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How To Open a Bank Account in Gibraltar (Even for Non-Residents)

Byron Mühlberg, writer at Monito.com
Sep 15, 2022
Affiliate disclosure

With a long history at the crossroads of Europe and Africa, Gibraltar is a small British Overseas Territory sharing a border with Spain and the EU. Despite a small population of fewer than 35 thousand people, Gibraltar attracts the imaginations of many foreigners interested in opening a bank account in the country — usually as a means to invest or to set up a current account for everyday business.

However, opening a bank account in Gibraltar can be tough, and if you're not a resident or if you don't have a close connection to the country, the only way a local bank will be interested in your business will be if you deposit a (very) large sum into an investment account. In this guide, we go through all the options.

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In short, here's our recommendation for opening a bank account in Gibraltar:

  1. Without proof of residence: Wise Multi-Currency Account, which comes with EU bank details and a Visa debit card to spend in 50+ currencies, including Euros.
  2. With proof of residence: Trusted Novus Bank, which offers a personal account package with a savings account, internet banking, and a credit card.

Overview of Banking in Gibraltar

With a long history of banking and international trade, Gibraltar was regarded throughout much of the 20th century as a tax haven, with the wealthy from all over the world flocking to the city to take advantage of the attractive conditions there. However, while Gibraltar is still considered a low-tax jurisdiction, due to regulations imposed in the 2000s, financial regulation is much stricter than in the past.

As of 2022, there are only 10 banks in Gibraltar, all of which are supervised by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission and clients benefit from EU deposit insurance of up to €100,000. Although in a state of limbo since Brexit, Gibraltar's banking standards are closely tied to both the EU's and UK's, and local banks offer online personal banking services to residents only, as well as wealth management and corporate banking for residents and non-residents.

A rule of thumb for opening an account in Gibraltar is that applicants generally need to demonstrate close ties to or legitimate interest in Gibraltar. Without employment, property, a business, or investments in the country, banks in Gibraltar will probably not accept your application (unless you happen to be able to make a minimum deposit of upwards of £50,000 — more on this later).

Types of Gibraltarian Bank Accounts

The most common types of bank accounts you'll find in Gibraltar for everyday use include:

  • Personal account: The equivalent of checking accounts (US) and current accounts (UK), these accounts are used to process cashless payments and are geared toward everyday use.
  • Savings account: An account that allows funds to be deposited while restricting withdrawals and (historically) accruing interest. Some banks in Gibraltar break these into fixed-term and variable-term accounts, depending on desired liquidity.

Outside of ordinary personal banking services, most banks in Gibraltar offer a suite of wealth management and investment accounts too.

Like in most countries, opening a bank account in Gibraltar comes with a debit card, and customers will normally need to apply separately to take out a credit card (although this varies from bank to bank). Debit cards can be used in Gibraltar and internationally for cashless payments and ATM withdrawals. Credit cards, on the other hand, can be used for online payments and come with a monthly credit limit as well as rewards and exclusive bonuses.

Debit cards typically can sometimes be used for free withdrawals among the country's 15 ATM machines, although cash withdrawals outside of Gibraltar usually come with high fees (sometimes as high as 4% per transaction). See Monito's guide to saving money while using ATMs abroad to learn more.

What Do I Need To Open a Gibraltarian Bank Account?

In general, you will be required to present the following in order to open a bank account in Gibraltar:

  • ID document: A valid passport, driving license, or Civilian Registration Card will suffice.
  • Proof of residence: A rental contract, utility bill, or bank statement will suffice. Most banks will require this residence to be in Gibraltar.

Option 1 — Current Account (Local Bank)

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If you have close ties to Gibraltar, you probably won't run into much of a hassle opening an account in the country. This can include a job in Gibraltar, investments, or a property. However, most local banks require proof of residence in Gibraltar, so if you live across the border in Spain and work in Gibraltar, then it will be trickier (although still not impossible) to open an account.

Our advise: be sure to contact your prospective bank directly by phone or email to make sure that you'll be able to open a bank account with them. Banks in Gibraltar don't make application requirements completely clear online, so it's best to be sure in advance of your application.

Most Gibraltarian banks charge between £10 and £20 in monthly fees for maintaining an everyday current account (which is very expensive compared to other UK and EU banks) in addition to other charges on certain types of payments, ATM withdrawals, cheques, overdraft, and international transfers. For international transfers, you'll always be charged an exchange rate margin whenever you transfer to another currency, and that's why we recommend comparing services on our real-time comparison engine to find the cheapest money transfer provider and save money instead.

Here are some of the most popular everyday banking options at two of Gibraltar's main banks:

Gibraltar International Bank

Gibraltar International Bank is Gibraltar's government-run bank. It's probably the easiest bank with which to open a current account and is even known to allow non-resident applicants with residence in neighbouring Spain working in Gibraltar to open an account there.

The bank offers the following two personal account types:

  • Personal account: This account costs £15 per month and comes with everyday current account functionality, internet banking, a debit card, a savings account, and access to loans and mortgages.
  • Personal Plus account: Costing a much steeper £250 per quarter (equivalent to £62.50 per month), this account comes with everything in the 'Personal account' but it's also managed by a Relationship Manager and comes with access to investment products.

Account opening at Gibraltar International Bank can take place entirely online, which is a big plus in our opinion.

Trusted Novus Bank

Trusted Novus Bank is a smaller private bank in Gibraltar that also offers personal accounts. However, unlike Gibraltar International Bank, Trusted Novus Bank doesn't offer current accounts to applicants without residence in Gibraltar. Personal accounts are priced at £12.50 per month and come with a card, savings, and internet banking via the internet banking platform Netbank. What's more, the account can also be opened completely online.

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Pros of Local Banks

  • Wide range of financial services (e.g. overdraft, investments, credit card, etc.)
  • Accounts come with a Relationship Manager.

Cons of Local Banks

  • Residence in Gibraltar is usually a requirement.
  • Very costly fees per month.

Option 2 — Current Account (Online Bank)

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Digital or online banks are fully-fledged banks offering all or most of the usual banking services. The main difference is that they don't operate out of branches, with all banking services being handled online instead. They generally offer a more limited range of services than traditional banks, but at a fraction of the price and entirely online.

Check out Monito's rankings for the best online banks in Europe here.

Due to Gibraltar's unique political situation, many EU digital banks are not available in the country. However, this isn't necessarily a reason to despair! If you're a resident of any EU/EEA country or of the UK, then you'll be able to open an account with an online bank and use it to handle transactions in Gibraltar — whether that's sending money to the country, receiving money from the country, or making payments and withdrawals while in the country. This is because Gibraltar is part of the SEPA zone, and therefore it doesn't matter to merchants if your bank account is Gibraltarian or from another European country.

Therefore, we recommend signing up to an online bank if you live in the EU or EEA and are looking to move to Gibraltar for a shorter period of time or travel to the country. If you're looking to settle in Gibraltar, then it'd be a better idea to open a local bank account, as we touched on above.

Let's take a look at some of the major digital bank offerings available to EU residents:

Revolut

The world's best-known online bank is available in Gibraltar, although it's not yet licensed as a bank there. (Revolut is a bank called Revolut Bank in many major EU countries, including France, Germany, Italy, and neighbouring Spain.) Opening a current account doesn't require proof of residence in Gibraltar.

Account name: Standard

Account type: Current (Lithuanian bank details).

Total cost: €0 per month.

Noteworthy features: UK bank account details, multi-currency balances.

Proof of address: Gibraltar (or the EU, UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland).

More info: See our full Revolut review.

N26

Arguably the best-known mobile bank, N26 is a widely-used and much-loved German online bank with around seven million customers across the EU. It's not available for residents of Gibraltar (unless they have another residence in the EU) but it can be used fee-free to handle just about any day-to-day transactions in the country.

Account name: N26 Standard

Account type: Current (German bank details).

Total cost: €0 per month.

Noteworthy features: Instant social payments, overdraft facilities, cash deposit (in Germany, Austria and Italy).

Availability: Most of the EU (see the full list here), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland

More info: See our full N26 review.

Tomorrow

Tomorrow is a fintech company affiliated with German bank Solarisbank whose basic 'Now' account we think is the ideal choice for sustainability-oriented customers due to its low all-around costs and pro-sustainability investments.

Account name: Now

Account type: Current (held by Solarisbank, German bank details).

Total cost: €3-€9 per month (depending on how much you withdraw).

Noteworthy features: Climate contributions, savings pockets

Proof of address: 18 EU countries, see the list here.

More info: See our full Tomorrow review.

Bunq

For those who don't mind paying higher fees every month for an online bank account, Dutch neobank bunq's starter plan comes packed with many interesting features and perks to take advantage of.

Account name: Easy Bank

Account type: Current (French, Spanish, German, or Dutch bank details).

Total cost: €2.99 per month.

Noteworthy features: Bill splitting, Wise money transfer integration,

Proof of address: Most EU and EEA countries.

More info: See our full bunq review.

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Pros of Online Banks

  • Low costs for most services.
  • Seamless interface on web and mobile.

Cons of Online Banks

  • Only provides core banking services (e.g. current account, card, etc.).
  • No bank branches.

Option 3 — Wealth Management

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As mentioned earlier in the article, Gibraltar is known for its low-tax environment, levying a low corporate tax rate of 12.5% on companies and offering attractive tax conditions for foreign wealth. As a result, banks in Gibraltar will generally allow non-resident high-net-worth individuals, institutions, and corporations to open a bank account in the country — even without close ties. Wealth management and investment accounts usually come with a linked payments account, so if you have a lot of wealth and no close ties to Gibraltar, then this will probably be the best route for you to open an account in the country.

However, as we'll see, the barrier to entry is very high, and because the bank accounts in question are only relevant to a very small number of people, we'll go through the offerings very briefly:

Bank J. Safra Sarasin

Bank J. Safra Sarasin is a private Swiss-based bank that offers investment accounts in Gibraltar. Accounts require a minimum initial deposit of £1 million. The linked payments account has an annual fee of either £1,500 or £4,000..

SG Kleinwort Hambros

SG Kleinwort Hambros is the UK-based wealth management division of the French multinational Société Générale. It has a presence in Gibraltar, where it offers managed deposit investment accounts with minimum initial deposits of either £50,000 or £100,000, depending on the product in question.

Option 4 — Wise Multi-Currency Account

Wise

In our opinion, the best option for opening a bank account in Gibraltar as a non-resident is Wise's Multi-Currency Account. Alongside its accompanying virtual and physical Visa debit cards, Wise allows users to pay and be paid like a local in Gibraltar and in countries across the globe.

Fortunately, after opening your account online, you'll only be required to verify your identity through their interface and you won't need to show proof of residence in Gibraltar to signup and obtain the Visa debit card (although you will need to show proof of residence in the EU/EEA, US, Singapore, Japan, Australia, or New Zealand to sign up). Here's what Wise has to say about opening an account without proof of residence in the UK, although the same applies in other countries: "You can then choose to either supply proof of address from a standard list of documents, or to send in a selfie, in which you’re holding your proof of ID. This can be a great alternative if you’re still waiting to move to the UK or haven’t yet got bills and other paperwork registered in your name."

Even if you reside in Gibraltar, you'll still be eligible to apply — it's only the physical debit card that you won't be able to receive. However, you will still receive a virtual Visa card which can be used in much the same way through Google Pay or Apple Pay.

Product Features

Regardless of whether you have a virtual or physical card, once you're signed up for Wise, you'll be able to take advantage of the following unique features:

  • Local bank details in the EU, the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Romania, Canada, 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.

Transferring to Euros in Gibraltar

To get a sense of how useful Wise can be for expats, let's say that you've just moved from the EU to Gibraltar and you'd like to spend in British pounds before you've got your proof of residence sorted out. With the Wise Multi-Currency Account, you'll be able to:

  1. Send Euros from your bank account to your Wise Pound account;
  2. Convert to pounds at a low fee (e.g. if you add £1,000 and pay in Euros, the total fee will be around 0.41% or €4.89*);
  3. Pay with your Wise debit card, make or receive SEPA (and SWIFT) payments, and set up direct debits.

You'll also have a dedicated set of UK bank details to share with friends, colleagues, or even your employer. This comes in the form of a sort code, account number, and British IBAN — all of which are perfectly valid in Gibraltar.

* Conversion made on 11/2/2022

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Pros of Wise

  • Low-cost, handy multi-currency account and card.
  • No proof of residence is required in Gibraltar.
  • Cheap money transfers to and from the Euro.

Cons of Wise

  • Doesn't offer overdraft, and you won’t earn interest on any in-credit balances.

Which Bank Is Best in Gibraltar for Foreigners?

The best bank account in Gibraltar will depend partly on your needs and preferences, and partly on what's actually available to you in the first place. Below, we compare the different accounts explored in this article head-to-head:

Bank

GIB

TNB

Revolut

Wise

Provider

Bank

Bank

Bank

Neobank

Account

Personal account (↗)

Personal account (↗)

Standard (↗)

Multi-Currency Account (↗)

Card Type

Visa debit¹

Visa credit

Mastercard debit

Visa or Mastercard debit

Language(s)

English

English

English, Spanish and 19 others

English, Spanish and 14 others

Currencies

GIP²

GIP²

GBP or EUR

GBP, EUR and 50+ others

Monthly Fee

£15.00

£12.50

£0.00

£0.00

Residence Required?

Ideal For

Non-residents working in Gibraltar looking for a fully-fledged bank account with multiple services.

Residents of Gibraltar looking for a low(er)-cost banking solution.

EU residents active in Gibraltar looking for a low-cost current account.

New arrivals in Gibraltar looking to spend and withdraw cash before acquiring a local bank account.

Visit GIBVisit TNBVisit RevolutVisit Wise

Last updated: 11/2/2022
¹ Credit card upon request.
² GIP = Gibraltar pound, pegged to the British pound. Additional foreign currencies upon request.

How To Send Money to a Gibraltarian Bank Account

If you're moving in from abroad, one thing you'll need to consider is how to transfer your funds into your new Gibraltarian bank account. (This process can be especially costly if you're depositing money from a currency other than British pounds.) To deposit money into your new GBP account from your home currency before you move, you'll need to go to your online banking and choose between one of two options:

  • Sending a wire transfer through your bank directly;
  • Sending a bank transfer via a money transfer specialist.

In general, we don't recommend using your bank to transfer money internationally, as the fees can be exorbitant and the waiting times can be lengthy. This is mainly because banks wire funds over the SWIFT network, which adds many timely and expensive steps to the money transfer process.

Instead, if the amount you'd like to send to Gibraltar is in the order of several hundred or thousand Pound sterling or equivalent, then we recommend you use a money transfer specialist service (Wise is generally the cheapest to Gibraltar from countries such as Spain, the UK, and Germany.) To compare which services are cheapest for your transfer amount and home country to Gibraltar, run a search on Monito's real-time comparison engine below.

On the other hand, if you're moving large amounts of money from your home currency to your new bank account in Gibraltar, (i.e. anything upwards of £30,000 or equivalent), then services such as Wise may not be your cheapest bet. Instead, we recommend exploring your options among the foreign exchange brokers that support transfers from your country to Gibraltar. These services specialise in negotiating favourable exchange rates on your behalf and are the most cost-effective option for transferring large sums of money (such as life savings or liquid investments) across borders.

To find out which service will offer you the best deal in real-time, run a search on our comparison engine below:

Send Money Cheaply to Gibraltar

Frequently Asked Questions About Opening a Bank Account in Gibraltar

Other Banking Guides for Non-Residents

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