Our guide to banking in Gibraltar looks at how to set up a bank account in Gibraltar, why you may wish to do so, the different banks available in Gibraltar, plus the various pros and cons of banking on the Rock.
The Rock of Gibraltar is famous worldwide as a symbol of stability and resilience, so is Gibraltar’s financial system equally sturdy? And how much flexibility and choice is available?
At Nomad Capitalist we compare data on tax-friendly jurisdictions around the globe to help us pick the best solutions for our clients. If you are looking for a tax-friendly offshore banking jurisdiction in Europe or elsewhere, save yourself the guesswork and talk to our team today.
Gibraltar – Country Overview
Located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, this tiny British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar is most famous for its iconic Rock and its inhabitants, the Barbary Apes.
It is said that, as long as the apes inhabit the Rock, that Gibraltar will always remain British. No wonder then that Winston Churchill found himself so enthralled by them.
Traditionally, Gibraltar has always been of vital strategic importance to Britain. Today the country has transitioned to a predominantly service-based economy, bolstered further by the country’s maritime and bunkering industries.
Tourism also plays a significant role in the local economy, with millions of tourists visiting to enjoy both the sightseeing and the VAT-free shopping that Gibraltar offers.
Thousands of cross-border workers, meanwhile, cross from Spain daily. These include many non-Spanish workers also, the majority of whom are employed in the country’s financial services and online gaming sectors.
While Brexit certainly affected Gibraltar significantly (it voted unanimously against it) the economy nonetheless remains defiant in its resilience. Gibraltar is a low-tax, common law jurisdiction with a business friendly government and some of the most crypto-friendly laws in Europe.
Political brinkmanship with neighboring Spain remains an issue, of course, which traditionally would play out in the form of long delays at the border, though overall relations between both countries have improved dramatically in recent years.
Both countries signed a historic tax agreement in 2019, with the UK as mediator. In 2023, after long delays, Gibraltar finally opened a new tunnel to help alleviate the traffic congestion at the border.
Benefits of Gibraltar Banking
What are the pluses of Gibraltar bank accounts? The 1992 Banking Act governs Gibraltar’s banking services. It is an established and well-regulated jurisdiction supervised by the Federal Service Commission.
Gibraltar bank accounts do not require you to pay tax on any interest your savings generate.
For UK expats, transferring currency is never an issue, as the Gibraltar pound enjoys equal value to the Pound sterling and both are accepted as currency on the Rock.
Those seeking to purchase a property that requires a loan can set up a mortgage account in Gibraltar.
Who Should Bank in Gibraltar
Gibraltar offers a range of financial services to private individuals. Your investable assets are attractive to Gibraltar banks looking to attract new clients to an ever-growing range of accounts and credit facilities.
If you want to open an account with a traditional bank offering a debit card, overdraft facilities, and mortgages, take a walk down Main Street in Gibraltar, and you will find one.
The beauty of Gibraltar is that it is a handy international location that is easily reached by air, land, or sea from many different countries.
Frequent daily flights to and from major British airports provide convenient access for those looking for business services in Gibraltar.
There are also a growing number of online banks where a current account can be opened. These are alternative savings arrangements with old-school investment services such as debit cards, loans, and mortgages.
Gibraltar’s main plus points are low taxes and easier access to the British market. But from a strictly banking perspective, since the country itself is so small, the number of banks available are quite limited, so this is not a jurisdiction to look at if you’re looking for a wide choice.
How to Open a Bank Account in Gibraltar
In Gibraltar, opening bank accounts in currencies such as the Euro and the US dollar is possible. This is an attractive option for foreign enterprises setting up corporate bank accounts.
Gibraltar has similar regulations as the UK regarding opening a new bank account.
It is a relatively straightforward process if you want to open an account in Gibraltar. You are required to present the following documents (yes, they include the obligatory passport) as you are elsewhere in the world:
- ID documents, such as a valid passport, driving license, or national identity card
- Proof of residence, as in a rental contract, recent utility bill, or bank statement.
If you are opening an account with any local banks, they expect you to provide a home address in Gibraltar. If you can show you have ties with the country by owning property there, this will help.
Top Banks in Gibraltar
Gibraltar banks run into double figures, supplying potential clients with a plethora of accounts. There have been some noticeable branch closures on the Rock, including Barclays. Barclays Bank pulled out of Gibraltar back in 2016. Lloyds Bank followed suit in 2019, switching their operations to Jersey.
Like with any other business, we encourage you to use caution, especially with those operating without websites. Most banks do, however, offer online banking services. The following are some of the top Gibraltar banks accepting new customers looking for an account:
Gibraltar International Bank
Gibraltar International Bank offers current accounts, savings accounts, debit and credit cards, and loans and mortgages with no minimum or maximum deposit.
It was established in 2015 and, although it is a limited liability company, the bank is 100% owned by the Government of Gibraltar.
Turicum Private Bank
Turicum Private Bank aims to be as transparent as possible regarding service fees for their credit and finance facilities. This private banking institution guarantees “safety & stability wherever you are.”
Turicum Private Bank is named after the Latin name for Zurich. Swiss asset managers, bankers, and lawyers established Turicum Private Bank in 1993 to provide bespoke savings accounts and related business and credit services for investment funds and private clients.
Trusted Novus Bank
Trusted Novus Bank (previously Jyske Bank) is relied upon by over 3,000 customers. However, they don’t offer current accounts to applicants who are non-residents of Gibraltar.
Bank J Safra
J Safra Sarasin, the Basel, Switzerland-based private banking group, acquired the Gibraltar operations of Credit Suisse in 2016. They had been operating in Gibraltar since 2001 as a private bank targeting high-net-worth entrepreneurs.
Bank J Safra provides finance and wealth management services to institutional clients and private individuals, including loans and savings accounts. The J Safra Sarasin Group runs more than 25 offices across Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America, emphasizing providing the best exchange rates.
Gibraltar has many of the things we like here at Nomad Capitalist; a stable economy, low taxes, a business-friendly government and, following the launch of its pioneering DLT Regulations in 2018, it’s a crypto-friendly jurisdiction too.
Notwithstanding Brexit, which obviously had a lasting impact on the country’s financial services sector, the country remains resilient and economically buoyant.
However, since being severed, against its will, from the European Union in 2020, Gibraltar has become a niche jurisdiction more in keeping with its diminutive size.
This is most readily reflected in the small number of banking options available and the relative difficulty in opening an account as a foreigner compared to many of its competitors.
Gibraltar works as a tax-efficient base for those looking to specifically access the lucrative UK market, but as always we suggest you also view alternatives and weigh up the pros and cons.
Since this can be frustrating and time-consuming, we make the whole process easier. We’ve already done the research and got the raw data on every banking jurisdiction on the planet to help you make the best choice to suit all your specific needs. Join the thousands of entrepreneurs and investors who rely on us for their offshore needs and become a client today.
Gibraltar Banking – FAQ
Technically neither. Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory, so it is not a part of the UK. Rather it is a British territory with its own elected government and enjoys near-total autonomy (it can set domestic policy but not foreign policy).
Gibraltar became a British territory in 1713. The head of the Gibraltar government is the Chief Minister and the country’s head of state is King Charles III.
The country’s only border is a land border with Spain. The border was temporarily shut during the reign of Franco, Spain’s fascist dictator, and even in the post-Franco years, relations between the two countries have been fraught though have steadily been improving in recent years as both countries have a vested interest in maintaining good relations.
Every day thousands of workers from Spain travel across the border to work in Gibraltar, many working in the country’s hospitality industry. Spain relies on Gibraltar for employment, while Gibraltar relies on Spain for its labor force.
Not anymore. Though the vast majority of voters in the country voted to remain, Gibraltar exited the European Union in 2020 alongside the UK.
This has had a lasting impact on the country’s financial services sector and economy as a whole. Issues regarding its border with Spain, likewise, remain unresolved.
Yes, though perhaps not as readily as other banking jurisdictions in the region.
We’re sticklers for efficiency here at Nomad Capitalist and the general consensus is that Gibraltar banks operate more at an Iberian pace than a City of London pace, so it might not be the best jurisdiction to look at if you’re looking for results quickly.
Of course it all depends on your situation and your specific circumstances. And trying to find this information first-hand while talking to local lawyers and bankers is never efficient. What you need is some trusted, impartial advice, and that’s where we come in.
Because as a Nomad Capitalist client we’re not interested in selling you on one specific jurisdiction, we’re here to find the very best solution for your exact offshore needs.