Open an International Bank Account – the Smart & Easy Way


For a lot of people, being able to open international bank accounts is critical to their business and their lifestyle. Whether you live in South East Asia or the middle of Alabama, being able to send and receive money is essential. This is especially true if you have international commitments.

There are several steps you must take to successfully open international bank accounts. But more importantly, there are mistakes that you need to avoid. Such mistakes can include costly errors like working with bank introducers, choosing banks with low-standards, or poorly regulated jurisdictions. But one of the biggest mistakes that people make when they open international bank accounts is not knowing their client profile.

We’re going to dive into each of these in detail below. 

Many GlobalBanks Insiders use international bank accounts to cover expenses overseas. Others are business owners looking to pay suppliers in local currencies. And some Insiders are looking to diversify outside of their own borders.

That said, your motivations don’t really matter. It’s your choice whether you want an international bank account or not. But unfortunately, finding and opening an international bank account has never been harder. Despite advancements in technology, good banks are not getting easier to access.

But harder doesn’t mean impossible. In fact, there are great bank accounts available for everyone. You just need to know what to prioritize, how to present yourself, and where to find them.

International Bank Account Opening

Most people don’t understand banking. In fact, to some, thinking about how a bank operates and makes decisions is a completely foreign concept. But, while international bank account opening can be complex, we’re going to help simplify it for you.

Now, simplifying it does not mean that you don’t have to make decisions and consider your options. It simply means that you are going to be in a position to actually make those decisions by understanding the considerations.

Let’s start with a few considerations that often throw off unprepared applicants.

Don’t get caught off guard when opening an international bank account

  • Applicants do not understand what the bank is asking for in application documents
  • They trigger compliance departments by not know what concerns them
  • Applicants do not understand the underlying meaning of questions that bankers ask
  • They respond to bank questions and with weak and unconvincing answers
  • Are unable to explain themselves or their businesses to bankers
  • They do not understand the root issues related to banks and the reporting issues they need to avoid
  • They think that banking is a right instead of a privilege

All of the above should be taken into consideration when opening an international bank account. In fact, knowing how to address all of these issues will ensure you can open an international bank account. So long as you go in with the right strategy and bank in mind.

GlobalBanks Insiders use this exact approach to inform their decisions. In doing so, they’re able to get access to great banks that understand their business. And in doing so, they find banks that actually want them as clients.

The following is a list of considerations that GlobalBanks Insiders use when opening accounts. Contrast this list to the list above, which one would you rather be a part of?

Here’s how GlobalBanks Insiders approach international bank account opening

  • Target the right banks and bankers
  • Fill out paperwork to present their strengths while still sharing all information openly
  • Understand what red flags are and how to not inadvertently raise them
  • Know how to treat the banker, turning them into an advocate
  • Speak the banker languages and hear what they are really asking
  • Understand hot button issues related to their client profile
  • Know the sensitivities in their client profiles personal and business
  • Can highlight their client profile strengths
  • Position themselves as a valuable future client for the bank

Now that you have the above in mind, let’s actually discuss how you can successfully open an international bank account.

How You Can Successfully Open An International Bank Account

All things considered, it’s no wonder account opening has become so difficult for the average person. And it’s no surprise that many opt for using the alternatives that we discussed at the outset.

But these options are not actually necessary. In fact, it is still possible to open and keep open great bank accounts for you or your business. That is, if you know how to go about opening an account. You can increase your chances by taking the following steps.

Knowing Your Client Profile

When it comes to opening an international bank account, one of the most important considerations is your client profile. Understanding your profile can make the difference in successfully opening an account.

In our recent article on bank regulators, we cover high-risk client profiles. These are the client profiles that banks take a much closer look at. If you fall into one of these categories you should take care when applying to open an account. Your chances of success can be much lower than the average person.

Below is a list of the profiles that should take a more structured approach to account opening. If you would like to read more you can review our article Bank Regulators Are Killing Business.

  • High-Risk Businesses
  • New Businesses
  • The Unlucky Passport Club
  • The Bank Doesn’t Understand
  • Account Opening When You Share Names With a Politician or Criminal

As for high-risk industries that banks look at closer, these include the following:

  • Cannabis
  • Crypto
  • Physical products
  • Consulting or digital services
  • Gambling
  • Prostitution
  • Regulated industries

Knowing Your International Bank Account Requirements

Knowing your requirements before you go through the process of opening an international bank account is critical. It will ensure that you actually get the results that you are looking for.

Everyone’s requirements will differ, but generally speaking, there are going to be a few major factors that you need to consider. We’ve found that reviewing these in the form of a question is a great way to start. This approach will help clarify what you need and help you pinpoint the best bank accounts for you.

Questions to Ask Before Opening an International Bank Account

  • Are you looking for remote or in-person opening?
  • Where will you be sending and receiving money to and from?
  • What type of international bank account are you specifically looking for
  • How much are you able and willing to make in an opening deposit?
  • How much are you able and willing to maintain as your average monthly balance?
  • What level of transactions are you looking to process per month?
  • How much are you willing to pay in annual fees for the account?
  • Do you require payment processing connected to the account?
  • Will you need to send or receive money to EMIs?
  • Do you care about the reputation of the bank?

After going through the above questions, you will have a much better idea about your specific requirements. These answers will help you target banks that are specific to your needs. And if you are set on your answers, it will be much easier to find a bank.

One major consideration when opening an account is the cost, both of opening and maintaining the account. To learn more information about how to reduce the costs of account opening read our article here. It provides a great review of the specific costs that can be incurred and how to reduce them in your own situation.

Choosing the Country Where You Should Open an International Bank Account

GlobalBanks Insiders know that the country you choose is critical when finding the best international bank account.

Now if you’re in an emergency situation and need to find a bank immediately to send and receive payments, you not care. But, at least medium to long term, that is a mistake. So, find and get an account open for you or your business, but then find a longer-term account.

If you are making a medium to longer-term decision, the country is a critical consideration.

And it doesn’t matter if you’re starting out or sitting on a small fortune, the jurisdiction you choose is critical. And this decision is fully based on your specific priorities.

When choosing jurisdictions, GlobalBanks Insiders will look at two sets of considerations. Practical and Country Specific.

We cover both of these considerations in detail in our article on choosing the right country. You can read the full article here.

Below is a list of practical questions to consider when assessing banking jurisdictions.

Practical Considerations When Opening International Bank Accounts

  • Do they force you to transact in the local currency?
  • Is the jurisdiction solvent and well managed?
  • Has the jurisdiction introduced bail-in legislation?
  • Is the jurisdiction on a blacklist or gray list?
  • Could banking in the jurisdiction present reputation risk?
  • Does the country follow international regulations and standards?

Of course, there are other considerations to look at from a practical perspective. To learn more, read more of these in our article that covers how to choose a country to bank in. Or you can get started with account opening right now by becoming a GlobalBanks Insider.

But as mentioned above, there is a second set of considerations that you need to look at when opening an account. These include the factors impacting the individual country.

Country-Specific Considerations When Opening International Bank Accounts

  • Economic Considerations
  • Financial Consideration
  • Political Considerations
  • Regional Conflict & Risks
  • Quality Of The Banks
  • FATF & OECD Rankings

Again, you can read more on these and the other considerations in the article referenced above. In it, we detail the specifics of each of these to provide more guidance on what you should be looking for in a great banking jurisdiction.

The Key To Opening Accounts

When it comes to getting the best bank account open for you, your approach should be to understand and work with the system. Don’t try and fight against it. This is how you will get the best international bank accounts for you and your business.

Your client profile and the way you present your account to the bank is paramount. You must anticipate their questions and concerns with your client and risk profile. Then address them in a clear and transparent way.

With this in mind, you should strive to make your banker’s life as easy as possible. Identify, vulnerabilities in your client profile that might concern the bank before applying. It will be better for you and your banker in the long run if you know what these are and can discuss them with the banker openly.

Now that you have a full breakdown of international bank account opening, let’s take a look at two alternatives. You may have already considered these options to facilitate your own banking needs, but they’re worth covering here just in case.

Can Non-Banking Solutions Replace International Bank Accounts?

There have been a number of attempts to reduce our dependence on banks over the years. Though, none of these replacements have truly hit the mark. In most cases, these tools are less effective, higher risk, and more difficult to open and maintain.

Can Electronic Money Institutions Replace International Banking?

One example, of course, are the many Electronic Money Institutions or EMIs. Even today, it seems like there is a new EMI coming on the market every quarter. Though in some cases they are just rebranding. These platforms continue to be a favorite for certain client groups. Some of them even offer a viable solution.

But unfortunately, they don’t offer the same protections as traditional banks. And, due to the requirements placed on them, they often expose clients to much higher risk than banks as well.

This risk is due to EMIs not being subjected to the same regulations and safeguards as traditional banks. In other words, they aren’t the best place to leave your personal fortunes.

But, as mentioned, they can offer value. More specifically, these platforms can be great alternatives for sending and receiving money.

In fact, international transfers through these platforms are often more cost-effective and faster. But, once you receive the money, you should consider other options. Keeping money in these EMIs is just not safe. Instead, find a well-managed bank for actually holding onto the money.

Will Cryptocurrencies Replace International Banking?

Many gurus and banking critics hailed cryptocurrency as the end to international banking. Some still do. Crypto was meant to be the solution that would replace banking altogether. And one day, that could be true. But we’re not there yet.

Many GlobalBanks Insiders are themselves crypto entrepreneurs and investors. However, many know that the non-banking crypto future isn’t going to arrive tomorrow.

And even though they’ve made their fortunes in crypto, they still need to pay for everyday expenses.

So, while crypto adoption is spreading, the rest of the world just hasn’t caught up yet. This means people leading international lives can’t completely opt-out of fiat currency. So until then, traditional banking still has a place.

Now, if you think finding a bank for your “normal” international business is tough, imagine doing it for crypto. In these instances, your only source of wealth is anonymous digital currencies. Fortunately, we offer a solution for this as well.

GlobalBanks Insiders get access to our Crypto Entrepreneur & Investor Report, outlining specific banks that are crypto-friendly. The report also outlines specific strategies to use when opening accounts.

Back to account opening. Now that we’ve discussed a few alternatives, let’s dive into how you can go about opening an international bank account.

Are You Ready to Get Started?

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.

When you join GlobalBanks IQ, you immediately unlock the GlobalBanks Database of international banks — home to 250+ banks in 50+ countries. 

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.

Plus, you unlock our account opening checklists, dedicated account opening alerts, and much more. 

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.

You can also view all of the account opening solutions offered by GlobalBanks on our products page.

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