International banking solutions for African countries

Hi all,

I trust everybody is doing well. My wife and I are planning an extended world travel adventure in a years time. I am however starting to look at banking options for us as South African residents. Unfortunately we don’t qualify for most of the accounts offered in Europe or the US. Any suggestions?


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Hello Evert,

Nice that you guys are planning an adventure. I’m sure it will be fun.

While most of the accounts mentioned in the group are not available to anyone residing in this part of the world, you are still on the accepted list. You can still get accounts from the likes of N26 and Transferwise during your trip.

Another option you could look into is using USD and Euro debit cards issued by our banks here. I know that Standard Bank has an international account but have not checked the details. Banks like Zenith and GTB will offer you this service same day.

Also look at online wallets like Perfect Money (I have been using them for years and am happy with them). You have countries like Georgia that you can walk into without any need for a visa and you can open a bank account same day. Open a few of these accounts and fund them (and your N26 or Transferwise) via perfect money. You also have the bonus of the bank debit cards that come with the new accounts.

Check to see if your local banks have branches in the locations you want to visit. With Zenith, First Bank, GTB and Standard Charted, I have lots of countries covered (London, New York etc) and they are linked to my account at home. Its easier to get our accounts with international offerings and services plus much cheaper to setup. Customer service is also way better.

Hope these help, enjoy…

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Hello Akan,

Thank you for your reply. The SA local banks do indeed offer a travel card and a foreign currency account so I do think they would probably work best.

In terms of n26 you just have a residential address in the EU to qualify? Transferwise I saw enables me to open an account but they do not yet accept deposits from ZAR currency and their debit card is also not available in South Africa yet. I have not yet looked into Standard Charted do they offer accounts for South African residents?

Kind regards

You are best using the address of one of the locations in EU that you will visit. You could also consider using a mail forwarding service that offers director’s address service in the EU (commonly used in place of real address for the director of a registered EU company so your actual address remains private).

Should not be an issue as what you will be needing is USD, Euros and other currencies for the different countries that you will visit. If you only credit just enough money for a few days at a time, you will not have to worry about large sums left over that you may want to take back home.

Unfortunately these services are not open to those resident here as things stand but as you will be traveling it will not be an issue for you.

Yes they are in South Africa although it looks like a business account only

Standard Chartered Bank, Johannesburg Branch
5th Floor
No.4 Sandown Valley Crescent
Sandton 2196
Gauteng Province
South Africa
+27 11 217 6600

My branch offers accounts to non residents and non citizens.