It is becoming more and more difficult to set up a corporate bank account for a non-resident company in a foreign country. The challenges are associated with the changes in international financial control policies that began to be implemented around 20 years ago after the 9/11 terrorist attack on the twin towers. The world financial authorities combat terrorism financing by imposing strict requirements on the banks. The latter have to conduct very strict checks of every prospective client. They have to be careful in taking clients onboard because they will face severe punishment if they provide services to a ‘suspicious’ person. As a result, they deny services today much more often than they did before. Offshore Pro Group experts will be happy to tell you how you can improve your chances of passing through the due diligence procedures and setting up an account in a foreign bank.
Advantages of having a bank account abroad
Lack of currency control is one of the most important advantages that your foreign bank account will bring. Most often, companies involved in international trade, e-commerce, logistics, and IT seek to establish bank accounts in foreign countries. Here is an incomplete list of benefits that a foreign bank account will bring:
- Ease of dealing with you partners who are stationed in the foreign country;
- Accumulation of corporate assets;
- Access to payroll card programs;
- Ease of making mandatory payments;
- Access to corporate bank card programs;
- Improvement of the company reputation;
- Extension of the business geography.
Compliance-related issues that a non-resident company can face
The most serious challenge for non-resident applicants for banking services is passing through the Compliance Department of the foreign bank. You have to go through all the due diligence procedures, all banks must observe the KYC (Know Your Client) rules and implement the AML (Anti-Money Laundering mechanisms. Foreign applicants for banking services often have to comply with Enhanced Due Diligence requirements.
The Compliance Department officer engaged in the prospective client identification will want to see the following kinds of documents:
- The corporate document set;
- Documents describing the nature and the essence of the business;
- Documents certifying the legality of the sources of capital;
- Identification documents for company UBOs (Ultimate Beneficiary Owners) and company officers;
- A clear explanation of the goals for which the account is going to be used;
- A list of company partners, partner agreements;
- A list of countries where the payments will go to and come from and a list of currencies;
- If the company has been publicly exposed (mentioned in the media), the Compliance Department officer must be informed about it as well.
Business people throughout the world have to adapt to the new requirements. Sometimes they can be really hard. For instance, some banks may request documents that are 5, 10 or even 20 years old. Far from every company will have such documents at hand.
It may be the case that the company made most of its profits in the 1990s but it cannot supply bank statements from those times because the bank it dealt with does not exist any longer. Some national legislations require that the documents should remain available for not more than three to five years and thus there is a chance that the company owner has disposed of old documents without expecting to ever need them again. If you cannot supply the documents that the bank requests, however, then you cannot obtain its services.
Solutions for non-resident companies
It is still possible to set up a corporate bank account abroad. Moreover, it would be a good idea to open several bank accounts. If one of them is ‘frozen’ (which unfortunately happens quite often these days) you will have access to the money kept with other banks. Besides, there are alternatives to the traditional banks as well. International payment systems and the so-called neobanks offer very attractive service conditions and they are more relaxed when it comes to the due diligence checks. We our assistance, you can gain access to the following benefits that a foreign bank account brings:
- The possibility to make and receive payments in more than thirty national currencies;
- The possibility to make international payments to over 150 countries of the world;
- An individual IBAN with no restrictions as to the account turnover;
- Access to SEPA, SWIFT, FPS, and Chaps money transfer systems;
- The possibility to order a personal or a corporate bankcard;
- Access to Asset Management and Family Office services;
- Access to the account via a mobile device – Android or iOS;
- The possibility to make international investments.
What countries should you consider to set up a foreign bank account?
The choice of the foreign country where you would like to have a bank account will depend on your business objectives and geography. We can help you set up bank accounts in a large number of countries. We have established especially friendly working relationships with banks located in Switzerland, Georgia, Great Britain, Macedonia, Nevis, and Dominica. Bank accounts can be opened remotely in these countries.
Use our Preapproval service to improve your chances of opening a bank account abroad
It has to be admitted that the process of setting up a foreign bank account has become quite complicated. It often takes months to go through all the due diligence procedures as banks request a large number of documents that have to be sent back and forth. The most regrettable thing, however, that you cannot be 100% sure that the bank will open an account for you even after you have spent several months communicating with the bank officers. They can give you hell and then let you down anyway.
What happens if banking services have been denied to you after you have spent a few months in negotiations? You have to collect the application document package again to apply to another bank. That means that you have to spend your time and money again never being sure that your application for services will be successful this time. The preapproval service that we provide will increase your chances of opening a bank account in a foreign country.
What is a preapproval? It is a provisional consent on the part of the bank to provide services to you and your company. When you apply for preapproval, you do not have to submit the full application document package but only an abridged version of it. Another advantage is that applications for services can be submitted to several banks and payment systems at a time. If one or two of them does not preapprove your application, it will mean that you should not bother with this financial institution any longer and pass on to other ones.
Everyone wishing to open a bank account abroad is welcome to apply for the Preapproval service. However, we especially recommend it to those entrepreneurs who are engaged in a high-risk business and who therefore face a higher probability to receive ‘service denied’ as an answer to their application for banking services.
Please do not waste your time and effort on trying to find a suitable foreign bank. Contact us via email (see top of the page), WhatsApp (see bottom of the page) or the live chat (it should have popped up on the right) and apply for our assistance in opening a bank account in a foreign country. We want our clients to recommend us to their friends and business partners so we do our best to provide top-quality services!