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Opening a bank account in a country overseas is not as difficult as it once was. Any individual with a few hundred dollars can open an international account online in a country halfway around the world in a matter of hours. Though not all countries and accounts are created equal, however, gone are the days of international accounts be reserved for the wealthy; today anyone with an internet connection can open an account.
There are accounts ranging from offshore swiss private accounts with 1 mil minimums to a standard international checking account from HSBC and everything in between. The perceived elitism in the international banking industry, though largely a thing of the past, is still looked upon by the general public with a little wariness and skepticism.
The offshore banking legacy, originating some decades back when international banking was typically reserved for the wealthy and well connected, has created a lasting blemish in the publics' eyes. This is due in part by the secrecy and perceived illegality of the industry.
Today, international banking has started to shed its mystique as it has become accessible to anyone with a handheld device and a few dollars.
Though there still are private invite-only banks that have high minimum deposit thresholds the industry has lowered the bar making it available for your average joe.
The only real difference in opening a multiple currency account and a regular international account is the type of bank you are opening an account with. While many foreign banks allow multiple currencies to be held simultaneously most domestic banks have restrictions in place.
A foreign bank account or an offshore account is a bank account in a country other than where you have reside or have citizenship in. Terms such as international account, offshore account, overseas account and foreign account are all largely synonymous and are often used interchangeably.
The key distinction between a domestic and international account is that the latter is opened by an individual who is a non-resident and thereby benefits from several of the advantages that come with foreign account holding.
Having an account in a country overseas helps to diversify, protect and increase your assets in ways that can not be achieved by banking domestically. Having your accounts in different currencies, country and accounts help to secure your assets in case of any crisis.
The advantages of foreign account are:
Financial diversification is an important aspect of any financial planning. Having your savings spread across several accounts in different banks and countries helps protect you should your local domestic bank go bankrupt, the government institute capital controls or if you are being sued by a creditor.
Spreading your risk is a pillar of any asset protection strategy that seeks to minimize risk by diversifying your assets across classes, accounts and assets.
Having your assets in different currencies helps spreads the risk in case one currency crashes. By having an account outside the country where you live and holding foreign currencies will ensure that completely tied to the stability of a single denomination. Banks in Singapore for instance allow you to hold upwards of 12 different currencies all at once.
Holding several currencies helps to hedge your risk against any depreciation in any single currency or a downturn in any single economy.
Putting your assets in a separate country other than where you reside gives you an additional layer of security should the country where you live go through an economic crisis.
If the economy crashes your wealth could be directly threatened. During the 2008 financial crisis, some 500 banks in the United States alone went bankrupt, while in countries like Argentian and Greece, their economy crashed and the government imposed severe capital controls.
There are many banks outside of the western world that offer far higher interest rates than your regular domestic bank on the corner of the street. Some banks in Belize for instance offer rates of up to 4% adjusted for inflation.
In order to open a foreign bank account, you will need a few documents including:
Might be required depending on location
If you are opening a corporate account some additional documents will be needed, such as:
Depending on the bank and your citizenship the authorities may make a more thorough background check. The last decade banking requirements have changed considerably. Many banks are forced to go through Know Your Customers (KYC) background checks in order to open an account for any foreign national.
After receiving all the documentation the bank will typically review the applicant and should they not need any clarifications or other supplemental documents an account can be opened in a matter of days.
An account can be opened in a few steps, although it will largely depend upon the jurisdiction and that bank you are working with.
While opening a local domestic bank account is a straightforward process opening an account overseas has more moving pieces and can be more complicated.
The difficulties that may come when trying to find the best foreign bank to open your account is finding a bank thats right for you and your situation.
Here are some questions that will help guide you to find the best place for you to open a bank account.
Opening an international bank account remotely can be done easily with the right guidance in a matter of days. Getting an international account is now open to not just the 1%. See what global banking can offer you.
Why You Need A Plan B
Threats to Your Assets
Global Diversification Planning