Opening a bank account can be a pain, and often the benefits aren’t actually that great, depending on where you live. Opening an offshore bank account opens up a number of possibilities, from lower taxes to increased security to better interest rates. In this article, we outline the best countries in which to open an offshore bank account, their requirements for doing so, and what makes them so great.
We start off our list with one of the most inexpensive countries to open an account. The bank we work with in the Czech Republic requires no minimum deposit and has no ongoing balance requirements. You can open EUR, USD, RUB, CZK, and GBP accounts, plus you can do all of your banking online. At only $850, it’s one of the cheapest options to set up an account, and no in-person visit is required. If you want to access the European market, this is one of the best options available.
Another great option for an offshore bank account is Puerto Rico. While the country enjoys a close political and economic relationship with the United States, it still maintains some autonomy regarding it’s fiscal and economic policies. An initial deposit of $500 is all that is required to open an account, and set up only costs $550, making it one of the cheaper options on our list. No in-person visit is required, and it only takes about two weeks to set up your bank account, making it a great option.
If you are interested in accessing the burgeoning Asian market, Singapore is one of the best options for opening an offshore bank account. It is one of the worlds largest financial centers with an incredibly stable economy. The minimum deposit required to open an account is relatively low (about $730 in USD), but an in-person visit is necessary. That being said, the process is relatively fast; it only takes about one week, and is relatively inexpensive, costing only $850 to open an account. With the most technologically-advanced private banking facilities, excellent customer service and a capital gains tax-free environment, Singapore is the top Asia-Pacific destination for international wealth management services.
Another great option that gives you access to the Asia-Pacific market is Hong Kong. It boasts the largest financial market in Asia and is one of the safest places to do your banking. If investing is of interest to you, then look no further as a large variety of options are available. An in-person visit is required to open an account, but the minimum deposit is only around $1,275 in USD. At two to three weeks, it does take slightly longer to open an account, and it is a slightly more expensive option as set-up costs $1,150. However, Hong Kong remains one of the most popular places to open an offshore bank account for a reason, as it has strong wealth management and investment services.
Belize is another great option as its banking system is closely modeled on those of the United Kingdom and the United States. While bank cards are not available, online banking is, which makes it great for savings accounts. A minimum deposit of $1,000 is required, and set up is one of the cheaper options, costing only $550. An in-person visit is not required, and it takes about two weeks to open an account from start to finish.
St. Lucia is a small island state in the Caribbean Sea and is a member of the Commonwealth. It has developed a robust financial center, currently offering financial services such as offshore trusts, mutual funds, insurance, and offshore banking. Opening an account here does not require an in-person visit, and the minimum deposit required is $5,000. Internet banking is available, and you can open a multi-currency account. Setting up your account takes about two weeks and costs $550.
Antigua & Barbuda boasts the second largest banking sector in the Caribbean, making it another great place to open an offshore bank account. An offshore account here is best for savings, as the only card you can get is a prepaid Mastercard. The minimum deposit needed to open an account is $5,000 and the set-up fee is only $550. No in-person visit is required, and opening an account takes around two weeks. Antigua also offers an Economic Citizenship Program, where it is possible to obtain a passport through investment.
Saint Kitts and Nevis has a stable political and financial system which is focused on confidentiality and privacy, making it a preferred place to open an offshore bank account. While geographically it might be the smallest country on our list, it offers a surprising amount of benefits. No in-person visit is required, and a minimum balance of $10,000 is needed to open a bank account and maintain it. The official language is English, which makes communication a breeze, and naturally online banking is available. It costs $550 to set up an account, and it can take up to two weeks for everything to get set up. St Kitts and Nevis also has one of the most renowned, affordable and efficient Citizenship by Investment programs out there.
While a visit to the bank isn’t required to open an offshore account in the Seychelles, it is a good excuse for a vacation! As one of the major financial hubs in Africa, it offers a stable economy, and you can open USD, EUR, and GBP accounts. The minimum deposit to open a bank account in the Seychelles is $10,000 and the bank requires you to keep at least that amount in your account at all times. However,the fee to set up an account is quite low at $550. If you are in a rush, the Seychelles might not be the best option as it can take three to five weeks to open your account. But if you have the time, and the money, the Seychelles can be a good option to start your offshore banking experience.
The Cook Islands are one of the most common countries you hear about when it comes to offshore banking, and they are popular for a reason. You will need to be willing to open up your wallet as personal and trading accounts need a minimum deposit of $20,000.. Online banking is included with both types of accounts, and you can open USD, EUR, and GBP accounts. For either type of account, no in-person visit is needed, the fee is $950, and the process only takes two weeks. The Cook Islands are focused on privacy and anonymity for those who choose to open offshore accounts, making it a very popular option.
Mauritius is a politically stable jurisdiction and one of the largest financial hubs in Africa. It’s banking sector is made up of sophisticated financial institutions that offer a wide range of global banking services to corporations and individuals. An initial deposit ranges anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 depending on what services you are looking for, and accounts need to maintain a minimum balance of $10,000. It is one of the faster options on our list, only taking one to two weeks to open your account, and no in-person visit is necessary. Multi-currency accounts and online banking services are both available.
Last, but not least on our list is Armenia, which boasts a steadily growing financial sector. As a result, interest rates are high, ranging from 5% to 10%. While no in-person visit is required, you will need at least $50,000 to open an offshore account here. It will also take slightly longer to open your account - anywhere from three to five weeks - but the cost of setting everything up is only $950. Of course, online banking is available, and you can open AMD, EUR, RUB, and USD accounts. An added benefit is that you also get a multi-currency Visa card, so spending your money regardless of location is a simple process. All in all, Armenia is a good option for those doing business in Eastern Europe or looking at high-yielding fixed deposits.
As you can see, there are many options available if you want to open an offshore bank account. Important questions to ask yourself include how much money you want to deposit, what markets you want to access, if you want to invest your money, and if you want to pay a visit to the country in which you are opening your new bank account.
If any of the countries we listed sound appealing to you, check them out in the SelfKey Marketplace under “Bank Accounts - Personal Accounts”. There you can see all the details and what exactly is needed for you to open an offshore bank account in your country of choice. All the countries we have listed above are in our Marketplace and opening an offshore account can be as easy as clicking a button.