A foreign currency savings account is a type of investment in a currency other than the dollar. Foreign savings account holders can profit from interest and currency appreciation.
Last Updated Date: May 17, 2022
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A foreign savings account is more like an investment account than traditional savings accounts for individuals. Foreign savings accounts allow you to invest your money in a currency other than the dollar. A foreign savings account can be opened when you're in a foreign country or by contacting a foreign bank online if it opens accounts that way. The Savings Account is a transactional interest bearing account wherein a deposit is placed with the Bank for an unspecified period of time and the depositor can withdraw or transfer the funds whenever required through different means.
Foreign savings accounts may have higher interest rates, which may make them appealing for savers willing to take the risk that the exchange rate will work in their favor. However, if the high-interest rate is coupled with the devaluation of the currency (as often happens with inflation) any gains in interest will be lost in currency exchange. Many foreign savings accounts have higher minimum deposits than traditional savings accounts. This means more of your money is at risk. As well, there are almost always currency exchange fees associated with changing between currencies. Opening a foreign account means you may have to pay them twice—once for converting from the dollar into a foreign currency, and once to convert your money back to dollars. These fees are generally priced as a percentage of the total amount being converted, which means they can take a big cut out of the interest you earned. Be sure to factor in these fees when comparing what the foreign account would yield compared to a domestic account.
There are a number of reasons that might be interested in having a foreign savings account. Those living abroad may find that opening an account in their country of residence makes it easier to access their funds and saves them money on bank and transaction fees. Saving in another currency works best for those with a high tolerance for risk and the willingness to track exchange rates and move fast if necessary. Currency markets are extremely volatile, with values changing between 1% and 3% on average each day. There is the potential for large gains in a foreign savings account, but there is also the potential for large losses.