom
  • Headquarters: London, England; locations in 50 countries
  • Minimum deposit: £25,000 minimum balance, and you must be at least 18 to open an account
  • Online application and account management? Yes
  • Find out more

11. Caye International Bank

  • Fee-free? No — $14.50 monthly service fee, $100 application fee, and $250 FATCA fee
  • Headquarters: Ambergris Caye, Belize, Central America
  • Minimum deposit: An opening balance of $1,000
  • Online application and account management? Yes
  • Find out more

12. Cayman National Bank

  • Fee-free? No, there is a $25 per month maintenance fee
  • Headquarters: Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; locations throughout the Cayman Islands as well as Isle of Man, England, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • Minimum deposit: $1,000 minimum for personal checking; $100,000 minimum for premier
  • Online application and account management? Yes
  • Find out more

13. UBS Bank

  • Fee-free? No — up to $95 per month maintenance; 3% foreign transaction fee
  • Headquarters: Salt Lake City, UT; Global headquarters in Switzerland
  • Minimum deposit: $5,000 minimum opening deposit
  • Online application and account management? Yes
  • Find out more