Best Multi-Currency Account

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A multi-currency account can make it easier for businesses to pay for goods and services and receive payments from customers and clients from different regions. The right multi-currency account can help the business reduce currency exchange fees.

The best multi-currency account lets you hold and manage dozens of currencies but opening a multi-currency account can take time and effort. However, the entry of fintech’s has made multi-currency accounts more accessible. But you still have to find the right account with the right features that are capable of meeting your business needs. Here’s a closer look at the best multi-currency accounts you should consider and everything you need to know about a multi-currency account. 

What is a Multi-Currency Account?

Banks and non-bank alternative providers offer multi-currency accounts that allow you to hold and manage multiple currencies simultaneously.

Some multi-currency accounts can be linked with debit cards for more accessibility and easier spending and withdrawals. Some also have local bank details for different countries and regions, so you can easily get paid from abroad by others.

Multi-currency accounts have various benefits business owners who need to receive, send, or hold foreign currencies. I . You can also use the account to spend and make cash withdrawals overseas easily. The account can also be good for sending and receiving overseas payments and managing your money easily from your online or using an app on your phone. It can allow you to access fair exchange rates and low international transaction fees.

Businesses can also offer customers the option to pay for goods and services in the local currency , cutting costs for the customer and helping you grow your business. You can also use the account to pay suppliers and staff abroad and some accounts can also be used to issue expense or debit cards to team members for international spending.

Best Multi-Currency Accounts in the UK

When considering multi-currency accounts, you have two main options. You can go the traditional banking route or opt for a challenger bank or fintech. The latter has more integrated digital features, making the account easier to operate. However, each field has unique options that could influence your choice.

Pay iO

Pay iO is a fintech established in the UK. It is a fintech designed specifically for businesses, meaning most of its features and benefits, including its payment options, are business centric.

Pay iO incorporates features for small and large businesses, one of which is a multi-currency account that businesses can easily access along with their main account. With Pay iO, you can run your multi-currency account and your main account on the same platform, simplifying operations and reducing administration work.

The fast and simple multi-currency account facilitates bank transfers. It can hold various currencies, including Euro and  Pound Sterling. Having the account means businesses can also potentially  pay their suppliers in their local currencies, cutting back on currency exchange fees and reducing running costs.

While most accounts have a complex and cumbersome onboarding process, the Pay iO multi-currency account can offer quicker onboarding in comparison with a traditional onboarding process as we utilise technology to aid our onboarding process. This allows your business to take advantage of its features and benefits and start receiving payments sooner in comparison.

If you need currencies not supported by the multi-currency account, Pay iO has a competitive currency exchange that gives you access to over 130 currencies and mid-market currency conversion rates with one low fee. This makes foreign exchange more affordable for businesses.

If you’re looking for a multi-currency account from a service provider focused on businesses, you can’t go wrong with Pay iO. The account is tailored for small and large businesses, allowing you to quickly master the fiscal landscape, save for your business, and ease the process of receiving and making payments abroad.

Wise

Wise is an electronic money firm that has gained notoriety as an international money sender but offers many more, including a Wise multi-currency account.

The Wise multi-currency account can be opened and managed online or in-app and hold and exchange up to 50 currencies. When you open the account, you will get your own bank account details for 10 different currencies, and you can receive global payments fee-free to your account.

The Wise multi-currency account allows you to send payments overseas in just a few clicks or spend and make ATM withdrawals at home and abroad using your linked Wise international debit card.

Is Wise Safe?

Wise is safe and is a publicly traded company in the UK that IPO’d on the London Stock Exchange in 2021. This digital bank is fully regulated in 14 countries and has over 200k customer reviews left on Trustpilot, with an average rating of 4.2/5, which speaks to its efficiency and reliability.

Wise Rates & Fees

Wise has one of the cheapest multi-currency accounts for transferring and receiving money from abroad. It charges only about 0.41% on some major currencies and offers interbank rates (the real mid-market rate) when changing currencies.

There is no cost to receive money into your multi-currency account, which is a huge boost for businesses that receive multiple transactions within the month. This allows them to save on transaction costs. By having low transaction fees, Wise has remained appealing to many businesses and individuals looking to operate in multiple currencies.

Wise offers a debit card that pairs with a multi-currency account, which is brilliant for travelling. It also allows you to top up any currency anytime and use only one card for all currencies. Wise will know which currency to dispense when using the card, depending on where you are.

The Wise multi-currency account is an excellent choice for sending and receiving multiple currencies digitally. . However, consider other options if you need to make cash cheques or visit a physical branch.

Revolut

Revolut is another major player in the digital banking space. It is considered one of the fastest-growing companies of the 21st century.

The company was founded in 2015 and has surpassed 30 million users worldwide, with 6.8 million users in the UK. Revolut offers a wide range of financial services beyond currency exchange .

However, Revolut started as a multi-currency account and travel card service offering near mid-market exchange rates and to date, this remains its most popular product.

Is Revolut Safe?

The FCA regulates Revolut as an electronic money institution. It has millions of worldwide users and investors, including Visa, making it a reputable and safe brand. However, it is still a private company and has yet to be granted a full banking license, although it has already applied for one.

Revolut Rates and Fees

The other three accounts are paid. They include the Grow, Scale, and Enterprise accounts. These have varying monthly fees depending on the range of features accessible with each account. Typically, the more you pay, the more perks you get.  

Revolut Availability

Revolut also offers a debit card to pair with its multi-currency account, which you can use at various outlets and ATMs worldwide.  With the multi-currency account, you can open over 25 IBAN accounts, but only the USD and the GBP accounts are local. The EUR is not technically local, but it’s held in the UK and can be used to make and receive SEPA transfers.

Payoneer

Payoneer is another global fintech company offering multi-currency accounts. It is headquartered in the United States and dates back to 2005 when it was founded. Payoneer was designed to make it easier to receive money and has partnered with other leading companies like Mastercard and eBay. The company has expanded to provide business and individual solutions worldwide, including a multi-currency account.

Payoneer multi-currency accounts are aimed at people who get paid online, such as freelancers, online sellers, digital marketers, and vacation rental hosts.

When opening a Payoneer account, you’ll get local account receiving details to get paid in various currencies. You can use the balance to pay contractors or taxes or withdraw it from your local UK account.

You can also manage the money between currencies within the account and get instance currency conversion options.

Is Payoneer Safe?

Payoneer is a publicly traded company valued at $1.8 billion. It has partnered with some of the world’s largest financial services companies, which speaks to its credibility and reputation. It is a regulated company with multiple reviews from existing customers. However, the onboarding process on Payoneer can be tedious and frustrating.

Payoneer Rates and Fees

The Payoneer account is free to open and gain access to any of its nine local currency accounts. Fees apply when paid by clients or marketplaces and when withdrawing funds to a bank account. The currency conversation fee is 0.5% to convert between currencies in your account, and there is an annual fee of $29 if you don’t use the account.

Payments from other Payoneer accounts and local wire transfers are free. However, there is a 3% fee if your customer pays you by credit card, and a 1% fee applies if the customer pays by ACH debit in the US.

Payoneer Availability

Using Payoneer can be at times be less accessible that other providers. For instance, if you’re receiving funds by bank transfer from someone new for the first time, you must get them approved with Payoneer. This is not the case with Wise or Revolut. However, unlike the two, you can receive credit card transactions in your Payoneer account. This feature is unique to Payoneer, and you can use it with any other digital currency account provider.

Is Payoneer for Me?

Payoneer is an excellent solution for businesses and sole traders. It’s also a good option for e-commerce sellers who want to get paid directly into their account with a credit card. But better options are available if you want to make payments from our account.

HSBC

Although challenger banks and fintechs have a strong presence in  the multi-currency market, some high-street banks with decent offerings are led by HSBC. HSBC is one of the world’s largest banks and needs little introduction. It serves some 39 million customers across 62 countries, including Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, North America, and Latin America.

It also has one of the best multi-currency accounts by a high-street bank. HSBC is valued at over £100 billion and is estimated to be the seventh largest bank in the world. It brings with it the safety of traditional banks. Being a fully licensed bank, your funds are protected through the FSCS up to £85,000.

Businesses,are charged an annual fee ranging from £96 to £180 per currency account, depending on their size.

While operating the account, you’re charged fees for sending and receiving money. There’s a $7 fee to make a USD transfer and a $7 fee to receive a USD transfer. Ensure you check HSBC’s fee information documents for a description of the charges per currency account.

Expectedly, HSBC’s exchange rates are not the best. They have a markup of between 1.5% and 3% compared to what you get from challenger options.

HSBC Availability

HSBC operates in over 64 countries worldwide. However, they don’t offer the same services.  THe ones in the UK are quite accessible and can provide you with the multi-currency services you need. HSBC offers up to 15 currency accounts, including Pound Sterling However, you have to remember that they are all run out of the UK, and the process of opening an account with HSBC in another country can require different steps.

If you prefer the security offered by mainstream banks and don’t mind the cost, an HSBC multi-currency account might be the best option for you.

But that comes with the downside of paying extra and having local accounts allowing for local settlement. Also, the account might not be ideal, considering HSBC doesn’t have branches worldwide.

If your goal is to choose a bank that offers the most competitive rates, HSBC may not be the best choiceOther mainstream banks like Barclays, Santander, Lloyds, and Natwest also have multi-currency accounts, but these have special requirements attached to them and might not be suitable for all applicants. 

Benefits of a Multi-Currency Account

A multi-currency account offers numerous benefits for businesses. They can provide a seamless avenue for sending and receiving payments for globalbusinesses looking to manage multiple currencies. Some of the benefits of operating a multi-currency account include:

Cost Savings

Multi-currency accounts can offer substantial cost savings. While some account providers have monthly fees with the account, if you take the time to choose the right account, you can save substantially on your operation costs. For instance, you don’t have to pay the high fees traditional banks charge for each transaction. A multi-currency account lets you hold different currencies at once so you can avoid currency exchange fees, and when you have to, you can switch between currencies with the best exchange rates.

You also save money when sending money abroad. These savings might be minimal, but they add up quickly, especially for businesses that regularly send money to pay suppliers.

Providers like Pay iO and Wise offer real-time conversion rates that allow you to make the most of each currency conversion.

With a multi-currency account, you will also find it easy to pay someone in another country by avoiding unnecessary charges just because the money is crossing borders.

Convenient International Transactions

Multi-currency accounts not only help you manage multiple currencies but can also make it easier and more affordable to send money to other countries. With the account, you don’t always have to worry about the exchange rate. .

Also, most multi-currency accounts can often be accessed online, meaning you can always access the account and send and receive money at any time. You can make international transactions with a few clicks and hassle-free.

How Does a Multi-Currency Account Work?

The idea of a multi-currency account seems complex and hard to understand. But it’s just the opposite. By definition, a multi-currency account lets you hold multiple currencies in one place. If you choose to go with a bank, the account is designed to hold a handful of major currencies like USD, GBP and EUR. With challenger banks and fintechs, you get many more options, with some offering dozens of currency options.

The Wise multi-currency account, for instance, supports over 50 currencies and offers easy ways to get paid in up to 10 currencies.

Depending on the account you pick, you may be able to add money yourself in pounds and convert it to the currency or currencies. Alternatively, clients can pay you directly with the local bank details in your multi-currency accounts. Some accounts worldwide are linked with debit cards for easy payments and withdrawals. You can also use your account to send global payments for bank deposits.

For accounts with a linked debit card, you can pay using various currencies or withdraw money from the ATM in various currencies, depending on your currency location.

What Multi-Currency Account Fees Should I Be Aware Of?

Multi-currency accounts can be a great way for businesses to save money, but they also carry certain costs and fees that you should be aware of before opening the account. These costs and fees vary depending on the type of account provider you choose, but understanding the fees can help you determine if you’re getting the best deal from the provider.

Conversion Fees

This is the cost of switching from one currency to another. You incur this fee most of the time. The fee can be split so you can understand your fees, or it can be added to the exchange rate. Providers that use the mid-market rate, like Pay iO, are usually the cheapest option, and they allow you to see how much you are paying for the conversion.

Annual Fee

Most multi-currency account providers charge monthly or annual fees, but some offer free accounts. However, free accounts usually have low limits and higher transaction fees. If you’re unsure how often you will use the account, double-check the unavoidable costs and pick an account with no ongoing fees.

Businesses that intend to use the account more regularly should consider premium accounts. These accounts increase their limits and usually have lower fees and more free transactions, which could save more in the long run.

Fall Below Fee

Some foreign currency bank accounts have a minimum balance requirement, which is familiar with high-street banks. If you don’t hit this required balance, you pay a fall-below fee, which can be very high. Some accounts also require a high relationship balance, which is the amount you’ve invested with the same bank across one or more accounts.

Transaction Fee

All multi-currency accounts are likely to have transaction fees. However, these vary greatly depending on the type of transaction and the provider. They include ATM charges, international transfer fees, account dormant fees, and other costs.

As far as costs are concerned, you have to compare the options available and choose the most appealing one, depending on how you intend to use the account. If you intend to use the account to pay suppliers, consider an account with low sending fees or a high number of free transfers per month. 

Considerations When Choosing a Multi-Currency Account

When choosing an online multi-currency account, key metrics you should consider will help you determine which of the available options is best for you. While many options are available for you, they are built in different ways and have different customer bases. Some of the factors that will help you land on the best option include:

Security

As a starting point, any provider you work with should be regulated by the FCA or their country’s equivalent. This is an important factor to check. If you go with a company that isn’t regulated, you have no recourse if any issues arise.

If they have a website, you can check the bottom of the website and the FCA register to double-check that they are regulated.

Regulated e-money institutions keep your money separate from their own company funds. The funds are readily accessible when needed, but if the provider goes under, your money cannot be used to pay off the company’s debts or those of other creditors. However, it is is worth noting that E-Money Institutions do not offer the same FSCS Protection in the same way a regulated Bank does.

Additionally, the provider should have additional safeguards to protect your information and money when operating online. These include data encryption and 2FA to authorise any transaction. Other providers may have additional security and safety features, but these should be a standard. 

Costs

There are several fees to consider for a multi-currency bank account. First, there’s the account itself. You should check if there are any costs to open the account and if there is a monthly or annual fee to keep it open. Most challenger banks don’t have an opening account, but they do have monthly fees depending on the tier of the account you choose.

Options like WorldFirst  provide a free solution for opening and managing a currency account. Beyond the opening and monthly costs, you should consider additional costs, such as sending and receiving payments overseas or withdrawing cash from an ATM. You should also factor in the cost of currency exchange and the rate offered by the provider.

Availability

Availability refers to the transfer options and available destinations for your money. If a company cannot open the currency account you require, then you’re better off going for an alternative. It might make more sense to go for accounts that offer multiple currencies, especially if you expect to grow your operations. You should also consider the accessibility of your funds, especially for travellers that need to access the funds in different countries, and factor in the cost of accessing the funds.

Summary

A multi-currency account can help your business expand its wings, allowing it to get clients and suppliers abroad without drastically affecting its transaction costs. However, you can only maximise the benefits of this account by taking the time to identify a provider that aligns with your needs. You can decide to go with a high-street bank or a digital option. However, digital options are preferred because of their additional features and benefits, such as more currency options and access to the account. 

Rapid Setup, Web & Mobile Access, FX Exchange

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