There are several legal and regulatory compliance implications with offshore banking that I’d like to cover in this article. However, please don’t construe information on this site as legal guidance. I am providing this information for free based on my own experiences. Please consult your professional attorney or CPA (accountant) before you get involved with offshore internet banking.
What is an Offshore Bank
To be over simplistic, an offshore bank is a financial institution outside the shores of your country. If you are in Australia, a bank in the United States is an offshore bank to you. If you are in the United States, a bank in Singapore is an offshore bank to you. Therefore, the idea of offshore banking is relative.
A business or an individual, in this case you, may select an offshore bank account in a jurisdiction that is typically favorable in terms of taxes (often referred to as a tax haven by media), as well as in terms of legalities. In addition to choosing a jurisdiction with no to little income tax, for many, privacy and “secrecy” of banking activities are two of the bigger key considerations.
It goes without saying that access to your funds is important, as well as protection from corruption and stability in terms of certainty.
List of Common Offshore Online Banking Services
This is a brief list of services offered by offshore banks. This list is by no means a full comprehensive list of an offshore bank’s offerings, but rather a list of some of the most common offshore online banking services that businesses and individuals are offered:
- Remote Deposits of funds
- Direct Deposits of funds
- ACH / Wire Transfers / EFT – Electronic Fund Transfers
- Consumer and Commercial Lending
- All Basic Credit Activities
- Access to Capital – Offshore Debit Cards
- Forex – Currency Exchange
- Wealth Management
- Offshore Trading Account
- Offshore Brokerage Account
- Administrative Services
- Trustee Services
Note: Offshore banks typically tend to focus on either consumer or commercial banking. Within consumer, banks differentiate between retail consumer (the average individual) or private banking (meant for high net worth individuals).
Because each concentration involves a different cost structure from the bank’s perspective, when selecting an offshore bank for yourself, be clear on what type of consumer you are and what offshore online banking services you need. Gaining this clarity will ensure you are not disappointed in your choice.