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Reasons for service denial

Why Banking Services can be Denied to You in a Foreign Country

When trying to set up a bank account in a foreign country, you may find yourself in an unpleasant situation when services are denied to you. This may happen due to the bank’s internal security policies. Some banks don’t service certain categories of people or certain types of companies, for example. If you happen to fall into one of these ‘blacklisted’ categories, you would be able to open an account with that bank.

Reasons for service denial

More often, however, you may fail to set up a bank account abroad through your own fault. In today’s world, you have to do your homework and prepare carefully before you apply for banking services, especially in a foreign country. You may run into trouble in the following areas:

  • Form of the application documents.
  • Contents of the application documents.
  • Client identification.
  • Money origin.
  • Sanctions and black lists.
  • Your financial history.
  • Bank’s internal policies.

Let’s see what might go wrong in each of these areas.

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Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need help in opening a foreign bank account. We specialize in opening personal, corporate, merchant, broker’s and other types of bank accounts in different countries. We can also assist you in acquiring an anonymous pay card.

Form of the application documents

Banking services may be denied to you if you fill out the forms and draw up other application documents incorrectly.

Things to avoid

  • Misprints. Please make sure that there are no spelling or grammar mistakes in the application documents. After all, you are making up an official document and it has to look neat.
  • Corrections are also unacceptable in most cases. If you make a mistake, don’t correct it but take a new sheet of paper and start all over again.
  • Untidy appearance of the application documents can also lead to service denial. The papers should not be torn, folded, or dirty. If you are applying for banking services online and you are scanning some documents, make sure they look tidy in the pictures. 
  • Handwritten texts instead of printed texts or vice versa. Some banks want the documents to be written by hand while other banks will accept only printed texts. Please follow the bank manager’s instructions. The same goes for you signature: some banks will want you to sign the documents by hand while other banks will ask for your electronic signature.

Please follow the link to find out about the best countries to open bank accounts.

Contents of the application documents

Banking services will be denied to you of the Compliance Department officer discovers the following things in your application documents:

  • False information. Please do not rely on your memory when indicating dates and putting other figures in the application documents. Make sure that all the information provided in numbers is accurate.
  • Documents with an expired date. Many banks will want you to supply utility bills (to serve as proof of address) that are not more than 3 months old. If you supply a utility bill that is 6 months old, it won’t count as legitimate proof of address and your application will be turned down.
  • Untranslated documents. If you are setting up a bank account in a foreign country, chances are that a foreign language is spoken there. Banks in many non-English-speaking countries do accept documents written in English but some of them want translations into their native language. You will have to find out about that beforehand.
  • Translations without notarization. If a document is translated, the translation needs to be notarized in all cases.
  • Lack of apostille or consulate’s stamp. Some banks want foreign documents to be apostilled or legalized at a consulate. Many of them do not have this requirement, however.

Here is what you have to do about a document translated into the language of the country where you are applying for banking services. First, have it translated by a sworn translator. Second, have it notarized by a licensed notary public. Third, have it apostilled or stamped at the consulate, if necessary.

These petty things are important because if you supply a translation made by a friend of yours, it won’t count as an official document. Thus, your application document package will be incomplete and banking services will be denied to you for this reason.


Discuss the details with an expert

Check the list of required documents, and get the details of the process, terms, and costs.

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Client identification

Whether you are setting up a personal or a corporate bank account, you have to go through the client identification procedures. You will not be able to open a bank account otherwise. What might go wrong here?

  • You have failed to supply the verification code sent to you by the bank in an SMS to your phone number. Please give the right phone number to the bank.
  • You have failed to make a ‘passport selfie’. Most payment systems in particular want you to make a photo of yourself holding your passport close to your face. Banks that open accounts remotely also have this requirement.
  • The information in your application documents does not match the data that the Compliance Department has acquired on its own. You have to realize that the bank is going to check if you are speaking the truth. If they find some discrepancies, they may get back to you and ask questions. Or they may simply turn down your application.
  • You have failed to attend an interview with the bank manager. If the bank wants you to pay a personal visit to have an interview, you have to do so. Those banks and payment systems that open accounts remotely will be satisfied with a video interview. Please don’t be late for an online interview if you have to have one. 

Client identification is an important part of the KYC (Know Your Customer) requirements.

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Some banks allow opening accounts via trusted agents and therefore, a personal interview may not be required. This is possible, for example in Belize that has been recently taken off the EU blacklist.

Money origin

You have to do two important things when setting up a foreign bank account. First, you have to supply confirmations of the legality of your sources of income. Second, you have to justify opening a bank account in a foreign country. If you fail to do any of the two things, opening a bank account in a reputable jurisdiction is impossible. What can go wrong?

  • You have supplied outdated information. For instance, you have given the details of a bank account in your home country that has been closed or inactive. Or you have supplied a job agreement that has been canceled. Remember that banks are going to check your truthfulness.
  • You cannot justify opening a foreign bank account. Please explain to the bank manager in every detail why exactly you need a bank account in a foreign country. If you can supply some documents such as a residence permit, a property ownership certificate, a company registration certificate, or a student card, please do so.

You should also be aware of the fact that the bank may request confirmations of the legality of your transactions in the future. It will most certainly ask for a confirmation if you make a transaction that is ‘unusual’ in this or that way.

Sanctions and black lists

International organizations have black lists, national states have black lists, and banks have their own black lists. For instance, citizens of some countries are absolutely unable to set up bank accounts in Europe. In what cases may you run into trouble?

  • You come from the ‘wrong’ country. If you come from a blacklisted country, you still have access to some alternative financial instruments. You can try to set up an account with a payment system or a cryptocurrency exchange account. Besides, you can apply for a residence permit in a number of foreign countries.
  • You have chosen the wrong bank. Some banks are extremely demanding to prospective customers while others are more relaxed. If services may potentially be denied to you in a ‘strict’ bank, you probably should not approach it. At least, see professional advice before you do.
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Our Pre-Approval service allows filing applications for banking services to several foreign banks at a time. Please use this opportunity and find your bank with our experts’ support.

Other reasons for banking service denial

There are a few more reasons why you may be unable to set up a bank account in a foreign country:

  • If you are known to have been involved in some criminal financial schemes in your home country (tax evasion, money laundering, financial fraud, etc.) and you hope that a bank in a foreign country is going to be unaware of that, you are wrong. If you have this sort of history behind you and you try to set up a bank account in Europe, for example, this is what is going to happen. The bank’s Compliance Department will find you out, put you on a black list of unreliable clients and share this information with all other European banks. Afterwards, banking services will be automatically denied to you in Europe wherever you turn.
  • Sometimes banks can be very exacting about small things such as the color of the ink that you use to fill out the forms. You have to find out about all their requirements in advance to minimize your chances for service denial.
  • Some banks require substantial initial deposits and it might be the case that a certain bank in Switzerland, for instance, might be out of your reach. Besides, banks also often require security deposits and these are normally as large as the initial deposits. So even if you manage to set up a foreign bank account but you fail to keep the security balance afterwards, your account can be closed.

These facts show that you have to do a lot of preparatory work before setting up a bank account in a foreign country and seek professional assistance in the matter. International Wealth experts are at your service!

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