All your Seafarer Account questions answered! | UAM

5th Aug 2019

Standard Bank Seafarer Account FAQs

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Each year we help hundreds of yachties open Standard Bank Seafarer Accounts. We often come across the same questions and have found that certain answers can be hard to find online. To help you decide if a Seafarers Account is right for you and your situation, we have answered the most popular questions:

1. How is Standard Bank Seafarers Account different from other accounts?

The Standard Bank Seafarers Account is uniquely designed for yacht crew and is only available through certain Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs), distributors, and Standard Bank. An alternative is the Lloyds offshore account. If you search on Dockwalk or Facebook for recommendations, these are the two you will most commonly come across.

There are some advantages common to both the Lloyds and Standard Bank accounts:

  • Reduced foreign exchange transaction costs
  • Multiple currency withdrawals and payments
  • Improved currency fluctuation management
  • 24/7 access to savings
  • English speaking account support

Minimum funding requirements for each of the accounts are:

  • Lloyds – annual income of £50,000, or £25,000 to save or invest.
  • Standard Bank – able to fund the account with a minimum €2500 within the first three months.

Yachties generally prefer the Standard Bank Seafarers Account because you can open it when you first start out in yachting without a large deposit or a guaranteed £50,000 salary.

Online banks are also becoming increasingly popular with Superyacht crew. The two most popular accounts are Revolut and Transferwise. Because their applications are 100% online and involve speedy validation they are increasingly popular with crew. They have low fees and are practical for quick transfers and exchanges. You can read about the pros and cons of online versus traditional banks here.

2. What fees are involved?

As long as you maintain an average minimum credit balance of €2500 each quarter, Standard Bank is free of maintenance charges. If your average balance falls below the minimum during a quarter, then a €60 maintenance charge is charged. There is an annual €20 card fee for each card you have. Standard Bank charges a 1.75% fee for card cash withdrawals with a minimum withdrawal of €3.00.

If you use an IFA, like United Advisers Marine, to manage the opening of your account you won’t pay additional fees; be wary of anyone who offers this as a paid service.

3. How much does it cost to send money internationally?

The Seafarers Account offers free electronic payments but any third party fees incurred, like agents’ and foreign correspondents’ charges, will be passed on to you. You can find a full list of the charges here.

4. How easy is it to close my Seafarers Account if I no longer need it?

Very easy – simply call Standard Bank and ask for your account to be closed. There is no fee for this

5. Besides my salary not being paid into an on-shore account, what are the benefits of having the account?

  • Portability: You can very easily use the account for every job you have on a yacht, regardless of the currency your salary is paid in.
  • Continuity: If you lose the card linked to your account, Standard Bank will send you a new one to anywhere in the world.
  • Convenience: Unlike many on-shore banks, if you use the card in multiple locations in one day, it will not be blocked.
  • Accessibility: You have online access to your account via the internet or by the dedicated standard bank app with dedicated support.
  • Flexibility: The possibility to withdraw multiple currencies from your account.
  • Affordability: No account maintenance fee if you maintain your minimum balance.

6. Do I pay debit card charges even if I do not use the card?

If you opt to have a visa debit card, then you will incur a €20 annual fee.

You will be charged 1.75% for cash withdrawals and a foreign exchange commission of 2.75%.

7. How much interest will I earn?

A Standard Bank Account is a current account. As it is not a savings account, you won’t accrue interest.

It is best to use the Seafarer Account as your current account, and save in an account or plan that provides you returns above inflation.

It is essential to note that from 19th May 2018 any balance over €100,000 will begin to accrue a negative interest rate of -0.6% per annum charged to the total figure in your account, not just the amount over €100,000.

8. How much can I withdraw from an ATM?

You can withdraw up to €900 daily.

9. Is it free to add additional currencies at a later date?

Yes completely free. If you elect to take additional cards, then the €20 annual card fee will be the only extra charge.

10. Can I transfer money between different currencies that I have in the same account?

Yes, you can use both the App and the Online Banking to transfer money between the various currency accounts that you hold within your Seafarer Account. The Standard Bank exchange rate current at the time of transfer applies.

11. What is the penalty if I fall beneath the minimum balance on the account?

If your average balance falls below the €2500 minimum during a quarter, then there is a €60 maintenance charge.

12. How long does it take to set the account up?

Once Standard Bank receives all required documents, it takes, on average, between five and seven business days to set the account up.

Note that, if you fail to fund your account within the first three months, your account will not be activated, and you’ll need to re-apply.

13. I only work freelance on-board, am I still be eligible for this account?

To be eligible to apply for a Seafarer Account you must be:

  • 18 years or older
  • Able to fund the account with at least €2500 over the next six months

To apply for a Seafarers Account, you will also need to provide at least two of the following:

  • An original letter verifying your residence on the yacht, signed by the yacht Captain or the First Officer in the Captain’s absence.
  • A signed copy of your employment contract certified with an original signature by your yacht Captain, First Officer or IFA
  • An original letter from the yacht management company confirming your employment on the yacht.
  • For applicants introduced by an IFA or agent of the Bank, a visitation letter signed by a pre-approved suitable certifier.

If you are unsure about being able to provide at least two of the documents, please get in touch with us. We are a Standard Bank approved IFA, and we can potentially help you apply if you’re not a permanent on-board resident.

14. I am just day-working at the moment, would I be eligible for this account?

The same conditions apply to day-workers and freelancers. We may be able to help you, but it is less likely. You may choose to open a local account while you wait for a permanent job onboard or a long-term freelance contract.

15. How long do I have to establish the minimum balance on my account?

You need to have funded your account with the minimum balance within the first six months.

16. Is it possible to have a credit card with this account?

No. Only a visa debit card is available.

17. Does the Standard Bank Seafarer Account have a savings account option?

Standard Bank does offer savings accounts, but not as part of the Seafarers Account.

Presently there are no Standard Bank savings accounts specifically designed for the yachting industry.

We don’t recommend using your Seafarer Account as your regular savings account, especially for sums over €100,000 as this balance incurs a 0.6% charge.

Speak to your Financial Planner about saving .

18. Does Standard Bank have an app I can use?

Yes! You can access your Seafarer Account online, or you can use the App.

You can download it HERE.

Similar to the online banking portal you can use the App to:

  • Access and manage your accounts
  • Make payments and add recipients
  • View account activity
  • Transfer funds between Standard Bank accounts
  • Link your accounts within the Standard Bank Group

19. Is Standard Bank compatible with Apple Pay or Android Pay?

No, for now, it is not compatible. This question is often asked in the various Standard Bank forums, but at the time of writing, there is not a planned launch date.

20. Can I get my card delivered anywhere in the world if I lose it, or does it have to be sent to my registered address?

The card can be delivered anywhere in the world.

21. I have Standard Bank back in South Africa. Can I open a Seafarer account linked to that?

No, this account is wholly based out of the Isle of Man and not linked to any existing Standard Bank account.

22. Where is Standard Bank based?

The Seafarer Account is managed by Standard Bank Isle of Man Limited (“SBIoM”), part of Standard Bank Group Limited; incorporated in South Africa and regulated by the South African Reserve Bank as a bank controlling company. SBIoM places funds with other parts of its group and thus its financial standing is linked to that of the group.

Publicly available information, including reports and accounts, is available at

Deposits made with SBIoM are covered by the Isle of Man Depositors’ Compensation Scheme as set out in the Depositors’ Compensation Scheme Regulations 2010. The Isle of Man has a Financial Services Ombudsman Scheme covering disputes relating to financial services offered in or from the Isle of Man to individuals.

23. Can I have a joint account with my partner who is not in yachting?

Yes. Your partner will also need to provide ID and employment documents to open the account.

24. What are the limitations of a Standard Bank Seafarer Account?

The Seafarer Account is ideal for day to day use. As a savings vehicle, however, it is limited. If you want to save, then make sure you have an account with an interest rate above inflation.

If you have any questions or want to find out more about savings, please get in touch with our Marine Team.

25. How do I open a Seafarers Account?

There are a few options available to you. You can apply for your account online using the Standard Bank application portal. Click here to start your application! You will need around twenty minutes to complete the application, and you can save and return as you wish. You will still need to print and sign your application and send this along with the signed Terms & Conditions, a certified copy of your passport, two forms of employment verification, and a Captains letter.

Alternatively, you can download the Standard Bank pack here. We have created a document pack that gives you everything you need to start your application; the Seafarer Factsheet, a how-to-apply checklist, and the full Standard Bank application form.

If you want to find out whether Standard Bank is right for you, we are here to answer any questions you have.


Tom Vjestica