An offshore bank account (also known as an overseas or non-resident account) is one you open in a country or region other than where you live. While the term may have originated from the Channel Islands being geographically "offshore" from the UK, nowadays it can be used for any bank account that offers similar advantages.
An offshore account allows you to make and receive payments, hold money, and set up savings and investment accounts in at least one foreign currency, and sometimes in multiple currencies.
Some of the more well-known locations that offer non-resident accounts include the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Singapore.
regularly travel to different countries for work
plan to move abroad for work, or to retire – or you already live overseas
own property or have other investments in another country
are sometimes paid in a foreign currency
provide financial support for family members who are overseas, such as paying a child's school fees or a relative's care costs
are an ambassador or someone with an international role who moves for work frequently
Moving abroad? Our country guides are designed to give you some of the essential info you need in your first 3 months and beyond.
hold money, and make and receive payments, in various currencies
access international expertise and investment advice
manage foreign exchange to your advantage
keep the same bank account every time you move
keep your money in a secure, central location, connected to your local accounts
Offshore or overseas bank accounts usually have all the features you would expect from a local bank account, such as a debit card and online or mobile banking, with the convenience of international banking.
An online search for "bank accounts for foreigners" currently yields more than 26,000 search results. How do you sift through this information to find the account that's right for you? Here are some things to consider.
No matter where you decide to keep your money, make sure you choose a reputable bank for your accounts.
Do you already have an account with an international bank? You may be able to open a second account offshore with them for seamless, global banking. For HSBC customers, if you've already qualified for HSBC Premier in another country, or you meet the eligibility requirements, you can apply online for an HSBC Expat offshore (Jersey) account.
The security and quality of the offshore jurisdiction is as important as the reputation of the bank.
With an onshore account, governments in many countries will guarantee your deposits up to a certain amount. Some offshore jurisdictions may also offer some form of compensation scheme, but it's the stability of the financial environment that sets them apart.
Singapore, for example, is an offshore jurisdiction that offers a deposit guarantee if you hold your money in Singapore dollars. Likewise, HSBC Expat participates in the Jersey Bank Depositors Compensation Scheme. This offers protection for eligible deposits of up to GBP50,000, capped at GBP100 million in any 5-year period.1
It's worth checking whether this applies to the country you're looking to open an account in, and if so, what amount the government will guarantee.
Depending on the country you're hoping to open an account in and the bank you choose, you may be able to open an account remotely.
At HSBC, we offer remote account openings in 19 countries and regions around the world, including HSBC Expat offshore (Jersey) in the Channel Islands. Check if you meet the eligibility criteria and apply online.
Learn more about opening an overseas bank account
Each bank will set the minimum deposit required to open an account; some may have a minimum salary or regular income requirement as well. It's best to find out what this is before you choose an account, to make sure it meets your needs.
While offshore accounts could provide a tax-efficient way to save and invest, they are not tax-exempt. You must always disclose your income to any relevant tax authorities and declare any interest earned on offshore accounts. It's your responsibility to make sure you meet your personal tax obligations.
We can tell you the best way for you to apply for an overseas account. Simply select your current location and where you would like to open an account. We'll then walk you through the steps.
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1 Full details of the Scheme and banking groups covered are available on the States of Jersey website, or on request.