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The Pros and Cons of Using a Local Bank vs an International Bank as a Gambian Expat

16 Jan 2024

Are you facing one of the most common expat confusion of choosing between international and local banks? But what if you get to know that there is a solution that combines the best of both worlds? This is where ACE Money Transfer comes in, a digital remittance provider changing how Gambian expats send money to Gambia.

Choosing between a local and an international bank as a Gambian expat might greatly impact your financial well-being. This article discusses the pros and cons of utilizing a local bank versus an international bank so that you can make an informed decision based on your specific needs and preferences.

Banking Industry in the Gambia

The Gambia's banking industry has seen tremendous expansion and development in recent years, with an increasing number of local and international banks operating in the country. There are 12 commercial banks in The Gambia, with a total of 60 branches around the country.

Despite this statistic, the results of a poll by The Gambia's Central Bank found that around 64% of the country's population is unbanked, meaning they do not have access to formal financial services.

Pros of Using a Local Bank

Local Banks in the Gambia offer the following advantages to their users.

Local Banks are Often More Familiar with Local Customs and Regulations

Local banks are frequently more knowledgeable about local customs and regulations, making navigating The Gambia's banking system easier.

Increased Accessibility and Convenience

Local banks often have a wider network of branches and ATMs throughout the country. This makes accessing funds and transactions easier if you or your loved ones reside in the country.

Reduced Charges

As compared to foreign banks, local banks frequently have lower charges, which can save you money in the long term. It might also provide affordability while sending money abroad.

Customized Service and Relationship Building

Local banks are more likely to provide personalized service and invest in developing relationships with their customers. This can lead to improved communication and an overall better banking experience.

The Cons of Choosing a Local Bank

Everything comes with certain drawbacks. Here are some apparent cons of choosing a local bank.

Limited Services and Products

Local banks sometimes do not offer the same services and products as international banks. Due to this, your financial alternatives may be limited.

Lower Level of Technical Advancement

Some Local banks may not have the same degree of technological advancements as international banks. This can hinder your ability to make transactions and access your account remotely.

Political Instability and Economic Volatility

The Gambia has previously suffered political instability and economic volatility, which impacted local banks' stability. These situations might repeat in the future.

Reduced Financial Security and Protection

Local banks do not often have the same financial security and protection level as international banks.  Your cash can be in danger.

Pros of Using an International Bank

If you wish to opt for an account in an international bank, you can benefit from the following factors.

Broader Variety of Services and Products

Foreign banks frequently provide a greater range of services and products, giving you more financial options.

Access to More Advanced Technological Tools and Platforms

Foreign banks frequently have more advanced technological tools and platforms, which may make transactions and account access more convenient. They also aid in convenient money transfers to Gambia online.

Increased Financial Stability and Protection

Foreign banks frequently have a better level of financial stability and protection. This gives you more confidence in the safety of your funds.

International Banks Have a Worldwide Reach and the Capacity to Transact in Many Currencies

If you frequently travel from one country to another, you may benefit from the capacity of international banks to make transactions in multiple currencies. This feature is very practical for expats, travelers, and international business owners.

The Cons of an International Bank

Like local banks, international banking also comes with certain flaws and drawbacks mentioned below.

Higher Charges

Compared to local banks, international banks generally have higher charges, which can be costly if you frequently require banking facilities.

Accessibility and Convenience

Foreign banks often have a limited network of branches and ATMs in The Gambia, making it more difficult to obtain funds and complete transactions if you or your loved ones are in the country.

Final Verdict

Thanks to the rise of digital companies such as ACE Money Transfer, expats, and travellers now have more alternatives than ever before. Gambian expats can maximize their financial resources and stay connected to their loved ones no matter where they are through ACE.  

Gambian expats enjoy the benefits of both local and international banking services through ACE Money Transfer. Users can utilize their local bank for day-to-day transactions while effortlessly transferring money abroad with ACE's low-cost, secure, and speedy international money transfer services. ACE provides market-competitive exchange rates and a large network of partners globally, making sending money to over 100 countries worldwide simple.

Wrap Up

Ultimately, the decision between a local bank and an international bank depends on your personal needs and choice. All alternatives offer advantages and disadvantages, and it is critical to weigh your options carefully before making a decision. You may make an informed decision that corresponds with your financial goals and lifestyle by analyzing the pros and cons of each. However, no bank will offer a more affordable rate to make money transfers to Gambia than ACE. You can sign up for free on the app or website.



What are the advantages of using a local bank as a Gambian expatriate?

Local banks may offer a better understanding of Gambian financial regulations and local markets. They may also provide more personalized service and have lower fees for domestic transactions.

What are the disadvantages of using a local bank while living abroad as a Gambian expatriate?

Local banks might have limited international banking services, including higher fees for foreign currency transactions and limited access to global ATMs. They may also have less experience in dealing with expat-specific financial needs.

What are the benefits of using an international bank as a Gambian expatriate?

International banks typically offer a wide range of global financial services, including multi-currency accounts, international wire transfers, and access to ATMs worldwide. They are well-suited for expats who frequently travel or maintain financial ties in multiple countries.

What are the drawbacks of using an international bank for Gambian expatriates?

International banks may have higher fees for certain services and might not have an in-depth understanding of Gambian financial regulations or local market conditions. Customer service may be less personalized.

How can Gambian expatriates decide whether to use a local or international bank?

The choice depends on your individual financial needs and preferences. Consider factors such as the frequency of international transactions, the range of services required, fees, and the level of customer service. Some expats choose a combination of both, using local banks for everyday transactions and international banks for global financial services.

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