Living in Finland on US Currency

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Chaapa
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2015 4:43 am

Living in Finland on US Currency

Post by Chaapa » Tue May 02, 2017 7:49 pm

I'd like to know if there are any Americans on this site who are living in Finland and receiving their income from the US. This currency thing has become easily the biggest problem I have in moving to Finland.

First of all, my husband's pension is only payable to an American bank account. While we sort of doubt this is really true, so far the person we spoke with at the pension office seems to not know what she is doing and is making things up. We can find no independent information about this online so for the time-being we are assuming it has to go to an American bank. It's hard to believe that in the state of Massachusetts there are no other retirees living abroad, using foreign banks.

Next, American banks insist that we keep a US address due to the Patriot Act, apparently. Clearly we won't have a real US address because we will be living in Finland. The bank representative suggested I use a trusted relative or friend's address (I don't think my bank information is anyone else's business, but that's another story). Lacking such a trusted relationship he suggested I forgo my move to Finland and stay here.

Up until now I have been using the World First service for transferring money to Finland during our apartment purchase. I've use them 4 times and each time I had to rush over to the bank to sign a wire transfer agreement in person before funds could be sent to my account in Finland. Obviously I won't be able to go to the bank in person after I am in Finland, but World First has not come up with a solution other than giving signature authority to a trusted person who would be willing to run to the bank every time I need money. They have a direct debit authorization procedure which I am not eligible for after I am physically located in Europe.

Another part of the problem is that American banks seem to use their own exchange rates. Bank of America uses one vastly different than the one World First uses. Some banks don't even publish their exchange rates online. I could probably use a debit card with my current bank (TD Bank) but I'll be hit hard by their currency exchange rate, plus fees.

My question is to Americans in Finland. How do you get your money to Finland at a reasonable price?



Living in Finland on US Currency

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Ozmotix
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2016 9:49 pm

Re: Living in Finland on US Currency

Post by Ozmotix » Tue May 02, 2017 8:13 pm

Hi,
I am not American but this is not a specific issue with only Americans. You can open an account in US dollars here in Finland once you get here and make transfers from your US account to your Finnish account. For this you will need an account in the US to which you can access online. From my experience this kind of transfers cost around 30-40$. Once you have the money here you have many options to exchange it at your leisure. Hope this helps.


Chaapa
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2015 4:43 am

Re: Living in Finland on US Currency

Post by Chaapa » Tue May 02, 2017 8:59 pm

Ozmotix wrote:For this you will need an account in the US to which you can access online.

Thanks for the response. It's helpful to know that we can use dollars in Finnish banks.

The sticky part is still about the American account while living abroad--the requirement for a physical US address when it's obvious that there is none. Our move to Finland is permanent but we cannot use our Finnish address with the US bank. We cannot use a post office box. It has to be an actual US address. Sorry that this is so US specific. I'm hoping to hear from Americans who have solved this problem.


AldenG
Posts: 3333
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:11 am

Re: Living in Finland on US Currency

Post by AldenG » Tue May 02, 2017 9:57 pm

A few things in your post sound like you're talking about a pension from the State of Mass itself.

If that truly cannot be deposited to a foreign bank, it seems odd there would be a check box on the direct deposit enrollment form with instructions to check it when the receiving account is in a foreign bank.

https://www.google.com/url?q=http://www ... 1dkfcVK1tw

Sounds like time to escalate to a supervisor at the least. Hopefully you can resolve this with less than hiring a lawyer, but at least it appears resolvable. Wicked annoying for suah.
As he persisted, I was obliged to tootle him gently at first and then, seeing no improvement, to trumpet him vigorously with my horn.


Chaapa
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2015 4:43 am

Re: Living in Finland on US Currency

Post by Chaapa » Wed May 03, 2017 2:07 am

AldenG wrote:f that truly cannot be deposited to a foreign bank, it seems odd there would be a check box on the direct deposit enrollment form with instructions to check it when the receiving account is in a foreign bank.

https://www.google.com/url?q=http://www ... 1dkfcVK1tw
You are absolutely right. He says it's the same form he filled out. He went to Boston in person and was told that the funds could not be deposited into a foreign account. An American account was required. We were back to needing an American account with a (fake) American address. We have an account for now and will be using a phony address until we can get it sorted out. We will be arriving in Finland in less than two weeks and it would feel a lot more comfortable if we knew that this would work out long term.


Rosamunda
Posts: 10609
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2004 12:07 am

Re: Living in Finland on US Currency

Post by Rosamunda » Wed May 03, 2017 10:22 am

I'm not American either and the only US citizens I know here have been living and working in Finland for ages so probably couldn't help you out. Have you tried contacting the US Embassy in Helsinki? They might be able to put you in touch with an organisation that could help you.

Or, try the AWC (American Women's Club in Helsinki) http://www.awcfinland.com/contact/
They are also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/awcfinland?ref=br_tf (they also have a closed group but you have to join first)

HTH


heretostay
Posts: 53
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2017 12:54 pm

Re: Living in Finland on US Currency

Post by heretostay » Wed May 03, 2017 1:42 pm

Try contacting this group for advice. They have been helpful in assisting Americans settle in Finland and are well-connected. https://osay.yhdistysavain.fi/


kjscot2
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 9:45 pm

Re: Living in Finland on US Currency

Post by kjscot2 » Wed May 24, 2017 5:43 pm

Have sinced moved, but while I was in Finland I kept a debit (visa) card linked to a US bank account. Expensive option, as the ATM charges add up, but you can withdraw in Euros from a US dollar account, so would get you cash until you get a bank account in Finland set up. I also opened a Nordea account and would transfer money between the 2 accounts depending on where I wanted the money to be. Fairly simple as long as you have online banking for both accounts. I received into both accounts while in Finland, and then when I left transferred it all back to my US account.


tavastia
Posts: 230
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2016 1:54 pm

Re: Living in Finland on US Currency

Post by tavastia » Fri May 26, 2017 9:07 am

You could use some transfer service, if you use just the bank you get huge transfer fees. I have used https://www.xendpay.com/ and also this https://transferwise.com/ looks interesting but I never use it. Both are getting you very cheap and quite fast transfer (1-3 days).


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AlexInHelsinki
Posts: 196
Joined: Sun Jun 22, 2008 7:17 pm
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: Living in Finland on US Currency

Post by AlexInHelsinki » Mon May 29, 2017 8:13 pm

Feel free to PM me - can maybe shed some light on this, but would rather not talk personal banking in front of the whole internet :)


californiakontio
Posts: 21
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:54 am

Re: Living in Finland on US Currency

Post by californiakontio » Wed May 31, 2017 6:07 pm

I'd recommend to have US credit cards with no foreign exchange fees that provide points (Chase Sapphire Preferred for example) among other benefits. I'd also keep a US bank account with no fees on ATM withdrawals and setup a virtual mailing address which receives the US mail, is capable of scanning it and or mailing it to us in Finland if needed. Try switching to a bigger bank, you shouldn't have to go in person to authorize wire transfers, it should be online. Bank of America, Chase, etc all have pretty strong online capabilities.


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