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Finance • Offshore

The Best Offshore Banks for 2024

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When it comes to offshore banking, one of the most common questions that we get from readers is, ‘What are the best offshore banks?’

If you’re a seven- or eight-figure entrepreneur or investor, finding the best offshore banking options can be tricky. That’s because most information you find online is from armchair expats or younger digital nomads primarily interested in transactional accounts and fintech solutions.

Unless those kinds of accounts are what you’re looking for, that information likely doesn’t help you much. If at all.

This is why the research team at Nomad Capitalist has spent months exploring the best offshore banks that cater for high-net-worth individuals like you. 

If you’re new to the world of offshore banking, be sure to check out our YouTube videos on offshore bank accounts.

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What to Avoid When Choosing an Offshore Bank

Before we dive into what makes some offshore banks the best, let’s first discuss what kind of offshore banks to avoid.

From our experience, we’ve found that many of the banks we advise avoiding aren’t necessarily bad: it’s more that they may not have all the services you’re looking for or could be challenging to work with.

As a general rule, you should probably avoid the following types of banks:

Fintech and Neo-Banks

While neo-banks or fintech solutions can be great backups and may meet some of your needs, they’re meant for people who are just starting out and primarily need transactional accounts.

Additionally, they’re not always available to everybody – particularly US citizens. They can also be somewhat limited in the services that they provide. Because these banks are primarily remote, their ability to perform customer due diligence is more limited. This limits the types of services they can provide.

Granted, they can work if you only need to bill a handful of low-value clients or directly deposit a salary. But unfortunately, they won’t have enough features to meet all of your banking needs.

Nothing replaces a bank offering to meet you in person and making you feel welcome in their branch. With a physical bank, you’re going to get better service and more flexibility than you do with an online fintech solution.

Call us old school, but that’s our opinion.

HSBC

Those familiar with our blog already know that we are not a big fan of HSBC.

Although it’s one of the better-known offshore banks, it’s simply not a great bank to work with. It’s not very responsive and HSBC Premier isn’t worth what you pay for it.

In short, if you’re looking for a high-quality offshore bank, plenty of better options exist.  

Banks in Classic Offshore Jurisdictions

Despite what the unqualified commentators on the internet say, you’ll likely want to avoid banks in the Caribbean and other classic offshore jurisdictions.

The fees at many of these banks are sky-high and their customer service levels can be abysmal. Caribbean ‘island time’ applies even to the most reputable offshore banks, so you can expect customer service to be unresponsive and generally slow.

Additionally, because many of these particular offshore jurisdictions have a bad reputation, they’re constantly under pressure from the United States and other governments to comply with laws like the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the Common Reporting Standard (CRS). 

You’ll likely face extra scrutiny if you frequently make wire transfers from places like Belize or the British Virgin Islands. Therefore, while the Caribbean might be a great option for getting a second passport, it isn’t always the best place for offshore banking.

What Elements Make the Best Offshore Banks?

After discussing what not to look for in offshore banks, let’s take a closer look at what makes for a quality offshore bank.

Jurisdiction Quality 

An offshore bank is only as good as the jurisdiction it’s located in.

Certain jurisdictions aren’t monetarily stable. This makes holding local currency risky and increases the likelihood that the government might decide to take your money. This actually happened in Cyprus a few years ago.

So, many traditional offshore banking jurisdictions aren’t great places to bank. These governments are constantly under pressure to meet global compliance standards, and their banks aren’t always easy to deal with.

Instead, why not choose banking jurisdictions that are stable, pro-business and not under any sort of crackdown from the US or global monetary organisations?

Georgia, for instance, is perhaps the easiest place in the world to bank in and is highly pro-business. As an added benefit, Georgian banks have favourable interest rates on term deposits.

Jurisdictional quality is part of the reason we promote the idea that onshore is the new offshore

While traditional offshore jurisdictions tend to suffer from problems like poor reputation, several onshore banking jurisdictions offer better benefits and more stability.

Institutional Quality

Just as you want to bank in a high-quality jurisdiction, you also want to bank with high-quality institutions.

You should always consider the financials of the banks you want to deal with. One issue is that many banks in the US and other Western countries often keep less than 1% of deposits on hand.

However, countries like Belize require their banks to keep a minimum of 24% of their deposits available. Some banks don’t make any loans and hold 100% of their deposits at all times.

When analysing the best offshore banks, looking at their overall reputation and financial status is essential.

Ease of Opening a Bank Account

When selecting the best offshore banks, the third factor to consider is the ease of opening an account. 

In this case, the concept of ‘easy’ is relative. You’ll never be able to open an offshore bank account at the push of a button. Instead, you’ll either need to travel there or send in a pile of documents to open an account remotely.

Easy doesn’t necessarily mean zero effort. Rather, it indicates the process is smooth and the bank has good customer service to help you. 

The fact is that even if a bank has excellent financials and is located in a premium banking jurisdiction, you don’t want to bank with them if they’re a hassle to deal with.

The fact is, many glamorous banks and banking jurisdictions – such as Switzerland, Panama, or Hong Kong – aren’t easy places to bank. Banks in those places often have high deposit minimums for foreigners, require a series of appointments to open an account and have non-existent customer support.

Nomad Friendliness

The fourth issue to consider when choosing an offshore bank is nomad friendliness – whether that bank’s policies and services suit an international lifestyle.

You’ll need to consider a handful of factors to determine nomad friendliness. First and foremost, the best offshore banks for international nomads need a good online banking system because you won’t always be in the country where your bank is located. 

It’s vital that you have the ability to maintain your banking facilities without the need to make frequent calls or visits.

That’s why banks in places like Georgia and Mongolia have excellent online banking systems while countries like the US tend to lag behind. The more remote customers it has, the more valuable a bank’s online system is.

A critical factor for determining a bank’s nomad friendliness is the ease of using ATMs and making transactions in other countries.

Some banks charge exorbitant fees for international transactions, or they may sound the fraud alarm if you step foot overseas. For example, when Nomad Capitalist founder Andrew Henderson’s parents visited him in Kuala Lumpur, they could not use their debit cards since Chase Bank seemed to be convinced that Malaysia was full of fraudsters. 

Therefore, you need a bank that you can access while you’re travelling and offers 24-hour customer service and priority banking services.

The best offshore banks are able to keep up with your international lifestyle while offering the services you need to maintain it.

The Best Offshore Banks for 2024

Summary The Best Offshore Banks for Americans in 2021

Before we dive into the list of the best offshore banks for 2024, we want to highlight a few caveats.

First, remember that what’s best for the general public isn’t what’s best for you. This list is geared toward high-net-worth individuals and is meant to be used as a jumping-off point to help you understand the kind of offshore banks to look for.

As recent events show, the banking landscape is constantly in flux. And although we make every effort to ensure we deliver the most up-to-date information to you, it’s vital that you do your research.

In the offshore world, the goalposts are constantly moving. One bank may gladly accept US citizens one day and then reject them the next. In fact, one bank we work with in Singapore decided to no longer accept British citizens in the wake of Brexit.

However, the Nomad Capitalist team constantly works to keep this list up-to-date. 

Finally, the following list is not a definitive ranking or an exhaustive list, but it helps you in your quest for the best offshore banking solution. 

Premier Banking: DBS Treasures 

Of the three major banks in Singapore, we believe DBS Treasures is the best premier banking service for Nomad Capitalists.

DBS is pretty easy to deal with and has plenty of interesting investment banking opportunities, including next-generation robo-investing. You’ll need to invest at least S$350,000 (Singapore dollars), but you’ll get a relatively robust level of service for that amount.

These benefits make DBS Treasures our go-to recommendation for wealthy entrepreneurs and investors with sufficient financial means. However, you will likely be required to have a connection to Singapore to open an account with DBS.

Singapore is our favourite place in the world to store gold and preserve wealth. Additionally, although Singapore has a reputation for wealth and opulence, it is designed for the modern entrepreneur who doesn’t want the pretence of places like Switzerland.

DBS has benefits like top-notch online banking, unique travel privileges, and creative investment options.

Ease of Opening an Account: TBC Bank

One of the most important aspects of an offshore bank is how easy it is to deal with and TBC Bank in Georgia is the easiest bank to deal with in the world.

Generally, Georgia is an easy place to do business. As an emerging market, the country wants your capital and most Georgian businesses and banks will happily do business with you.

TBC Bank reflects Georgia’s business-friendly attitude and the process of opening an account there takes as little as ten minutes if it is done in person. TBC also allows remote account opening through Power of Attorney granted to a Georgian lawyer, usually taking one to two weeks.

You’ll need to show proof of identity and fill out some paperwork and if, you’re a US person, fill out a few FATCA-related forms. Then, once you’ve completed some paperwork, you make your deposit and can be on your way.

Account minimums are quite low. You can open a regular or certificate of deposit (CD) account there for as little as US$10; for premium banking services, you only need around US$50,000.

While this is relatively cheap, you get great service. In fact, many of the people we work with tell us that premier banking in Georgia is just like the golden age of banking in Hong Kong.

As an added bonus, TBC Bank has excellent online banking services and, for term deposits, you can get interest rates of up to 10%.

Remote Account Opening: Capital Security Bank 

We’re not a big fan of remote bank account opening. Nothing can replace meeting with your bank in person, and remote account opening can be tedious, thanks to the amount of paperwork involved.

However, you may still need to open an account remotely.

In that case, we recommend using Capital Security Bank in the Cook Islands. The process for opening an account remotely there is far more streamlined than in other remote banking jurisdictions. 

It’s a bit more upmarket than most remote banking options and you’ll need to make a higher minimum deposit. You must also maintain a minimum balance of US$250,000, or equivalent in other currencies, to keep your account active.

100% Liquidity: Capital Security Bank 

As already alluded to, banks don’t often keep all of their deposits on hand since, they’ll make loans and investments and a bank’s liquidity ratio indicates how much of your money they may use to do that.

However, a handful of banks don’t make any loans whatsoever and maintain 100% liquidity.

Capital Security Bank (CBS) takes the title here. Rather than acting as a traditional bank, CSB holds your money in trust, giving you the peace of mind that it won’t take risks with your money.

Best Fintech Bank: WISE

Wise is disrupting the international currency exchange market by allowing users to send money all over the globe in various currencies for lower fees than many banks. Wise also offers the ability to hold cash for personal and business needs in different currencies.

By offering accounts in over 50 major currencies, Wise can dramatically reduce exchange fees for its customers. 

It also allows you to transfer money into a more exotic range of currencies other banks and fintech don’t widely offer. For example, if you want to buy and send the Georgian lari, you will most likely not be able to or will face higher fees.

Wise also provides a service whereby you can open an account in different currencies for both business and personal use and store money in those accounts when needed.

This can be useful for Nomad Capitalist investors looking to buy a property or make other investments internationally. Usually, you need to have a residence permit or own a property in a particular country to be allowed to open a bank account.

So, Wise is beneficial if you need to move money overseas for property transactions, move money in different currencies or send money to your foreign bank accounts. 

The Best Offshore Banks for 2022 , Fintech banks

Best US Banks for Non-US Citizens

For non-US residents, banking in the US is surprisingly desirable. Although the US doesn’t have the safest banks in the world, they’re well-connected to the global financial system and opening an account there is relatively easy. 

An added benefit is that the US has Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) deposit insurance, which insures up to US$250,000 per account. In the wake of the Silicon Valley Bank collapse, a number of US politicians demanded the US rate be raised even further.

But even without the level being raised, the US figure, as of April 2024, is still the highest amount of deposit insurance available in the world though Italy and France are also noteworthy for insuring up to €100,000.

As much as we hate to say it, Chase Bank is the best bank for opening a bank account in the US as a non-resident. Chase is one of the biggest banks and financial institutions in the United States, with 17,000 ATMS and 4,700 branches across the US. Opening an account with Chase Bank is an excellent diversification strategy for people outside of the US.

Chase frequently offers new customers bonuses for opening accounts and might be an excellent choice for people who want a US bank account.

We also recommend East West Bank for non-US citizens. East West is the largest independent bank in Southern California and ranks 30th in the list of top US banks with 120 branches. It was formed 50 years ago by a community of Asian immigrants who were not allowed to open accounts at the time.

A full-service commercial FDIC-insured bank, East West offers competitive interest rates on timed deposits for individuals and businesses available in a variety of different currencies. For larger deposits held over 12 months, it offers a healthy interest rate of 4.07%

East West also has highly developed online banking facilities.

Best ‘Onshore’ Account: TD Bank

If you’re beginning your offshore journey, you may not feel comfortable banking in places like Georgia or even Singapore. If that’s the case, you can easily dip your toe in at Toronto-Dominion or TD Bank in Canada.

TD Bank in Canada is a great option for those looking to start their offshore banking journey closer to home. You’re not going to get sky-high interest rates or interesting investment banking options, but at TD Bank you’ll get stable banking and excellent customer service. Additionally, the bank allows you to hold either US dollars or Canadian dollars, which affords a small degree of diversification.

For Western-based nomads especially, TD Bank could be a good way to begin banking internationally if they’re not ready to take a long-haul flight to Georgia or other parts of the world. They can easily travel to a major city like Toronto or Vancouver, open an account with a low minimum deposit and get a feel for offshore banking.

What Are The Best Offshore Banks for Me? 

After reading this list, you may still wonder which offshore bank is right for you. Like most things in the offshore industry, the answer depends on what you need and what your goals are. 

If you’re looking for an offshore business bank account, then you’ll likely need more specific guidance. While many of these banks have options for corporations, this list is geared toward personal banking. 

Are you looking to open an offshore bank account for your business? Do you need help deciding where to open a personal account? We are here to help. 

The team at Nomad Capitalist is ready to help you. We help seven- and eight-figure entrepreneurs and investors create a bespoke strategy using our uniquely successful methods. We’ll help you keep more money, create new wealth faster and be protected from whatever happens in just three steps. Become a client today.  

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