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What is an Offshore Credit Card?

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  • Written By: Christine Hudson
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 27 October 2016
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An offshore credit card is a credit card which is obtained from a financial institution in a different jurisdiction or country than the holder lives in. There are secured and unsecured offshore credit cards available, with the unsecured cards being very difficult to get. The reasons a person may want to have an offshore card include keeping financial activity from being tracked or having a financial identity in a foreign country often visited. Cons associated with having an offshore card are that most of them are secured, there may be a lack of customer service and there may be increased cost.

Those who have an interest in increased privacy, whether for illegal or legal purposes, may want to get an offshore credit card to prevent government tracking of their spending and actual financial worth. It is also a good idea for a person who visits a country often to keep a bank account and get cards in that country. This will make it easier for the person to travel back and forth without having to exchange currency each time. Many offshore cards also have the familiar Visa® or MasterCard® labels, so they are accepted almost everywhere worldwide.

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One of the biggest cons to getting an offshore credit card is that most of them are secured, which means a deposit of 100-percent or more of the credit line is required. Unsecured offshore cards are almost impossible to get, as they carry stipulations like being a longtime member and having a near perfect credit history. Financial institutions outside of a card holder’s country will also not be held to the same service standards, which may lead to miscommunication, bad service and even a loss of money which the consumer can do almost nothing about.

The costs associated with an offshore card, such as automated teller machine (ATM), administration and annual fees can, sometimes be much higher simply because of the “offshore” status. Obtaining and keeping one of these cards may cost more than many people can afford. This is especially the case with offshore cards offered by questionable companies and illegitimate financial institutions.

There are many companies and websites claiming to offer an offshore credit card easily to applicants. Many experts caution users against these sites on the sheer fact that a true unsecured offshore card is very difficult to obtain, and many companies which claim to offer them may not be legitimate. Those looking to get an offshore credit card should be sure to research every company claiming to offer them as well as the terms of each individual card before making a decision.

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