How to open a bank account in Estonia
Moving to Estonia? Here’s how to get a local bank account.
5 min read
Thanks to its vibrant history and culture, Estonia is becoming an increasingly popular country for expats. And thanks to a progressive e-residency program, foreigners can also participate in many of the advanced digital services that make Estonia great—like banking. If you’re on your way to Estonia, this guide will tell you what you need to know to successfully open a bank account.
What do I get with an Estonian bank account?
Your Estonian bank account, called a pangakonto, comes with an International Bank Account Number (IBAN), with which you can transfer money for free to other countries in the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA). That includes every country in Europe, even those outside of the European Union (EU).
Unfortunately, it can be quite costly for non-residents to open a bank account in Estonia. Traditional banks may charge anywhere from €100 to €400 to process applicant documents. On top of that, they may charge fees for monthly account maintenance and withdrawing cash at non-network ATMs. Luckily, most transactions in Estonia are cashless. This means it’s a good idea to look for a bank that issues a widely accepted debit card like Mastercard or Visa and can be connected to Apple Pay or Google Pay.
Am I eligible to open a bank account in Estonia?
In terms of access, Estonia is among Europe’s most expat-friendly countries when it comes to opening a bank account. If you’re 18 or older, have a valid passport, and can prove you have a connection to the country, you can likely open a bank account. Proving your connection to Estonia is the most notable roadblock, and it’s up to every bank to determine what counts as a connection.
What do I need to open a bank account in Estonia?
You’ll need the following documents to open a bank account in Estonia:
Passport or EU national ID card
Proof of address or Estonian e-residency (if applying from abroad)—Keep in mind that e-residency is not the same as being an Estonian resident and may not necessarily make you eligible for a bank account.
Proof of connection to Estonia for non-citizens or residents—Acceptable proof includes a signed residential lease agreement, a signed employment contract, or a school enrollment certificate.
Not fluent in Estonian? No problem—most banking services and support are also available in English and Russian.
What’s the process like? Can I open a bank account online?
Estonia is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, with an impressively modern banking system. Nevertheless, accessing it can be a little tricky.
If you have an Estonian passport, ID card, or residence permit, you can open an account online or through your chosen bank’s app. You’ll be asked to verify your identity using Smart-ID, Mobile-ID, or an ID card reader. If you don’t have citizenship or residency, you’ll have to submit some documents that prove your connection to the country. Some banks let you do this online while others ask that you bring your paperwork to a branch. If you are not a resident, you may be subject to up to €400 in processing fees. If you’re already residing in Estonia, you can opt to do the entire process in person. It can take up to two weeks for a bank to approve your application. Once you’ve been approved, you may be asked to come to a branch location for a face-to-face identification and to sign the client agreement.
Needless to say, opening an account with a traditional bank in Estonia can be somewhat time-consuming, and costly. An easier, quicker, and cheaper option is to open an account with a mobile bank. Simply download the app, upload and verify your information, complete the in-app verification process, done—all in less time than it takes to hop on a ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki. But make sure you verify that your mobile bank has a full banking license so that your account stays protected.
What’s a banking license?
Estonia’s innovation-friendly economy makes it one of the world’s most attractive countries to launch and offer fintech services. Many fintech companies operating in Estonia boast financial services similar to banks, and some even offer an IBAN and a debit card. Official banks, however, require a banking license. A banking license ensures that an institution meets strict regulations set out by the Bank of Estonia, Estonian Financial Supervisory Authority, and European Central Bank (ECB). Most importantly, it means your data and deposits are protected up to €100,000 under the European deposit guarantee scheme.
With more than five million customers in 25 markets and growing, N26 is the first licensed bank in Europe built for the digital generation. It offers 100% mobile personal and business banking products as a fully recognized bank, so your money stays protected.
How to open a Estonian bank account online with N26
Verify your identity with a short video call and connect your smartphone to your new account.
Start spending right away with your virtual Mastercard.
Your money at N26
N26 makes opening a Estonian bank account easy. A Standard account is free, while premium accounts come with features like budgeting tools, sub-accounts, and comprehensive insurance. Want to send money abroad? No problem—and no inflated exchange rate, thanks to our Wise integration. Finally, you can power-up your N26 debit Mastercard with Apple Pay and Google Pay for full flexibility wherever you spend. Need to chat? N26 Customer Support is available from 7am CET to 11pm CET, including holidays.
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