An expat life can be adventurous, exciting and a dream come true for most of us. But along with the unique experiences you experience in a new place, there are times you wish things happened the way they did back home. This is especially true when it comes to handling money!  The little conveniences that are taken for granted can become nuisances if you cannot access your money as quickly as you should.

Delayed Funds, No Fun!

One monetary annoyance is when expats receive checks from home country. These could be payments from an employer, social security, tax refunds, gift checks from friends and family, security deposits, freelance work income etc. When living overseas, these have to be forwarded to the new home country, which can add many days/weeks until an expat has access to their funds.  And sometimes even get lost in the mail, especially if you live in frontier locations or places where the mail delivery is not as professional. The process is something like:

  • Check is sent from Home (US/Overseas)
  • Travels to new home location (say New Zealand)
  • Deposited in the local NZ Bank Account
  • Long clearing process
  • Funds arrive and are accessible.

This is quite an extensive process which adds considerable time and delay in accessing funds. Even when the banking institution may be global, local country laws can prevent banks from acting like one entity for the user.

Expensive Options That Drain Funds

One way to get these funds is use methods like Western Union, exchange rate companies, PayPal payments etc. But all these options are very expensive when you add in the 3-5% fees they charge and then provide conversions to local currency at a mark-up. A check for $500 could easily see a fee of about $35 by the time you get the funds. That’s a rip off in my book for giving me my money.

Deposit Funds Locally With No Fees

The solution is to deposit checks locally within the home country. This would mean the funds clear quickly and are accessible upon depositing the check. You can then issue a bank withdrawal from anywhere in the world.

  • Check is sent from Home
  • Deposited in the local US Bank Account
  • Fast clearing process and accessible.

How Local Deposit Works

One way to achieve this is to keep an address at your home location. This can be done by using a family or friends address or using a professional mail forwarding company. The additional benefit of using a mail forwarding company is that they will provide a street address where you can receive your checks (and other mail) and in many cases, see the mail via a Virtual Mailbox. Many mail forwarding companies will deposit your checks for free or a small fee.