Borderless Cash

Expats and digital nomads are ditching banks and turning to fintech

Life as an expat is not always easy, especially when it comes to managing money. Balancing multiple currencies and accounts in different countries can be challenging – especially in a country where the government may not mind the money coming in, but is less keen on it going out. Thankfully, while things are not yet as financially fluid as in other more developed countries, the rise of global fintech is bringing an ever-expanding range of handy money tools. We round up some of the best below.

The first widely available digital bank account in Vietnam, Timo ( has made life for expats infinitely easier. Before its launch in 2018, only those with cast iron employment contracts were able to get a bank account, which meant excruciatingly high fees to withdraw money on international credit and debt cards. Now, however, Timo plus Transferwise (see below) equals smooth, easy and affordable transfers in (not out, though). The app is also excellent, making it a breeze to send money to other bank accounts in Vietnam, while instant mobile notifications let you know the moment any money goes in or out. The ‘Timo Hangout’ on Pasteur is also the model of modern fintech efficiency and convenience, allowing customers to open accounts and collect cash cards in no time at all—all while enjoying a complementary coffee. Sadly, though, Timo is no longer available to expats with visas of less than 12 months validity and so things are back as they were, only worse. Unless you are American, only foreigners with employment contracts and accompanying work permits can have a bank account, with all business visas for everyone but the Americans reduced to three months maximum. If you are American, though, you can have whatever you like: either on a one-year tourist or business visa.

Transferwise ( is a godsend for the location independent, allowing account holders to transfer funds between bank accounts in over 50 countries—including Vietnam. Fees are very competitive, with charges up to 80 percent cheaper than those levied by the big banks. The firm charges USD17 to transfer USD1,000 to a Vietnamese account, for example—which it says is nearly USD30 less than typical bank fees. It also offers a MasterCard linked to an online ‘borderless’ account in GBP, EUR, USD, Australian and New Zealand dollars that can be used all over the world with low fees. Again, though, you can’t use it to transfer money out of Vietnam.

xCurrency, in this writer’s humble opinion, is just about the most useful app ever for those living life in multiple currencies—and it is completely free (on the Apple app store)!! Not only does xCurrency allow you to convert any currency into any other currency in real time, but you can have up to four set up on your dashboard that updates hourly—and it will track where you are and add the local currency automatically. You can then use it like a calculator, switching between adding and subtracting different currencies, which all automatically convert as you go. Want to know what VND10,00,000 VND – USD100 + €70 is in GBP? Easy with xCurrency!

Admittedly a little niche, Holvi ( is a completely integrated solution for business nomads that have set up an e-residency in Estonia—providing multiple accounts, invoicing and bookkeeping services all in one place. This sounds odd until you learn that Estonia grants e-residency to international business owners online, who then pay a flat 20 percent income tax on all their earnings—highly attractive to those from expensive tax jurisdictions. It is also ideal for small and medium sized online retailers that want access to Europe. Do note, though, that only death or defection will completely free US residents of the taxman. They don’t get it easy everywhere!

Perfect for those traveling a lot for work, Expensify ( helps freelancers and corporate globetrotters easily input their receipts by taking a picture from their phones. This is then automatically put into the Expensify system using ‘SmartScan’ technology. You can then track, run and send reports to your accountant or accounts department, or automate it. Those here in Vietnam can also connect their Grab business accounts to their Expensify accounts and trips will be automatically expensed! Anyone that has ever submitted expense report will know that this is nothing short of a dream come true.


FreshBooks ( is absolutely essential for any company that wants their invoices to not only look as clean and professional as possible, but to also be extremely quick and easy to put together. What FreshBooks offers is a substantial collection of invoice templates that can be used on a variety of different platforms. There’s a template for Microsoft Word, Excel, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Adobe PDF and a couple of others too. And the great thing about these templates is that they are customisable. They look fantastic as they are so you probably won’t feel the need to change much, but if you want to put your companies stamp on it then it’s very easy to do so. With FreshBooks, you’ll never have to worry about painstakingly drawing up invoices again

Share this story, choose your platform!

About the author:

Leave a Comment

5 Examples of Wrongful Termination Explained

Being fired from work can be a traumatic experience for anyone. However, if it has been done illegally it’s even more overwhelming. There are many instances where letting go of an employee is completely valid. But, if you have been unfairly dismissed without a reason – legal action can be taken.  To help you understand

Read More »

Six Signs That Indicate Your Partner Is Micro-Cheating On You

Relationship experts say that “clearly defining your boundaries can set a happy and healthy relationship with your partners.” However, we may need to understand when these boundaries go too far off the line and create a rift in our relationship. Every relationship has little white lies or harmless secrets that partners keep from each other. Not

Read More »

How Carpet Cleaning Enhances Carpet’s life and Value?

Carpet cleaning can be painstaking when you have a large house and many carpets. With that in mind, it is easy to understand why people require the services of professional carpet cleaning companies that can quickly clean up your messes. However, carpets are not the only things you might need to clean up. When it

Read More »

The States That Have Legalized Marijuana So Far 2021

Are you interested in the legalization status of marijuana, especially in the United States, and want to learn more? Do you want to know where in the United States you could visit and still be able to smoke a joint legally? The legalization of marijuana has been a hot topic in the United States for

Read More »

Understanding A Hoarder: Why Can’t They Throw Anything Away?

To provide an understanding and the process of hoarding, we must first understand its definition. Hoarding is defined as a single-minded urge of collecting and safekeeping unwanted items in great numbers. Most of the people afflicted with hoarding disorder find it hard to throw away items. A hoarder desires to save items that they know

Read More »

Vietnam War Student Protests

Where did the student movement begin? The US airplanes started bombing North Vietnam in February 1965 after North Vietnamese submarines invaded 2 US ships at the Gulf of Tonkin. President Lyndon B Johnson commanded the revenge attacks blasting armed targets in North Vietnam. There were some criticisms about how the government was battling the self-governing

Read More »