How to open a bank account in Greece
If you’re settling down in Greece, it’s a good idea to open a local bank account. Read on to find out how.
5 min read
From the temperate weather to the vibrant culture to the ancient history, there are countless reasons to contemplate a move to Greece. But whether you’re thinking of starting a life on a picturesque island or in metropolitan Athens, you’re going to want to have a local bank account to make the transition a little easier. A local bank account will help you get paid by a Greek employer, pay taxes, and get a residence permit.
Opening a bank account in Greece became more challenging in the wake of the 2007 financial crisis, but restrictions are lifting as the country bounces back. That said, you should still expect a good amount of paperwork. Keep reading to find out exactly what you need to do to open a bank account in Greece.
What to look for in a bank account in Greece
Greece has a robust banking sector with domestic banks, regional banks, large international banks, and online banks—people there have been banking since the 4th century BC, after all. When researching which bank is best for you, be sure to compare the fees associated with each account. Some banks charge a set-up fee or a monthly administrative fee. These fees can sometimes get waived as an introductory offer and put in place later on, so make sure to read the fine print.
It’s also common for banks in Greece to charge a fee for using an ATM outside its own network. Be sure that the bank you choose has ATM locations that are convenient for you, or look for a bank that offers free withdrawals from outside ATMs.
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What do I need to open a bank account in Greece?
Opening a bank account in Greece requires a considerable amount of paperwork, whether you’re a local or an expat. The first step is to get your local tax number, called an AFM (Arithmo Forologiko Mitro). As you’ll also need this number to get a job, this might already be on your to-do list. Just bring your passport to your local tax office and submit your application.
Foreigners may be required to have their documents translated and notarized, which makes the process more complicated. Some banks do accept documents in English, so you can save time and money by choosing to set up your account there. In addition to the paperwork, you will typically need to make a minimum deposit into the account. This varies by bank, but can be around €250.
How old do you have to be to open a bank account in Greece?
The minimum age to open a bank account in Greece is 18. However, many banks offer accounts for minors provided that they have the consent of their legal guardian.
What documents do you need to open a bank account in Greece?
What do you need to open a bank account? At the very least, you’ll need to bring your passport and your local tax number (AFM). Many banks will ask for additional documents, such as a proof of address (a recent utility bill, for example), a work contract, or a reference letter from your previous bank.
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How to open a bank account in Greece, step by step
Once you’ve gathered your paperwork, it’s time to visit your local branch. Set aside an hour or more, as the appointment can be lengthy. While many tellers speak English, you may want to bring a translator or a Greek-speaking friend along. From there, the appointment should be pretty straightforward. You’ll fill out the application, have your documents scanned, and submit your signature. You’ll be given the account number to make the minimum deposit. Once your debit card arrives in the mail, you’re in business.
Can I open a bank account online in Greece?
Unfortunately, you cannot open a bank account online with Greece’s domestic and international banks. You will need to go to the bank in person so they can verify your original documents and take signature samples. If you’d like to get a head start, most banks allow you to fill out the application online. Once you’ve gone as far as you can, just call your local branch and make an appointment to activate your account in person.
As an alternative, you can open a bank account online with an online bank. When choosing an online financial institution, you’ll want to make sure you choose a licensed bank rather than an e-money institution.
What is the difference between a banking license and an e-money license?
An e-money institution can offer services such as money transfers and currency exchanges. If you’re planning to use the account for services like paying your bills and taking cash out of the ATM, you’ll need a company with a banking license—that is, a real bank. As N26 became a licensed bank in July 2016, we are able to offer all the services you expect from a bank, including protection on every deposit up to €100,000.
How to open a bank account online with N26
Opening a bank account with N26 is a quick and easy process. Visit the N26 website or download the smartphone app and enter your personal details. From there, you’ll be asked to select the type of account you’d like to open. Then, grab your valid photo ID and complete a quick video call to verify your identity. Finally, make a transfer into your new N26 account and start making purchases with your virtual N26 Mastercard right away. If you need some help choosing which account is right for you, consult our account comparison page to see which plan best suits your needs.
Your money at N26
As of February 2020, N26 premium accounts are now available in Greece. With N26 You and Metal, you have access to all the services of a Greek bank plus more, like travel insurance, free ATM withdrawals in a foreign currency, and perks from brand names like GetYourGuide and Hotels.com. ATM Metal offers even more benefits, like mobile phone insurance up to €1,000 and insurance when renting a car abroad. You put a lot into your bank account—we think it should give you something in return.
At N26, we’ve taken the red tape out of opening a bank account in Greece. Open an online account in just 8 minutes—all you’ll need is your smartphone, a valid address in Greece, and a valid photo ID. You’ll get an official German IBAN, so you can pay and be paid like a local. Plus, there are no hidden fees and you’ll always have access to English-speaking customer service, so you can focus on settling in to your new home.
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