By Luigi Wewege is the Senior Vice President, and Head of Private Banking of Belize based Caye International Bank,
Congratulations on the decision to open an offshore bank account. Many people find that this solution helps them grow their assets and position them to take advantage of exchange rates when they travel.
One thing to keep in mind is that not all offshore accounts in all nations work precisely the same way. That’s why you want to choose wisely before opening that first account. Here are some points that you should consider closely. The information that you collect will improve the odds that you’re happy with the account for a long time to come.
What’s the Primary Reason for Opening an Offshore Bank Account?
You likely have more than one reason for wanting to open an offshore financial account. Don’t feel alone. It’s not unusual for individuals to open this type of account for several reasons. Even so, there’s usually one reason that stands out from the rest.
Examine your motivation and identify the primary reason for wanting to open the account. Could it be that you’re thinking primarily about your retirement years? It could be that a time deposit account with the right bank would be a great addition to your retirement savings plans. Perhaps the main goal is to build up assets based in the country where you plan on retiring. There are also bank accounts that will help you grow the balances faster.
By defining the primary purpose of having the offshore account, it’s easier to focus on institutions that can help you meet that goal.
Finding the Best Location
Do put some thought into where the bank you’re considering happens to be based. One of the more essential reasons for this is that banking laws vary slightly from one nation to the next. Understanding the rules and regulations that the bank is required by law to follow makes it easier to decide if that’s the right place for your money.
Along with the banking laws and regulations, the general stability of that nation is also something that you want to consider. Is the political situation relatively stable? Does the economy seem to weather recessions and other international incidents with comparative ease? When you find the banking laws to be equitable and the country to be stable overall, that’s an excellent place to consider depositing your hard-earned cash.
The Bank’s Reputation Matters
When you chose a bank for your domestic accounts, it was more involved than going with the bank closest to your home or office. You spent some time reviewing ratings and reviews of local banks. Your goal was to find out how well the bank took care of clients, and if there seemed to be any recurring issues that would make you hesitate to do business with that institution. Take the same care when looking for an offshore bank.
Do take the time to find out what others think about the bank and how it operates. You want to know that the staff is there when you have questions or would like some advice on how to get the most returns for your deposits.
You also want to know that the bank is known for standing behind any stated promises. If the general reputation is positive and the bank offers the types of savings and checking accounts that you want, it’s worth considering.
Minimum Balances for Opening Accounts
One of the misconceptions that people have about offshore banks is that it takes quite a bit of money to open accounts. In some nations, that’s true. Offshore banks based in other countries offer account options that require modest opening deposits.
If your income is more middle class than the upper class, it pays to find out what sort of minimum deposits are needed to open accounts with a particular bank. You may find that some allow you to establish the accounts with less money on the front end. Once your balance reaches a certain level, you begin to earn interest. This type of arrangement is an excellent solution for anyone who will need to build balances incrementally rather than make a larger initial deposit.
Banking fees are a fact of life, no matter where your accounts are based. Your goal is to look closely at the fee structure associated with any bank that’s under consideration. Primarily, you want to keep the type of fees and the fee amounts as low as possible. Many people are surprised how much money they save by looking closely at this one facet of international bank accounts.
As you look around, you’ll find that banks in some nations seem to charge fees for everything under the sun. You may have monthly maintenance fees, transaction fees that apply even if you transfer money between accounts with the same bank, or even costs that apply if you want online access to your funds.
The good news is that some international banks have a simple and relatively short list of fees that would apply to any depositor. That’s the type of bank you want to consider.
Access to Your Accounts
Access to your accounts is also something to consider. While online access is more common today, there are still nations where international clients have to do business by phone or email rather than accessing their accounts directly. You want to choose a bank that offers a simple and straightforward interface that allows you to check balances and conduct transactions at any time.
Equally important is the security measures that apply to your online access. Opt for a bank that provides enough authentication on the front end to minimize your account’s risk being compromised. Since you already take measures on your end to prevent unauthorized access to your home network, it makes sense that you would want some assurance that the bank is also protecting the access on the other end.
The better banks are happy to provide potential clients with a demonstration of how the online interfaces work.
Protections and Privacy for Your Account Balances
It’s not just your interface that needs to be secure. The measures taken by the bank should ensure that getting to proprietary data is as difficult as possible. For this reason, you want to find out more about the security measures used to protect the bank’s network and access to customer data.
It also helps to know how much access officials in your country of origin would have to your offshore bank account data. In other words, you want to know that no third party can get to your bank balances or information without your permission.
Why does this matter? If something happened that left your domestic assets open to collections and seizures, you want to make sure your offshore accounts can’t be touched. Those funds will provide the basis for getting a fresh financial start.
Take the First Step in Offshore Banking
The first step is to decide that you want to open offshore accounts. After that, it’s a matter of selecting the right financial institution that’s based in the ideal location.
Choose an institution like Caye International Bank, and you’ll enjoy the benefits that come with banking in a stable setting with a bank that will serve you well. For more information, contact Caye International Bank today and learn more about their various account options.
This is a Sponsored Feature
Luigi Wewege is the Senior Vice President, and Head of Private Banking of Belize based Caye International Bank, a FinTech School Instructor and the published author of The Digital Banking Revolution – now in its third edition.
You can follow his posts on trends shaping the banking and financial services industry on Twitter: @luigiwewege
New digital first bank – Monument – announces its key technology providers
- Monument selects Mambu, Salesforce, Amazon Web Services, Persistent Systems and Accenture as key providers for its technology build
- Monument is the first challenger bank in the UK to service the unmet demands of more than 3.5 million mass affluent clients: professionals, property investors and entrepreneurs
- It is building a modern, unique, lego-like technology platform which takes best of breed SaaS providers and integrates them in a cloud based microservices architecture
- This will deliver an exceptional client experience and enable Monument to innovate and to introduce new components on a frequent basis
- Monument today announces that Mambu will be the central core banking engine in the platform alongside Salesforce for CRM, and AWS for cloud services
- Monument has also engaged Persistent Systems and Accenture Interactive to support the platform build
Following receipt of its banking licence with restriction on 6 October 2020, Monument has now signed agreements with a number of key technology providers to enable the build of its bespoke technology platform.
Monument wants to deliver exceptional client experiences by using technology solutions that are modern, flexible, easy to integrate and ultimately, if necessary, able to be replaced should the need arise. The design of its lego-like technology platform is Monument’s solution to the huge challenges faced by the legacy systems of established banks. Having assessed the market over many months, Monument concluded that no appropriate single solution existed in the market for the products and services that Monument will launch in 2021.
In addition, Monument only wishes to develop its own technology where it can deliver significant competitive advantage, for example in the mobile and web services to be used by clients. Much of the technology platform is therefore based on best of breed solutions from modern, cloud-based providers.
Mambu has developed the leading cloud banking engine which is an excellent fit for the platform that Monument is building. Similarly, Salesforce provides an industry leading CRM (customer relationship management) solution which can easily be integrated with Mambu and other solutions. AWS, as a leading provider of cloud-based infrastructure, provides a range of components to ensure the platform is reliable, scalable, secure and flexible.
To support Monument in building and integrating a platform with more than 18 different components/providers, Monument has chosen to work with Persistent Systems, a leading global solutions provider specializing in digital with extensive experience in software as a service (SaaS) solutions. To support Monument in rapidly building its mobile app and web-based channels, Monument has chosen to work with Accenture Interactive, which has significant expertise in building innovative digital experiences in both the financial and non-financial sectors.
Steve Britain, Monument’s Chief Operating Officer said:
“We have been working closely with our chosen providers for some months now, to lay the foundations for the build of our platform. We are delighted at how much we have already achieved, particularly as much of the work has been done by a highly distributed team because of COVID-19. We are now focused on completing the work to build a unique configuration of best in class software components that will make us highly flexible for the future and deliver market leading client service.”
More announcements will be made shortly as other key components of the architecture are confirmed.
Sudip Dasgupta, Monument’s Chief Technology Officer added:
“It was essential to me that we selected the strongest providers available. Those that offer us modern technology solutions with the best degree of integration that we need, together with flexibility for the future and proven operational reliability. In Mambu, Salesforce and AWS we have certainly achieved that objective and we are excited about our future engagement with them. Equally, as we rapidly build our platform for launching with clients in early 2021, we wanted support from providers who have been on this journey before and in Persistent and Accenture Interactive, I am delighted to say we have found that.”
Monument will be the only bank to offer its clients an entirely digital journey for buy-to-let and property investment lending of up to £2million. It will offer market leading, top quartile savings rates and its model is designed to reward loyalty. So, if a saver deposits money for a subsequent fixed term, they will get a better rate than a new customer. And a borrower who renews their loan will also be offered a favourable rate.
UKRSIBBANK, part of BNP Paribas Group, announces a strategic partnership with financial wellbeing startup Dreams, to enhance the digital user experience of its 2 million customers in Ukraine
- The technology powering popular consumer app, Dreams – which has helped 460,000 users save over 440M EUR – will be made available to UKRSIBBANK’s users in Ukraine.
- Through the integration of the Dreams platform within UKRSIBBANK’s own digital tools, customers of the bank can set and achieve money-saving goals, track and improve their financial lives.
Dreams (https://www.getdreams.com/en/b2b/), the Stockholm-born fintech empowering millennials to save and feel better about their money, today announces a strategic partnership with Ukrainian commercial bank UKRSIBBANK, a subsidiary of French international bank BNP Paribas Group.
This partnership follows the announcement earlier this year of Dreams’ first enterprise partnership with banking software provider Silverlake Symmetri, and the recent unveiling of a new department in Stockholm dedicated to the development of Dreams’ B2B partnerships. The announcement marks an expansion of the company’s business model as it consolidates its B2B offering and evolves its services as a provider of white label solutions for financial institutions.
Through the integration within UKRSIBBANK’s own digital tools of the Dreams Platform – which is rooted in scientific principles – customers can set and achieve money-saving goals through clever, automated saving features, in addition to nudges and saving hacks.
The Dreams Platform will be included as part of UKRSIBBANK’s digital banking offering for its 2 million+ customers, and is set to grant millions of potential consumers across Ukraine access to products which will help keep their finances on track and improve their financial lives.
The rise in digital self-help tools has long been anticipated by Dreams and forward-thinking financial institutions. The current global economic uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has also placed significant strains on people’s finances, and the demand for better personal finance tools has only accelerated. The partnership with Dreams is welcomed by UKRSIBBANK which is currently striving to equip its customers with the best possible banking solutions whilst helping them achieve a more sustainable lifestyle.
Dreams is firmly established as an authority in its industry, having launched its consumer-facing app in its native Sweden in 2016 and Norway in 2018 – where it has already achieved a 16% market share of all 20-39 year olds.
Henrik Rosvall, CEO and founder of Dreams, comments: “It’s a true honour to be partnering with UKRSIBBANK and BNP Paribas Group, and we’re incredibly excited to be introducing the Dreams solution to UKRSIBBANK’s customers and the wider Ukrainian market.
“Dreams and UKRSIBBANK can now lead the charge, with BNP Paribas Group’s corporate strategy having shifted in recent years to focus on guiding customers towards responsible consumption and sustainable personal finance management. I’m confident that our mission of helping millennials save more and feel better about their money makes us the ideal partners.
“Our financial wellbeing platform – which is built upon behavioural science and personal finance management principles – will provide the perfect tool for UKRSIBBANK to help its customers make better financial choices and become more sustainable in the way they handle their finances. This partnership will also help UKRSIBBANK safeguard the loyalty of its customers and futureproof its digital banking offering against a growing number of challenger banks and fintechs.”
Konstantin Lezhnin, Head of Retail at UKRSIBBANK BNP Paribas Group, comments: “I believe that banks have a role to improve their customers’ lives. Planning and saving for important life events improves our quality of life by reducing stress levels, and we wish to make our customers feel more confident and in-control of their lives.
“UKRSIBBANK has always applied innovative ways to assist our customers in financial planning, so we are very happy to now be working with Dreams, the best European player in behavioural savings. They have an extremely solid track record in Sweden and Norway based on scientific research, so we are confident that this partnership will work positively for our customers in Ukraine. This also demonstrates our strategy to cooperate with startups and innovative companies that seek ways to expand their operations.”
Three times as many SMEs are satisfied than dissatisfied with COVID-19 support from their bank or building society
- More SMEs are satisfied (38%) than dissatisfied (13%) with their COVID-19 banking support
- Decline in SMEs using personal current accounts for business banking as more seek access to the Government-backed lending scheme
- Fewer SMEs believe nearby branches are important when choosing a bank or building society
- 15% of SMEs use mobile or online banking more often than before the COVID-19 pandemic
- When SMEs do look to switch, low or no charges for business banking remains the most important factor (47%) in selecting a new account
Three times as many SMEs have been satisfied than dissatisfied with the COVID-19 support available from their bank or building society, according to YouGov research commissioned by the Current Account Switch Service.
Overall, four in ten SMEs (38%) were satisfied with the support they received from their business current account provider since the pandemic began. This contrasts with one in ten SMEs (13%) who were dissatisfied. In general, more than half of SMEs (55%) are satisfied with their current business bank account, compared to 8% who are dissatisfied. However, inertia remains a problem as half of SMEs (50%) said they would not look to switch business accounts even if they were dissatisfied with their current bank or building society.
When SMEs do look to switch, low or no charges for business banking remains the most important factor (47%) in selecting a new account. Advanced digital features (35%), good interest rates (34%), and a personal connection through a relationship manager (33%) also mattered.
The SME banking research was conducted both in February and in September 2020. It also reveals that since the start of the pandemic, the proportion of SMEs using business current accounts has increased from 69% in February to 74% in September as firms are required to have a business account to receive access to the Government-backed lending schemes.
However, one in five SMEs (20%) still use a personal current account for their business banking needs, despite the risk that tax liabilities get confused, and calculations are made incorrectly. These businesses are also missing out on a range of business-only banking benefits such as integrated accounting software or invoicing tools offered by different providers.
In addition, the research shows the importance of branches to SMEs has declined over the seven months. When asked in February, more than a fifth of SMEs (22%) said the availability of nearby bank branches was important when selecting their bank or building society, compared to 17% in September. However, the Post Office could be fulfilling the role of branches in some areas.
The declining importance of nearby branches was most noticeable in the North East region where 35% of SMEs believed branches were important in February, falling to 18% in September. The importance of nearby branches also varies between industries. One in ten IT companies (11%) said nearby branches were an important factor compared to nearly three in ten (29%) leisure and hospitality businesses.
While branches are less important, digital banking use has increased for some SMEs. Several firms have started to use online banking for the first time as 15% of SMEs say they use mobile or online banking more often than before the social distancing measures were introduced.
Maha El Dimachki, Chief Payments Officer of Pay.UK, owner and operator of the Current Account Switch Service, said: “Across the country, banks and building societies have been working hard in difficult circumstances to meet customer needs. Thanks to that work, small and medium-sized enterprises are more likely to say they are satisfied than dissatisfied with the support they received from their business account provider since the pandemic started. But lockdown has changed small business behaviour dramatically, in a way that points to significant changes to their banking needs both now and in future.
“It’s encouraging to see many small businesses are generally satisfied with their business bank accounts. However, even when businesses are unhappy with their bank, some don’t consider switching as an option, despite the many benefits available. We’ll continue to raise awareness of the benefits of switching among small businesses to help them get the most from their bank account.”
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