Our Gibraltar banking guide looks at how to set up a Gibraltar bank account, why you might want to do so, the different banks available in Gibraltar, plus the various pros and cons of banking on the Rock.
The Rock of Gibraltar is famous around the world as a symbol of stability and resilience, so is Gibraltar’s financial system equally strong? And how much flexibility and choice is available?
At Nomad Capitalist we compare data on tax-friendly jurisdictions around the world to help us choose the best solutions for our clients. If you are looking for a tax-friendly offshore banking jurisdiction in Europe or elsewhere, save yourself the guesswork and talk to our team today.
Gibraltar – Country Overview
Located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, this small British overseas territory of Gibraltar is famous for its iconic Rock and its inhabitants, the Barbary apes.
It is said that as long as apes live on the Rock, Gibraltar will always remain British. It is no wonder then that Winston Churchill was so captivated by them.
Traditionally, Gibraltar has always been of vital strategic importance to Britain. Today the country has transitioned to a predominantly service-based economy, further driven by the country’s maritime and bunkering industries.
Tourism also plays an important role in the local economy, with millions of tourists visiting to enjoy both the sightseeing and VAT-free shopping that Gibraltar offers.
Meanwhile, thousands of cross-border workers cross daily from Spain. They also include many non-Spanish workers, most of whom are employed in the country’s financial services and online gaming sectors.
While Brexit certainly affected Gibraltar significantly (it voted unanimously against), the economy remains defiant in its ability to recover. Gibraltar is a low-tax common law jurisdiction, with a business-friendly government and some of the most cryptocurrency-friendly laws in Europe.
Of course, brinkmanship with neighboring Spain remains an issue that would traditionally result in long delays at the border, although overall relations between the two countries have improved dramatically in recent years.
Both countries signed a historic tax agreement in 2019, with the United Kingdom as mediator. In 2023, after long delays, Gibraltar finally opened a new tunnel to help relieve traffic congestion at the border.
Benefits of banking in Gibraltar
What are the advantages of bank accounts in Gibraltar? The Banking Act 1992 governs banking services in Gibraltar. It is an established and well-regulated jurisdiction overseen by the Federal Service Commission.
Gibraltar bank accounts do not require you to pay taxes on the interest generated by your savings.
For UK expats, currency transfer is never a problem as the Gibraltar pound has the same value as the British pound and both are accepted as currencies on the Rock.
Those wishing to purchase a property that requires a loan can open a mortgage account in Gibraltar.
Who should bank in Gibraltar?
Gibraltar offers a range of financial services to individuals. Its investable assets are attractive to Gibraltar banks seeking to attract new customers to an increasing range of accounts and credit lines.
If you want to open an account at a traditional bank that offers debit card, overdraft services and mortgages, walk down Main Street in Gibraltar and you will find one.
The beauty of Gibraltar is that it is a convenient international location that can be easily reached by air, land or sea from many different countries.
Frequent daily flights to and from major British airports provide convenient access for those seeking business services in Gibraltar.
There are also a growing number of online banks where you can open a checking account. These are alternative savings deals with old-school investment services such as debit cards, loans and mortgages.
Gibraltar’s main positives are low taxes and easier access to the British market. But from a strictly banking perspective, since the country itself is so small, the number of banks available is quite limited, so this is not a jurisdiction to consider if you are looking for a wide variety of options.
How to open a bank account in Gibraltar
In Gibraltar it is possible to open bank accounts in currencies such as the euro and the US dollar. This is an attractive option for foreign companies opening corporate bank accounts.
Gibraltar has similar regulations to the UK regarding opening a new bank account.
It is a relatively simple process if you want to open an account in Gibraltar. You need to present the following documents (yes, they include the mandatory passport) since you are somewhere else in the world:
- Identification documents, such as a valid passport, driving license or national identity card.
- Proof of residency, such as a rental agreement, recent utility bill, or bank statement.
If you open an account at any local bank, they expect you to provide a home address in Gibraltar. If you can demonstrate that you have ties to the country by owning property there, this will help.
The best banks in Gibraltar
Gibraltar banks are in double figures and offer potential clients a large number of accounts. There have been some notable branch closures on the Rock, including Barclays. Barclays Bank withdrew from Gibraltar in 2016. Lloyds Bank followed suit in 2019 and moved its operations to Jersey.
As with any other business, we recommend that you be careful, especially with those that operate without websites. However, most banks offer online banking services. The following are some of the main Gibraltar banks accepting new customers looking for an account:
Gibraltar International Bank
Gibraltar International Bank offers current accounts, savings accounts, debit and credit cards, and loans and mortgages with no minimum or maximum deposit.
It was incorporated in 2015 and, although it is a limited liability company, the bank is 100% owned by the Government of Gibraltar.
Turicum Private Bank
Turicum Private Bank aims to be as transparent as possible regarding the service fees for its lines of credit and financing. This private banking institution guarantees “security and stability wherever you are.”
Turicum Private Bank is named after the Latin name of Zurich. Swiss asset managers, bankers and lawyers founded Turicum Private Bank in 1993 to offer customized savings accounts and related trading and credit services for investment funds and private clients.
Trusted Novus Bank
More than 3,000 customers trust Trusted Novus Bank (formerly Jyske Bank). However, they do not offer current accounts to applicants who are not residents of Gibraltar.
J Safra Bank
J Safra Sarasin, the Basel, Switzerland-based private banking group, acquired Credit Suisse’s operations in Gibraltar in 2016. It had been operating in Gibraltar since 2001 as a private bank targeting high-net-worth entrepreneurs.
Bank J Safra offers financial and wealth management services to institutional and individual clients, including loans and savings accounts. The J Safra Sarasin Group has more than 25 offices in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, with an emphasis on offering the best exchange rates.
Gibraltar has many of the things we like here at Nomad Capitalist; a stable economy, low taxes, a business-friendly government and, following the launch of its pioneering DLT Regulations in 2018, it is also a cryptocurrency-friendly jurisdiction.
Despite Brexit, which obviously had a lasting impact on the country’s financial services sector, the country remains resilient and economically buoyant.
However, since it was separated, against its will, from the European Union in 2020, Gibraltar has become a niche jurisdiction more befitting its diminutive size.
This is most easily reflected in the small number of banking options available and the relative difficulty of opening an account as a foreigner compared to many of its competitors.
Gibraltar acts as a tax-efficient base for those specifically looking to access the lucrative UK market, but as always we suggest you also look at alternatives and weigh the pros and cons.
Since this can be frustrating and time-consuming, we make the entire process easy. We’ve already done the research and gotten the raw data from every banking jurisdiction on the planet to help you make the best decision that fits all of your specific needs. Join the thousands of entrepreneurs and investors who trust us with their offshore needs and become customer today.
Banking in Gibraltar – Frequently asked questions
Technically neither. Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory, so it is not part of the United Kingdom. Rather, it is a British territory with its own elected government and enjoys almost complete autonomy (it can set domestic policy but not foreign policy).
Gibraltar became a British territory in 1713. The head of the government of Gibraltar is the Chief Minister and the country’s head of state is King Charles III.
The country’s only border is a land border with Spain. The border was temporarily closed during the reign of Franco, Spain’s fascist dictator, and even in the years after Franco, relations between the two countries have been strained, although they have been steadily improving in recent years, as both countries They have a great interest in maintaining good relationships. relations.
Every day, thousands of Spanish workers cross the border to work in Gibraltar, many of them working in the country’s hospitality industry. Spain depends on Gibraltar for employment, while Gibraltar depends on Spain for its workforce.
Not anymore. Although the vast majority of the country’s voters voted to remain, Gibraltar left the European Union in 2020 along with the United Kingdom.
This has had a lasting impact on the financial services sector and the country’s economy as a whole. Likewise, issues relating to its border with Spain remain unresolved.
Yes, although perhaps not as easily as other banking jurisdictions in the region.
Here at Nomad Capitalist we are sticklers for efficiency and the general consensus is that Gibraltar banks operate more at the Iberian pace than the City of London pace, so it may not be the best jurisdiction to consider if you are looking for results quickly. .
Of course, it all depends on your situation and specific circumstances. And trying to find this information firsthand while talking to local lawyers and bankers is never efficient. What you need is reliable, unbiased advice, and that’s where we come in.
because as a Nomadic capitalist client We are not interested in selling you a specific jurisdiction, we are here to find the best solution for your exact offshore needs.