Theoretically, South African residents can transfer up to R11 million per individual, per year out of the country using their exchange control allowances – namely the Single Discretionary Allowance and the Foreign Investment Allowance. But how do you put these allowances to use, practically speaking? Do you need to open a bank account in a foreign country in order to transfer funds out of South Africa? Not necessarily. Can you open a bank in another country online? It’s an option. Although some countries might allow you to open an account as a non-resident, if you’re still living in South Africa, offshore bank accounts are a logical option when it comes to investing your hard-earned Rands out of the country.
How to open a foreign bank account from South Africa
Opening a foreign bank account from South Africa depends on your specific situation and needs. If you were thinking about opening a foreign bank account directly, you would need to take into consideration:
- Your eligibility: Access to foreign bank accounts for South Africans is generally limited unless you have strong ties to your intended country, such as existing residence, employment, or investment there. Specific requirements vary by bank and country.
- The process involved: If eligible, you’ll likely need to visit a branch in person to open an account, along with proof of identity, address, and income, plus documents specific to the country. Online options might be available for certain banks.
- The pros: If successful, you get direct access to local banking services and possibly better interest rates in some cases.
- The cons: Likely to be challenging and time-consuming to open, will be paperwork intensive, and might require minimum deposits or account activity.
Top tip: If your South African bank has a presence in the country where you want to open a foreign account, they might be able to assist you with the process, without the need for you to do it in person.
Offshore bank accounts for South African citizens
If you’re still living in South Africa, or you’re planning on going overseas at some point in the future, you would likely benefit from opening an offshore bank account. When opening an offshore bank account it is important to note that you are obligated to declare any offshore accounts to the South African Revenue Service (SARS), and any income or interest earned will need to be reported for tax purposes. It is also important to remember that the financial institution itself will automatically report on your offshore account to SARS, under the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard, so if you had any movie-inspired ideas of stashing cash offshore secretly, that’s a bust.
Some of the advantages of an offshore bank account include the ability to:
- Receive payments for work performed outside of South Africa
- Make international payments
- Access to your funds internationally
- Diversify assets and protect yourself from a volatile Rand
- Secure your money in a highly-regulated transparent jurisdiction
- Transfer between accounts quickly, using a multi currency account
How to open an offshore bank account from South Africa
Given that access to foreign bank accounts is limited for South Africans, your best option is opening an offshore bank account in South Africa.
How do you know which is the best offshore bank for South African citizens? As with everything in life, what’s best for you depends on your specific needs. You’ll need to do your research and weigh up various factors like minimum account balance requirements, fees, reputation, security and tax jurisdiction. These factors will all add up to give you an indication of the service quality you’re likely to receive, while establishing the value you can expect an offshore bank account to bring to your financial portfolio.
Can I open a bank account in another country online?
Your search for a bank that allows South African citizens to open an offshore account is over. FinGlobal is ready to assist you with this process, helping you every step of the way in opening an international bank account online. Offshore bank accounts set up through the FinGlobal service will be located in the Isle of Man, through Standard Bank. That’s right. We’ve got the clout of the big blue bank behind us. You have a choice between two different account types – the offshore call account and the optimum account. The first is better suited to savings and investments in a range of currencies, while the second is more transactional.
What are the benefits of offshore banking for South Africans?
When transferring your money out of South Africa, an offshore bank account makes sense. You’ll be able to manage your money on the go and benefit from the following features with your Standard Bank offshore account:
- Top-tier security for online and mobile banking
- Centralise your funds in multiple currencies
- Seamless access to foreign exchange services
Best of all? There will be no deduction of tax at source on the interest earned on your savings and investments, although tax liability elsewhere may apply.
FinGlobal: we’ve made it easy for South Africans to open an offshore account
Ready to get the ball rolling on opening an offshore bank account from South Africa? In addition to offering a convenient offshore banking facility, we also offer foreign exchange, retirement annuity withdrawals and tax emigration services.
To see how FinGlobal can assist you with your international money moves, leave us your contact details and we’ll be in touch to discuss your requirements.