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Best Offshore Bank Accounts

Best Offshore Bank Accounts

Due to the fact, our team was unable to visit some of these banks personally and/or were unable to speak to their staff face-to-face, we have not added our personal review in the manner that we as are accustomed.

Why Bank Offshore

There’s a host of completely legal reasons why you might want to bank offshore; the best reason though is that you can take advantage of tax-saving structures, depending on your situation.

Now, as of 2016, the US passed the FATCA which basically requires all banks around the world to give up financial/banking information for any US citizens that have accounts or face stiff penalties (30 percent withholding tax by the US government on amounts transferred to/from the US by that institution).

This means if you are American, trying to use Offshore bank accounts to avoid taxes is nearly impossible now (and can land you in hot water if the IRS gets your information, which they will). However, depending on your personal situation (as an American), you might be able to make a more tax efficient structure utilizing an offshore bank account and offshore company. For some Americans (such as expats, digital nomads, or other US citizens types who don’t live in the US (i.e. are non-residents) and earn money outside of the US, an offshore bank account owned by an offshore entity can save you boatloads in taxes. It’s possible to pay no tax at all even (legally).

However, how to pay less tax as an American using offshore holding companies & bank accounts is an entirely different article and, likely, only applies to SOME people who are self-employed and can take advantage some tax loopholes.

Still, there are other reasons why you might want an offshore account; for example, the government can’t dip into your account, as could be the case if you have debt or owe taxes.

If you are looking to open an offshore account, it is always best to obtain paid legal and financial advice beforehand–especially since some countries change their international banking rules with every change of government.

You can save a lot of money using an offshore account as a tax haven, BUT, liquid banking laws and crackdowns by the IRS make offshore banking less attractive than it was to save on taxes. However, it’s still possible, but you need some rock solid tax legal advice to know what you are doing — so make sure you have professional advice first before using these as a tax-saving/avoidance method.

Here is our list of the best offshore bank accounts around the world that offer affordability and reliability.

What Are Introduction Services

Some of the accounts listed on this article require an introduction service. This is a third party, usually based in the US, which allows US citizens to open a bank account either through a recommendation by the third-party, through the third party, and/or with the third party.

The websites of the banks have been listed on this website. However, if you are a US citizen and the bank requires an introduction service, then they will not let you sign up via their website and may restrict your access to their website.

St Vincent and the Grenadines Bank Accounts

The banks have a high level of confidentiality and they deal with a number of currencies including USD, GBP, EUR, CHF, and JPY. You do not need to install software to use your account(s), they have numerous language options, and the opening/sign up procedure is only a little more complex than opening an account in the US.

You will not have to pay a visit to St. Vincent to open your account(s) because they all allow you to sign up with a combination of the Internet and via the mail, though you may need to call for some accounts. There is no minimum opening deposit except for the Loyal bank, but you do have to deposit and withdraw in larger amounts of around $300 at a time.

You Should Know

Some people say the rules differ depending either on your current location or the bank account you open. There are transfer fees with most of their accounts.

If you use your bank account to sign for other accounts and pay for other things, then there are a slew of restrictions. For example, they will not allow you to sign up to gambling sites, pay for porn, and pay for dating sites. There are numerous rules similar to this, such as how you cannot use your account to pay for pharmaceuticals. All documents you provide must be in English.

Seychelles Bank Accounts

  • Barclays (100,000 USD Opening Balance)
  • BMI (10,000 USD Opening Balance)
  • MCB (1,000 EUR Opening Balance)
  • Nouvobanq (5,000 USD Opening Balance)

If you want an account in the Seychelles, then you will need to go through an introductory service that will charge you a fee for setting up an account for you. The fee doesn’t include the opening balance amount, which is the money you need to pay into the account to open it. The only exception is Barclay’s Bank, but at the time of writing, they require deposits of over one hundred thousand dollars to open an account. With the exception of Barclays, they only deal with EUR, GBP and USD.

All of the accounts may be managed online, and you do not have to visit the banks to open your accounts. You will need a notarized copy of your ID with a passport or driving license being preferable for a quicker sign up. You will need two proofs of your US address, such as your utility bill and bank statements. You will also need to prove your source of funds and/or your income; otherwise, the third party introduction service is likely to refuse your introduction.

You Should Know

There are a few introduction services out there that will try to swindle you. Some will take your processing fees and agree to sign you up even though they know you do not have the income or funds to be accepted (ergo ripping you off for your processing fees). There are also third-party companies that claim there are no fees for opening your account, but will fail to tell you about the opening balances until it is time to draw them from your US bank account. All of the accounts have either transfer fees or

Belize Bank Accounts

The FirstCaribbean International requires an introductory service, but the others have accounts you can apply for directly.  The banks deal with USD, GBP, EUR and CAD. You are going to need an opening deposit of at least $1000. Most of them also require a minimum balance to be maintained or you are charged either a fee whenever your account falls below a certain amount, or you are charged a higher maintenance fee.

Most of them allow you to open an account without paying a fee, but all have a maintenance fee. All of them have transfer fees that differ depending on what account you transfer your money from. You will need a notarized copy of your passport, a domestic ban reference letter from a bank you have been with at least 2 years, and some ask for a professional (Attorney/Accountant) reference from somebody you have had a professional relationship with for at least 2 years. You will also need to show a utility bill that proves where you live.

You Should Know

They sell not allow you to conduct business transactions on your personal or savings accounts. For example, you cannot pay people for gold or buy mobile phones and things of that nature. You also cannot use your accounts to raise money for business or marketing programs. You cannot use it as a money transfer system for anything other than keeping and holding onto your money. For example, you cannot transfer large amounts in only to remove them again after a few days.

Cyprus Bank Accounts

Accounts where you do not need an introduction

Banks where you do need an introduction

With most of the banks, you may open an account remotely and/or use the introduction service. However, with Expobank, you will need to pay them a visit to open your account. They do now have an e-banking system as of March 2015, but you still need to visit to open your account. Most of the accounts do not charge to open your account, but almost all of them have a sizable starting deposit requirement.

All of them charge a maintenance fee, but only a minority of them asks you to maintain a minimum balance. The banks are not as confidential as some may like, but they are very competitive because they draw a lot of business from overseas. Data sharing policies are in strongly in place with the EU, but not so much for the US.

You Should Know

It pays to shop around with your account in Cyprus. You can avoid taxes if you are clever with your money, but there are treaties set in place that means your country can apply for permission to see your accounts, but such treaties exist around the world. You should also know that the competitive nature of the banks in the area means you should shop around for the best rates and best service because you have numerous options available to you.

Liechtenstein Bank Accounts

You are able to open your accounts remotely and mange your accounts on the Internet, and none of the accounts require an introduction service. They deal with the currencies USD, EUR and CHF. Their opening deposit amounts are in Swiss Francs, but you can pay those deposits in dollars and Euros if you wish. Many of them ask for specific minimum monthly balances that range at around the 300,000 EUR mark for private persons.

Setting up your accounts is free, but most will charge a 1% to 2% fee on transfers. Some of them have maintenance fees, but they are usually avoided if you maintain their minimum balances consistently. To open an account with an introductory service, you may only need a passport, but all of the banks will allow you to open an account directly if you are willing to go through the process personally.

You Should Know

There are no first-world/developed-world banks that offer complete privacy. The US and European governments have treaties in place so that they may make special requests to see your accounts. The same is true of privacy in that your account may be considered “secret,” but governments have a funny way of uncovering your secrets when it comes to money. It is strongly suggested that you seek financial advice from a good and reputable advisor before you open an account with the intent of storing money in a (words chosen carefully) secretive way.

Dominica

You will need an introduction by a third party if you want a bank account in Dominica. You will also need a notarized copy of your passport and an additional ID document. You will need a notarized copy of your ID documents, you will need a recent utility bill and an original reference letter from your current US bank that you have been with for a number of years. You must submit all documents in English and all of these documents are required from each authorized person. A personal visit is not needed, but some recommend it if you want the utmost secrecy.

Both banks ask for a minimum balance to be maintained, but it is rarely more than $1000. They have opening fees that usually cost over $100, they have minimum deposit requirements, and all transfers will cost you money. They also have maintenance fees, but you do get interest on your money, which is tax-free and not subject to withholding tax.

You Should Know

Just like the other banks on this list (and in the first/developed world), your government can uncover them for tax and court-order reasons, however, bank secrecy in Dominica was reinstated by statues, which means other people and other businesses cannot find out about your accounts without first knowing where to look, and secondly without a court order.

Isle of Man Bank Account

The Isle of Man banks deal in GBP, EUR and USD, and only the Permanent Bank requires an introduction. The others will allow you to sign up online and manage your accounts remotely. Lloyds are the most unreliable bank in the UK, and yet are your best option as a US depositor because they have the best rates and easiest sign up options.

All of the bank accounts charge maintenance fees and all require you to maintain at least a small minimum balance in order to keep your account active and/or avoid further fees. You maintain complete control over your accounts, and the online security and stability in the area is as good as it is in the UK (excellent and very stable). There are also lots of regulations that make your money more secure.

You Should Know

Need a Bank Account but have ChexSystems problems or Bad Credit?


Try opening a BBVA Compass Free Checking Account! BBVA is one of the more forgiving banks and may give you a full-fledged REGULAR bank account when you apply online...even with bad banking and credit history.

And if you don't qualify for the regular BBVA checking account for some reason, you'll then be given the option of opening the special BBVA Compass Easy Checking Account, an account designed specifically for those with banking problems.

...learn more about BBVA Second Chance Banking here


Unlike many of the other accounts on this article, you are able to use your account to pay for things such as gambling on gambling sites. However, some online bookies will limit your gambling accounts if they see you are betting with money you are taking out of your Isle Of Man account. There are few taxes to worry about, but the government is tightening up just how much money people are able to hide without it causing red flags. If you want to enjoy a few tax breaks, then the Isle of Man is a good and legal option.

About The Author

Ben Todd

Ben was a seriously broke graduate student with bad credit who after finding himself rejected for any sort of credit card or loan for most of his adult life, finally decided to get his financial life in order. ‘

He spent several years reading as many financial advice books and blogs as he could.

And suprisingly, Ben found he actually LIKED the topic of personal finance; after fixing his own finances, starting his own successful work at home website business, and using his earnings to get out of debt, created echeck.org to help others do likewise!

7 Comments

  1. Sim lulan

    I am a 18 year old student. I am intending to open an offshore bank account for some reasons. I wanted to have some business transactions to gain more money and that I could also withdraw my money straight away in terms of cash when need arises. It would also be better if the bank does not require any initial deposit. Hence, I hereby would like to thank you for your help.

    Reply
  2. Francois marais

    Any reason you say Lloyds are the most unreliable bank in the UK, just want to know if i must avoid them

    Reply
    • Ash The Great

      Every time one of our team signs up with them, they hit us with massive amounts of marketing material. They happily claim you are pre-approved for this and that…until you actually apply for it, then they are all “Oh, didn’t you know there were fees here and there” and “Oh, that is only our leaflet interest rate, here is the one we are giving you.” Maybe I am biased when it comes to Lloyds because I have had trouble with them in the past, but when we have to review them, we often let out a sigh of “Here we go again.”

      Reply
  3. John Gherity

    Is compass bank, & compass free checking an off shore bank?

    Reply
    • Ash The Great

      BBVA compass bank & compass free checking are headquartered in Alabama in the US, and they have a strong presence in Arizona, California, Florida, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas and obviously in Alabama. However, they are a a subsidiary of the Spanish multinational Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria. We hadn’t entered it as an offshore account on this article, but if you are interested in an offshore account with BBVA, you should contact their “BBVA Compass International Global Wealth team” to discuss your options.

      Reply
  4. David

    Hi
    Just curious why you haven’t included any offshore banks from Hong Kong, Singapore, Panama?

    Reply

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