Opening a bank account is one of relocation essentials. After you settle in and start earning money, having a Polish bank account makes managing your finances a lot easier. You will avoid pricey international transfers, ATM problems and fees charged during card payments. The question is: which bank to choose and why?
In Poland, banks can be found around every corner. They are constantly being advertised in the media and you may even work for one – after all banks are the pillar of the financial sector which hires a lot of foreigners! Before making your final decision, you should however consider as many options as possible, since the banking market is full of various accounts for specific needs. What criteria should you take into consideration?
Resident vs non-resident status
In some facilities a bank account can be opened only by a person who resides in Poland, however the majority of banks welcome even those clients who do not necessarily have a permanent address in our country. Make sure the option you choose allows foreigners to partner up with a bank.
The process of opening an account is not complex and does not require much time, but remember to prepare some necessary documents beforehand.
Different banks require different documents confirming your identity and legal status in Poland. Check in advance whether your passport is enough to open a bank account. It may not be sufficient – a bank might request another ID, your visa or a residence card while you are still in the process of obtaining one.
In most banks, the offers for foreigners do not differ from those for regular Polish citizens. However, foreign nationals cannot open a bank account via the Internet, although it is offered by many banks to Polish clients. Therefore foreigners need to visit one of the banking facilities and deliver their documents in person. Banks are usually open Monday to Friday between the hours of 9 am and 6 pm or 7 pm. On weekends, selected bank agencies are available in shopping malls and other commercial centres. Additionally, banks offer their customers a banking website, where they can check their account balance, make a transfer or apply for a loan online, 24/7.
Fees and charges
Think thoroughly about the kind of activities you want to be able to perform with your bank account. Do you want to make international money transfers? Do you prefer to always have cash on you and have a habit of using ATMs every single day? Remember that some fees depend on the number of transactions you make or your monthly income transferred to the account. In the table below you can see that there are not many extra charges if you use your account and card actively and that usually withdrawing money from ATMs is free only when you use dedicated cash machines. Make sure you read the fine print and do your research in advance, so that the type of bank account you decide on does not charge too much when it comes to your preferred banking activities.
In Poland there are almost 23 thousand ATMs (as of June 2016). Each bank has its own ATMs, branded with their logo. There are also ATM chains such as Euronet or PlanetCash, which allow to withdraw money from any bank account but it may involve additional charges.
A few years ago, mobile payments like SkyCash, iKO or Peopay were introduced in Poland and have become widely popular especially among young people. Thanks to a smartphone application, one can withdraw money from many ATMs or pay for purchases without using a card. These apps can also be used to pay for public transport or cinema tickets.
Last but not least, find out whether you will be able to communicate effectively with your bank’s staff. See if its online and mobile services are easily accessible and make sure the exchange of information between both parties is hindrance-free. If your English is not that good and Polish is still a work in progress, aim for transaprent mobile options.
- PKO Zero Account
- Account for Young
- Getin UP
|Can I, as a foreigner, open a bank account via Internet?||only upon request||YES||NO|
|Is it possible to complete all formalities in English?||YES||YES||NO|
|Is there an English version of online banking platform?||YES||YES||NO|
|Can I contact a bank by telephone in English?||YES||YES||YES|
|What is the monthly fee for using a bank account?||PLN 01||PLN 0||PLN 02|
|Fee for issuing the card||PLN 0||PLN 0||PLN 0|
|Card service fee||PLN 03||PLN 4||PLN 2.99|
|What is the transaction fee for domestic and international money transfers:|
|PLN 5||PLN 8||PLN 5.99|
|b) via Internet||PLN 0||PLN 0||PLN 0|
|How much has to be paid for cash machine withdrawals:|
|a) if the cash machine belongs to the bank with which the bank account has been opened||PLN 0||PLN 0||PLN 0|
|b) if the cash machine belongs to another bank||min. PLN 5||min. PLN 5||min. PLN 5|
|How much does a foreign transfer cost:|
|min. PLN 50||min. PLN 20||PLN 60|
|b) via Internet||not possible||min. PLN 20||not possible|
|The cost of the cash deposit:||PLN 0||PLN 0||PLN 0|
|Does the bank offer online banking?||YES||YES||YES|
|Is it possible to deposit money in a foreign currency?||YES||YES||YES|
1 if monthly inflows amount to min. PLN 1,500
2 non-cash transactions of min. PLN 300
3 card transactions of PLN 250