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What is an offshore bank account?

An offshore bank account is one you hold in a country or region you don’t reside in.

Also known as an overseas account, offshore bank accounts can make it easier to manage your finances across multiple countries or regions.

How offshore bank accounts work

If you’re living or working overseas, you can use an offshore bank account to make regular payments or money transfers in multiple currencies. For example, you may have mortgage payments to make in your home country, and have living expenses to cover in the country or region you’re currently living in.

You can hold money, and make and receive payments with an overseas account, and you’ll be able to set up investment or savings accounts in multiple currencies.

Reasons to open an offshore bank account

Some of the reasons to open an overseas account, include:

  • living or working in another country or region
  • planning to relocate to another country or region, for example for work or retirement
  • regularly travelling between countries for business
  • owning assets in another country, such as property or investments
  • getting paid in another currency, for example, for freelance work
  • providing financial support to family members living abroad, such as paying school fees

What are the benefits of an offshore bank account?

As well as being able to hold money, and make and receive payments, some of the common benefits of an offshore account include:

  • access to international expertise and investment advice
  • managing foreign exchange
  • potentially tax-efficient savings and investments in different currencies (tax benefits will depend on your individual circumstances)
  • keep your money in a central location which is connected to your local accounts
  • keep the same bank account every time you move

Offshore bank accounts usually come with regular banking features, such as online and mobile banking, and a debit card.

What else do you need to consider?

  • costs
    some offshore bank accounts may have a monthly fee, international transfer fees. Before you open an account, read through the terms and conditions to check
  • tax
    you’ll need to disclose your income to any relevant tax authorities and declare any interest earned on offshore accounts
  • security
    depending on where you’re opening an account, you’ll need to check if it’s protected by any financial protection schemes

Can you open an offshore bank account online?

You may be able to open an offshore account online, but this could depend on the provider of the account, where you are now and where you’re wanting to open the account.

You can apply for an overseas account with HSBC online, in branch or through our International Banking Centre. When you start your online application, we’ll let you know the best way to apply.

You’ll need to be 18 or over and have a valid reason for opening an account overseas. There may be different eligibility criteria to meet depending on where you want to open the account.

It takes around 14 days to open an account once you’ve submitted your application, but in some instances, this may take longer.

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