The 12 Best International Banks Of All Time
A detailed breakdown of the best international banks for worldwide banking, including the history, pros, and cons of each institution.
The rise of international commerce and business travel, along with the popularity of forex investing, means that many bank clients need to choose a financial institution with a strong international presence and competitive service offers.
If you’re travelling internationally or plan to hold multiple foreign currencies, you will likely want to consider one of those international banks. In this article, we’ll look at major banks in the U.S, the U.K., and Europe as well as newer online banking services.
The following financial institutions are some of the most popular international banks and banking services in the world. Choose one that is right for you.
The 12 Best International Banks of All Time
Bank of America
The Bank of America (BoA) is the second largest bank in the United States and one of the country’s “Big Four” banks. The Bank of America’s predecessors have been in operation since 1784, but a merger in 1998 brought the bank into its current form.
Though it is headquartered in the U.S., The Bank of America serves customers in 35 countries including Canada, Australia, China, India, France, Germany, Russia, and others.
BoA has 4,600 branches and 16,200 ATMs around the world. Its ATM services are offered internationally through the Global ATM Alliance.
- Broad coverage across 35 countries
- Low account minimums
- A variety of account options
- Mainly for U.S. customers
- Third-party ATM fees
- Slow service complaints
Best for: The Bank of America is best for customers who want to use one of the largest banks in the United States, second only to JP Morgan.
Chase Bank (JP Morgan)
JP Morgan is the largest bank in the U.S. and is another of the country’s “Big Four” banks. It offers consumer services through its subsidiary, Chase Bank—formerly known as Chase Manhattan prior to its merger with JP Morgan in 2000.
Chase Bank operates in more than 100 countries around the world, including the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Italy, China, Singapore, Japan, and China. It has 4,700 branches and 17,000 ATMs, providing coverage similar to that of Bank of America.
While JP Morgan handles institutional banking, Chase Bank provides service to retail customers and consumers through chequing accounts and credit card services.
- Near-global coverage in 100 countries
- Low account minimums
- A variety of credit card options
- Third party ATM fees
- Limits on credit card applications
- Targeted account cancellation controversies
Best for: Chase Bank is best for customers who want a bank that has a presence in many countries as well as a high branch and ATM count.
Wells Fargo is another of the “Big Four” banks of the United States. Though it was founded in 1929, a 1998 merger saw the bank take its current form.
Wells Fargo operates in 35 countries, has 5,200 branches, and 13,000 ATMs.
Though Wells Fargo is primarily headquartered in San Francisco, the bank has branches in Hong Kong, Dubai, London, Singapore, Tokyo, Toronto, and other countries. Some other countries are served by Wells Fargo but do not have customer-facing offices.
The bank offers retail services through its Consumer Banking and Lending segment.
- Widespread coverage across 35 countries
- Account fees can be waived
- Integration with tax apps
- Low interest rates
- Past overdraft scandals
- Controversies around account fraud
Best for: Wells Fargo is best for customers who want to use one of the largest banks in the U.S., and one that was founded relatively recently.
Citibank is the last of the “Big Four” bank in the United States. It was founded in 1812 as the City Bank of New York and has existed under other names.
Citibank now has approximately 2,500 branches across 19 countries including the U.S., India, Ireland, Poland, the Phillipines, Hungary, and Costa Rica. It also has more than 65,000 ATMs worldwide. Most of those global branches exist under the Citibank brand, though its Mexican subsidiary is called Banamex.
Citibank withdrew its retail services from thirteen countries in 2021. Those countries were primarily located in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
- No minimum deposits on some accounts
- Leading provider of credit cards
- Large number of ATMs
- Relatively low global coverage
- Recent withdrawal from Asian countries and India
- Complaints about robocalls to non-customers
Best for: Citibank is best for customers who want access to one of the largest ATM networks in the U.S., and for international customers.
Barclay’s is a U.K.-based bank that was founded in 1690. A merger between several banks in 1896 brought Barclay’s into its current form.
Barclay’s has as many as 4,750 branches across 55 different countries including the U.K, Ireland, Switzerland, Monaco, India, Singapore, and various MENA countries. About 1,600 of its branches are found in the U.K. The bank also has 70,000 ATMs in the U.K.
- Thorough U.K. presence
- No monthly fees
- Low minimum deposits
- No chequing accounts
- No physical branches outside U.K.
- Large number of recent branch closures
Best for: Barclay’s is best for customers who want to take advantage of the bank’s widespread British ATM network or international users looking for online service.
HSBC is another major bank based in the U.K. It was established in 1865 as a foreign bank in British Hong Kong but is now based out of London.
The bank has over 4,000 branches in approximately 65 countries with subsidiaries in the U.S., Canada, India, and Egypt among others. HSBC is part of the AllPoint ATM network, which provides customers with access to 55,000 ATMs.
- Low fees and minimum deposits
- Wide international presence
- Referral bonuses
- Limited U.S. presence
- Low interest rates
- Money laundering controversies
Best for: HSBC is best for customers in the U.K. and some international customers who are looking for a bank with a globally recognized brand.
CapitalOne is a U.S. bank based in Virginia and founded in 1994. It primarily serves U.S. customers, but also has a presence in the U.K. and Canada.
The branch has 755 branches. Though it has just 2,000 first-party ATMs it also has partnered with AllPoint ATMs to provide surcharge-free access to 55,000 ATMs.
- Focus on credit cards alongside banking
- Top-rated mobile banking app
- No monthly maintenance fees on some accounts
- Few international countries served
- Small number of local branches
- Failure to report money laundering controversies
Best for: CapitalOne is best for American customers travelling to the U.K. and Canada and clients who want a wide variety of credit card options.
Charles Schwab Bank
Charles Schwab Bank is a multinational bank founded in 1971. Though the company was initially focused on equities and automated banking, it now offers retail banking.
Charles Schwab Bank has at least 400 branches. The bank does not have its own ATM network, but reimburses ATM costs on any other network.
It is unclear how many countries have access to Charles Schwab Bank’s retail banking services. However, the company’s website provides an interactive form that tells prospective clients whether those services are available in their region.
- Reimbursed ATM fees for chequing accounts
- No fees or account minimums
- No foreign transaction fees
- Some chequing accounts require brokerage account
- Only offers American Express credit cards
- Once fined for misleading robo-advisor service
Best for: Charles Schwab Bank is best for customers in the U.S., especially those who want stock and equity trading features alongside other banking services.
Deutsche Bank is a major German bank founded in Berlin in 1870.
The bank has approximately 2,500 branches throughout 58 countries, primarily in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Clients can access their accounts through 7,000 ATMs owned by the cooperative Cash Group, which also includes other major German banks.
- Available globally and in all 50 U.S. states
- Special accounts for students
- Renowned online banking app
- Two-thirds of branches are in Germany
- Relatively small ATM network
- Various controversies and scandals
Best for: Deutsche Bank is best for German and European clients.
Santander is a major Spanish bank founded in 1857. It has an international presence in 15 countries in North America, South American, and parts of Asia. Some of the bank’s other, non-commercial bank services are available beyond those 15 countries.
The bank has 14,000 branches worldwide, making it the largest bank by that measure. It also has 7,000 ATMs in Spain and 2,000 ATMs in eight U.S. states.
- More branches than any other bank
- Multiple chequing and savings options
- Waivable monthly fees
- Limited U.S. presence (Florida and Northeast states)
- Erroneous payments controversy in 2021
- Briefly required mobile phone for online banking
Best for: Santander is best for clients in Spain and other nearby European countries.
Revolut is a British financial company that was opened in 2015. It has no brick-and-mortar branches but provides online banking, debit cards, and more. Various major fiat currencies can be held in Revolut online accounts.
Revolut serves 28 countries, including those in the European Economic Area (EEA), the U.K., the United States, Japan, Singapore, Australia, and Switzerland. Clients can access their accounts through AllPoint’s network of 55,000 ATMs.
- Focus on online and mobile banking
- Fast and easy account opening process
- Stock and crypto trading features
- Personal and business accounts are separate
- User data leaked in recent cyberattack
- Automated account suspensions
Best for: Revolut is best for clients who primarily use online banking, those who travel often, and those who don’t need to visit a branch in person.
Wise, formerly known as TransferWise, is a digital bank based in the U.K. It offers borderless accounts across at least 80 countries, meaning that clients can receive and hold balances in multiple currencies at once.
Wise does not indicate which countries it is available in, but lists a small number of countries that are not eligible for its services. Notably, Russia, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Iran, and Iraq are excluded from the company’s services.
Wise does not have brick-and-mortar branches. Feeless ATM withdrawals are possible, depending on where the card is issued and used.
- Fast transfer and signup
- Large number of countries supported
- Multi-currency accounts
- Low ATM limit before fees ($250)
- Complicated rules for international card use
- No brick and mortar branches
Best for: Wise is a good option for customers who plan to hold multiple currencies at once and spend funds internationally.
Payset’s International Banking Solution
At Payset, we offer multi-currency accounts to customers in a variety of countries. Our international IBAN accounts provide an online solution for global banking.
Multiple Use Cases
Our multi-currency account is useful for clients in various industries, including freelancing, payroll management, e-commerce and marketplaces, affiliate programs, startups, and the imports/exports sector.
Wide Variety of Currencies
With Payset, you can convert funds between 38 international currencies and hold 34 currencies at once. We serve customers in 180 different countries globally.
No Transaction Limits and Low Fees
With a Payset account, there are no limits on the amount of money that you can send, and receiving money is always free. Fees for sending money begin at 0.4%, and sending money to another Payset customer is always free.
Click here to sign up for an account.
Frequently asked questions
What is a multi-currency account/virtual IBAN?
A Payset multi-currency account allows you to receive money in 34 different currencies and send money in up to 38 currencies, all within the same account.
You can deposit and withdraw funds, convert currencies at competitive exchange rates, and hold your chosen currencies to capitalize on market movements.
A Payset multi-currency account allows startups and business owners to receive payments from clients virtually anywhere in the world and pay suppliers, staff, and contractors quickly and affordably in their chosen currency.
- Funds can be deposited and withdrawn from the account for a small fee.
- Account holders can send and receive money with other Payset users for free.
- Depending on your region, you can use various payment networks from your Payset account, including SWIFT, SEPA, ACH, Fedwire, Faster Payments, BACS, and CHAPS.
- Once you register an account, you will be provided with a Virtual IBAN (International Bank Account Number), which makes all of these transfers easy.
- We provide you with local payments and collections. For example, transactions in USD, EUR, CAD, and GBP are processed through the local payment networks, which is far cheaper and takes minutes as opposed to days
Are there limits on the amount of money I can send and receive?
No, there are no transaction limits on Payset multi-currency accounts.
However, higher-volume transactions may require additional anti-fraud verification. If you plan to make a large transaction, contact us in advance to avoid verification delays.
How is Payset regulated?
Payset allows you to receive payments in 34 currencies. You can send payments from your account in 38 currencies. For more details, check our payment guide.
How do I add money to my account?
How do I send money from my account?
Once you have opened your verified IBAN account and added money to a balance, transferring funds is simple.
Simply log in into your account and add a beneficiary, then simply “make a transfer” in your preferred currency to that beneficiary.
Types of Multi-Currency Accounts
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