If you’re considering opening an account with an Andorra bank, you’re probably looking for a stable jurisdiction, relatively low minimums, and euro banking. And, while you can tick all of these boxes in Andorra, there are pros and cons to consider before opening an account.
In the past, we’ve shared why an Andorra bank is a good option for non-residents and expats to consider — especially those looking to get started with private banking without enormous minimums.
Today, we’re going to take a bit of a different approach…
In this article, we’ll pull back the curtain on the good, the bad, and the ugly of dealing with an Andorra bank. This will even include raw customer feedback to help you make the right decision.
But, before diving in, don’t forget to download your FREE copy of the Non-Resident Banking Start Guide. It’s packed with insights on opening accounts abroad and will help you get started with opening accounts at an Andorra bank.
First, let’s take a look at the different client groups that typically benefit from banking with an Andorra bank.
If you don’t fit into one of these groups, don’t worry. There’s still a chance that a bank in Andorra will work for you — though, it’s also possible that there are better jurisdictions out there to meet your banking needs.
For now, let’s take a look at who can benefit from banking in Andorra:
Not surprisingly, residents of Andorra who live and work in the country can (and should) consider banking here.
And while some residents suggest banking outside of Andorra instead (more on this below), you often need a local bank account to meet requirements for both active and passive residence, such as making a deposit or investing through local Andorra banks, or paying for your local abode.
As mentioned, non-residents can consider opening with an Andorra bank as well. This is true both for opening retail accounts and private bank accounts. Though, as discussed below, not all banks are welcoming to non-residents so bank selection is critical.
Additionally, as is the case with most private banking hubs, it’s often easy and cost-effective (or free) to get your money into your account — but getting money out is sometimes a different story. We’ll discuss fees to watch out for in the “Cons” section of this article.
Non-resident individuals usually want an Andorra bank account for a few key reasons, including lower deposit minimums, remote opening, willingness to accept members of the unlucky passport club, and wealth management services which may not be available in other jurisdictions or the account holder’s home country.
The final group that can consider opening an Andorra bank account includes wealth management entities.
In fact, because of Andorra’s familiarity with wealth management and private banking, it’s entirely possible to open accounts for offshore holding companies, trusts, and foundations, as long as you choose the right bank (and banker) and can meet the requirements.
And while it will be difficult to open accounts for companies registered in blacklisted countries (e.g. FATF Blacklist, EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions, etc.), offshore entities in other countries are a different story. So if you have a BVI corp, Cayman trust, or Guernsey foundation, an Andorra bank may be an option to consider.
If you fall into one of the categories above, you might be wondering what the benefits are of opening an account with an Andorra bank.
As always, the specific advantages or benefits that one person may unlock from opening an account with an Andorra bank may be completely different than the next person.
In most cases, benefits should be considered on a case-by-case basis. This ensures that not only the best bank is chosen for your situation, but also the best jurisdiction is selected.
Similar to the list of “pros” above, the cons of banking with an Andorra bank largely depend on your client profile.
For instance, if a person is struggling to open accounts elsewhere for themselves or an offshore entity they own, many of these “cons” on the list below won’t matter — since the entity just needs to open a bank account anywhere.
On the other hand, for those who have a wider selection of jurisdictions and banks to choose from, the following list might inspire one to look elsewhere.
In either case, the cons below are not always present when banking in Andorra. For example, some banks (and bankers) are better than others. That’s why we stress the importance of reviewing genuine feedback from other customers with similar profiles, so you can make an informed decision on which bank best meets your needs. We share this sort of feedback in the GlobalBanks Database, available to our members as soon as they join.
Again, these issues are NOT present at all Andorra banks. But, they are very real if you choose to open an account with the wrong Andorra banks.
We breakdown all Andorra-specific issues, opportunities, and show members exactly how to get the most out of Andorra banks in our Andorra Banking Report (more on this below), as well as our Banking Database.
We also share specific customer feedback and account opening strategies with our premium members, to ensure they make informed decisions and choose banks (and bankers) that meet their needs.
To help illustrate some of these issues further, we’ll give examples of each in the next section based on real customer feedback from some of our members who had accounts with banks in Andorra before joining GlobalBanks.
Some Andorra banks are notorious for charging above-market fees. In some cases, they can reach ten or twenty times higher than the fees charged by other banks.
Obviously, fees can eat into your deposit pretty quickly, so knowing which banks do (and don’t) charge high fees is important. And, knowing how and where to negotiate with each bank is critical.
“I feel completely ripped-off by my Andorra bank. I couldn’t believe it when we made a transfer to our bank in Germany. They charged us over €500. This worked out to 20 times what other banks are charging.”
“Trying to move money out of Andorra. The Andorra bank I’m dealing with is trying to charge me a 2% fee. That’s absurd for the amount that I’m trying to move. It would cost less to send money via credit card through Transferwise.”
Yes, it’s possible to open a bank account for an offshore entity with an Andorra bank. But, banks in Andorra are risk-averse than other banking hubs (more here) and Andorra bankers only accept certain types of offshore companies. That said, Andorra’s openness to offshore companies is a direct result of Andorra’s focus on private banking, which commonly involves investment holding companies registered in offshore jurisdictions.
“Andorra, as a small country, has had to maintain independence for centuries. To a large extent, we do this by avoiding problems. So, if clients aren’t easily understood by the bank, we prefer to say no rather than take a risk. Maybe that makes us more strict than others, but it works and we end up with good customers.”
While poor customer service pops up at every bank around the world, it seems to be a more frequent issue in Andorra. We’ll share some thoughts in the next section that might explain why this happens, but just know that if you choose the wrong bank (or the wrong banker), customer service will be an issue.
Problems range from unresponsiveness, unwillingness to solve issues, long wait times for support, a refusal to speak in foreign languages (even when they can), refusal to negotiate or reimburse fees charged in error, and shutting down or freezing accounts without notice or justification.
This last point, account freezing, is a bit tricky since banks typically rely on compliance triggers to determine when an account will be frozen. But, unfortunately, certain banks in Andorra seem to be hypersensitive.
“My Andorra bank will freeze accounts without notice. Even when trying to send money from my Andorran company to a Spanish contractor, they still gave me trouble. It makes no sense at all.”
This is the case everywhere in the world. Certain bankers are just more experienced, more responsive, and more helpful than others. And that’s exactly why knowing which banks and bankers to contact before opening an account is so critically important.
The right banker can literally make (or break) your banking experience and how much you pay.
But, the right banker is even more important if you’re considering opening an account in a small banking hub that has known issues with banking fees and customer service.
In other words, everyone needs an advocate inside their bank who is willing (and able) to go to bat for them when issues arise. And, that person should be your banker.
There’s no reasonable excuse for any of the issues mentioned above. In fact, we strongly suggest that clients stay away from banks where these issues are systemic, constant, and occur regardless of the bank or banker you choose.
Unfortunately, many times, that means skipping over several banking options in what is otherwise a decent banking jurisdiction.
One possible explanation is that Andorra is a small banking hub with a limited number of banks. So, certain banks aren’t motivated to fix issues and inefficiencies since they already have a monopoly.
Another possible explanation is that Andorra has a very small talent pool. That means, sometimes bankers who are awful at their jobs aren’t necessarily fired. As a result, finding experienced bankers with mind-blowing customer service and good communication skills is more challenging than usual.
Additionally, many Andorra banks rely on a small number of large customers. So instead of catering to the majority of their clients, they simply focus on satisfying the few large clients that “matter” in the eyes of management.
Fortunately, there are Andorra banks that provide value and have solid customer service. But, it’s hard to know which banks those are unless you have a full picture of the Andorran banking sector, know where the hidden problems and fees are, and what to look for.
So, for obvious reasons, bank selection is critical when opening an account with an Andorra bank. But, to do this effectively, you really need to first understand the Andorra banking sector, where the biggest opportunities are, and what to watch out for.
To help you get started, our team has published a premium report on Banking in Andorra. It covers everything you need to know about choosing an Andorra bank. This includes account opening strategies, lesser-known quirks, and special account opening tips.
You can get immediate access to this report and our entire platform as soon as you join GlobalBanks.
If you’ve read through all of the pros and cons above and still want to move ahead, great. The next step to ask yourself is where you want to open an account.
Naturally, if you’re looking to open an account with an Andorra bank, you’re probably considering opening in Andorra.
And that’s a problem because Andorra is slightly annoying to travel to. There are no direct flights or international airports. So, that means, anyone who needs to physically visit the bank in person has to fly to Barcelona (or a nearby city) and then grab a shuttle bus or car to Andorra.
For our premium members, we break down Andorran banking in simple terms. We detail exactly which banks allow remote opening, which Andorran banks are best for your specific client profile, and even show you how to get Andorran bankers to travel to you. We also detail several unique hacks and strategies for opening with Andorran banks abroad — from the comfort of your couch.
Of course, which strategies and banks work best for you depends on several different factors. This will include where you’re from and how much you’re willing to deposit. It will also include the specific products you’re interested in. And of course, why you want to open with an Andorra bank will impact your decision.
At the end of the day, whether or not anyone should open an account with an Andorra bank is a very personal question. It depends on your goals, client profile, the intended use of the account, and much more.
Additionally, whether or not an Andorra bank is the right choice also requires comparing the alternatives.
Given that Andorra accepts non-residents (and foreign entities) and is a private banking hub, alternative jurisdictions may include Austria, Bahamas, Cayman, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Singapore, Switzerland, or even the United States.
Depending on the individual, any one of these jurisdictions could offer the right mix of benefits. And, with the right information, direct contacts, and the latest account opening strategies, most non-residents can find the right bank and successfully open accounts remotely in all of these countries.
If you want to take the next step and open an account in Andorra, need help sorting out your banking options, or aren’t sure which banks are best for your specific client profile, we can help.
When you join GlobalBanks, you’ll get the support you need to navigate the offshore banking world, find the right bankers, and open accounts with banks around the world that best match your objectives.
You’ll also discover the latest banking options, proven account opening strategies, and what’s working right now for people just like you.
If you’re ready to take action and start opening international accounts now, you can access GlobalBanks IQ, our dedicated international banking intelligence platform.
GlobalBanks IQ gives you everything you need to start finding and opening accounts for you or your business today.
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And, you get access to our library of premium (members-only) reports, including proven account opening strategies, country-specific banking options, and lists of banks for specific client types.
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To get started, click here to see if GlobalBanks IQ is the right choice for you to start accessing the benefits of international banking today.