New US Bank Account For Expats A
merican Citizens Abroad (ACA), an advocacy organization for Americans overseas, has come up with a solution for expats who are finding it difficult to arrange a US bank account in their new country. Here’s what Charles Bruce, ACA’s Legal Counsel, and Mike Larsen, Chairman of ACA’s UK Chapter say about it. For Americans living overseas, several wonderful things have happened over the last few years. For example: Global Entry at US airports makes it easy to come through the immigration & customs line. Cloud computing means you don’t have to load up a lot of stuff on your devices. Skype means you can have a US phone number from anywhere. US sports live on TV! In HD! A nagging problem, however, has been the difficulty of getting or maintaining a US financial account even though you’re a US citizen. You don’t live in the US and you don’t have a US address - not really; and you don’t like using your brother-in-law’s address in California, which might not be proper or legal. Now there’s a simple solution. The ACA/SDFCU Account developed by American Citizens Abroad, Inc. (ACA), in cooperation with the US State Department Federal Credit Union (SDFCU). ACA has teamed up with the SDFCU to provide accounts for Americans residing abroad. These are the same accounts used by Americans working at US embas-
sies as well as many other people living around the world. You can reside full-time or part-time abroad and still qualify as long as you are a member of ACA. Crucially, you don’t need an address in the US.
What is a credit union?
A credit union is a not-for-profit organization that is organized to provide financial services to its members. There are nearly 100 million members of federal credit unions in the United States. SDFCU has over 67,000 members worldwide. What makes SDFCU the perfect “partner” for ACA’s members is that it is used to dealing with account holders around the world, from developed countries like Germany, France and Switzerland to less-developed countries, all around the world.
What financial services does a credit union provide? Credit unions provide all the normal services that a local American bank provides including checking and savings accounts, credit and debit cards, money market services, loans, and online banking.
The ACA/SDFCU account
The ACA/SDFCU account is simple to open and maintain. Everything can be done online. This is a financial account where cash can be deposited. Cash can earn interest. Balances and activity can be checked online. Do you want
to obtain a loan? This is possible and the rates are about as favorable as you can find anywhere. Do you want to have a credit or debit card associated with your account? Visa cards, credit and debit, are available. SDFCU is particularly sophisticated in this regard, with the most up-to-date EMV secure, chip-enabled cards.
Is money in a ACA/SDFCU account as safe as it is in a bank?
Yes. Member deposits and savings are federally insured to at least $250,000 and backed by the United States Government. The SDFCU, like other federally chartered credit unions in the US, is regulated and supervised by the National Credit Union Administration, an independent federal agency. For those with longer-term savings and retirement goals, it is easy to maintain an IRA or other taxadvantaged deferred compensation accounts alongside your ACA/ SDFCU financial account. Complete information is available online, 24/7.
If you’d like, SDFCU offers the opportunity to work with a certified financial counselor. This is a free service. Alternatively, you can appoint your own investment advisor using a limited power of attorney. SDFCU and ACA have arrived at an approved version of this document.