Opening an account is often hell. Countries like Hong Kong and Singapore are burying many foreign depositors in paperwork as they strive to reach OECD tax enthusiasts with Automatic Exchange of Information, and most banks around the world have raised their standards.
A jurisdiction like Georgia does not have such problems with opening a personal bank account precisely because it is not a tax haven or a large offshore financial centre. It is not even on the radar of the large majority of people.
For personal bank accounts, the Georgian jurisdiction is very welcoming. And you should be. First, the interest on long-term deposits, i.e. between 9 and 24 months, is 10% in the local currency, the Lari, which is a stable currency. Secondly, banking services are first class and have nothing to envy to the services of European banks. In addition, the costs of these services are extremely low and you will not have to worry about the cost of your banking transactions.
The process of opening a personal bank account is fast and takes only ten minutes. You don't need a lot of paperwork. All you have to do is show up with your passport and the money in your wallet, make a minimum deposit and start.
Once you have opened your first bank account at a particular bank, opening additional bank accounts will also be very easy. Georgian banks do not generally offer remote account opening, but by relying on a bank introducer remote bank account opening is possible.
The online banking services of Georgian banks are refreshingly simple. Almost stupidly simple. You can transfer money between the Georgian Lari, US dollars, British pounds and euros with a single click. Exchange rate spreads at the bank are extremely low; if you make a very large deposit, you can get one-way spreads as low as 0.13%. This means that it costs $1.30 to go from US$1,000 to GEL $1,000. It's not expensive.
You don't need much to start banking in Georgia. By far, the biggest challenge will be to go to Georgia to present yourself in person (although again you will be able to do so remotely via the services of a bank introducer). Once on the spot, the process is easy. There are so many banks here, but it is the country's business-friendly laws, rather than the specific policy of a single bank, that make the account opening process so easy. (6th country in World Bank's Index Doing Business)
That said, there are banks that would be more appropriate to choose when you have large amounts of several million dollars to deposit.
In addition to the ease of opening, Georgian banks offer both Visa and Mastercard debit cards that can be used anywhere in the world.
While bank charges are very low here, interest rates are quite high. As we said earlier, the 10% interest rates are reaching out to you if you are willing to bet on the Georgian Lari, which we could recommend at this time given the country's encouraging economic indicators and controlled inflation.
Opening an offshore bank account is an easy way to diversify your finances, and if you are ready to fly, I would highly consider Georgia for its ease of account opening and maintenance.
I might even have the audacity to say that this is the best place to go right now if you are looking to deposit a medium size amount.