Offshore Debit Cards – Ultimate Guide

If you’re looking for a more convenient way to purchase everyday essentials while working or living abroad, then having offshore debit cards is a must.

Unfortunately, obtaining offshore debit cards doesn’t come easy. Especially for foreign non-residents. And, unless you have the right information and know which bank to open with, the chances of getting one is low.

Offshore Debit Cards

Offshore debit cards allow foreign non-residents to access funds worldwide. However, to obtain one, you will need an offshore bank account. But, finding an offshore bank that offers the debit cards you desire and accepts your client profile is not an easy task. 

In this article, we’ll share everything you need to start applying for offshore debit cards. Including who can access them and where you can get them.

We’ll also share the many benefits foreign non-residents can unlock when obtaining them. And, we’ll outline the challenges you’ll face when applying for them.

But, before diving in, if this is your first time visiting GlobalBanks, don’t forget to download your free Non-Resident Banking Starter Guide. It’s designed to help non-residents open accounts in top banking hubs around the world.

What Is an Offshore Debit Card?

Offshore debit cards are simply debit cards issued by a bank located outside of your home country. And, if you choose the right card, they can offer such benefits as accessing offshore funds while eliminating unnecessary fees for international transfers.

But, for the time being, here’s how they work…

When you open a bank account offshore you could be eligible for offshore debit cards. Of course, this will depend not only on the bank you choose but on the type of account you open. And of course, your client profile.

Naturally, some offshore bank accounts don’t offer this option, whereas some do. So, if you’re after offshore debit cards, you should find out whether or not your bank offers this option before applying.

Now, once you open an account and you have acquired your offshore debit card, you may use it to make daily purchases and immediate withdrawals. Once the card is used, funds are automatically deducted directly from your bank account.

Pretty simple, right? It can be.

But, offshore debit cards aren’t easy to come by. Obviously, you’ll have to open a bank account offshore first. And, as a foreign non-resident, opening an offshore bank account doesn’t come easy.

So, if you’re interested in learning how to open an offshore bank account, we share insight on how to get started with our free article “Banking Offshore.”

That said, offshore debit cards aren’t for everyone. In fact, it will depend on your banking needs and whether or not you’re eligible for one.

As you’ll see below, we have outlined who can access offshore debit cards and how they can be beneficial for these clients.

Who Can Obtain Offshore Debit Cards?

offshore debit cards availability
The pressing question everyone is asking is… who can access offshore debit cards?

Well, as mentioned above, you’ll first need to open an offshore bank account. And, assuming that’s something you want to do, you’ll need to fit into one of the following categories…

Client Groups That Can Obtain Offshore Debit Cards:

  • Frequent traveller to a foreign country
  • You run a business in a foreign country
  • Own international real estate
  • Regular traveller in need of access to multiple currencies
  • Working in a foreign country
  • Living abroad
  • Planning to retire outside of your home country

Again, not everyone can access offshore debit cards. And, not all banks offer them when opening accounts.

So, it’s important you know which banks offer them before you start applying. And, ensure the cards they offer match the benefits you’re looking to unlock. This will help you decide which bank offers the best cards for your client profile.

With that said, let’s take a look at the benefits a foreign non-resident can tap into when obtaining offshore debit cards.

Benefits of Offshore Debit Cards

offshore debit cards benefits
First off, having an offshore debit card can be a powerful tool.

Whether you’re working, travelling, or living abroad, an offshore debit card can give you access to a country’s currency instantly. In other words, they provide access to foreign currencies for everyday purchases during your travel.

Offshore debit cards can also benefit foreign non-residents in other ways…

Benefits of Offshore Debit Cards

  • Easier route to access offshore funds immediately
  • Easily pay for daily expenses when in a foreign country
  • Eliminate expensive international wire transfers
  • Withdraw money directly from the account

As you can see, there are many benefits that foreign non-residents can unlock through offshore debit cards. But, it can be very time-consuming to find a bank that accepts your client profile. Not to mention, a bank that aligns with your banking needs, offers offshore debit cards, and offers the benefits you’re after.

So, before you apply for an offshore bank account, it’s important you’re aware of all possible challenges and pitfalls you’ll most likely face.

Challenges of Obtaining Offshore Debit Cards

Finding an offshore bank that accepts your client profile is a challenge in itself. But, there are many other challenges you need to be aware of when obtaining offshore debit cards.

So, if you don’t have the right information or understand the challenges you’ll face, you’re going to limit your chances of success.

Bottom line: which bank and card you choose and how you approach the process is crucial.

With this in mind, let’s break down the challenges into two categories…

  1. Challenges of finding offshore debit cards for non-residents
  2. Pitfalls of having offshore debit cards

Challenges for Non-Residents:

  • Finding an offshore bank that accepts your client profile
  • Finding an offshore bank that offers them
  • Cards that do not force you to convert into local currency
  • Cards with low (or no) international transaction fees
  • Multi-currency enabled cards

Pitfalls of Having Offshore Debit Cards:

  • Monthly maintenance fees
  • Withdraw fees can apply if used at other banks ATMs
  • Service charges
  • Spending limits on individual purchases
  • Can’t use debit cards for online purchases
  • Monthly transaction limits
  • And more…

As you can see, although offshore debit cards can offer many benefits to foreign non-residents, they still come with challenges and pitfalls.

In fact, finding offshore debit cards that tick all your boxes is not easy. Instead, it can be time-consuming and frustrating if you’re not prepared.

So, if you go in blind without doing your homework, you’re going to run into major challenges and will most likely be turned away.

But, knowing where to get offshore debit cards may be a good starting point.

Where To Get Offshore Debit Cards

where to get offshore debit cards
Offshore debit cards are not available in every offshore banking hub. But, we’re going to highlight some of the offshore banking jurisdictions where you can get them as a foreign non-resident.

Of course, whether or not a bank accepts your client profile, will depend on if you can meet the bank-specific requirements.

With that said, let’s look at several banking jurisdictions that do offer offshore debit cards to non-residents…

Singapore

Singapore is a popular destination for many foreign non-residents. Not only because it’s a beautiful place to live, but because it’s a stable, well-managed, and conservative banking jurisdiction.

However, account opening in Singapore is far from easy. In fact, if you don’t know which bank, branch, or banker to speak with directly you’re going to have a hard time opening accounts here.

That said, if you have the right information and understand which account opening strategies actually work, it is possible for a foreign non-resident to open here. And, it’s possible to obtain offshore debit cards.

If Singapore is a banking jurisdiction that you’re considering and you want to know how to open here, we detail the entire account opening process, including why you should consider opening in Singapore in our free article “How to Open a Singapore Non-Resident Bank Account

Jersey

If you’re a foreign non-resident looking to open in the UK but may be struggling to meet bank-specific requirements, there are UK offshore banking options to consider. Including Jersey.

Jersey is well known for catering to non-residents and international clients. And, in addition to all the non-resident banking benefits, you can tap into in Jersey, banks here also offer offshore debit cards.

Of course, like everywhere, to open a bank account in Jersey, you’ll have to meet specific account opening requirements, which can be difficult to navigate as a foreign non-resident.

If you’re interested in banking in Jersey, you can get started with our free article “Jersey Bank Account Opening [Start Here]” for more information on account opening.

United States (For Non-US Citizens)

The United States can be a very attractive option for foreign non-residents looking for offshore banking.

In fact, remote opening is 100% possible. Of course, it will depend on the bank you choose to open with. But, with the right information, you can open an offshore bank account in the US without ever leaving your home.

And, in addition to getting offshore debit cards in the US, you can also build US credit history by accessing credit cards, financing, and mortgages.

If you’re interested in learning more about banking in the United States, review our dedicated US banking service GlobalBanks USA by clicking here.

Mauritius

If you’re struggling to open accounts offshore, you might want to consider opening an offshore bank account in Mauritius. In fact, many foreign non-residents look to Mauritius because they can’t meet the minimum deposit and balance requirements elsewhere, or they don’t have the time and money to travel to another jurisdiction to open accounts.

Although Mauritius is viewed as a ‘backup jurisdiction’ to many foreign non-residents, it still offers many benefits. Including, remote account opening, accounts for offshore businesses, and also the ability to send and receive international transfers.

To top it off, Mauritius banks also offer offshore debit cards to foreign non-residents.

Now, there are some obstacles to jump over when opening an offshore bank account in Mauritius. But, with the right information and guidance, non-residents can open an account here.

If you’re interested in banking in Mauritius, we detail everything you need to know on how to get started in our premium report “Banking in Mauritius: Remote Opening for Offshore & Non-Residents”.

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

Online Banks & Fintechs

Many non-residents that struggle to open with traditional EU banks, look to open with online banks in Europe. Allowing them to access many benefits including free worldwide ATM withdrawals, free euro deposits, and less expensive international transfer fees.

That said, foreign non-residents are faced with many challenges when opening with a European online bank. But, with the right information, a foreign non-resident can acquire offshore debit cards by having an online bank account in Europe.

You can access our free article “Finding the Best Online Bank Accounts in Europe” for additional information on how to start opening online bank accounts in Europe today.

How Can GlobalBanks Help?

If you’re ready to get your hands on offshore debits cards today, we can help.

You can get started by accessing GlobalBanks IQ, our dedicated international banking intelligence platform.

GlobalBanks IQ gives you everything you need to start figuring out where you should (and shouldn’t) open 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 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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