American Citizens Abroad webinar explains its SDFCU account for expats

American Citizens Abroad webinar explains its SDFCU account for expats

A unique bank account designed for American expatriates who are unable to obtain a conventional bank account in the country where they’re currently living will be the subject of a free, 30-minute webinar this Friday, sponsored by the American Citizens Abroad organisation. 

The bank account, which is made possible through the US State Department Federal Credit Union, helped the ACA and the State Department Credit Union team to win the Best International US Services Provider award at this publication’s 2016 International Fund and Product Awards event last week in London.

According to the Washington-based, non-profit ACA, the SDFCU account “is essentially the same as one enjoyed by [US] consular officers and others working in American embassies all over the world”, but has been adapted for ordinary American citizens who live outside of the US.

Since around 2010, when the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act was signed into law by President Obama – and obliged non-US banks to report to the IRS on any accounts they held on behalf of Americans – American expats have found it increasingly difficult to get or even maintain existing non-US bank accounts, even in communities in which some have lived for decades.

In response to demand from “hundreds” of expats who sought its help after banks decided to get rid of, or “lock out”,  their American clients rather than comply with FATCA, the ACA put together the SDFCU account, with the help of the State Department Credit Union, and, earlier this year began to publicise its existence around the world.

“This is the same type of account held by Americans working at more than 270 embassies, consulates and other diplomatic missions around the world,” the ACA said in a statement announcing the webinar.

“You can reside full- or part-time abroad and still qualify.

“You don’t have to have an address in the US. You don’t have to be connected in any way with the [US] government. The account can be opened entirely online; all services can be accessed conveniently and easily online, and many are available through SDFCU’s mobile app.”

The ACA goes on to say that account-holders are given EMV debit cards, and qualifying applicants may also get an EMV chip-and PIN-platinum credit card; “a number of financial planning and investment alternatives are available, including ‘share certificates’ (similar to Certificates of Deposit), and IRAs and other types of tax-advantaged deferred compensation accounts”.  Tax payments and refunds can be made and received electronically, while Social Security payments can be received automatically.

Webinar participants

Among those scheduled to participate in Friday’s webinar are Michael Larsen, chairman of the ACA’s UK Chapter; Michael Morris, director of member engagement for the State Department Federal Credit Union; and Charles Bruce, the ACA’s legal counsel.

Viewer participation in the webinar is said to be limited, and those interested must register  by clicking here. It is due to begin at 4pm in London, and at 5pm in Zürich, Paris, Brussels and Madrid.