A merchant account in BVI is used by companies that wish to accept multiple payment methods, such as credit card or debit card payments. The service is provided by a payment processor in many cases, who is a part of the merchant agreement signed with the chosen bank.
The British Virgin Islands are a preferred location to open an offshore company and provide services to international clients. Having a merchant account is a mandatory step for many companies, in addition to opening a BVI corporate bank account. Read below the answers to some common questions and reach out to our company formation agents in BVI if you need special assistance for starting a merchant account or a regular bank account.
What companies need a merchant account?
All businesses that accept credit or debit card payments will require a merchant account. E-commerce businesses, professional services companies as well as others will find that they need this service for the daily activities, particularly when they offer their services to international clients, like in the case of offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands.
A foreign investor interested in BVI company set up for the purpose of offering financial services to international clients, for example, will need to open a merchant account (in addition to the bank account for the offshore company) in order to be able to accept card payments from clients located in other jurisdictions.
Do keep in mind that financial companies, as well as other services providers, are subject to licensing requirements in BVI. It is useful to include opening the merchant account as part of the steps needed to open your business in BVI.
How do you open a merchant account in BVI?
The first step is to choose the bank you will work with. Different banks will work with different third party providers, and will impose different transaction fees. These can include a flat, per-transaction rate as well as the cost for operating the transaction itself. These costs will be communicated by the bank/the service provider and can represent an important factor when making the choice.
The merchant account provider reserves the right to perform a check on the company and will decide whether or not it will provide the services.
Can you open a merchant account remotely?
Our team specializing in BVI company incorporation can help you open a merchant account even if you are not present in the Islands. Like with a bank account, or with company registration, a local representative can handle all or part of the steps in your name through a special power of attorney.
In order to open the account, the services provider will typically require information about the company, its registration documents as well as other information. Data on the BVI registered companies is available with the Commercial Registry and a company search will yield public information such as the registration number, the address of the registered office and the date of incorporation. However, investors do have a certain degree of confidentiality as the register of directors is not made public unless ordered by court or another competent authority during the course of an investigation. Our team can provide more details on the director’s confidentiality in BVI as well as using nominee director services.
You can open this type of account after you move to BVI if so needed.
Company formation in BVI
A BVI offshore company is often an attractive option for foreign investors due to its easy set up and the fact that it can be easily managed from abroad.
According to the statistical bulletin published by the Financial Services Commission, the number of new incorporations in the first quarter of 2020 was lower compared to the same period in 2019, a fact that is not surprising due to the 2020 travel conditions. The data shows the following:
- – the total number of business companies included in the Register as of 31 March 2020 was 373,917;
- – the number of quarterly incorporations in the first quarter of 2020 was 5,275;
- – there were 2 foreign companies registered in Q1 2020 and 16 private trust companies; most of the operations performed with the Register during the aforementioned period were company continuations.
If you plan to open a company in BVI or already own a business that is suited for operating with a merchant account, contact our team of BVI company incorporation agents for complete details on the account opening requirements as well as personalized assistance during the process. Our team offers complete company formation services that can also include opening a bank account and a merchant account. We will help you during the process so that you can set up your business and begin accepting payments as fast as possible.
Our team of BVI lawyers has extensive experience in corporate and business matters, including international matters involving BVI. We can assist clients looking for legal advice and solutions not only in business and commercial matters, but also banking and finance, insolvency and restructuring, litigation and contract law, regulatory and tax matters, employment or immigration issues.