There are a variety of reasons for which people and businesses would want to open offshore accounts with overseas banks. Some of these reasons include ease of use when traveling abroad, taking advantage of higher interest rates, or simply diversifying your assets to protect yourself from governmental bankruptcy.
Businesses also use offshore bank accounts if they have a global customer base and use an offshore merchant account or if they have formed outside of the USA and keep one in their local jurisdiction.
If you’re interested in opening or funding an offshore bank account, you have several options available to fund these accounts. Some are easier and more secure than others. Before discussing the various payment methods, understanding the legality behind these accounts is paramount. One of the most important aspects of foreign bank accounts is the American policy governing non-US accounts for US Citizens called FATCA.
The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is an act that was put in place by the US government in 2010 to ensure that all US citizens, green card holders, etc., report their offshore accounts and income in a timely manner. It essentially forced banks all around the world to report their customers to the US government if they had any ties to the US.
The purpose of FATCA was to impose the necessary taxes on offshore accounts and to discourage the use of offshore accounts for hiding money and tax evasion. These illegal activities had become quite common and the US government was looking for a way to stop them. However, they also started a chain-reaction of unforeseen consequences, as well.
For example, individuals and families who lived abroad for several months each year suddenly found it more difficult to bank in their foreign country of choice. Although they opened their overseas account for the simple purpose of paying their rent or mortgage, FATCA required them to jump through a variety of proverbial loops that they hadn’t experienced before.
Finding secure and economical ways to fund an account can be a daunting task at times. Most people will start small and increase their funding amounts as they feel more comfortable. Currently, these are some of the most common and reliable ways to fund a bank account outside the USA as an American resident.
The easiest way, by far, is to just set up a wire transfer from your domestic account to your offshore account. Transfers are typically secure and simple, as long as you have all the necessary information. You will sometimes need to alert your domestic bank before doing this, as offshore accounts have received some bad media over the years.
If this is the direction you want to go, there are several companies on the market who can facilitate this transaction for you. We recommend doing some research on the various fees they charge and what their cybersecurity looks like. The goal here is to pay as little as possible to wire the money, but still protect the transaction.
If you are physically in the country where your foreign bank account is located, you can simply pull money out of the ATM and take it into the bank to fund your account. This is a good strategy if you’re not moving too much money at once. For security reasons, most bank accounts will only allow a certain amount of money to be withdrawn from an ATM each day, so you are somewhat limited.
If you want to use cryptocurrency to fund your foreign bank account, you need to first learn more about your offshore bank and what they will and will not accept. Due to the nature of crypto and some of the historical fraud that has happened with it, many banks will not tolerate it. The last thing you want to do is transfer crypto into your offshore account only for the bank to then shut it down.
A better option might be to convert your crypto into US dollars or another currency at your domestic bank first. Once it is converted to a physical currency, you can wire transfer it to your offshore account. Some offshore banks will accept crypto and some won’t, so be sure to figure that out before you make your decision.
Silver and gold are really good examples of physical assets that you can liquidate into cash and move to an offshore account. If you purchased gold and silver at some point to diversify your portfolio, it’s probably sitting in a vault somewhere. You can sell that for cash and then use the cash to transfer into your offshore account. If your silver and gold is at your bank in the country where your offshore account lives, you can ask them to liquidate it and deposit it into your account for you.
In many ways, you can move money out of a foreign account in the same ways that you moved it in. You will have different regulations to follow because pulling money out of the bank requires you to follow the policies of banking in that particular country, rather than when you were wiring a transfer out of the US. Here are a few ways in which you can move money from an offshore account.
The easiest way to move money from an offshore account is to complete a wire transfer. This involves providing the holding bank with information regarding the account to which you want to transfer the money. This process will involve various fees that will differ depending on what company processes the transaction and what conversions must take place between the two currencies.
The biggest drawback to a wire transfer between international accounts is the time it takes to complete the transaction. It could take weeks or even a full month to transfer funds over the border.
Many banks will allow you to transfer the money from an account onto a prepaid debit card. This card can be used to make purchases both online and in-store, just like a regular debit card. In this scenario, there may also be some fees associated with the transfer, but not as many as with a transfer in most cases.
If you prefer to just withdraw cash out of the ATM, that is also an option. However, beware of ATM fees and foreign transaction fees. Both are common with ATM withdrawals, so you might be better off choosing a different method.
If you want to avoid transactions, withdrawal and other associated fees, consider converting your money into cryptocurrency. Many offshore banks will allow you to convert your money into crypto, at which point you can transfer it anywhere you choose. Cryptocurrency allows much more versatility when it comes to moving money between countries and using it for various means.
Although the international banking industry has received its share of negative press, it’s usually being discussed in a bad light. There are perfectly legitimate reasons for banking offshore. Just because an individual or a family has bank accounts overseas, does not mean they are committing fraud, tax evasion, or any other illegal activity that has been associated with offshore banking over the years. With the implementation of FACTA, the ability for Americans to commit tax evasion or fraud is all but eliminated by nearly all foreign governments.
If you own a business that conducts business overseas, an offshore account makes perfect sense. Likewise, if you have a personal investment portfolio that needs some diversification, offshore banking might be the right choice. Regardless of your situation, it pays to do the research on the front end to learn more about offshore banking and how to securely deposit and withdraw funds from your offshore bank accounts.
Written by: Allied Pay providing payment processing services for online businesses @ alliedpay.com
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