Your interactive guide to living abroad as recommended by local mums | Last updated 8 months ago


Opening A Bank Account Abroad

Basic rights

You may want or need to open a bank account in another EU country. However, the bank is free to choose whether or not to accept your application. That is a private business decision for the bank. Before opening a bank account, the bank needs to get to know its potential clients. This may require more due diligence in assessing bank account requests from non-residents. Some banks may therefore have a policy not to accept non-resident customers.

Residence issues

Banks often refuse to let people open bank accounts if they do not live in the country where the bank is established. But there are banks that offer banking products specially designed for non-residents or expats. Please shop around to find out which bank offers accounts to non-residents.

This refusal is only acceptable if there is sound commercial justification. Banks must not discriminate against any EU citizens on the basis of nationality.

Sample Story: - Be aware that you may be denied a bank account abroad

Sándor started to work for a company based in the Czech Republic while continuing to live in Hungary. The company requested that he open a bank account in the Czech Republic so that his salary could be paid into it.

Czech banks refused to let him open a bank account because he was not a resident, and the company refused to pay his salary into a Hungarian bank account.

Sándor has lodged a complaint through the appeals procedures of the bank concerned. If he is dissatisfied with the outcome, he may refer the matter to the EU’s out-of-court complaints network for financial services

Short-term residents may also encounter problems when trying to open a bank account, as some banks insist on proof of long-term residence.

Sample story - Check whether a refusal is justified on commercial grounds

Rosa, a Portuguese national, moved to the United Kingdom to work and tried to open a bank account there. The bank she contacted required proof that she had been resident in the UK for at least three years.

Although it is up to the bank to decide whether to let someone open a bank account or not, as a national of an EU country Rosa has a right to the same treatment as UK nationals.

She should ask the bank for a written statement explaining the reasons for their refusal.

If she feels this is a case of discrimination on grounds of nationality and the bank’s decision is not justified by commercial reasons, she could take her complaint to a consumer protection organisation such as the European out-of-court complaints network for financial services.

Your money protected

The money in your EU bank account is currently protected (up to 100 000 euros – more in many countries) in case of default by the bank.

This article is from The European Community Website

  • Opening a Bank Account Germany

    If you plan on working and living in Germany for any length of time you will need to open a bank account. You can open an account at any high-street bank providing you bring the correct documentation

    Click here to read about German bank accounts

  • Opening a Bank Account Spain

    Both Residents and non-residents are able to open a bank account in Spain. Here we guide you through the process and also help you with the documentation you might need

    Click here to read about Spanish bank accounts

  • Opening a Bank Account France

    Centro Yoga Om, Vilanova i la Geltru Image
    You are entitled to open a French bank account regardless of whether you are a resident or a non-resident of France. As a resident you have an automatic right to a bank account.  Here we guide you through the process

    Click here to read about French bank accounts

  • Opening a Bank Account Italy

    You can open an account in Italy whether you are a non resident or resident however only foreign currency or imported Euros can be paid into a non-resident account.

    Click here to read about bank accounts in Italy