Personal Banking

This article covers personal banking. For banking for incorporated bodies such as limited companies or trusts see our main article on corprate banking.

For persons who are tax based only on funds remitted into their country a foreign bank account alone may be an effective tax planning tool and is for many the cheapest and simplest solution for tax planning. However many countries tax their citizens on funds in their name wherever held and the use of a foreign bank account will not legally defer taxation. In this case consideration should be given to a more sophisticated solution such as the use of a structure which might also afford other benefits.

Choice of Bank
The choice of bank depends upon a combination of factors including reputation, credit rating, reputation of country, level of due diligence (KYC) required, confidentiality as well as range of banking services available.

Retail Banking
Retail banking refers to the normal use of a bank account in one or many currencies for making payments and may include online banking facilities and the use of debit and credit cards. Accounts of this sort generally have either a small minimum deposit requirement or a small account opening fee.

Anonymous Banking
Some clients may wish to use anonymous credit or debit cards whilst others may consider these to be somewhat dubious and likely to risk attracting unwanted attention from tax authorities.

Deposit/Savings Account
Placement of funds on long term deposit accounts will lock them for a longer term but the interest rates will be higher. Accounts of this sort are usually subject to a significant minimum deposit level and increased due diligence requirements.

Prepaid Credit Cards
The use of prepaid credit-cards may be an effective means to achieving anonymous payments or transfer of money in countries with unreliable banking systems or where other payment systems are not trusted. Since they are also associated with tax evasion, anonymous purchases and the avoiding of national restrictions on the use of online gaming sites they can be problematic since they may either trigger card processors’ anti-fraud mechanisms or attract unwanted attention from banks or tax authorities.

Foreign Exchange
Foreign exchange and foreign exchange options are a service which banks frequently offer to allow clients to manage the risk of currency movements.

Safety Deposit
In some cases the use of a safety deposit facility may be desirable.

Trading Accounts
Some banks offer trading accounts and whilst generally more expensive than stockbrokers they may be desirable in some cases where few trades are envisaged since banks may be considered to be more financially stable than insurance brokers.