When it comes to offshore banking, one of the most common questions we get asked is “how can I open an offshore personal bank account online?”
In other words, how can you open an offshore bank account without showing up in person, and in many cases, without physically mailing documents to complete the account opening process…
- It is 100% possible for foreign non-residents to open offshore bank accounts remotely
- Bank, branch, and banker selection is key to successfully opening an account offshore
- Not all offshore banks offer remote account opening
- Not all offshore banks accept foreign non-resident clients
Online Offshore Banking
Many banks allow customers to open an offshore personal bank account online without having to visit the branch. To do so, you’ll need to provide sufficient documentation and pass the bank’s compliance procedures. Many applicants will be able to meet such requirements and open an offshore personal bank account online across a range of decent banking jurisdictions.
Unfortunately, many “experts” will claim that this is impossible, expensive, or not worth your time because you’ll only be able to access low-quality banks. And in some instances, all of the above is true.
But with the right information, offshore account opening strategies, and contacts, you’ll have no problem opening an offshore personal bank account online with solid banks in first-world jurisdictions. In fact, in many places, it’s actually becoming easier to open offshore accounts remotely, as long as you know who to contact and the nuances of the account opening process.
In today’s article, we’re going to explore what this process looks like, what types of offshore banks are offering this service, and what you should look out for during the account opening process to avoid unnecessary rejections.
Of course, we’ll also outline how you can get started opening accounts offshore today…
Before diving in, don’t forget to download your FREE copy of our Non-Resident Banking Starter Guide, which shares important details on how you can get started banking outside of your home country.
Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.
Table of Contents
- Opening a Personal Offshore Bank Account Remotely
- Challenges of Opening an Offshore Bank Account Remotely
- How to Open a Personal Offshore Bank Account 100% Online
- Ready to Open an Offshore Personal Bank Account?
Opening a Personal Offshore Bank Account Remotely
Now, if you’re one of the people asking how to open an offshore bank account online, you’re in the right place. In fact, if there is a silver lining to the current global travel restrictions and pandemics, it might be that more traditional banks than ever are open to remote opening options.
So let’s begin by looking at the two most important questions that you need to ask yourself…
- Which country should you bank in?
- Which bank should you open an offshorebank account with?
Which Country Should You Use to Open an Offshore Bank Account Online?
Since we cover this topic in detail in several of our premium reports, we’re not going to dive too deep into the specifics of choosing an offshore banking jurisdiction. However, let’s take a quick look at some of the key considerations, so you can know where to find the best place for offshore banking.
First, it’s worth noting that most people don’t put much thought into choosing an offshore jurisdiction. In fact, many overlook this and make a superficial decision based on the country’s reputation in the media. For example, the US is often seen as a bad offshore banking jurisdiction, while Switzerland is perceived as being one of the best.
But, the reality is, whether or not a country is a good offshore banking jurisdiction comes down to a few factors, your banking goals, and you. More on this below.
Considerations When Choosing a Country for Banking:
- Is the jurisdiction included on any watchlists or list of non-cooperative jurisdictions?
- Does the country follow international regulations and standards?
- Is the country financially sound and well-managed?
- Has the jurisdiction introduced bail-in legislation?
- If you are looking for non-CRS banks, does the country participate in the automatic exchange of information?
- Could banking in this country damage your reputation (or your business)?
- What is the cost of banking in this country?
- Are you able to access your desired services from banks in this country?
Which Bank Should You Open an Offshore Personal Bank Account Online With?
When it comes to identifying an offshore bank for personal banking, there are basic requirements that most people need to consider. These include sound financials, strong correspondent bank relationships (CBRs), service offerings, credible management team and shareholders, and more.
But depending on who you are and why you need to open a bank account offshore, those things might not matter to you…
In other words, some people have specific offshore banking requirements. These might include sending or receiving transfers from a specific country, accessing specific currencies, online banking, customer service accessibility or quality, or funding investment accounts in a certain country. In some instances, you might find that the “best bank” for you, doesn’t fit the normal criteria of what’s a “good bank” for others.
In other words, the most important consideration when choosing an offshore bank is whether or not that bank offers the products, services, currencies, support, etc., that you actually require.
Then, and only then, can you determine whether a bank meets other requirements. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of these requirements now.
Considerations When Choosing a Bank:
- First, how solvent is the bank?
- Second, how much does the bank keep in reserves?
- Finally, how does the bank make money?
Challenges of Opening an Offshore Bank Account Remotely
Most people are already aware that to open a personal offshore bank account remotely, you’ll have to deal with temporary inconveniences. This can include such things as fielding bank requests for documents, authentications, and identity verifications. But every bank is different.
So, before sharing the specific process of opening an offshore bank account, we’ll take a quick look at these challenges. That way, you can be prepared for the stumbling blocks you can phase when opening accounts.
As always, if you have any questions about these challenges, please feel free to get in touch with us using the chat feature or sending us a message on the contact page of the website.
Challenges of Remote Offshore Banking:
- Not all banks allow online applications. Some offshore banks say they offer remote bank account opening, but will still require you to show up in person after completing the online application.
- Some offshore banks charge additional fees for processing applications to offset the cost of due diligence.
- Any documents that you submit to the bank will need to be translated into the bank’s required languages which typically need to be done by an often certified translator.
- Authentication requirements vary from bank to bank and can be both costly and time-consuming (e.g. notarization, apostille, authentication, certifications, etc.)
- You may have to send documents by registered post multiple times, which can also be costly and time-consuming. For example, you send a copy of your passport by mail to the bank, but forget to have it apostilled. Or the bank asks you to send them additional documents.
- More than anything, knowing which banks have a track record of accepting clients similar to you via online (or remote) applications is the biggest challenge for most people.
With the above challenges in mind, you might be wondering why anyone would bother to open a bank account offshore remotely. Well, if you know where to apply, which banks are best suited to your client profile, and know which bankers to contact, offshore account opening can be quick and painless.
In fact, remote offshore banking can save you thousands of dollars in travel and accommodation costs, and doesn’t require you to take time off work.
Now, let’s look at what options are available for remote offshore banking so you can get started.
How to Open a Personal Offshore Bank Account 100% Remotely
The specific process to open an offshore personal bank account online varies depending on the bank you decide to apply with. But in most cases, you can have a few options when opening online. We list these for you below.
Options to Open an Offshore Personal Bank Account Online:
- 100% digital onboarding and application
- Digital onboarding with physical documents
- Initial digital onboarding followed by an in-person visit within a specified time frame
- Visit a bank branch in another country
- A banker travels to see you in person (typically reserved for private banking clients and GlobalBanks Insiders)
The options above are self-explanatory. However, what’s opaque and difficult to confirm is what type of account opening options are actually available at each bank.
Then, making things even more complicated is the fact these account opening options can additionally vary depending on the specific branch and banker you choose.
Depending on your client profile, perceived client value, the risks associated with your account, and bank selection, certain types of account opening options may or may not be available to you.
Just Because a Bank Can Open Offshore Personal Accounts Online, Doesn’t Mean That Option is Available to You
Sure, it’s possible. But maybe you have tax residency in a jurisdiction that the bank doesn’t like. Perhaps your citizenship is on the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions. Or, maybe you just answered the bank’s initial questionnaire in a way that set off red flags. Whatever the case may be, just because an offshore bank can open accounts online, doesn’t mean that they’re going to let you do so… and that’s the problem.
Many people trying to open a remote offshore bank account today think that they are entitled to this option. But in reality, banks around the world set their own internal policies and favor customers that they actually want to work with. That’s why bank selection, along with choosing the right branch and banker, is so important.
GlobalBanks Insiders have access to remote account opening options in the GlobalBanks database. They also get tailored suggestions on which banks (and countries) will be most interested in offering online account opening based on their client profile and specific banking objectives.
With this in mind, if you want tap into the benefits of opening an offshore personal bank account but you’re not sure which banks, branches, and bankers to choose, GlobalBanks Insider might be the solution you’ve been looking for.
Ready to Open an Offshore Personal Bank Account?
If you need help sorting out your online banking options, want to know which banks you should apply to, or just aren’t sure where to turn, we can help.
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.