For many people and companies, a bank account opened overseas is a great step forward and an important instrument of change.
Wherever you live, the ability to send and receive money around the world means much more than financial freedom. You know this is true if you have an international business, an employer abroad, a foreign job, or are studying in another country. It is especially true in the time of the pandemic, political tension, and economic sanctions.
Is it possible to open an overseas bank account from home? Yes, there are many offers to set up foreign accounts with financial institutions remotely. We have outlined them in detail in many articles.
This time, let us take a ‘fisheye approach’ to the study of challenges. And let us zoom in on many applicants’ typical mistakes and omissions that should be avoided, and scrutinize proactive strategies.
Some issues can be easily solved, but some errors may cost you a fortune. For example, flaws in communication with bank managers at the stage of choosing the customer-oriented foreign financial institution may draw you into a deal with a provider maintaining low standards of banking safety. While trying to choose the jurisdiction on your own, you may omit important information and thus get into a tough spot in a country with a poorly regulated financial sector. But, one of the biggest mistakes that people make when opening international bank accounts stems from not being aware of how banks may perceive their profile as potential clients. In this article, we will take a detailed look at the most common misconceptions.
Many of you need international bank accounts to cover expenses when traveling abroad. Most likely, you are a business owner preferring to pay suppliers in their local currency and receive revenues for products and services from your customers in foreign markets. You may be an investor seeking to diversify your assets and protect them from encroachment by law enforcement agencies, courts, criminals, and creditors from your country of residence where the economic situation is unstable and the private property rights are not secure.
However, despite the drastic technology-led developments, innovations in the financial sector, and the seemingly broader access to a huge number of high-quality banks around the world, it has become more challenging for applicants to find the right institution to open the right foreign bank account to achieve their goals.
That is why the importance of reliable professional insights and experience in relevant matters is growing.
of personal bank accounts abroad for
persons depositing €5000+. Expert services
based on 7+ years of experience in banking.
of personal bank accounts abroad for persons depositing €5000+. Expert services based on 7+ years of experience in banking.
Mistakes to avoid when opening an overseas bank account
First, you should clearly define the reasons why you need a bank account abroad and the purposes it needs to serve. Second, you should look at banking from the bankers’ point of view and understand how banks operate, make decisions, and why they accept or reject eager clients.
This advice does not mean you need to become an expert in banking. But knowing the requirements set for applicants is half the battle when you intend to avoid the risks and challenges.
You will not be caught off guard when opening a foreign bank account if you are aware of the following common mistakes of applicants:
- they disregard requirements or what the bank is expecting to learn from the application documents, and therefore – they fail to provide all important details or papers as the required
- they accidentally trigger more particular attention of the bank’s Compliance officers by negligent submission of inaccurate or provoking information
- applicants do not see behind the bank’s questions and offer answers that are irrelevant or miss the point and so can be treated by the bankers as the intentional evasion
- they give inconsistent, obscure answers
- applicants fail to explain their business and status straightforwardly
- they do not understand the underlying risks and do not take seriously the reporting issues that need to be avoided or anticipated
- they believe that banking is a right, not a privilege.
All of the mistakes stated above should be taken into account when opening an international bank account. If you are well-informed and prepared to face the bank’s concerns, you will be able to open an international bank account. Our experts are ready to guide and assist you. As long as you follow the right strategy and take into account the interests and requirements of the bank, your application will be convincing and successful.
On the other hand, it is important to apply in jurisdictions and at institutions where bankers can recognize the true value of the applicant’s business and plans. Having dealt with many banks across the world, our team can recommend reputable reliable financial institutions. Moreover, we keep looking for banks that welcome our customers to open accounts with them. So, our experts’ insights and advice are based on their practical experience and success stories of helping our clients.
Useful tips for opening an overseas bank account
We recommend the following important tips when opening a bank account overseas:
- apply to those banks that can be interested in your business and financial activities
- fill out bank documents to show your strengths (when providing details of your income, expenses, and activities)
- understand the red flags and never take chances
- establish rapport with the bank officers, find a common language and common grounds with them (listen carefully, answer what they are asking, never volunteer criticism)
- be alert to symptoms of arising mistrust, make an effort to enhance your credibility
- be aware of your vulnerability (personal or business weaknesses) as a potential bank customer, and take proactive measures
- think how to highlight the strengths of your profile
- present yourself as a valuable and long-term customer for the bank.
Given all of the above, every applicant’s challenges in opening a foreign bank account come down to the following 3 concerns:
- relevant knowledge of the requirements
- recognition of the importance of credible documents and answers
- and the proper preparation of the application portfolio.
Besides, there are 2 primary objectives: choosing the right jurisdiction and the right bank (or several banks just in case some reject your application). Moreover, you may decide to open your account not with a conventional bank but with a payment system.
Moreover, you will need to know if the banks of your choice agree to open accounts remotely.
Which is the smartest, simplest, and safest solution? Rely on our experts’ assistance:
- selection of the jurisdiction
- choice of bank(s) including the Pre-Approval service
- preparation of the application portfolio,
- application submission
- any other matters.
If you have a consultant who is professionally competent, experienced and respects your interests, you will avoid mistakes and can smoothly open an international bank account from your home.
Take care of your Customer Profile to open an overseas bank account
When it comes to opening an international bank account, your priorities should include your Customer Profile. Understanding your profile and maintaining your strengths can make a huge difference in your foreign account setup.
DO NOT allow any chance of being qualified by the bank as a high-risk client profile.
What data and features in the customer profiles are treated by Compliance officers of any bank as dodgy and prone to high risks?
- companies with above-average commercial risks
- new businesses
- a high-risk profile (in terms of AML/CFT agenda) of the jurisdiction of the owner’s citizenship and/or the company’s incorporation
- a vague purpose and objectives for opening an account with a foreign financial institution
As for the high-risk business activities that banks pay attention to, they include the following:
- cryptocurrency business
- consulting or digital services
- regulated industries (banking, insurance, financial services, etc.) gambling business
- adult business
- cannabis market
- some other trades.
Applicants that refer to the above-mentioned categories are not necessarily wrongdoers.
But when applying for an account they should take a particularly consistent and meticulous approach to how they present themselves to the banks.
Choose the overseas bank and account wisely
Clients’ requirements differ, though slightly. But, in general, there will be a few major aspects that you should consider when choosing the account. This will help you clarify what you need and determine which bank accounts are right for you.
Questions that every applicant should ask themselves before opening an international bank account:
- Would you like to visit the bank in person or open an account remotely?
- Where will you make transfers to? Where will you receive transfers from?
- What type of international bank account are you specifically looking for?
- How much can you and are you willing to deposit as the initial deposit?
- How much can you and are willing to maintain as an average monthly balance?
- How many transactions would you like to perform per month?
- What amount do you expect to pay as an annual commission for your foreign account?
- Will you need payment processing on your account?
- Will you need to send or receive money to/from a fintech company?
- Are you ready to maintain the bank’s positive reputation?
Having considered the answers to the above questions, you will have a clear idea of your specific requirements for a foreign bank. These answers will help you target the banks that are right for you. And by keeping to your ‘reference points’ it will be much easier to find a proper foreign bank to open an account with.
Select the country where you need to open an overseas bank account
You are welcome to find many articles on our portal suggesting practical solutions and explaining the advantages of our services related to overseas/offshore/foreign accounts set up.
If you are not in a hurry and do not need to immediately start sending and receiving payments, then you may relax and just look through our prompts and reviews. But, it would be a mistake to envisage such a need in the medium and long term.
To urgently start accepting payments abroad, you can open an account in one of the payment systems.
However, we recommend that you should start looking for a country and bank to open an account that would work for you in the long term.
The choice of the jurisdiction is a critically important aspect in terms of building long-term cooperation with a foreign bank.
It doesn’t matter if you are ready to start with a small deposit or a large sum, the choice of the jurisdiction should be based entirely on your criteria.
Below is a list of practical questions to consider when looking for a country for opening a bank account.
- Does the local legislation require conducting transactions in the national currency only?
- Is this country politically stable and publicly solvent?
- Is the national fiscal legislation subject to frequent changes and amendments?
- Is this jurisdiction blacklisted or greylisted as a tax haven? If so, by which countries or international organizations?
- Is there a risk of undermining your personal or your business reputation if you hold accounts in this country?
- Does this country comply with international norms and standards?
Of course, there are other considerations that should be taken into account.
For example, there is a category of practical criteria relevant to your convenience, safety, security:
- the local language, customs, and business culture
- the economic stability of the country
- the country’s financial status on the world map
- the country’s political independence, connectivity, international relations
- any recent, current or likely regional conflicts (and risks you may be exposed to)
- quality of local banking infrastructure
- FATF and OECD recommendations.
Keys to a successful setup of an overseas bank account
- Play by the rules. There is no sense in fighting and protesting against the rules set by the bank or the jurisdiction. Only by playing by their rules, you will be able to be approved and take advantage of the best opportunities as a happy holder of an account with the bank of your choice.
- Weed out any inefficiencies and errors in your papers. They may tarnish your Customer Profile and self-presentation to the bank. Inconsistencies are destructive.
- Anticipate the bank’s questions and be ready to answer without delay.
- Anticipate some service issues. Nobody is perfect. Just be patient in case of some uncertainties or disruptions. To get them settled and resolved to your benefit, you need to develop a relationship of mutual trust with the bank – based on clear and transparent rules.
- Get ahead of the curve. As you (hopefully) know your Customer Profile and are aware of your vulnerabilities that may impact the bank, you should be honest with the bank if the situation develops unfavorably. Take a proactive approach: discuss it immediately and openly and try to find a joint solution that will satisfy everyone. It will be more efficient than to rush around different banks across the world in the hope that no one will ever find out the truth. The truth will come out sooner or later, and accounts of such a murky client will be blocked, the withdrawal of funds will be banned, and there will be little hope to plead ignorance.
- Take responsibility for your trustworthy Customer Profile and try to fit in.
For more tips and a FREE one-on-one consultation online, please send your questions to our e-mail address given at the top of this page.
We promise prompt professional feedback.
Can I open an overseas bank account remotely?
As a rule, you can. But, not in all countries and not in every bank.
The choice of jurisdiction is very important in many ways. It will broaden or narrow your opportunity to set up a bank account online, and will impact your long-term banking and business strategies.
The choice of the bank is another crucial aspect. Every bank has its corporate policy, including the Due Diligence principles, communication technology, banking tools and interface, menu of products and services.
If you need a foreign account quickly, you may decide to open an account with a payment system. Anyway, we recommend that you should contact professional consultants who will help you select the right country and the right bank, guide you through the application procedure, help with the application portfolio and remote submission. To begin with, you can book a FREE online private consultation by writing to our e-mail address.
How should I choose a foreign account/bank?
It is quite difficult to give a brief specific answer to such a question. We would dare to give only the most general recommendations.
If you need a foreign account for infrequent tourist trips and quick and small payments, you should consider the services of international payment systems.
If you are looking for a foreign bank to invest or attract funds, grow your assets, you should turn to the countries where relevant financial instruments are developed, and where you can get access to reliable services and insurance against financial risks.
If you need an account for entering other markets and developing business opportunities, you should ask your clients and partners in which foreign banks they have accounts, and take advantage of cooperation with those institutions.
How long does it take to open an overseas bank account?
This depends on your Customer Profile, the bank you choose, and the goals you set for such an account.
In short, the more aware the bank is of your purpose of opening a foreign account, and the more convincing your Client Profile is, the faster the decision will be made and all the necessary checks and operations will be completed.
If you prepare the documents for a foreign bank all by yourself, the procedure and the wait time can take several weeks and much longer, with a 50% chance that your application will fail.
If you turn to professional consultants and follow their customized recommendations, the opening period will be much shorter, and the probability of success will be over 90%.