With the increasing trend of Ghanaians travelling overseas, a number of business institutions never stop to tailor their products and services to suit Ghanaians living abroad. One of such institutions is the banking sector. Most banks in Ghana already provide accounts in foreign denominated currencies in the form of foreign accounts. Beyond foreign accounts, selected number of Ghanaian banks provides ‘specialised’ bank accounts, a sort of expat banking, solely for Ghanaians living abroad. These accounts, often referred to as non-resident accounts, aim to provide banking services geared towards Ghanaian expatriates elsewhere. In other words, the non-resident accounts provide options for non-resident Ghanaians (living outside the country) to have access to banking services back home, while overseas. You may be staying and working in the Europe, Asia, in the Middle East or even in other parts of Africa. You may also be residing in the United States, thinking of opening and managing a bank account back home while you’re not in Ghana. If you’re in this category of people, you may consider opening a non-resident account.
Non-resident accounts: How they differ from ‘traditional’ bank accounts
Before one switches from one option to another, he usually expects something different, something better, or something peculiar to the newly proposed option. Undoubtedly, many Ghanaians who travel abroad usually have their traditional bank accounts still active before leaving. If you belong to this group and would like to know how different the non-resident accounts are from the ‘traditional’ ones, you may find it useful to go through the list below:
- Usually, the ‘traditional’ bank accounts (both Current and Savings) become inactive after long period of inactivity (no transactions) on the part of the account holder. Most banks, to some extent, ‘freeze’ accounts which have not been actively used by clients for a while. For example, Ecobank Ghana Ltd. temporarily freezes (suspends) accounts held with them, if inactive for six months. Imagine travelling back home (after a long stay overseas) and been told by your bank that you cannot withdraw money from your account because it’s suspended. Even though suspended accounts can be reactivated, the frustrations you go through coupled with the time involved do not make it convenient. Non-resident accounts, on the other hand, may save you from such instances of account freeze. Since the banks know your present non-residential status, most do therefore not impose suspension on non-resident accounts.
- Some of the banks promise dedicated relationship officer for clients (Ghanaian expats) of non-resident accounts.
- Other general benefits include free electronic banking services (internet banking, transaction E-alerts, E-statements etc.) and no monthly service (maintenance) charges.
Non-resident accounts: Opening and managing accounts from overseas
Non-resident accounts can be opened through electronic means at most banks. These banks provide electronic copies of account opening forms on their websites. The forms can be downloaded, completed, scanned and emailed (together with a scanned
copy of your Passport) to the official email addresses provided on their websites. Your bank account details, which consist of account
number and branch name, would then be emailed to you.
The banks further provide various electronic means to allow clients in the diaspora make deposits in their accounts back home. Money transfers are mostly done by Telex process, usually SWIFT wire transfer. Every bank has a unique SWIFT code which permits it to receive funds from overseas. Certain banks (for example Unibank) even allow money transfer services through their affiliated money transfer companies such as Small World/Choice Money Transfer and Xpress Money.
With electronic banking services such as internet banking, non-resident Ghanaians can make almost all transactions while abroad. Besides, clients can further send requests and authorise their banks (via email communications) with signed authorisation letters for most bank transactions.
List of banks providing non-resident accounts for Ghanaians
In the table below, you will find a list of banks that provide the services of non-resident accounts for Ghanaians living abroad. In addition, a summary of benefits and features related to the accounts are given.
Name of non-resident account
Benefits & Features
|1||ADB bank||ADB Home-link account||Available for Ghanaian citizens working abroad as well as their spouses who are not necessarily Ghanaian citizens; Allows a range of online or electronic transactions; Option of investing outstanding balance in fixed deposits/Treasury bills|
|GN Bank Diaspora Account||Access to banking relationship in Ghana whilst abroad; Have funds in your account available in Cedis, Instant notifications on transactions.
|3||Fidelity Bank||Fidelity Bank Non-Resident Ghanaian Account||Inflows at the discretion of clients; Account can be denominated in Cedi, Euro, US Dollar or Pound Sterling; No monthly service charges; Access to E-banking products; Access to Safe Deposit Boxes
|4||United Bank for Africa||UBA Non Resident Ghanaian Account||Ability to operate your account from your foreign base; Ability to issue instructions to the bank virtually; Gain interest on your savings; Access flexible loans for your projects at home
|5||Unibank Ghana||Unibank Efie ne Fie Account||Two types of accounts offered- Cedi and foreign currency denominated accounts; No transaction fees; dedicated relationship manager to assist client in managing his/her account; Free electronic banking services; Access to preferential investment rates|
|6||Prudential bank||Prudential bank Home Base Account
|Two types of accounts- personal savings account and time deposit investment account; Interest rate on savings account is linked to the Bank of Ghana policy rate (savings up to GHS 5,000 attract interest rate of [BOG policy rate – 8] %, savings above GHS 5,000 attract interest rate of [BOG policy rate – 6.5] %. Interest rate of time deposit investment account is linked to Treasury bill rate.|
|7||National Investment Bank||National Investment Bank Home Bound Account||
Designed for Ghanaians living in the United Kingdom; Cedi-denominated account, with the option of opening foreign currency account under the same dispensation.