Here’s how to open a bank account in Poland
Settling down in Poland? Read on for our guide to opening your own bank account in the country.
6 min read
With a growing economy, stunning castles, world-class museums and diverse nature, Poland is an exciting choice for settling down abroad. But one of the first things you’ll have to sort out when you arrive is setting up your local bank account. The process isn’t too complicated—you just need to know where to start. Follow this guide to find all the information you need to open a bank account in Poland with minimal stress.
What should I look for in a Polish bank account?
If you consider both private and public institutions in Poland, you’ll find around 600 different banks to choose from. That means you’ll want to gather some key information in order to help you narrow down your choice. First, make sure that the bank you look at accepts non-residents—not all of them do. Next, you might want to check that the bank will allow you to deal with multiple currencies, since Poland uses the Polish Zloty (PLN) rather than the euro as its official currency. Other key points to keep in mind are:
- Fees—Generally, banks in Poland are not overly expensive. The average monthly fee you can expect to pay is between 15 and 20 Zloty (under 5 Euro). That said, it’s worth considering all fees that might be involved when comparing banks. In Poland, in addition to opening and maintenance costs for a standard bank account, costs related to credit and debit cards may vary from bank to bank, as will overdraft and cash withdrawal fees.
- Speed and ease of use—As a relatively recent member of the EU, Poland has been known to have a few obstacles with their administrative processes. When opening a bank account with a traditional bank, be sure to check online reviews and forums to avoid long wait times and other frustrating obstacles. Inquire as to whether online banking is possible, as well as the general availability of ATMs throughout the country.
- Customer support languages—Most banks have English speaking staff and call centers. However, there might be some exceptions. Be sure to confirm service languages before signing a contract. Tip—if the bank’s website is only available in Polish, it’s likely that customer service will only be available in Polish!
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What are the requirements to open a bank account in Poland?
You’re eligible to open a bank account in Poland as both a resident and a non-resident. However, without a solid grasp of the Polish language, figuring out what’s needed can be overwhelming since requirements may vary from bank to bank. This is especially true if you have yet to sort out your residence permit. If you are not yet a Polish resident, some banks offer specific products for your status. They’ll likely ask you to provide a passport and proof of residency in your country of origin. If you do decide to open an account before securing a residence permit, be aware that the number of banks and accounts you can choose from will be limited—especially if you’re coming from a country outside of the European Union.
What documents do you need to open a bank account in Poland?
Even if you have a residence permit in hand, it’s always worth confirming the specific documents required by your bank of choice. However, standard requirements you can expect to be asked to present are:
- Proof of identity—You will need an official document issued by the government (e.g., a national ID or passport).
- Proof of address—This refers to utility bills (e.g., gas, electricity, internet, etc.), bank statements, or other official communications (not older than 3 months). If you are opening a resident account, you will also need to provide a PESEL number (the Polish acronym for "Universal Electronic System for Registration of the Population"). You will receive your PESEL number when you register your residence in Poland.
- Proof of employment—If you require overdraft options, it is common to be asked for documents proving employment. This can include a contract/letter of employment and in many cases an annual tax return and declaration from the Tax Office for freelancers.
What is the typical process for opening a bank account in Poland?
If you are living in Poland, with a residence permit, a PESEL number, and a residential address, the process will run smoothly with the majority of banks. With traditional banks, you can just walk into a branch with all the documents listed above. You will, however, need to factor in processing and waiting times before your application is approved and your bank account fully operational. The average wait time ranges between five days and two weeks, plus the time needed to deliver the debit/credit cards. This can become more complicated if you are not yet in Poland, or have arrived without a residence permit.
Can I open a Polish bank account online?
Yes. However, there is a clear difference for residents and non-residents. If you are a resident, there are at least a few Polish banks that will allow you to open a bank account online. If you are planning to expatriate to Poland but haven’t moved there yet, most banks will not give you the option to open an account remotely. This obstacle can be circumvented by choosing a non-traditional bank, or a local bank that is affiliated with a global banking group where you are already a client.
Traditional banks vs. online banks
When deciding between a traditional and an online bank, it’s important to understand and define what your priorities are. In Poland, banking fees are not usually excessive, but the institutions themselves may be difficult to navigate. Are ease of use, speed of set up, fee transparency, and variety of innovative services all attractive features in your bank? Then online banks are likely to be the better option for opening a bank account in Poland.
Banking license vs e-money license
There are a growing number of companies that manage money online—but not all of them have a real banking license. Many of these companies only have an e-money license (EMI), instead of a full banking license. Banking licenses are more difficult to obtain compared to EMIs and come with a higher level of security—and thus, more protection for your money. Since July 2016, N26 has operated with a full European banking license. That means we’re able to provide you with all the services of a traditional bank, including deposit protection up to €100,000 per EU regulations.
How to open a bank account online with N26
Opening a bank account online with N26 is quick and easy. You can set up your account online in just 8 minutes and start using it right away. All you need is your smartphone, a valid ID, and an internet connection. Right after the secure registration process you’re ready to go. Our Customer Support specialists speak English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian, and are always happy to assist you.
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Your money at N26
At N26 we are committed to transparency and innovation to make your life easier, no matter where you set up home. Your N26 euro bank account is easy to set up and comes with perks and features such as Spaces (sub accounts), instant push notifications, free cash withdrawals though CASH26, and payments in any currency with no extra fees.
If you’re a freelancer and need a business bank account, look no further. Freelancers with an N26 Business account enjoy a broad range of services, including free money transfers and 0.1% cashback on purchases. Compare our plans to decide which account is right for you.
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