If you believe that the banks in your home country are not very reliable, there is a solution: you may want to open an account with a foreign bank that will come up to your service standards. They could help you protect your assets in a more efficient way. International financial authorities, however, have been tightening the screws in their fight against money laundering and terrorism financing.
This has turned the procedure of opening a foreign bank account into a challenging task that involves a series of steps that you have to take. Multiple traps and pitfalls may appear as you go through the procedure and these are hard to avoid without professional assistance.
What to Look Out For in Offshore Banks
There are multiple banks and other financial institutions – choosing the right one is not easy. Each of them will have its own advantages and disadvantages and each will have different requirements as to prospective clients. For example, check how the bank treats people from the country where you live, how fast it conducts due diligence procedures, what reputation it has in the business world, how reliable it has been over the years, and many other factors.
Here are the main issues to consider when choosing the foreign bank where you can open an account:
The necessity of a personal visit to the foreign bank when setting up an account there. With some banks, you have to pay a personal visit to the bank office if you want to open an account there. However, the Covid-19 pandemic means more and more banks allow remote account opening. Foreign bank accounts can be opened remotely in Switzerland, Singapore, Lichtenstein, Great Britain, Lithuania, Luxembourg and a large number of other jurisdictions.
The main reason(s) why you would like to open a foreign bank account. The bank’s capabilities must match your goals of setting up an account there. The internal policies that the foreign bank implements must allow meeting your business or personal objectives.
Bank’s commissions and fees. Foreign banks offer a wide range of banking services. Some of them are even prepared to service high-risk businesses. However, you should realize that a high level of services cannot come at a low price. Budget for certain costs when maintaining your foreign bank account.
Banking privacy. Obtaining absolute privacy is impossible anywhere in the world these days. At the same time, there are some jurisdictions where data protection standards are better than others. Some national legislations protect banking secrecy very efficiently.
List of available banking services. This is a very important factor to consider, as different offshore banks will offer different sets of banking services. Our clients usually look for the following benefits when opening foreign bank accounts:
- Credit or debit cards;
- Internet banking opportunities;
- Access to SEPA and SWIFT;
- The opportunity to set up brokerage, savings, and investment accounts;
- The opportunity to perform cryptocurrency operations;
- The availability of multi currency accounts;
- The availability of client support in their national languages.
You can easily find out which banks offer the services that interest you personally if you apply for our preapproval service. This inexpensive procedure allows determining which bank will suit your purposes in the best possible way.
What is required for setting up a foreign bank account?
The following tasks need to be completed in order to open an account in a foreign bank:
Fill out the application for services and other bank forms.
Supply personal identification documents when opening a personal account.
If you would like to set up a corporate account in a foreign bank, you will have to supply the corporate documents plus the information about the company UBOs and prospective account signers.
Besides, you will have to give a description of the product(s) that the company manufactures or the service(s) that it provides.
Finally, you will have to describe the corporate structure that your company has.
Whichever foreign bank you apply for services to, it may request some additional information about your business structure. The bank officers may want to know about your business partners, types of prospective transactions, transaction destinations, etc. The have to have a clear profile of any prospective client and understand how exactly the account is going to be used.
Is it difficult to open a foreign bank account?
Well, we would be lying if we said it was easy. The process involves collecting and preparing the application documents, filling out the bank forms, and communicating with the bank officers while they are considering your application for services.
When carrying out the client identification procedures, the bankers will take into consideration such factors as business transparency and risk level, the nature and the volume of prospective transactions, and the applicant’s openness and readiness to answer questions.
Any foreign bank has to perform in-depth due diligence checks. The bank administration will want to know who your counterparties are, what types of payment you will be making, who the company beneficial owners and directors are, and so on and so forth. Only after the bank officers find that all the answers to their questions are satisfactory, will they make the decision to take you onboard.
Unfortunately, we are unable to guarantee that the foreign bank where you apply for services will definitely open an account for you. What we can do, however, is analyze your personal situation in detail and assess all the possible risks and problems that you may run into before you start communicating with the bank. And forewarned is forearmed.
How fast can you have a foreign bank account opened?
Every bank will have its own policies and procedures. The amount of time required to set up an offshore bank account is different in each case. No account in a foreign bank can be opened instantly! The due diligence procedures are constantly changing as new anti-money laundering requirements are put into place. It is hard to say how long it will take to open a foreign bank account under the current conditions. Worst case scenario: the process could take as long as six months.
If you would like to shorten the time frame and improve your chances of success, we are here to help you! Our experts will analyze your profile and help you choose the jurisdiction where your fiscal burden is not going to be too heavy and the bank that will agree to provide services to you. We will be happy to help you set up your offshore bank account without paying a personal visit to the foreign country.
We invite you to answer these questions that will help determine which foreign banks are likely to take you onboard. You are also welcome to contact us via email, live chat, or WhatsApp if you would like to ask any questions about opening your offshore bank account. We always reply promptly!