Citi launches Global Currency Account for international travellers and investors

Australian globetrotters and international investors have a new option for wheeling and dealing in foreign currency, after Citi today launched the Global Currency Account, which allows customers to use up to ten global currencies through a single bank account with linked debit card.

The Global Currency Account allows customers to easily access foreign exchange rates and send or receive money in currencies including the Aussie Dollar, US Dollar, British Pound, Euro, Canadian Dollar, Hong Kong Dollar, Japanese Yen, New Zealand Dollar, Singapore Dollar and the Swiss Franc.

Foreign exchange through the account is done in real time, so users will always know the exchange rate on offer when they’re using their cash. There are also no local ATM fees, or International Money Transfer fees attached to the account or debit card.

This allows Aussies to not only shop using the local currency while travelling abroad - and with more than 11 million Aussies heading off on overseas holidays last year alone, that’s sure to be a hit - but also shop online using the retailers local currency. It also provides an alternative to International Money Transfers for friends and family regularly sending money to expats living overseas.

And, when you’re between jetsetting holidays, the account can be used just like a regular bank account and debit card at home in Australia.

“Whether, transferring money to family abroad, receiving international income, making repayments to investment properties offshore, or travelling overseas, dealing in foreign currency is a critical part of life for many Australians today,” Citi’s Consumer Bank CEO Alan Machet said.

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The account is similar to the recently launched HSBC Global Everyday Account, but where the HSBC offering focuses largely on travellers and online shoppers, the Citi account was designed largely with Australia’s growing number of global investors in mind.

“Australian investors face several challenges in generating local returns in 2018. Our housing market is challenged, the equity market is lagging behind offshore markets, the cash rate is low, and bond yields look more attractive in Europe and emerging markets,” said Machet.

“Already we are seeing Citi’s investment clients take advantage of currency changes. In April 2018, we saw a 50% increase in the number of foreign exchange transactions on the previous year with the pickup in volatility.”

According to Citi, two years ago investment customers’ assets had a 36% international and 64% domestic split. These days that trend has reversed to a 61% international and 39% domestic investment ratio.

Citi’s Wealth Management customers can access the account fee-free, while other customers looking to use the Global Currency Account will need to pay a $8 monthly fee.

If you’re in the market for a new bank account and debit card, check out our comparison table to find the right fit. And if you’re looking for a travel money option perfect for your next overseas holiday, be sure to peruse our comparison of travel debit cards.