5 Best Countries to Offshore Bank

November 11th, 2013  |  by  |  Published in Features

offshore banking

Offshore banking options can make good sense, especially for world travelers. Whether you’re looking for secure 1-year fixed rate bonds or simply a reliable and anonymous account in a stable country, you’ll be looking for the same thing: a bank with the most attractive combination of online convenience, features, and of course rates.

The present economic situation adds an extra dimension to offshore banking, especially for those who are wary of keeping their money in U.S. dollars and may find an account in an alternative currency a compelling option. There are potential downsides, though: some overseas banks have trouble supplying representatives fluent in English. Icelandic banks were nationalized during the crisis, and some Europeans’ assets have been frozen as a a result.

1. Panama

Panamanian bankers have many years’ experience working with clients from the United States. The country’s decades of dealing with the interests of international businesses has led it to have a legal system which meshes well with that of the U.S. Panama also benefits from relative stability, something which is helped by the strategic importance of the Panama Canal. Every major nation needs the canal to be clear, and so they will generally tend to support the government in office.

2. Cayman Islands

Located to the south of Cuba, these sun-kissed islands are renowned for their beaches – but also for being one of the world’s most popular tax havens, both for corporations and for individuals. That said, the islands have cooperated increasingly with the IRS in recent years, making them less of an automatic choice these days. Even so, they can still boast plenty of banks offering full global service and which have experience with clients from the U.S.

3. Luxembourg

This small country in western Europe is an alternative to Switzerland, since it combines a low level of taxes on non-residents with many of the features of Swiss banking. It’s among the continent’s richest countries, and also a very attractive center of culture. Internet banking is straightforward and quick, while its banking sector remains free from significant interference from Luxembourg’s own government or European officials.

4. Switzerland

For decades, the world’s richest people have flocked to Swiss banking, but the country’s preeminence has taken a knock in recent years as its EU neighbors – especially Germany – have taken an increasingly hard line on tax avoidance. For the moment, Americans’ own bank accounts in Switzerland are relatively untouched, but the potential danger is clear.

Even so, Switzerland’s extremely professional and stable setup still makes it a good country to do offshore banking in. However, banks in Switzerland tend to demand large minimum deposits, which means those not in the elite can find it hard going.

5. Andorra

The tiny Pyrenean state denominates all new accounts in a range of currencies, making it attractive for globetrotters. The country is stable politically, and anonymous accounts are relatively easy to get hold of. Andorra’s banking sector is larger than it was, and its non-EU status is significant, although its larger European neighbors still exert pressure on the nation.

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