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Small white boats in a harbour in the Cayman Islands. Ronny Rondon

How To Open a Bank Account in the Cayman Islands (Overseas)

Jarrod Suda

Guide

Byron Mühlberg

Reviewer

Apr 10, 2024
Advertiser disclosure

The Cayman Islands is renowned for its zero-tax regime, including no income tax, property tax, wealth or inheritance tax, or company tax. However, the landscape has changed, and stringent international regulations, particularly from the US government in 2010, have eliminated its reputation as a tax haven.

Opening a bank account in the Cayman Islands as a foreigner can now be a challenging task. Cayman offshore accounts are generally reserved for high net worth individuals, corporations, insurance companies, and trusts. Factors such as physical presence, family ties, business presence, or a substantial financial commitment are often required.

In this article, we will list a few options of reputable banks in the Cayman Islands and detail how the Wise Multi-Currency Account may be an attractive alternative for retail international finances.

recommendation icon

In short, here's our recommendation for opening an account in the Cayman Islands:

  1. Without proof of Cayman residence: Wise Multi-Currency Account comes with account details for 10 countries, including a US account number, UK sort code, and a VISA debit card to spend in 50+ currencies.
  2. Private offshore account: See below for your options as a high net-worth individual or company.

Key Facts About Offshore Banking in Cayman

🏦 No. of Banks in Cyprus

87

💷 Corporate Tax Rate

0%

👨‍⚖️ Regulatory Body

Cayman Islands Monetary Authority

💻 Best Multi-Currency Account for Non-Residents
🏆 Best Account for Residents

Cayman National

💸 Best Money Transfer to the Cayman Islands

It varies. Compare now.

How to Open a Personal Bank Account as a Resident

Each bank in the Cayman Islands may have slightly different requirements for residents looking to open a personal bank account.

Typically, you'll need to provide:

  • An employment letter confirming your position, salary, and expected length of employment.
  • A recent utility bill or lease agreement as proof of address.
  • Original passports for all countries of citizenship.
  • W9 forms for US citizens.
  • Additional documents such as work permits or naturalization certificates may also be required.

Opening a Personal Bank Account as a Non-Resident

Non-residents can open bank accounts in the Cayman Islands, although not all banks offer this service. Requirements often include certified documents to prove identity, overseas address, source of funds, and bank references.

As a non-residents Cayman Islands banks will want to know your profile as a client and where the source of funds is coming from. You references must be written by a professional, such as an attorney, accountant, director or manager of a regulated institution, teacher, notary public, justice of the peace, or even priest or pastor.

US citizens must still declare their accounts to the US Department of Treasury and report any income earned to the IRS.

Here is a holistic list of documents you may need:

  • Employment letter.
  • Original bank and professional references.
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV).
  • Utility bill or lease agreement.
  • Certified copies of passports.
  • W9 forms for US citizens.

Top Banks in the Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands boasts a robust banking sector, with over 85 banks catering to various needs. However, not all banks offer the same services or cater to the same clientele. The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority issues two primary types of banking licenses:

  1. Category A Banking Licence: This license permits banks to offer both domestic and international services to residents and non-residents alike. Currently, only 11 banks hold this license, mainly focusing on serving the local population.
  2. Category B Banking Licence: Banks with this license primarily serve non-residents in international markets. The remaining 76 banks hold this license, focusing on offshore banking services for individuals and businesses.

Regarding Category A banks, it could take around 5 to 10 working days to open a personal account while corporate accounts could take from 15 to 20 working days.

Cayman National Bank

  • License Type: Category A
  • Services: Premier domestic and non-resident financial banking services, including online banking, asset and trust management, and company formation. Largest ATM network on the island.

PROVEN Bank (Cayman) Limited

  • License Type: Category A
  • Services: Personal, corporate, and private banking facilities, along with a full suite of client services from credit and debit cards to land loans and mortgages.

Butterfield Bank

  • License Type: Category A
  • Services: International bank offering asset management, private banking, trust and estate planning, and more.

CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank

  • License Type: Category A
  • Services: Corporate and investment banking, investment portfolio customization and management, premium personal and business accounts.

Alhambra Bank & Trust Ltd

  • License Type: Category B
  • Services: Focuses on non-US, high-net-worth individuals with a minimum initial deposit of $1,000,000. Provides personalized banking services with a client-focused approach.

Trident Trust Company (Cayman) Ltd

  • License Type: Category B
  • Services: Corporate, trust, and fund services with a focus on the formation and administration of corporations and private family trust funds. Strong international connections.

Who Should Bank in the Cayman Islands?

As a British Overseas Territory, the Cayman Islands can offer tax advantages for individuals and businesses. In addition, it has stable governance and a sophisticated banking sector.

However, high fees make it most suitable for high net worth individuals and trusts. US citizens may find better options domestically by changing state residency and establishing companies in tax-friendly states. Similarly, UK citizens might explore alternatives like the Isle of Man or Jersey.

Wise: An Alternative For Your International Money Needs

For those seeking international banking solutions, Wise provides a powerful multi-currency alternative. While not offering services directly to the Cayman Islands, Wise allows account holders to open accounts in 10 countries and conduct transactions at the mid-market rate.

With functionalities like currency conversion and money transfers, Wise offers flexibility for individuals in the following eligible countries: the UK, US, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Switzerland or EEA.

Wise's Top Features

Your Wise account will come with a US account number, UK sort code, and 8 others.

This means you'll be able to spend and be paid just like a local in the US or UK and convert your USD or GBP balance into your home currency without the exorbitant bank fees. Here's an overview of the other features you'll get:

  • Local bank details, not just in the US and UK, but also in the EU, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Romania, Canada, Turkey, and Hungary.
  • Hold, exchange, and top-up up to 56 currencies.
  • A multi-currency VISA debit card that's handy for paying in foreign currencies without hidden fees.
  • Access to Wise's powerful international money transfer service right from your account balance.

How to Transfer Money to a Cayman Islands Bank Account

Once you've established a bank account, the next step is moving your funds to the Cayman Islands, a process that can incur high costs, especially since you're probably depositing currencies other than Cayman dollars. To deposit money into your new account before your move, you have two primary options:

  1. Send a wire transfer directly through your bank.
  2. Use a money transfer specialist service for your bank transfer.

While your home bank may handle international money transfers, they may offer preferential rates only for high-volume transfers with closely affiliated clients. Generally, we advise against using traditional banks for international transfers due to potentially high fees and lengthy processing times. Banks typically route funds over the SWIFT network, which adds timely steps and expensive middlemen to the money transfer process.

Send Money With the Best Online Specialist

For online transfers to Cayman Islands bank accounts, especially for amounts ranging from several hundred to thousands of dollars or equivalent, consider using a money transfer specialist service like Wise and Wise Business.

However, for larger sums exceeding $30,000 or equivalent, explore options among foreign exchange brokers supporting transfers to the Cayman Islands. These brokers specialize in securing favorable exchange rates for significant sums, making them a more cost-effective choice for transferring substantial amounts across borders.

To find the most suitable service for your transfer in real-time, run a search on Monito's real-time comparison engine.

Find the best deal when sending money to the Cayman Islands:

Compare Top Online Banks Worldwide

Filters
Sort by
  1. Starling Bank Monito Score 9.1
    open
    • Languages
      English
    • Country availability
      United Kingdom
    • Services
      Full bank account
    • Monthly fee
      Very low
    • Card delivery time
      Mid
    • Best for
      Everyday banking
    • Bank details
      UK account no. & sort code
    • Supported currencies
      Pound sterling
    • Overdraft
    • Annual interest rate
      Low
    • Supports cash deposits
    • International transfers
  2. Monzo Monito Score 9.0
    open
    • Languages
      English
    • Country availability
      United Kingdom
    • Services
      Full bank account
    • Monthly fee
      Very low
    • Card delivery time
      Fast
    • Best for
      Everyday banking +1
    • Bank details
      UK account no. & sort code
    • Supported currencies
      Pound sterling +2
    • Overdraft
    • Annual interest rate
      High
    • Supports cash deposits
    • International transfers
  3. Wise Multi-Currency Account Monito Score 8.9
    open
    • Languages
      English +21
    • Country availability
      Austria +37
    • Services
      Multi-currency account
    • Monthly fee
      Very low
    • Card delivery time
      Mid
    • Best for
      Spending while abroad
    • Bank details
      Euro IBAN +11
    • Supported currencies
      US dollar +50
    • Overdraft
    • Annual interest rate
      Very low
    • Supports cash deposits
    • International transfers
  4. Chime Monito Score 8.8
    open
    • Languages
      English
    • Country availability
      United States
    • Services
      All-in-one finance app
    • Monthly fee
      Very low
    • Card delivery time
      Mid
    • Best for
      Everyday banking
    • Bank details
      US account & routing no.
    • Supported currencies
      US dollar
    • Overdraft
    • Annual interest rate
      Low
    • Supports cash deposits
    • International transfers
  5. Yuh Monito Score 8.6
    open
    • Languages
      German +3
    • Country availability
      Switzerland +5
    • Services
      All-in-one finance app +1
    • Monthly fee
      Very low
    • Card delivery time
      Fast
    • Best for
      Trading stocks or cryptos
    • Bank details
      Swiss IBAN
    • Supported currencies
      Swiss franc +12
    • Overdraft
    • Annual interest rate
      Low
    • Supports cash deposits
    • International transfers

Non-Resident Bank Accounts in the Cayman Islands vs Other Countries

Many countries allow non-residents to open a bank account within their legal jurisdictions, but exactly what kind of requirements non-residents face can differ drastically from country to country and even bank to bank. See the list below to get a better idea of this:

Country

Which non-residents can open an account?

🇬🇧 United Kingdom

Parties with close ties, expats, immigrants, investors, students

🇮🇪 Ireland

Any interested party

🇩🇪 Germany

Parties with close ties

🇫🇷 France

Parties with close ties, investors, students

🇮🇹 Italy

Parties with close ties, Investors

🇨🇭 Switzerland

Investors only

🇪🇸 Spain

Parties with close ties, investors, students

🇵🇹 Portugal

Parties with close ties, investors, expats, students

🇳🇱 Netherlands

Parties with close ties, investors

🇩🇰 Denmark

Parties with close ties, investors

🇳🇴 Norway

Parties with close ties, investors

🇸🇪 Sweden

Parties with close ties, investors

🇦🇹 Austria

Parties with close ties, investors

🇬🇷 Greece

Parties with close ties, investors

🇭🇺 Hungary

Any interested party

🇱🇺 Luxembourg

Parties with close ties, investors

🇱🇮 Liechtenstein

Investors only

🇬🇮 Gibraltar

Investors only

🇮🇲 Isle of Man

Parties with close ties, investors, expats

🇯🇪 Jersey

Parties with close ties, investors, expats

🇨🇾 Cyprus

Any interested party

Other Banking Guides for Offshore and Expat Accounts

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