(Editor’s note: The information in this article is based on Streber's personal experiences and has not been independently verified. As always, do your own due diligence.)
This is a list of the best offshore banks that I have used.
The word "used" refers to myself having an account, card or other services with the bank, or a bank which any of the companies I deal with as a director or consultant uses.
There will be no Caribbean banks here. This does not mean that banks in Belize, Dominica, Bahamas, St. Vincent, and so on are not good. It simply means I do not yet have enough experience with any of them.
Anyway, without further ado, here are the best offshore banks, in no particular order.
Bank: Jyske Bank
Time with bank: 3 years
Purpose: Company bank account for Gibraltar company
Jyske Bank stands out in terms of service and competitive fees. Their Netbank (online banking) has never been down, and I have never had a card purchase declined due to problems with the bank. They have competitive interest rates, and they have helped set up a very good low- to medium-risk investment portfolio for the company's savings.
For those interested in opening an account, Jyske Bank requires all the usual documents (notarized passport and company documents) and an opening deposit of 150,000 EUR. Being in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) region helps for cheap and quick transfers across Europe.
Jurisdiction: Hong Kong
Time with bank: 2 years
Purpose: Company bank account for Seychelles IBC
Very easy-going bank with excellent telephone support. Account opening and maintenance are a breeze. A low minimum balance makes this bank a good fit for my small Seychelles-based company. For accounts held by non-resident companies, they issue only UnionPay ATM cards (accepted in over 100 countries), which is usually not a problem, unless a company credit card, such as Visa, MasterCard, or Amex, is required. Their internet banking has not been down a single time outside of maintenance.
Minimum balance varies depending on account type but for smaller companies, an Integrated Account is enough with a minimum of 25,000 HKD being required. If you fall below that, they charge a rather humble 50 HKD per month. Multi-currency by default. For company accounts, a director must visit the bank in purpose. For personal accounts, you must visit the bank.
Bank: Hang Seng
Jurisdiction: Hong Kong
Time with bank: 1.5 years
Purpose: Company account for Hong Kong company
Hang Seng is owned by HSBC and products are nearly identical. The reason we decided to go with Hang Seng over HSBC was that Hang Seng has slightly lower fees and is much more lenient with issuing business cards.
Bank: Crèdit Andorrà
Time with bank: 3+ years
Purpose: Personal savings
This bank is simply amazing. All accounts are multi-currency, and they support a lot of currencies, including some less-common ones. Transfers into and out of Europe are faster than mainstream European banks, and within Europe it’s usually as fast as SEPA despite not being a SEPA enabled bank.
Fees are higher than mainstream European banks, which can be offset by using the bank's huge selection of investment opportunities. Credit Andorra gives you access to stocks, bonds, funds, and equities around the world. See here for more information.
For your own security (as well as privacy) you can generate an endless number of virtual cards (called Cybertargetas) with the bank. These cards can hold up to 2,000 EUR.
Customer service speaks Catalan, Spanish, French, English, and more.
There is no minimum balance for opening a personal account. The requirement for private banking varies; the lowest I’ve heard was 50,000 EUR. You must visit the bank in person to open an account. Private banking is also available with the bank’s Panamanian branch.
Bank: Banquede Luxembourg (BDL)
Time with bank: 20+ years
Purpose: Luxembourg trust
Excellent returns on investment funds, and highly professional staff. The trust had been with this bank long before I was involved and I have found no reason to recommend another bank.
Bank: Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB)
Jurisdiction: United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Time with bank: 4 years
Purpose: Company account for UAE (RAK) company
This is one of my preferred banks in the Middle East. There have been times when we have needed to call our account manager in the middle of the night local time, and he has been happy to take the call – and solve the issue!
They offer a special credit card for smaller businesses, which is something I wish more banks did. The card is easy to get and can be invaluable to new businesses.
ADCB is also a big merchant bank with settlement in a wide range of currencies.
New accounts can be opened with as little as AED 50,000 (around 10,000 EUR or $13,500 USD) to avoid penalty fees, and all accounts are multi-currency, which in addition to the usual EUR, USD, GBP, and local AED covers some other regional currencies. Islamic banking is available.
Bank: Banque Audi
Time with bank: 4 years
Purpose: Savings products for UAE (RAK) company
Lebanon was chosen for its extremely tight banking secrecy, and Banque Audi had the services best fitting for this company (cash collection, savings). The interest rates on savings accounts are phenomenal and the staff is always helpful. Rigorous application process but smooth sailing after that (very few questions asked).
Bank: United Overseas Bank (UOB)
Time with bank: 1 year
Purpose: Company account for Singapore company
This bank is a fairly new acquaintance, but so far, it's been nothing short of excellent. Multi-currency accounts, top-notch customer service (in English), and simple account opening and credit card applications.
Contrary to its name, UOB is not particularly open to offshore companies and have recently made it even more difficult for overseas individuals to open accounts. They will and do open accounts for some offshore companies (especially Hong Kong and other surrounding Asian countries), but European or American (including Caribbean) individuals or companies may find it difficult.
Time with bank: 2+ years
Purpose: Savings account for Panamanian holding company
Anyone who has ever opened – or tried to open – an account in Panama knows that it can feel like taking a deep dive into an ocean of paperwork. I walked out of several banks shaking my head at the amount of paperwork required. Multibank, however, made it easy. They still required a lot of paperwork, but they were very upfront about what they needed.
They have some very interesting card products, and it's all very international-friendly since the bank uses USD as standard currency. Account opening can be very difficult for non-Panamanian entities or persons. Multi-currency is available but not standard. Minimum deposit varies from $1,000 to $35,000 USD, depending on service needed.
Editor’s Note: Things can change quickly. New options emerge, while others disappear. This is why it's so important to have the most up-to-date and accurate information possible. That's where International Man comes in. Be sure to get the free IM Communiqué to keep up with the latest on the best offshore banking options.
Streber works as a consultant and director for a wide range of companies and has broad experience in offshore banking, offshore incorporation (formation and maintenance of offshore companies), taxation, privacy, ecommerce, merchant accounts, online payments, and all other things the privacy-minded entrepreneur might find interesting. You can read Streber's blog on offshore incorporation and offshore banking here.