Offshore Business Banking [Where to Start]

So, you’re ready to tap into the benefits of offshore business banking?

Well, the good news is, opening accounts is 100% possible. But, there are restrictions.

And, how easy or difficult it will be for you to open offshore business bank accounts will depend on a few key variables. These include where your company is registered, where it operates from, your personal details, and much more.

Fortunately, with the right information, you’ll be able to navigate account opening, avoid expensive mistakes, and even pick the best possible bank for your business.

Offshore Business Banking 101

Offshore business banking can offer many benefits. However, to unlock these benefits, you need to know exactly which country, which bank, and even which banker to open with. Additionally, you’ll have to overcome account opening challenges, navigate strict compliance, and meet bank-specific requirements in order to unlock offshore business banking successfully. 

Of course, if you go in blind and don’t know which banks accept your client profile or which banks offer the benefits you’re after, you’re going to have a hard time opening the accounts you need.

So, in this article, we’re going to share some of the most important tips for unlocking offshore business banking. We’ll also discuss which businesses are best suited to offshore banking, and the benefits it can offer.

Lastly, we’re going to cover the challenges you’ll face when opening accounts and even highlight where you should and shouldn’t open business bank accounts offshore.

But, before diving in, if this is your first time visiting GlobalBanks, don’t forget to download your free Business Banking Starter Guide. It’s designed to help your business find and open accounts with the services you need around the world.

Who Is Offshore Business Banking For?

When it comes to offshore business banking, many people think only multinational corporations, rich individuals, or very successful entrepreneurs can open accounts offshore.

While that used to be the case, times have changed. With the right information (and direction) foreign, non-resident, and offshore businesses from around the world can access some of the best offshore banking jurisdictions available.

But, that doesn’t mean all businesses should bank offshore. In fact, certain businesses benefit more than others when banking offshore. These businesses typically fit into two specific categories:

  1. Businesses Operating in Multiple Jurisdictions
  2. Businesses Requiring Multiple Currencies

Of course, there are many other reasons why businesses might want to bank offshore. Not the least of which is political and economic diversification. But, as we’ve covered these reasons in past articles, we’re going to focus on these two categories today.

Let’s take a closer look…

Businesses Operating in Multiple Jurisdictions

If you run a business in a foreign country, have offices in different cities, or have customers buying your products worldwide, offshore business banking can offer many benefits.

For instance, if you have a business operating in multiple jurisdictions, an offshore bank account can be a cost-reducing measure. It does this by reducing international transfer fees, allowing you to hold foreign currency (saving on fx conversions), and allowing you to consolidate your banking, reducing administration and maintenance fees. But that’s not all.

An offshore bank account can also help protect, grow and diversify your company’s wealth all while accessing higher interest rates and lower taxes (in certain situations).

Of course, to access these benefits, a few factors need to be considered. Including the type of business you have, where your business operates, and where you open accounts. We’ll discuss these topics later in the article.

Businesses in Need of Multiple Currencies

In addition to businesses with international operations, businesses dealing in multiple currencies can also benefit from offshore business banking.

In fact, if you have a business dealing in multiple countries, you may be able to offset such risks as currency devaluation and inflation, capital controls, and high international transfer fees.

For example, you can access such benefits by directly holding the currencies that you need in order to pay suppliers, contractors, and employees.

Likewise, if you operate in an unstable economy (think Turkey or Argentina), you can hold more stable currencies to protect your business’s purchasing power.

In doing so, while other businesses are struggling to purchase international goods and services, you will be able to continue operating.

Again, depending on the type of business you have, where your customers or employees are located, and which currencies you require, an offshore bank offering multiple international currencies may be beneficial.

However, not all offshore banks offer multi-currency accounts. So, before you begin your offshore business banking journey, make sure the bank you choose to open with offers the currencies you’re after.

Benefits of Offshore Business Banking

Offshore Business Banking Benefits
Offshore business banking can offer a variety of benefits to foreign companies and business owners.

However, whether or not you can tap into these benefits will depend on a few things. Including the type of business you have, where you operate, and where your customers are located.

But, before we dive into the specific benefits offshore business banking can offer, let’s look at the reasons why foreign companies are interested in opening bank accounts offshore in the first place.

Reasons to Open an Offshore Business Bank Account:

  • Reduce business expenses by avoiding excessive transfer fees
  • Easier account opening for foreign businesses (depending on the jurisdiction)
  • Diversify currency risk across all operating currencies
  • Makes it easier to receive payments from foreign customers
  • Business requires access to multi-currency accounts
  • Access to reliable & credible banks
  • Suppliers based outside of the businesses country of operation
  • Contractors based elsewhere
  • Employees working abroad

Normally, a foreign company looks at offshore business banking as a way to support a broader customer base, an easier route to pay offshore suppliers, and diversify their currency risk.

That said, foreign business owners are also interested in accessing more reliable and credible banks than those that may be available in their home country.

In addition to these reasons, foreign companies can benefit from offshore business banking in many other ways.

Benefits of Offshore Business Banking:

As you can see, there are many advantages foreign business owners can unlock when opening a business bank account offshore.

But, before you jump into offshore business banking, you’re going to want to know the risks and challenges you’ll face.

Challenges of Offshore Business Banking

Offshore Business Banking Challenges
Like banking anywhere, there will always be some obstacles you’ll have to overcome.

But, when it comes to offshore business banking, foreign business owners usually face more account opening difficulties than anyone else. Whether it’s because they choose the wrong bank, don’t understand the bank’s onboarding process, or can’t meet all requirements, foreign business owners can struggle to open accounts offshore.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at the challenges of opening a business bank account offshore as a foreign business owner.

Challenges of Offshore Business Banking

  • Strict onboarding process due to increasing compliance requirements
  • Unable to meet bank-specific requirements
  • Choosing the wrong bank can cost you significantly
  • Not all offshore banks accept foreign businesses from all countries
  • Certain offshore banks charge high account opening fees
  • Certain offshore banks charge high maintenance fees
  • International wire transfers can be costly at some banks
  • Not all offshore jurisdictions are safe to bank in
  • Certain banks may consider your business high-risk and refuse to open

Foreign business owners can face many (if not all) of these challenges when opening a business bank account offshore if they go in not prepared.

Not to mention, if you choose the wrong bank or don’t understand the bank-specific requirements and account opening quirks, your chances of opening can become impossible.

As always, to successfully open a business bank account offshore, you need to know which bank and banker to contact. And, understand the bank-specific account opening quirks, requirements, and guidelines.

But most importantly, you’ll need to decide where you want to open an account for your business. With that said, let’s look at where you should and shouldn’t bank offshore as a foreign business owner.

Where to Open Offshore Business Bank Accounts

Choosing a country to bank in is a critical decision for foreign business owners. In fact, it can be the deciding factor on whether or not you can successfully open offshore.

Not to mention, finding a jurisdiction that offers the benefits you’re after and that meets your banking needs, can be challenging to do on your own.

But, as you’ll see below, we have put together a list of banking jurisdictions that should be considered when looking to open a business bank account offshore.

So, with that said, let’s dive into each of them one by one…

Panama Offshore Business Banking

Although Panama may not be on your radar (just yet), it should be. Not only is Panama a beautiful destination, but it’s also an accessible offshore banking hub for foreign business owners.

In fact, many foreign business owners consider opening offshore accounts in Panama thanks to the use of the US dollar and the stable economy.

However, even though offshore business banking is accessible to foreign business owners, opening accounts here doesn’t come easy.

If you’re interested in learning more about offshore business banking in Panama, we have you covered. We outline everything you need to know about banking in Panama in our premium members-only report “Bank Account Opening in Panama”.

Open Panama Bank Account Online Report
You can access this report immediately when you join GlobalBanks IQ.

Singapore Offshore Business Banking

Singapore might just be the holy grail of offshore business banking. In fact, it’s one of the best ways for foreign business owners to open accounts in stable, well-managed, and conservative banking jurisdictions.

But, opening offshore business accounts here is not easy or cheap. Especially, if you don’t know which bank, branch, or banker to speak with directly.

Fortunately, foreign business owners can open offshore accounts here. But, you’ll need to understand bank-specific requirements and know the account opening strategies that will work for your client profile.

We detail the entire Singapore account opening process for foreign business owners, including what businesses can and cannot open in Singapore and how to get started in our premium members-only report “Banking in Singapore: Global Banking at Its Best (And How To Get In)

Opening Corporate Bank Account in Singapore Report

You can access this report immediately when you join GlobalBanks IQ.

US Offshore Business Banking (Non-US Businesses)

US offshore business banking is an attractive option for many foreign business owners. In fact, other than some banking jurisdictions, banks don’t require proof of ties to the US or proof of residency.

And, not only can you access a wide range of banking products and services, you can build US credit history to access credit cards, financing, and mortgages. Not to mention, remote account opening is possible (when done properly).

If you’re interested in learning more about banking in the United States and how your business can benefit, you can access our premium members-only report “US Banking for Non-Residents, Foreigners, & Int’l Businesses” for more information.

US bank account without SSN or ITIN

You can access this report immediately when you join GlobalBanks USA.

Now that we’ve covered where you should open, let’s discuss where you should avoid offshore business banking before you start applying.

Where Not to Bank Offshore

Just like there are countries you should open business bank accounts in, there are many countries you should be avoiding.

For instance, the following countries should be avoided by most prospective clients when it comes to offshore business banking…

Vanuatu

Vanuatu was turned into a purpose-built tax-haven by the British in the 1960s. But, today, it’s primarily referred to as a hub for money laundering, tax evasion, and economic citizenship-by-investment programs.

Banking here can be limited. For instance, there is no access to USD dollars, it’s very expensive to send and receive money from outside of Vanuatu, and account fees can be outrageous.

That said, there are some (very limited) reasons why banking in Vanuatu could make sense. But, it is not a banking hub for most businesses.

If you want to learn more about why banking here is better avoided, or see some of the select instances where it’s worth considering, you can check out our free article “Should You Open a Vanuatu Bank Account? Probably Not.” for additional information.

Seychelles

Seychelles, unfortunately, has a reputation for shady diplomatic passports, money laundering, and economic investment programs for criminals. But, banking here isn’t for everyone.

In fact, Seychelle’s banking sector is small and undeveloped. Basically, it’s somewhere you may go if you literally cannot open accounts anywhere else. In other words, it’s a last (very last) resort banking jurisdiction.

If you’re looking for deposit insurance, low fees, sophisticated banks, and excellent customer service, you should avoid opening an account here.

If you’re looking for more justification on why you shouldn’t bank here, check out our free article “Seychelles Offshore Banking in 2021 [Start Here]” for more information.

Now, if you’re looking to start opening today, you can obviously use the information in this article to guide your search on how to approach offshore business banking. Or, you can start opening right now with the help of GlobalBanks IQ.

Ready to Start Opening Accounts?

If you’re ready to start your journey of offshore business banking, aren’t sure where to open, or you’re just starting to explore your options, we can help.

You can start now by accessing GlobalBanks IQ, our dedicated international banking intelligence platform. 

GlobalBanks IQ gives you everything you need to start finding and opening accounts. 

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. These include 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

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

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