Bank Account, Marshall Islands: Bank Accounts or Bust?

Bank account, Marshall Islands:

We decided to write this article because every few months, we’re asked whether the Marshall Islands are a suitable jurisdiction for international banking by prospective clients.

People usually ask questions like this because they’re searching for the best offshore accounts. And, if they’re asking “Can I open an account in the Marshall Islands?”, the answer is almost always “no”.

We’ll explain our reasons for suggesting to bank elsewhere below. Plus, we’ll share alternatives that both individuals and business owners can consider instead.

Also, if you’re specifically looking for bank accounts for a Marshall Islands company, we have some good news and bad news for you. You can read more in the “Alternatives” section below.

Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the section that is most relevant to you.

Table of Contents

Should You Open a Marshall Islands Bank Account?

No, you should not open a Marshall Islands bank account unless you meet very specific criteria and plan to reside in the Marshall Islands.

Like other small Pacific Islands, the Marshall Islands has attempted to carve out a name for itself in the corporate service provider (CSP) and incorporation space. They did this by creating the Marshall Islands IBC (International Business Company).

The Marshall Islands has been a particular favorite for US citizens, while other nationalities tend to gravitate towards other jurisdictions like BVI, Nevis, Isle of Man, Jersey, Switzerland, and Singapore.

But this article isn’t about company registration, it’s about establishing a relationship with a financial institution in the Marshall Islands. So, let’s take a look at the options…

Marshall Islands Company Bank Account

One very important point is that Marshall Islands IBCs are not permitted to open a local bank account.

So if you’re looking to open a bank account for a Marshall Islands company, you should look at the available international account opening options shared below.

Business Bank Account

It is possible for non-resident (non-Marshall Islands) companies to open a bank account in the Marshall Islands. That said, in almost all cases, there is better banking available to you elsewhere.

So, the real question is…

If nearly everyone can access banking jurisdictions with more robust banking sectors and better banking options, why consider banking in the Marshall Islands in the first place?

The short answer? Misinformation. Simply put, much of the information about offshore banking on the internet is wrong, outdated, or slapped together by service providers focused on selling incorporation services.

In other words, opening a bank account in the Marshall Islands is almost never a good idea. But, because the Marshall Islands are such a small slice of the offshore banking world, no one has bothered to correct it or write about it in a way that is useful to consumers.

International Bank Account Options

In most cases, individuals and companies will find better banking options outside of the Marshall Islands. This is true for offshore companies, non-residents, and even high-risk individuals.

In fact, most clients can access banking solutions in top banking jurisdictions like Singapore, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, the United Kingdom, and even the United States, and beyond. You just need to know how and where to open accounts (more on this below).

What Banks Are in the Marshall Islands?

If you’re serious about banking in the Marshall Islands, there are two banks that you can consider:

  • Bank of the Marshall Islands
  • Bank of Guam (local branch)

On the plus side, they are located across the street from one another. So, if you’re planning to visit to open accounts you won’t have to travel far to check out your options.

Local Bank Account Services

Not surprisingly, these two banks are focused on supporting local businesses. They do not offer brokerage or other financial services.

Marshall Islands Company Registration

As mentioned, the Marshall Islands IBC is a type of offshore entity. In function, they operate very similarly to a BVI company:

  • There is no public registry
  • Nominee services are possible
  • Only one director is required
  • Corporate directors are accepted
  • No annual reporting or tax filing
  • Zero tax (for non-resident business activities)
  • No withholding tax on dividends

That said, an important difference between a Marshall Islands IBC and other (more common) offshore structures is the number of account opening options available to them.

In short, bankers like to deal with entities that they are familiar with. And, very few bankers are familiar with Marshall Islands IBCs.

Additionally, in our team’s experience, banks in some of the best banking hubs like Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Switzerland will not even consider Marshall Islands IBCs – though exceptions are always possible.

Marshall Islands IBC Bank Accounts

When it comes to opening a business bank account for a Marshall Islands IBC, the following countries can be considered:

  • Belize
  • Mauritius
  • Singapore
  • Fintech platforms (HK, UK, EU)

Bankers in these jurisdictions are comfortable with Marshall Islands IBCs and certain banks will allow them to open accounts. Of course, the deposit requirements and the services available vary widely between these three jurisdictions. So, choose carefully.

Another possible option is to consider fintech options in Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK, and Europe.

Account Opening Services

Account opening services typically refer to corporate service providers that help you open a bank account. Unlike GlobalBanks, they do not specialize in banking or account opening. Instead, they’ll typically try to “tack on” a bank account as part of an incorporation package.

Because they don’t have banking expertise or an international network of banks that they work with, these service providers typically try to push all their customers to open an account with one bank.. Unfortunately, it’s often the wrong bank. And there are no guarantees that you’ll get an account open.

Open an International Bank Account

If so, you can access GlobalBanks Insider and start the process of applying for an offshore account in a few clicks.

GlobalBanks Insider is a dedicated account opening solution that involves direct support from our team and direct introductions to the banks of your choosing. It gives you instant access to the…

+ Direct support from a team of banking experts

+ Direct introductions to your desired banks

+ Answers to your most pressing questions and challenges

+ Expert insights on which banks to choose & why

+ Plus FULL access to our entire suite of account opening tools and intelligence!

And “yes!” GlobalBanks Insider is designed to help foreign and non-resident individuals and companies open bank accounts.

You can learn more on the products page from the main menu above.

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GlobalBanks Team
GlobalBanks Team

The GlobalBanks editorial team comprises a group of subject-matter experts from across the banking world, including former bankers, analysts, investors, and entrepreneurs. All have in-depth knowledge and experience in various aspects of international banking. In particular, they have expertise in banking for foreigners, non-residents, and both foreign and offshore companies.

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