CREDIT CARD AND DEBIT CARD SERVICES
Most banks offer a comprehensive range of credit and debit card services for either personal or corporate accounts. In many cases, the currency of the card is dependent upon the country in which the bank operates. Many banks have introduced US Dollar cards to cater for the international market.
The majority of people who open an offshore bank account fall into one of the three following general categories:
1) HIGH NET WORTH INDIVIDUALS - These are people with a disposable income in excess of one million US dollars.
2) EXPATRIATES - These are people who are located overseas away from their home country either on an employment assignment or in retirement.
3) BUSINESS OWNERS - Generally these are individuals who own companies whose shares are owned by family members or a close working partnership.
According to statistics the majority of individual offshore banking clients come from Europe, Australia and North America, but more recently larger numbers of Eastern European, African, Indian and Asian individuals have found that offshore banking structures suit their own personal requirements.
The ‘type’ of person who falls into the above three categories range from those with inherited wealth to those who have earned it by themselves and they all utilize offshore banking for the following benefits: taxation planning, estate planning, pre-immigration or repatriation planning, privacy and asset protection.
There are far more corporate clients with offshore banking needs than individual clients. They fall into one of the following categories:
1) Multi-national corporations.
2) Large industrial and trading companies.
3) Shipping companies.
4) Financial services and banking institutions.
The benefits of offshore banking for such companies are diverse and range from the fact that a large number of companies actually outsource parts of their operations overseas and require accounts in these countries to the fact that many offshore jurisdictions have tax free zones through which companies can operate all or part of their operations tax effectively.
*INTERNATIONAL TRADE - Letters of credit, documentary collections, Cross-border guarantees and global banking services at locations around the world.
*RISK MANAGEMENT: Foreign exchange, Interest rate, Equity and Energy Price Risk Management Tools.
*Payment, receivables and payroll solutions.
SELLING SOLUTIONS: Point of sale, E-commerce and Merchant Programmes.
*Speciality solutions, such as dealer, shareowner and fund services.
*Expertise in matters such as energy, aviation, shipping or real estate.
CRITERIAS TO OPEN OFFSHORE ACCOUNT FOR A CLIENT
Aspects considered are:
The nationality, residence and domicile of the client. Banks often have policies that deny, restrict or place conditions upon certain classes of clients from having access to their services, and these policies change from time-to-time.
OFFSHORE BANKING CONSIDERATIONS
The best offshore bank account will depend very much on personal circumstances and account requirements –
For example whether you are looking for a bank account, tax solution or an asset protection plan. If you need advice make sure you get independent assistance and always do full due diligence before moving your assets to an offshore bank's account.
* Any banks you considered should be located in a secure offshore jurisdiction where they are subject to the regulation, supervision and licensing of an independent statutory body. This is necessary to ensure the security of funds placed in an account;
* You should be sure that the particular offshore bank you are interested in has a reputable parent company, good reputation and history.
* There is much difference in account costs and transaction fees, but many people do not look at fee structures when opening bank account. This information always remains available to the customers.
* Offshore bank accounts usually come with extra account options and features such as the ability to conduct transactions in more than one currency, etc., and they are often more expensive than current accounts in local banks. If you do not need so many extra features, you can obtain the cheaper variant of the offshore bank account excluding extra features you do not require.
IS IT LEGAL FOR ME TO HAVE AN OFFSHORE BANK ACCOUNT?
Yes, absolutely legal. Offshore banking has been routinely and legally used for many years by individuals and organizations worldwide. Because many countries encourage international trade and enterprise, there are usually only limited restrictions on residents doing business or having bank accounts in other countries. However, reporting requirements on these accounts differ from country to country.
OPENING OF OFFSHORE BANK ACCOUNT
PROCEDURES & MAINTENANCE
OPENING AN OFFSHORE ACCOUNT
Opening a foreign bank account is not that easy as numerous people think. You can't just walk into a place and start signing a form that will open your account after you're done filling in. Unluckily, the banking facilities you might be dealing with are placed in that foreign country. They might have unique identification laws that you'll have to agree with in order to open an account.
Luckily, you do not have to travel all the way to every corner of the world just to open an account. Internet is one of the most prestigious inventions these days. By accessing a site, you can easily open your account behind your desk and within no time you can shift money at anytime from anywhere in world.
First off, it is best to get some more info about obligations and your requirements with a specialist in this area if you are ready to open a bank account. After you are done with this and you fully understand everything, it's time to take a look at which country offers the lowest taxes.
Setting up offshore bank accounts at an offshore bank is a great idea, but you have to know on the dot what you are dealing with and what the risks are. Take a look at Offshore Banking for more information.
CONSEQUENTLY THE OFFSHORE AND INTERNATIONAL BANKS WILL SEEK TO:
* Obtain evidence of our clients' identities,
* Develop a documented understanding of our client's banking and business activities,
* Identify the source of funds paid into accounts to ensure that such funds are not derived from criminal activity and to document evidence relating to source of funds.
* Monitor banking transactions to identify and forestall money laundering,
* Risk assess each and every client.
This means that offshore account opening procedures can be onerous and time consuming.
Typically offshore banks will require some or all of the following information to open and operate an offshore account for a simple offshore company which is owned by individuals (rather than a corporation, trust or other form of entity):
Certified proof of identity of owners, directors, account signatories and all parties connected with the offshore company. Acceptable proof of identity would normally include a passport copy certified in a prescribed manner by an officer of the bank, a notary or an authorized Worldwide Manager.
Proof of residence of all parties associated with the offshore company. Acceptable proof of residence would typically include an original bank statement or credit card statement.
OFFSHORE BANK ACCOUNT MAINTENANCE
Once an offshore account is opened it is important to keep the offshore bank briefed and current with the affairs of a client company or trust. Banks do not react well to pattern is set to change or a large or unusual transaction is about to occur it always wise to pre-warn the bank and provide documentation such that the bank can understand and maintain evidence of the wholesomeness and reason for the proposed transaction.
WHAT IS THE MINIMUM DEPOSIT REQUIRED TO OPEN AN OFFSHORE ACCOUNT?
It all depends on which account you choose. But you can start off with a deposit of US $1,000 while other banks will require minimum$500,000.
In which currencies can I open an offshore account?
Accounts are available in all major currencies, including U.S. dollars and Euros
ADVANTAGES OF OFFSHORE BANKING
WHO COULD BENEFIT ?
You could benefit if you're planning to move or retire abroad, or are already living in another country. You may also benefit if you have homes or commitments in more than one country. If you live in a country which is politically or economically unstable, you may choose to place your money offshore in order to protect your assets more effectively.
The purposes to open offshore bank account may include tax liability minimization, asset protection, estate planning, confidentiality, better returns, and the chance to exploit active business interests offshore from a zero tax jurisdiction.
Large part of the companies establish accounts with international and offshore banks rather than domestic banks because of the following characteristics:
* TAX EFFICIENCY:
In most offshore jurisdictions tax benefits, including interest on offshore accounts and investments, are paid without the deduction of tax. Offshore banks and private companies are not liable to income tax, also considering capital gains tax and stamp duties on property as exempt. There is no need to visit the bank to open an offshore account.
Most offshore banks provide high level of confidentiality, security and convenience. All personal data and the details of your banking, including the account balance, are protected by modern legislation. The amount on an offshore bank account is not liable to inheritance tax.
*ACCESS TO SPECIAL INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES: One of offshore banking benefits is easy global access to deposits, at least in terms of regulation. Most jurisdictions offer less restrictive legal regulation for offshore accounts, compared to the accounts opened in local banks. Some offshore banks offer banking services that may not be available from domestic banks such as anonymous bank accounts, higher or lower rate loans based on risk and investment opportunities not available elsewhere.
* NO FOREIGN EXCHANGE CONTROL: it is possible to conduct business in the country in which you have your bank account with the local currency.
* Offshore banking also provides protection against local political or financial instability because offshore bank accounts do not become subject to local litigation.
* Global investment and business prospective, familiarity with offshore and international business. Banking operations can be made from any place of the world, via Internet, e-mail, post or telephone.
Because of the costs of establishing and maintaining offshore accounts, offshore private banking is usually more accessible to wealthy persons.
* Offshore banking is often linked to other structures, such as offshore companies, trusts or foundations, which may have specific tax advantages for some individuals.
* Offshore finance is one of the few industries, along with tourism, in which geographically remote island nations can competitively engage. It can help developing countries source investment and create growth in their economies, and can help redistribute world finance from the developed to the developing world.
* If you set up an offshore bank account, you will be provided with the ability to protect your money against local creditors. This is because your offshore accounts aren't subjugated to the local litigation laws. if you get financially insecure, the funds you possess in your offshore bank account are protected. But even though your assets and your funds may be saved against threat from local creditors, it's still essential to have a look at the dangers in which accounts you choose to open.
DISADVANTAGES OF OFFSHORE BANKING
Offshore banking has been associated in the past with the underground economy and organized crime, through money laundering. Following September 11, 2001, offshore banks and tax havens, along with clearing houses, have been accused of helping various organized crime gangs, terrorist groups, and other state or non-state actors.
Offshore jurisdictions are often remote, so physical access and access to information can be difficult. Yet in a world with global telecommunications this is rarely a problem for customers. Accounts can be set up online, by phone or by mail.
Offshore private banking is usually more accessible to those on higher incomes, because of the costs of establishing and maintaining offshore accounts. However, simple savings accounts can be opened by anyone and maintained with scale fees equivalent to their onshore counterparts. The tax burden in developed countries thus falls disproportionately on middle-income groups.
Historically, tax cuts have tended to result in a higher proportion of the tax take being paid by high-income groups, as previously sheltered income is brought back into the mainstream economy.
Offshore bank accounts are sometimes touted as the solution to every legal, financial and asset protection strategy but this is often much more exaggerated than the reality.
The existence of offshore banking encourages tax evasion, by providing tax evaders with an attractive place to deposit their hidden income.
Developing countries can suffer due to the speed at which money can be transferred in and out of their economy and can increase problems in financial disturbance.
In some jurisdictions it is necessary to deposit large sums of money, therefore you should be aware that your money could be at risk if anything should happen in the country you choose for offshore banking.
Offshore banking always needs professional advice. It is important to consult a lawyer or a financial adviser before investing in an offshore banking account, because you need to catch all the details before making a deposit.