Multi-Currency Accounts Guide: Best Foreign Currency Account

For businesses selling internationally and/or paying suppliers abroad, multi-currency accounts can make international trade easier, faster and, perhaps most importantly, significantly cheaper. Online marketplace sellers who found this page are likely to be aware that Amazon currency conversion costs are up to 4.5% of the lump sum converted. International companies relying on a bank for international trade might also be aware that standard bank charges see currency conversion begin at around 2.5%+. Our multi-currency account comparison for business will provide examples of the cost savings that businesses can enjoy,, it will highlight the benefits and limitations of multi-currency accounts and reveal the best foreign currency account in the UK.

Multi-Currency Accounts FAQ

  Are multi-currency accounts safe?

All foreign currency account providers recommended by us are authorised to transfer money and hold client funds as Electronic Money Institutions by the Financial Conduct Authority (and/or other prominent regulators). These companies have been in the payment space for many years and transacted tens of billions of dollars.

  Who is eligible for a multi-currency account?

The vast majority of providers accept only businesses and online sellers (including sole traders who sell on eBay or Amazon). There is no minimum turnover to become eligible for the service (but sometimes, bigger volumes mean lower fees). For individuals who don’t sell online or have business transactions, the only option would be Wise and Revolut who do accept individuals.

  Can I use these services even if I’m not in the UK?

Generally speaking – yes. Although these companies are UK oriented, they offer their services to clients globally – small businesses, online sellers and sole traders. You should have not problem if you are based in the UK, EU, Australia, North America or many parts of Asia.

  How do multi-currency accounts work?

Digital providers offer virtual bank-like global currency accounts through their payment platforms. These digital-only accounts are usually opened by the digital providers in partnership with major banks like Barclays, Deutsche Bank or Citibank. Accounts are opened in the customer’s name and can be used to hold, receive and send multiple currencies. Funds can be withdrawn to a customer’s domestic bank at any time.

Some providers run all of their multi-currency accounts out of London, whilst others provide an account which is local to the country it represents. E.g. AUD accounts are held in Australia and USD accounts in the US. Making it easier to do business like a local.


  Which currencies are supported?

For outbound payments, the majority of the world’s currencies are supported. To receive payments, it’s whatever multi-currency accounts are supported by the provider. To name a few, collection accounts are possible in the UK, France, Germany, USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Poland, as well as Singapore, China and Japan – a complete selection of the leading companies and which currencies are supported is available below.

Best Multi-Currency Account Comparison

View our foreign currency account comparison below – Updated for: October 2021

UK Excellent Rates and Margins
Headquarters:
Millbank Tower, 21-24 Millbank, Westminster, London SW1P 4QP
96.0% Editorial rating
3,000 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£1,000 - Only Business Clients and Online Sellers
Why Them?
  • Bank accounts available in UK, France, Germany, USA, and Canada, as well as Singapore, China and Japan (recent additions)
  • FX Margins from 0.15% to 0.5% per Payment, Cheaper than Competitors like TransferWise (Wise)
  • Industry Leader in the eCommerce Space, Owned by Ant Financial (AliPay)
+Read more
UK Most Global Provider for Online Sellers
Local UK Offices:
The White Chapel Building, 10 Whitechapel High St, London, E1 8QS
90.4% Editorial rating
1,500 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£100
Why Them?
  • Bank Accounts in USA, Canada, UK, EU, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia are available!
  • Traded Publicly
  • £20bn Turnover per Year
+Read more
UK Best for Multi-Currency Accounts in the UK
Headquarters:
Zig Zag Building, 70 Victoria St, Westminster, London SW1E 6SQ
93.2% Editorial rating
7,000 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£250
Why Them?
  • Bank accounts available in UK, EU and USA
  • Operating Since 1970 - First Commercial FX Firm in UK
  • 98% Satisfaction in Client Feedback
+Read more
UK Now Available: Wise's Borderless Account
UK Offices:
Tea Bldg, 6th The, 56 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6JJ
86.8% Editorial rating
32,000 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
€1
Why Them?
  • Bank accounts available in UK, EU, Poland, Australia, New Zealand and USA
  • Hold Money in 50 Currencies
  • Most Recognizable Brand in Money Transfers Today
+Read more

Additional Multi-Currency Solutions on the Market

In addition to the above companies offering the best multi-currency solutions for businesses, the following companies also have a multi-currency solution:

  • SpartanFX runs a multi-currency solution using their payment platform (Currency Cloud).
  • Payoneer has been a pioneer of multi-currency accounts for businesses and sole-traders. Specialising more in accounts receivable than payments.
  • Revolut offers a form of a multi-currency account, combined with a debit card to spend multi-currency account balances around the world.
  • Kantox offers foreign payment collection accounts.
  • VFX Financial runs a multi-currency account for corporate FX cash (for business travel).
  • DynaPay provides local GBP, EUR & USD accounts for business + 30 other currency accounts held in London
  • TransferMate – a company geared mainly for d SMEs and corporates, is soon to launch global currency accounts.

Foreign Currency Accounts are Still Relatively New

Non-bank multi-currency accounts have actually been around for about a decade now. WorldFirst was the first fintech company to offer them but they were targeted specifically at ecommerce sellers. Being an authorised payment institution with the FCA, as opposed to a fully fledged bank, the regulatory landscape at the time meant accounts were collection only and any payments received had to be from pre-vetted institutions. Companies like WorldFirst could therefore complete the required due diligence for online marketplaces such as Amazon and then allow businesses to receive their international Amazon payouts. It was a great solution for online marketplace sellers but offering a full-scale business account which required KYC on every new company or individual paying into the account just wouldn’t have been workable for most importers/exporters.

Things changed when firms were able to apply for an e-money license. Reflective of improved capabilities for fraud and anti-money laundering detection, the requirement to conduct due diligence on companies or individuals paying into digital accounts was reduced. It was then that multi-currency accounts, provided by fintech companies, really kicked off. As little as 5 years ago, it was extremely difficult for SMES, sole traders and particularly individuals (unless high-net worths) to access multi-currency accounts. The application would be slow and arduous, and the bank solution would be costly.

It’s a wonderful thing for everybody (except for banks) that multi-currency accounts have evolved to where they are today. There are 12 different companies we have covered, to date, who offer such services and that means greater selection for customers, leading to lower fees. The most recent company to enter the multi-currency account domain is TransferMate and we are certain there will be many more to follow. In terms of fees, WorldFirst are offering the best exchange rate for business bank transfers bar none, from 0.15% to 0.6% per exchange (depending on annual volumes).  This is about 80% cheaper than the average margin a business would pay 5 years ago andit’s still more than 80% cheaper than the cost online sellers would incur using a multi-currency account through PayPal and the non-sterling transaction fees incurred by cards.

A multi-currency account is sometimes referred to as:

  • Foreign currency account
  • Collection account for foreign currency
  • Receiving account abroad
  • Collection account abroad
  • Bank account abroad to receive payments

They essentially refer to the same solution presented on our multi-currency bank account guide, supplied by some of UK’s best currency brokers, as per the below:

 

With a multi-currency account you can

✔ Accept payments from abroad into your own local currency bank account, in your name

✔ Transfer back the funds into your domestic currency and your bank account with ease and for cheap

✔ Make payments abroad in a multitude of currencies for a great rate with no fees

✔ Avoid Amazon’s and PayPal’s currency exchange system which is extremely expensive

✔Get access to rate alert, hedging, dedicated dealers and other perks of Corporate FX for SMEs

With a multi-currency account you cannot

❌ Use it for personal purposes (with the exception of Wise and Revolut)

❌ Receive cheques or cash payments into your named back account abroad

❌ Process local card payments

 

To read more about specific currencies use our navigation below:

Marketplace Availability

Are you an online seller (Etailer) looking to collect sales from one of the world’s Ecommerce giants? The multicurrency accounts featured on this page work perfectly with payments from:


Multi Currency Bank Account vs. Default Currency Conversion

 

The answer which is more profitable for your business is quite clear.

 


The ground facts

  •  If you are selling on Amazon and using their default setup, you will lose up to 4% of your sales in foreign exchange fees when using their Amazon Global Seller Program.
  •  If you are using eBay, your items will appear more expensive than their listed price for international buyers (due to Paypal’s high currency exchange fees, even if you transfer money from Paypal account to your Transferwise account).
  •  If you use your bank to exchange overseas funds to domestic currency, it may cost you up to 5% of the lump sum (unless you have a multi foreign currency account set up).
  • If you quote a GBP bank account on international invoices, domestic UK banks can take roughly 7%-10% of the total amount when converting receipts to GBP.

Selling internationally is somewhat complex and expensive as it is, but nevertheless – a huge growth opportunity. Using the right services together, offering you multi-currency accounts and cheaper FX will beat Amazon’s currency exchange program (offered via its Global Sellers Online centre), eBay’s currency exchange fees, or other high-cost “default” solutions.


Best Multi-Currency Accounts UK & Your Savings

Annual TurnoverAmazon Currency ExchangeSpecialist ProviderSaving
$10,000$400 in currency fees$50-$100 in currency fees$300-$350
$50,000$2,000 in currency fees$250-$500 in currency fees$1,500-$1,750
$100,000$4,000 in currency fees$500-$1,000 in currency fees$3,000-$3,500
$1,000,000$40,000 in currency fees$5,000 – $10,000 in currency fees$30,000 – $35,000

Notes:  The table above uses 4% as the default figure for Amazon Currency exchange fees and 0.5% – 1% in foreign currency fees when using a specialist multi-currency account provider. This is based on the latest information we were able to gather on Amazon and a conservative estimate for specialist providers. Some providers, such as WorldFirst, offer spreads as low as 0.15% for accounts transferring higher volumes. The figures are also relevant to other online marketplaces where similar FX spreads are charged to Amazon.


The Best Euro Account? The Best USD Account Bank Account?

Global Currency Accounts Keep You Covered!

The below are the type of foreign currency accounts you can open globally using two of our most recommended multi-currency accounts:

With World First You can…With OFX You Can…
✓ Open USD accounts from UKOpen USD accounts from UK
✓ Open USD accounts from AustraliaOpen USD accounts from Australia
✓ Open USD accounts from EuropeOpen USD accounts from Europe
✓ Open EUR accounts from UKOpen EUR accounts from UK
✓ Open EUR accounts from AsiaOpen EUR accounts from USA
✓ Open EUR accounts from AustraliaOpen EUR accounts from Australia
✓ Open CAD accounts from USA✓ Open CAD accounts from USA
✓ Open CAD accounts from UK✓ Open CAD accounts from UK
✓ Open CAD accounts from Asia✓ Open CAD accounts from Australia
✓ Open foreign currency accounts in China✓ Open foreign bank account in New Zealand
✓ Open foreign currency accounts in Japan✓ Open foreign bank account in Honk Kong

View our best EUR account, best JPY account and best USD account articles to learn more.

 

Added Values when Using Our Recommended Multi-Currency Accounts?

The very best multi-currency account providers – foreign exchange giants like World First, MoneyCorp or OFX – provide whoever chooses to use them with a lot more than simply moving money from point A to point B, or enabling businesses to collect and pay savings from a multi-currency bank account. It’s not only about improving the poor currency exchange rate offered by banks and Amazon’s Global Sellers Program or improving your eBay seller account’s value proposition to overseas buyers.

WorldFirst, Moneycorp and OFX are happy to provide customers with dedicated account managers who become an integral part of the businesses they work with – they can assist on the right time to exchange certain currencies, suggest hedging solutions tailored to each business’ needs, and even help on topics relating to selling internationally online based on their experience escorting many clients in the industry.

They can even suggest alternative marketplaces to sell on and may even be able to provide introductory offers for no-fee listings, based on their long-standing relationships with the world’s largest online marketplaces.

Additionally, the power of opening a foreign bank account abroad (or a multi-currency account locally), and accepting payments in foreign currency intor a bank account is simply unparalleled in the money transfer and currency exchange industry. Very few companies have the same capabilities when it comes to online sellers as WorldFirst.

How to Increase Profit Margin as an Ecommerce Business Selling Internationally

Reporting a multi-currency account to HMRC?

Our recent guide about reporting a foreign bank account to HMRC has concluded that multi-currency accounts, which aren’t foreign bank account per se, do no require specific reporting. Just make sure that you periodically repatriate the funds from this account to your UK account.


Bottom Line – Best Multicurrency Accounts

If you are an online seller or small business, making foreign currency payments or receiving them, you should consider a specialised global currency account provider. The best multi-currency accounts featured on this page help to reduce international trade barriers, allowing for local collection accounts in a number of countries around the world and cheap currency conversion back to your domestic account.

If you are looking for more information about a specific multi currency account have a look at our related guides:

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E-commerce has Gone Global; Here’s How to Beat the Challenges and Take Advantage - Ecommerce Platforms
5 years ago

[…] You can see a comprehensive guide to these services by clicking here. […]

Daphne 1999
1 year ago

Really good solution. When I used XE in 2015 they didn’t offer this service. Do they have a multi-currency account now?