Offshore accounts are considered any accounts opened outside your country. However, in world practice, offshore are accounts opened in low-tax or tax-free jurisdictions in order to minimize the tax burden and protect money from all kinds of risks associated with their storage in your country of residence and tax residency.
Regardless of jurisdiction, but depending on the bank, you can become the owner of both a classic offshore bank account and an alternative offshore banking product.
Open a bank account
A customer seeking how to open an offshore bank account always wants to find a bank that can provide everything necessary, which was impossible in the financial institution of the country of his residence. Offshore banks offer confidentiality, flexible rates, attractive interest on deposits, convenient and permanent access to their funds and much more. As for countries where to open an account, much depends on the goals of the customers. Here we describe the best 15 countries’ offshore banks opportunities.
Luxembourg accounts for 6-8% of all global offshore capital. The vast capital of investment funds has been attracted here. The banking industry is very important for the country, and Luxembourg is regarded as one of the three world leaders in the number of net assets under management. In addition to opening and maintaining accounts, Luxembourg banks provide customers with a wide range of services for investment funds, forming a portfolio of securities to maximize income. Luxembourg banking privacy rules closely resemble Swiss ones. In Luxembourg, as in Switzerland, legal entities have the right to open bank accounts, while keeping the name of the beneficiary owner secret.
Accounts are opened relatively quickly, and the cost of servicing is inexpensive compared to other European banks.
The main advantages that Cypriot banks offer:
- The ability to open a multi-currency account.
- There is no requirement for a minimum initial deposit, which is currently a rarity.
- There are no requirements for a minimum monthly balance.
- Convenient online banking operating 24/7.
- Cypriot banks have extensive experience in servicing customers from different countries.
Cypriot banks offer not only basic banking services but also many additional ones, including insurance, asset management, factoring, leasing, etc. In recent years, the banking system of Cyprus has undergone many changes, so it has become even more developed. Although most Cypriot banks offer similar services, they are all different and each bank may have its own requirements to open an account.
Offshore service companies with accounts in Switzerland are a classic option for stable parking money and investing in long-term financial instruments. For many years, Switzerland has been acting as one of the most respected financial centers in Europe, which attracts bank deposits and provides Private Banking services for wealthy clients. As in most other countries, Switzerland provides current, savings and deposit types of accounts, but with some nuances. Despite the fact that it is possible, in principle, to open an account for any person or company, the Bank reserves the right to refuse certain customers. The bank won’t deal with customers which can damage its reputation. If the bank has doubts about the origin of the funds, opening an account most likely will also be refused.
Liechtenstein banks are among the most reliable in the world. Hosting the savings there, the client can no longer worry about the safety of their funds, also getting the opportunity to increase them. State-owned banks guarantee full coverage of savings deposits in Swiss francs to their private individuals. The main advantages of banking services in this jurisdiction should include the full preservation of the confidentiality of individuals. Liechtenstein, whose large share of GDP is generated by banking revenues, does not cooperate with practically any other states and does not transmit personal data on incoming requests. The exception is the United States which has a legal aid agreement signed with the Principality.
At the same time, Liechtenstein does not welcome money laundering operations obtained illegally and criminally. In this regard, bankers prefer to work with those individuals whose income is legal and the business is clear.
By concluding an agreement with one of the banks in Liechtenstein, you get the highest class services, access to a variety of banking and financial services. Your personal banking consultant will offer many tools to increase revenue, advise on all matters of interest.
Latvia offers fast opening a bank account for everybody. Unlike other European banks, in Latvia, you could get the desired service, but at a reasonable price. The costs of owning bank accounts in Latvia will not be so high, however, affordable price does not mean the poor choice of banking products, and especially financial tools. On the contrary, in percentage terms, the banking sector of Latvia is not the lowest-ranked for the country’s economy.
In addition, Latvian banks can offer the top banking products, which are all kinds of investment products, reliable standard banking services, advanced Internet banking, professional and round-the-clock customer service by phone, and of course, all services that include a classic understanding of private banking.
Andorra is one of the most attractive countries for opening an offshore account in Europe. This jurisdiction has established itself as an excellent low-tax country with excellent banking.
It’s recommended to open a bank account in Andorra if your goals are as follows:
- Storage of funds in a foreign bank with high capitalization, liquidity, and solvency plus deposit insurance (Andorra banks insure the funds for the whole amount, and this means that in the case of insolvency of the bank with your money, the rest of Andorran banks assume obligations about payment).
- Placement of a deposit in the amount of 50 thousand Euros (initial deposit) to 100 thousand Euros (planned balance of the account by the end of the year) and the obligation to maintain a minimum balance on the account not less than the initial deposit.
If we talk about rates on deposits on the Andorran bank account, they are very close to zero. To obtain interest income, we will most likely recommend you an account with a Latvian bank. Investments in an Andorran bank also do not have a fixed return.
Armenia acquires the status of a financial center due to its geographical location, the convenience of the services offered and affordable prices. Moreover, Armenia proposes to open not only personal and corporate accounts for local companies, but also for foreign (non-resident) companies. The banks of Armenia, despite the apparent external simplicity, remain reliable institutions, which means that they thoroughly check customers before starting cooperation.
Banking services in Armenia are quite inexpensive. Some banks began to charge more from non-resident customers, but these amounts are much lower than those charged for comparable services in large world financial centers. Banks sometimes provide an opportunity to open an account remotely; as a rule, for large deposits that are part of term deposits or private banking.
8. Hong Kong
In Hong Kong, almost all bank accounts are multicurrency by default. Hong Kong banks allow non-residents to receive all local and largest international currencies in one bank account. Hong Kong has no tax on capital gains, no tax on bank interest on deposits and return on investment in the stock market. Also in Hong Kong, there is no tax on capital earned abroad. That is, all the money that you earn from selling goods to non-Hong Kong residents is considered assets received outside Hong Kong. Hong Kong also has a very strong banking secrecy culture. Respect for bank secrecy in Hong Kong is also backed by law. The minimum deposit to open an offshore bank account in Hong Kong is very low. The minimum balance on an offshore bank account for non-residents in Hong Kong can be no more than 3,000 Hong Kong dollars.
A personal account with a Maltese bank will be a good choice for those who want to entrust their savings to a reliable European financial institution. The banking system of Malta is one of the most stable in Europe. The level of service here meets the highest European standards. In addition, banks in Malta attract foreign customers with relatively low tariffs and a high level of data protection, which is ensured by the constant introduction of the latest cryptographic information protection systems. If you need an account with a stable European bank then Malta is a perfect choice.
The main advantages of Malta are:
- EU membership.
- Stable political and economic system.
- Variety of financial products and services.
- About 70 double tax treaties.
Malta is a very reputable, low-tax jurisdiction with conservative and creditworthy banks.
Singapore is a very financially successful country with a developed economy. Singapore has become a successful international financial center, thanks to legislation and the flexibility of its governance system.
Singapore also has the advantage of many offshore financial centers: dividends from deposits and profits from abroad received in Singapore bank account are not taxed. In Singapore, there is also no tax on bank deposits and investments, as well as on capital gains.
You can manage offshore bank accounts opened in Singapore in multicurrency mode. Such multicurrency accounts are great for those customers who anticipate major depreciation of currencies, such as the dollar or the euro, over the coming months or years. Singapore tax authorities have access to bank accounts of individuals.
For over 30 years Panama has been known as the international banking center of Latin America. Foreign business and investors are paying more and more attention to the rapid development of the country’s economy and the growing potential of business opportunities. Today, more than 80 international banks, including world-famous financial institutions, operate in the country. State laws guard the protection of private property and the rights of foreigners equally with the citizens of Panama.
Opening a bank account in Panama is not a very complicated procedure, but it requires more time, and documents, in comparison with banks in Europe. Depending on the bank, the requirements for the presentation of documentation may differ. The minimum deposit required to open an account also can vary. The majority of Panama’s banks require the personal presence of the beneficiary when opening an account, according to Know Your Client requirements. Despite this, there are a number of banking institutions that can open an account for foreigners remotely, without having to visit a bank.
Belize offers excellent conditions for offshore business, but besides this, the jurisdiction is famous for its offshore banks, which provide a certain number of priorities compared to banks in America or Europe. Belize offers its customers zero taxation and confidentiality. Since the state does not interfere in the affairs of its clients, this helps to increase the level of data privacy and reduce restrictions.
There is no currency control in Belize, which means the free adding or withdrawal of your funds from the account. Your savings will belong to you only. Another benefit that Belize offers is a safe investment. The country is politically stable, and the local currency is pegged to the US dollar at 2:1 fixed rate. This means that your currency is safe and the possibility of devaluation is reduced to a minimum.
Offshore Seychelles is perfect for those who seek a very high level of secrecy and are ready to build their international structure in such a way as to take full advantage of this place. In the offshore sector of Seychelles, there are now about 140 thousand international companies (IBC). For comparison, at the very beginning, in 1996, there were just over 600 of them. In addition to BMIO, the only bank currently engaged exclusively in offshore banking in Seychelles is Al Habib. All other banks, such as Nouvobanq and Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB), also carry out “offshore” banking activities, along with “domestic” banking activities.
14. The British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands is a British overseas territory in the Caribbean. An important advantage for foreign investors is that the main language spoken in these islands is English. Investors typically open a bank account in the British Virgin Islands when they set up a Business Company. Quick creating such a business structure with consequent use it for offshore purposes is very convenient. However, in some banks, company directors will need to provide a package of documents that will be used for identification purposes.
Note that in the Virgin Islands companies for offshore and local businesses operate on the same terms. Naturally, if an account is opened for local business, the bank will be more supportive. You can also explain that you open an investment account for savings. Banks in the British Virgin Islands are happy to open such account type.
Anguilla is a small island in the Caribbean. Today it is a dependent or overseas territory of Great Britain, which, oddly enough, has made the island a popular offshore center. Thanks to tax neutrality, high-speed company registration, reliable reputation, Anguilla attracts more and more attention every year as a growing financial and offshore center. The cost of services from competitors, reputation and tax issues, as well as the simplicity of doing business on the island increase the number of customers each year.
Banking in the Caribbean raises various questions, primarily due to the fact that the range of services at local institutions is narrow, and their prices are high. Anguilla bank system looks much better, especially given the desire to maintain transparency and a clean reputation. Opening an account is quite simple, and doesn’t require much time.
Offshore personal bank account features
The customer can open the following options for offshore accounts:
- Offshore card account. As a rule, these are bank accounts with payment or credit cards attached. In some banks, cards can be attached to a current account, but other ones require separate card accounts. However, as an alternative, there are payment cards without a bank account at all.
- Fixed deposit account. This is a bank account intended for the storage of funds and the accumulation of interest for a certain period of time, depending on the term chosen by the bank’s client.
- Private and corporate banking account. This account type is intended for private or corporate clients who wish to conduct investment activities: acquire securities, form an investment portfolio, etc.
- Brokerage account. This is an account for the stock market operations like investing in FOREX and other brokerage activities.
Before opening an offshore bank account, a banker will always advise you to start with a classic current account for banking operations. This basic product allows the bank to get to know you better as its customer, and offer you the most suitable range of services, whether it is an investment or operational banking.
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