Banks that accept a PO box address during the account opening process are rare, but (believe it or not) they do exist.
Of course, it depends on where you’re looking to open accounts (country or state), and the type of account you want to open (business or personal).
In this article, we’ll answer the most common questions and help you navigate address requirements as you hunt for the best offshore accounts possible.
Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead and get your specific questions answered right away.
Table of Contents
- Can I Use a PO Box to Open a Bank Account?
- What About Your Physical Business Address?
- Business Bank Account Without Physical Address
- Will Banks Accept a PO Box Address?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Do You Need Help Opening Bank Accounts?
Can I Use a PO Box to Open a Bank Account?
Let’s start by answering the most important question which is: can you actually use a PO box to open a bank account or not?
Well, like a lot of the challenges customers face in banking, there is no “one-size-fits-all” response. Instead, the real answer is “it depends”.
In the same way that there are differences between legal systems, education systems, and social systems, there are differences in how banking is carried out across various countries as well.
In particular, each country has its own set of regulations that banks must adhere to. Within these regulations are specific guidelines for proving identity, demonstrating rationale for opening accounts, and much more. This all falls under the Know Your Client (KYC) requirements that banks are required to meet.
Essentially, these regulations are guidelines and the individual banks then decide what forms of proof are accepted. So, it’s important to consider whether or not these regulations exist in the country you are applying to open accounts.
As mentioned, each bank has its own set of internal onboarding policies that its staff must adhere to. Address requirements are one of the many items covered in these onboarding policies. Depending on the country, banks may use an address for identity verification purposes, to prove economic substance, or purely for correspondence.
In most cases, banks only deviate from their onboarding policies if a client will be very profitable for the bank. In other words, if you are trying to open an account with a minimum deposit and won’t use any other bank services or products, it’s unlikely that the banker will be motivated to waive requirements for you.
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What About Your Physical Business Address?
If you’re looking for a business bank account, you might have a few questions about physical addresses. Put another way, you might be wondering what to do if your company doesn’t actually have a physical address. This is common for online businesses and location-independent entrepreneurs who operate remotely.
Let’s take a look at these considerations now…
Physical address refers to the location where your company carries out its business activities. In almost all cases, business owners will need to provide a physical address and proof of this physical address (e.g. a utility bill, bank statement, etc.) to the bank.
PO Box Mailing Address
PO box mailing address (or a post office box) refers to a correspondence address that companies and individuals use to receive mail. Some banks (in certain countries) will accept a PO box address for correspondence purposes.
What if Your Business Doesn’t Have a Physical Address?
It’s important to note that all companies have a physical address. In fact, even online businesses and location-independent businesses have physical addresses. They just don’t realize it. If this is something you’re trying to understand, you should consult a tax advisor to confirm how CFC rules and place of management rules may apply to you or your business.
Local vs Foreign Address
Importantly, the physical address doesn’t have to be in the country where you are looking to open a bank account. Instead, it can be wherever your business operates. That said, certain banks do require a local physical address in order to open accounts. If that’s the case (and you don’t have an address in that country), then you may want to look for another bank, branch, or even banker.
Business Bank Account Without Physical Address
So, is it possible to open a business bank account without a physical address? Well, that depends on the bank, the country where you’re trying to open an account, and the address you provide.
Let’s explore the options…
Banks That Accept Virtual Address
There are thousands of virtual mailbox service providers to choose from. They range from corporate service providers (CSPs) with hundreds of addresses to choose from to small “mom and pop” strip mall operations with a single location.
Whether or not the specific virtual address you buy will be accepted depends on the bank’s policy and the particular address you use. In many cases, addresses that are obviously provided by large mail-forwarding companies are increasingly not accepted by banks.
Bank Account Without Physical Address
When applying for an account, it’s important (and required) to provide an address for your company. If you do not have a local address, that’s okay. There are certain banks that will accept a foreign address for account opening, though they may ask for a local PO Box for correspondence purposes.
Best Value for Your Money
In order to unlock the best value address options, it’s crucial to know what the bank you’re applying to actually requires and what types of addresses they deem acceptable.
For example, knowing whether a bank even accepts PO box addresses, virtual addresses, and foreign addresses can influence which address (or combination of addresses), you choose to use to acquire.
If you’re trying to open an account for a foreign company in the United States (yes, it’s 100% possible!), you will most likely have a foreign address as your place of business activities.
So, when it comes time to apply for a US account, you will use your foreign address. That said, the bank may request a US correspondence address, which basically means a place you can receive mail in the US (e.g. receiving a debit card, bank correspondence, etc). Depending on the bank, this could be a PO box address or a virtual address. Though in certain instances, some US banks won’t require a local address at all.
Will Banks Accept a PO Box Address?
In most cases, banks will not accept a PO box address unless it is accompanied by a physical (non-PO box) address. In other words, banks will accept a PO box address for correspondence purposes, but not for identity verification purposes.
With this in mind, both individuals and business owners should expect to provide a real physical address when opening accounts. It’s also worth noting that there are banks in most countries that will accept both a local and foreign address when opening accounts.
So even if you can’t provide a local address, it’s still possible to meet the bank account opening requirements.
If you need help understanding account opening requirements, don’t hesitate to contact us and we’d be happy to point you in the right direction.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are a few of the most common questions that we receive from people exploring how to find banks that accept PO box addresses. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.
Do Banks Allow PO Box Address?
Yes, banks do allow PO box addresses. That said, PO boxes are not as widely accepted as they once were. Instead, most banks require a residential or business address with qualifying proof like a utility bill, bank statement, or other supporting document. That said, there are banks that allow a PO Box address for account opening when dealing with foreign non-residents.
How Do I Open a Bank Account Without a Physical Address?
How you open a bank account without a physical address will depend on the bank you choose and your client profile. That said, while most banks do require a physical address to open a bank account, it is possible to use a PO box address for correspondence purposes. However, it is important to stress that this does depend on the bank.
Can I Use a PO Box for a Business Bank Account?
Yes, you can use a PO box address for a business bank account. That said, in most cases, banks will also require proof of a physical address in addition to the PO box address. The proof of physical address will usually be tied to the operating jurisdiction of the business and not necessarily the country where the account is being opened. Needless to say, it’s important to confirm the address requirements prior to applying for a business bank account.
Do You Want Help Opening Bank Accounts?
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