You wouldn’t dream of assuming that all domestic banking institutions are the same, so why lump all offshore banks together? The fact is that not all banks offer the same features or the same level of service.
Before choosing an international bank to house part of your assets, compare different banks to see what each offers. Be sure the following features are present before doing business with any offshore bank.
1. High Degree of Political and Economic Stability
No country is immune to some amount of political and economic upheaval. That’s as true offshore as it is at home. Your goal is to identify a bank located in a nation that enjoys significant stability regarding the political climate and the economy.
Look closely at the nation’s history, especially in terms of how it has weathered worldwide economic shifts. If it could fare better in comparison to many other countries, having offshore check and savings accounts there makes sense. In like manner, a nation that has enjoyed several years of political stability is more likely to enjoy that state for many more years.
2. Dedication to Depositor Confidentiality
You don’t want everyone to know about the offshore accounts you create and use to build financial reserves. While you expect some degree of tracking and reporting, it’s essential to do business with a bank that protects your privacy. The goal is to ensure that you control who can access your information and how it can be used.
Focus your attention on nations that make it easy for banks within their borders to provide the level of security that you desire. You’ll find that many bankers are happy to provide details about what type of information they can share under specific circumstances. If you are satisfied with the policies in place, that bank is worth exploring further.
3. Laws and Regulations Designed to Welcome Foreign Customers
What incentives are offered for offshore clients to deposit funds in offshore bank accounts? The answer is usually found in the banking laws that are currently in effect. Those laws set the stage for what banks can offer to customers who are citizens and residents of other nations.
Building on that foundation, banks can offer incentives that comply with those laws. Offerings can include varying account types, the schedule for bank fees, interest rates, and many other standard banking services. Review these carefully and determine if those incentives help set one bank apart from the rest.
4. Banking Staff Can Communicate in Multiple Languages
Communication is essential, even if it happens in a digital setting. You want to know that if you need to send an email or make a phone call, there is someone on the bank’s end who can communicate without any misunderstandings. For this reason, look closer at banks located in nations where the language you speak is in everyday use.
For North Americans, this typically means looking for an offshore bank site where English is the primary or secondary language. If you are found elsewhere in the world, knowing that languages like Spanish or French are also used will make a difference. It doesn’t have to be your first language, but it does need to be one that you can speak fluently.
5. Variety of Bank Account Options
What do you have in mind when it comes to using those bank accounts? Is the plan to tuck away some assets for emergencies? Maybe the idea is to build retirement reserves. You may even want a good way to set aside funds that your kids or grandkids will use for college.
Look for an offshore bank that offers different bank accounts according to what you need. From basic savings accounts to time deposit accounts or even offshore pensions, these are just a few solutions to investigate. Keep in mind that a greater range of accounts will make it easier to know where to turn if you decide to deposit funds for other purposes.
6. Investment Accounts Options
One of those other purposes may be to make the most of offshore investment opportunities. There are a variety of investments that may or may not be traded in your country of residence. Some of them may have the risk level and the potential returns that you consider ideal.
Having an offshore investment account allows you to secure and hold those assets with ease. Think of it as one more way to grow your wealth while protecting it at the same time.
7. Minimal Fees for Services Like Money Transfers
You’re no stranger to bank fees, but it is nice when you don’t have to deal with them. As you consider different offshore banks, take a close look at what is charged for various types of services that involve the use of your accounts. The goal is to see which bank has the most competitive fees for the services you are most likely to use.
For example, money transfer fees are something many offshore depositors encounter. Depending on how the transfer fee is calculated and how often you arrange transfers, the fees you incur can add up. If you opt for a bank that either does not assess a transfer fee or keeps it to a minimum amount, more of your money gets to stay in those accounts.
8. Secure and Simple Remote Account Access
Online banking and remote account access are not features of every offshore banking institution. Before making any assumptions, confirm that the bank provides online account access that you can use for most of your transactions. This eliminates the need to have a representative handle transactions on your behalf.
Keep in mind that online access must be secure. You’ll find that the best offshore financial institutions provide full disclosure about the security measures they take and what they mean for depositors. If you’re happy with both the function of the remote access and the safety measures in place, that bank may be perfect for you.
9. Easy to Buy and Save in Multiple Currencies
Many people open offshore bank accounts because they love to travel. If the bank makes it easy to designate different currencies for purchases, you are better positioned to take advantage of the day’s exchange rates. This could make your travel more affordable.
Don’t overlook that a bank that can save funds in multiple currencies provides another avenue for building wealth. If you believe that a favorable rate of exchange will reverse significantly during the upcoming term, simply change the currency type to one that is projected to remain more stable.
10. Strong Customer Service Ethic
There’s no doubt that you want to deal with a bank known for excellent customer service and support. Whether you are banking remotely or if you happen to be visiting the country and need to speak with a bank officer or employee, you know that you and your business are important. That’s not always true in some places.
This type of service makes it easier to resolve issues or get financial advice. If the bank you have in mind is known for placing value on its customers, take a closer look at what the institution offers.
Offshore Banks with Proven Track Records
Choosing an offshore bank with the best features requires investing time and effort into the search. Look for banks with proven records of success and longevity. Take your time, ask questions, and listen closely to the answers.