Antigua and Barbuda – an independent Commonwealth nation in the Eastern Caribbean – is one of the Caribbean’s most prosperous nations, mainly due to its thriving tourism industry and offshore financial services. Banks in Antigua and Barbuda serve locals and foreign nationals, providing services ranging from personal to commercial banking services. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the nation’s banking sector, discussing everything from the products and services provided to the requirements for opening accounts.
Both individuals and legal entities can open bank accounts in Antigua and Barbuda.
The Regulatory Framework
When choosing an offshore banking solution, it’s essential to do your research before deciding on which of the country’s offshore banks is right for you.
All ‘onshore’ financial institutions are regulated by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB). All offshore banks in Antigua and Barbuda are regulated by the Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC). The FSRC is the single regulatory authority for all non-bank financial institutions and governs the formation of International Business Companies (IBCs).
The FSRC functions under section 2 of the Financial Services Regulatory Act No.5 of 2013 and is responsible for the regulation and supervision of all institutions licensed under the International Business Corporations Act. The FSRC regulates these institutions in accordance with Offshore Banking Acts.
Finally, Antigua and Barbuda has Tax Information Exchange Agreements with countries including Australia, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US.
Top Banks in Antigua and Barbuda
There are many banks in Antigua and Barbuda, each offering a variety of products and services to suit the needs of individuals and businesses. The following list is not exhaustive but provides the names of a few reliable financial institutions in Antigua and Barbuda.
ACB Caribbean (formerly Antigua Commercial Bank Ltd.)
Established in 1995, ACB is one of the oldest and most prominent banks in Antigua and Barbuda. The bank has a network of branches across the islands and provides a variety of services, such as personal, business, and corporate banking, credit cards, loans, and investment services. The bank owns an Eastern Caribbean Dollar asset base of over EC$1 billion.
Caribbean Union Bank (CUB) Ltd.
Founded in 2005, CUB approaches banking with the customer at its center. The bank provides its clients with personalized attention and innovative solutions through its range of products and services, including savings and checking accounts, loans, credit cards, and foreign exchange.
Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank
Established in Antigua and Barbuda in 2010, ECAB is a trusted financial institution that offers personal and business accounts, credit cards, loans, mortgages, and investment services. Among its clientele, this commercial bank is known for its modern banking facilities, competitive interest rates, and efficient customer service.
Global Bank of Commerce Ltd.
Founded in 1983, the Global Bank of Commerce offers personal and corporate accounts, international banking, offshore services, trade finance, and investment options. The bank is dedicated to ensuring its customers’ privacy, security, and individualized services.
CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank
A subsidiary of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, this bank has branches in Antigua and Barbuda and its headquarters in the Bahamas. A major regional bank, CIBC FirstCaribbean offers personal and business banking services, digital banking options, wealth management, credit cards, loans, and mortgages.
Antigua and Barbuda Development Bank (ABDB)
Antigua and Barbuda Development Bank is based in the nation’s capital of St John’s. The bank specializes in medium and long-term development financing for the productive sectors and has provided finance for mortgages, student loans, and small-micro enterprises. The ABDB has even helped subsidize the export of Antigua Black Pineapples to Norway.
ACB Caribbean, Caribbean Union Bank, Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank, and Global Ban of Commerce are all members of the Caribbean Association of Banks. While CIBC FirstCaribbean is not a member of the Caribbean Association of Banks, its online banking services in Antigua are licensed by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.
Two international banks – Scotiabank and Royal Bank of Canada – previously had a presence in the nation. In 2021, Scotiabank’s operations were sold to Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank. In the same year, ACB Caribbean acquired the Royal Bank of Canada’s operations in Antigua and Barbuda.
Banking Services and Products
When deciding on the right bank for you, it is important to research and compare the products and services offered thoroughly. By comparing the specific services, fees, accessibility, and customer support offered by each bank, you can make a truly informed decision on where to bank in Antigua and Barbuda.
Types of bank accounts in Antigua and Barbuda
At banks in Antigua and Barbuda, you can open a checking account, savings account, trading account, escrow account, and term deposits. By default, accounts are opened in the nation’s currency – Eastern Caribbean dollars. However, all major banks offer foreign currency accounts in US dollars. If you prefer to open a foreign currency account in British pounds sterling, Canadian dollars, or euros, you can do so at certain banks such as the Global Bank of Commerce.
The following table shows the type of bank accounts that can be opened in Antigua and Barbuda by individuals and legal entities.
Checking, savings account, or term deposit in a foreign currency.
Secures a property purchase transaction during the construction phase. The buyers money is stored in the account until the developer has fulfilled their contractual obligations.
Storing and growing savings. Deposits and withdrawals can be made at any time.
Opened for a specific term of 3, 6, or 12 months. Money withdrawn ahead of schedule results in a cancellation of profit and a penalty.
Enables companies to make and accept payments. Allows businesses to accept payments from credit cards and electronic methods.
Bank service fees in Antigua and Barbuda
Different banks in Antigua charge different service fees. For example, you can pay around $50 annually for a credit card and between $7 and $10 each month for a checking account in US dollars.
Caribbean Union Bank
Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank
Global Bank of Commerce
EC$20 or $7.36 monthly for checking accounts (individuals)
EC$35+ or $10 monthly for checking accounts (individuals)
EC$20 or $7.41 monthly for checking accounts (individuals)
$10 monthly for checking accounts (individuals)
EC$20 or $20 monthly for checking accounts (companies)
EC$50+ monthly for checking accounts (companies)
EC$20 monthly for checking accounts (companies)
$10 monthly for checking accounts (companies)
No charge for debit cards
EC$40+ annually for debit cards (individuals)
No charge for debit cards
$100+ annually for credit cards
EC$125+ annually for debit cards (companies)
$50+ annually for credit cards
$150 annually for trading account
Opening an Account in Antigua and Barbuda
A great benefit of opening a bank account in Antigua and Barbuda is that it can be done both in person and remotely. When opening an account in person, you will need to visit the bank branch with all the required documents and fill in your application form. If you can’t visit the bank yourself, you can send a representative who will act on your behalf. Some banks even allow you to make an appointment in advance, either by phone, email or using their website.
When opening a bank account remotely, you must visit the bank’s official website and fill out an online application form. In addition to the form, you may be required to attach scans of any documents the bank requires. If this is the case, the documents must be translated into English, with certified copies delivered to the bank.
Once you have opened your account, you can make use of the bank’s online banking services. Some banks connect you automatically as soon as the account is open, while others require you to register and create a username and password.
Online banking allows you to check your account balance and transaction history at no additional cost, receive electronic account statements, make money transfers, and set up automatic payments. By linking your credit and/or debit card to your online banking profile, you can also apply to block or reissue them if they are lost or stolen.
Important note: Online banking in Antigua does have some restrictions. For example, you can’t transfer money between legal entities’ accounts or transfer money to another bank account. To transfer money online, you must submit a request to your bank, which will be processed and executed on a business day.
Before a bank allows you to open an account, it will conduct a due diligence check on you as a potential customer. To do so, they may request the following documents from individuals and businesses:
- Identity document (passport, driver’s license, etc.)
- Proof of residential address (utility bills, letter from a landlord or bank, envelope with postage stamp)
- Letter from your employer, on the company letterhead, indicating your place of work, position, employment period, and salary.
- Invoices and income declarations (only if self-employed or entrepreneur)
- Proof of source of income for the last year (account statements, copy of the will, contract for the sale of real estate, etc.)
- Two letters of recommendation from another bank or highly qualified specialist, e.g., doctor or lawyer (requirement for foreigners only)
- Two identification cards for each beneficial owner, two directors, and the individual with the right to sign.
- Company’s certificate of registration or articles of association
- Certificate of Good Standing (or equivalent)
- Company’s financial statements for the last quarter
- Certificate of composition of shareholders and appointment of directors
- Letter of recommendation from another bank
- TIN (tax identification number) if the company is not registered in Antigua and Barbuda
While the process of opening an account as a foreigner is pretty straightforward, it’s even easier as a citizen of the country.
How to Obtain Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship
The simplest and fastest way to become a citizen of this beautiful Caribbean nation is through the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Program. This allows investors to make a minimum contribution of $100,000 to the country and receive an Antigua passport in just three to four months.
The program offers four investment options: The National Development Fund (minimum contribution of $100,000), real estate (minimum investment of $200,000), the University of the West Indies Fund (minimum donation of $150,000), and business investment (minimum investment of $400,000).
This program is particularly affordable for large families of six people or more thanks to the University of the West Indies Fund option. As the main applicant, you can include your spouse, children under 30, siblings, parents, and grandparents over 55 in your application to receive lifelong citizenship that can be passed down to future generations.
The benefits of becoming a citizen are many. Antigua and Barbuda passport holders can enjoy visa-free travel to over 140 countries, such as the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Schengen Zone, as well as several great tax benefits.
You can read more in our Ultimate Guide.
As you can see, banks in Antigua and Barbuda are a great option for foreigners looking for offshore banking solutions, individuals looking to diversify their investment portfolios, and investors interested in benefitting from the country’s favorable tax environment.
Frequently Asked Questions about Banks in Antigua
Can a US citizen open a bank account in Antigua?
Yes, a US citizen can open a bank account in Antigua. Banking services for individuals and businesses are available to citizens and residents of the country as well as foreigners.
What types of bank accounts are offered in Antigua and Barbuda?
Antigua and Barbuda banks offer corporate and personal bank accounts, including savings and checking accounts, checking accounts, deposit accounts, foreign currency accounts, trading accounts, and escrow accounts.
Can non-residents open bank accounts in Antigua and Barbuda?
Yes, non-residents can open bank accounts in Antigua and Barbuda.
Are there any specific tax implications related to banking in Antigua and Barbuda?
Antigua and Barbuda offers a highly attractive tax environment that includes no capital gains, inheritance, or wealth tax on global income. International Business Companies (IBCs) also get income tax holidays and do not have to pay customs duties.
How can I access my bank account online in Antigua?
Many banks in Antigua offer online banking and/or mobile banking services. Using these platforms, you can check your account balances, request account statements, make payments, block and report lost or stolen cards, and more.
How do I transfer funds internationally from an Antiguan bank account?
To make an international bank transfer from an Antiguan bank account, you must submit a request to your bank online. The operator will execute your request on a business day.