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Offshore Bank Accounts: Classification

Offshore bank accounts, exactly like onshore, may be classified by different parameters. The first and the most clear classification principle is personal bank account vs corporate bank account. The second principle is by the way how they are utilized, for example, offshore merchant account, offshore investment account, offshore savings account or offshore business account. Further we will consider the most popular forms of offshore bank accounts:

Personal offshore bank account

As the name shows this is bank account opened on a physical person. Normally the client himself is the account holder and beneficial owner of money on the account. Notwithstanding it is governed by the same banking secrecy laws as other types of offshore bank accounts, it is the least protected asset protection vehicle. To overcome this privacy issue without introducing more advanced offshore protection schemes, in some offshore jurisdictions it is available to open the numbered bank account where bank account title differs from person's name. Normally it is some combination of numbers and letters, not similar to any persons name.

Corporate offshore bank account

Normally is opened on offshore company incorporated in the same or, more often, in the other offshore jurisdiction. To open corporate bank account, you need to choose carefully the jurisdiction for opening offshore bank account, as well as the jurisdiction for offshore company incorporation. Also, it would be important to consider offshore legislation of both countries and see how it answers the purposes pursued by the establishing of offshore bank account. The title of such corporate bank account is the name of the company. Normally, the company name differs from beneficial owner's name thus protecting one's privacy when sending in and out the money.

Numbered offshore bank account

Similar to the way how private offshore bank account is opened on private person's name, but for numbered offshore account a number or some neutral word is used instead of person's name in the account title. Numbered accounts are not easy to open, and there are very few banks providing this kind of service.
Swiss banks are the most known place where to open genuine numbered account. To open numbered offshore bank account, personal visit to the bank is the must. Customer should physically go to the bank in Switzerland to go through very serious due diligence procedures, and be ready to place substantial initial deposit. Also the annual or monthly maintenance costs are very high. And remember, the numbered offshore bank account is not anonymous since the bank definitely knows who is the owner of the money on the account.
Other popular types of offshore bank accounts are offshore merchant account providing the ability to accept credit or debit card payments from customers; offshore savings account, similar to onshore savings accounts; offshore investment account that provides offshore investors with wide range of offshore investment opportunities less limited both in terms of risks and earnings than those for offshore savings account.