Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Offshore Credit Card

It is only in recent times that the standard offshore investor has been allowed the convenience of a credit card. Previously, individuals with offshore bank accounts had to withdrawal money from their banks or have money wired back to them. The advent of the offshore credit card has taken care of this problem. Now offshore institutions offer Visa or MasterCard credit cards and can give their investors more flexibility and convenience. They provide all the features of a regular credit card and are accepted at many locations around the world. Features include: insurance, car rentals, cash replacements, long distance calling cards, and cash advances. Like traditional credit cards, an offshore credit card provides investors with a monthly statement and Internet access to their account. Likewise they also require minimum payment and can carry a balance forward to the next calendar month. However, there are still significant differences between an offshore credit card and a domestic card. Most legitimate offshore institutions offer secured cards, meaning they require investors to put down a security deposit along with their application. Because of this they do not require a credit check. To increase a credit line, investors would have to likewise increase their security deposit by dollar draft or money wiring. Because of this factor, an offshore credit card is not a traditional credit card. It is a line of credit secured with the investor’s own transferable money. Most companies, aware of the differences, refer to their product as an “offshore credit card with benefits of a Visa or MasterCard.” Why all the restrictions? It can’t help that offshore banks and institutions are usually associated with islands, foreign locations, and even illegal activity such as underground economy, organized crime, tax evasion and money laundering. Following September 11th 2001, much more regulation began to fall on international finance. Usually what is required when applying is a security deposit, a completed application form, a trust agreement with a personal security code, a notarized form of identification (usually a driver’s license with a current address), a passport, some form of address confirmation like a utility bill, and a reference letter from your bank, lawyer or accountant. These credit cards are not right for everyone. There is no usual type of person that is an offshore credit card holder. Traveling individuals, corporate entities, and people with special circumstances that require international financing, have all signed up for one. If international finance is a necessity in your business then an offshore credit card might be a good investment.