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What are the best credit cards for Expats living abroad?

Moving to a new country can feel like hitting reset on your whole life - especially when it comes to your finances. When I moved from Poland to London, I learnt a lot about making a home away from home. The experience is exhilarating and inspiring. But sorting out your finances is one of the more pragmatic aspects of the journey. The credit score you attentively built in your home country has to be left behind. Fortunately, there are a few options to get you back on track.

Opening a current account is one of the first steps to becoming a resident. You can start paying bills and get a proof of address. Here are some choices to help facilitate your new life abroad.


No need to worry if you’re still looking for a place to live. You don’t need a UK address to set up an account with Monese. You can also make bank transfers for up to 8 times cheaper than a bank. Once you’re all settled in, you can think about upgrading your plan or switching current accounts.

  • Fast and easy online setup
  • Manage everything via the app
  • App and service in 12 languages
  • Transfer money abroad into 8 currencies
  • Supports Apple Pay and Google Pay

Transferwise Mastercard

With a Transferwise borderless account, enjoy zero banks fees when you send, receive and spend money abroad. Use their Transferwise debit Mastercard to get low conversion fees and absolutely no transaction fees. Transferwise makes it easy to manage your money globally, so you can juggle money between your new and old home while you get set up.

  • Fast and easy online setup
  • Manage online and via the app
  • Hold and convert over 40 currencies
  • Mastercard exchange rate

The next step is finding a credit card that will help you build up your credit score.

Aqua Advance

Aqua are committed to helping people with low credit scores. You can easily start building your credit rating in the UK. You even get free unlimited access to your credit report and can check your updated credit score each month to track its progress. Plus, enjoy zero foreign transaction fees.

  • 34.9% APR
  • Manage everything easily online
  • Reduce your interest each year by using your card responsibly
  • Free text alerts

Curve Metal Mastercard

Curve is something completely different. Simplify your finances by managing all your Mastercard and Visa bank cards on one stylish card and our smart app. It’s a helping hand when you’re still getting your bearings in a new place. With real-time notifications and spending insights, you can easily stay on top of your finances. On top of that, you can spend fee-free when you’re abroad.

  • Enjoy LoungeKey access
  • Travel Insurance
  • Gadget Insurance
  • Rental Car Waiver

Enjoy the Go Back in Time feature if you accidentally pay with the wrong card, and switch to another one up to £1,000 within 14 days.

Zero FX on ATM withdrawals and foreign transactions throughout the week

I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks to getting settled as an expat. Of course, it’s important to get your finances in order. But it takes more than the usual to-do list to start feeling at home.

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Be patient

It can take a while to truly feel at home. Just because you don’t feel instantly connected to somewhere, it doesn’t mean moving there was a mistake. You need to embrace the awkward initial period of getting used to it all, because it’s inevitable. It takes some time to acclimatise. Even if you’re moved abroad before, each country or city comes with a new set of challenges.

Have an open mind

You no doubt had certain expectations about moving to this new country. But be careful about being disappointed when things aren’t exactly as you imagined. Nowhere is perfect. But, most importantly, that doesn’t mean it isn’t the right place for you. Sometimes these quirks become why you love it there so much.


Get out and explore outside your comfort zone. There is a certain charm to walking around a new city by yourself and taking everything in. Go and find your favourite coffee shop or local park, and you’ll be feeling at home in no time.

Make local friends

Feeling lonely at one point or another is a natural part of moving somewhere by yourself. Sometimes you can feel like an outsider surrounded by a new place and culture. This too will pass. By making a conscious effort to meet as many new people as possible, you’ll find friends in no time. Reaching out to locals speeds up the settling in process and helps you embrace the culture. Let them teach you that native slang word or show you the best place for brunch.

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