Offshore banking is usually an expensive and complex option that is reserved for the big shots with $500k+ annual income. The fees and the paperwork required make it a non-starter for the regular guys. A few months ago I discovered a very interesting Gibraltar based financial firm that provides MasterCard debit card for individuals earning money in the USA and in Europe. You can use this card to withdraw money at any ATM or you can use it to pay for things anywhere that takes MasterCard . Even better, you can load the card by receiving payments from american and european firms using the US bank account number and european IBAN number they give you.
Payoneer is a very interesting company for workers and business people who do business on platforms like Amazon, PayPal, Odesk, Elance, etc. They charge no setup fees, $3,15 per withdrawal, $30/year. They take these fees from your available funds. You don’t need any existing bank account or credit card to get going.
It’s not a chartered bank, it’s a financial firm similar to PayPal. This has pros and cons. The good side is that they will open an account very easily for anyone, anywhere in the world and promptly mail you a debit card. The bad side is that if things go south, you can’t rely on the chartering government (Gibraltar) to guarantee the deposits like FDIC would do in the USA. So this account is not a place to maintain a large deposit. However it is a very good place to bridge your internet money sources directly to your closest ATM. Simply withdraw weekly your money to minimize any risk.
An offshore based MasterCard is a useful tool for any privacy minded person that may want to be become a little bit more sovereign from his local government. I certainly feel more powerful knowing I have a financial account that is not subject to my government authority.