iFAST Global Bank UK Ltd, a part of iFAST Corp Ltd., which is publicly listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange, has always committed to helping disadvantaged communities worldwide by providing them with access to banking services and the ability to send money back to their home countries. Now, it reveals that the concept of 'banking without boundaries' is crucial to individuals and SMEs planning to relocate internationally, but who are held back by financial concerns.
A recent survey conducted by the iFAST Global Bank Personal Banking Division discovered that 40% of UK adults aged between 35-54 consider moving abroad a major life goal. However, money remains a considerable worry. In the pool of 600 adults surveyed, over 30% reported banking-related challenges, such as understanding local currencies or setting up a bank account abroad, as their primary difficulties when living overseas.
Despite these issues, the majority of the respondents (68%) agreed that moving abroad was one of the best decisions they'd ever made, the report found. The primary motivations for relocating included trying something new, travelling, and experiencing a new culture (27% each). The benefits received in return were meeting new people (41%) and gaining a sense of independence (40%).
However, the endeavour of moving abroad was not without its challenges, the report noted. Almost half (44%) of the respondents contemplated moving back home due to their experiences. Around 18% found it 'very difficult' to settle in their new environment.
The survey explored the detailed experiences of expats, including their preoccupations and the challenges they faced. Respondents pointed out issues like the cost of living (53%), exchange rates (42%), and local currency concerns (35%). Interestingly, one fifth of the respondents believed open banking facilities such as cross-border faster payments and foreign exchange transactions, which necessitate the capability to open a bank account from abroad, could alleviate their fears of job hunting and property rental overseas.
Upon examining the data by gender, the study reveals that 30% of men favoured the ability to convert to local currencies whenever they wanted, compared to 18% of women.
Simon Lee, Manager of Digital Personal Banking at iFAST Global Bank, said: "Moving to a new country can be daunting, as things are very different from what you are used to at home.
"It is not just a new language people have to contend with, there are the new processes too – for example, setting up bank accounts and sorting the bills. This can be a complete minefield at home, let alone in a completely new culture," he said.
The new survey, which was conducted independently on behalf of iFAST Global Bank, underlines the importance and convenience of 'banking without boundaries,' especially for those planning to live, work, or study abroad.