How can you open a bank account in a European country? What are the main advantages of having a European bank account? What is the process of setting up a bank account in Europe? We answer these and other related questions below.
Why should you have a bank account in Europe?
Let us discuss the main reasons why our clients want to open non-resident bank accounts in the European Union. These include the following ones:
- They are freelancers who live outside the EU but have paying clients in this part of the world.
- They are engaged in logistics, import/ export business or e-commerce.
- They would like to invest into real property in Europe and receive a passive income by letting it on a lease.
- They need a bank account in Europe in order to apply for a legal residence permit or full citizenship in one of the countries.
- They want to protect their assets by converting them into a stable currency.
- They seek to make a bank deposit that is insured for a larger sum.
- They have to make money transfers within SEPA.
- They would like to purchase goods and services unavailable in their home countries.
Many European banks are among the top ten financial institutions of the world. Their stability and reliability are the main qualities that attract people from other parts of the world. However, to be able to make full use of such a financial instrument as a European bank account you have to acquire professional assistance in choosing the right jurisdiction and the right bank.
Advantages of having a European bank account
A non-resident bank account in an EU country is one of the most reliable mechanisms of asset protection. The main advantages of having a bank account in Europe include the following ones:
Your bank account in Europe will guarantee that your capital is secure in case an economic or political crisis occurs in your home country.
The information about your having a bank account in a European country will remain highly confidential. The fiscal authorities will have this information, of course, but your competitors, creditors, and any other third parties will not have it. The information about your transactions will also remain private.
You will have access to a wide range of banking services. In addition to the traditional services, you can open an investment account, purchase securities, gold, foreign real estate, acquire external asset management services, and so on.
The following banking products and services are available to non-resident clients in Europe:
- A personal, corporate, savings, broker’s, or investment bank account;
- Fiduciary management;
- External asset management;
- Loans – for commercial and personal purposes;
- International bank cards;
- Letters of Credit;
- Electronic banking;
- Personal IBANs;
- Instant transactions within SEPA;
- SWIFT and CHAPS transactions.
In addition to that, there are opportunities to open a bank account in an exotic currency in Europe and perform crypto operations.
Factors to consider when choosing a European bank
You have to take several criteria into consideration when choosing the European country where you want to open an account and the bank. These include the following ones:
Reliability: check what rating the bank has. Banks that are rated ‘A’ and higher deserve your attention first of all.
Requirements to prospective clients: European banks are especially demanding to non-resident applicants for their services. The anti-money laundering requirements have become extremely tough and it is difficult for a non-European resident to open a bank account in Europe today. All banks will meticulously check the applicant’s profile before taking him/ her onboard. To improve your chances of acquiring services from a European bank please apply for our Preapproval service.
The amount of the security deposit: Some banks will want you to have a certain sum of money in your account at all times. You may be requested to make a deposit of €30 000 to €500 000 or even more.
Bank fees and commissions: it is important to inquire into the bank’s tariff policies. Practice shows that bank clients often have to pay for the types of services that they do not really need or do not know how to use them.
Client support: you have to make sure that the bank has a manager who speaks your national language and who understands your national mentality. This will improve the chances for fruitful cooperation with the bank.
The process of setting up a European bank account
KYC, Due Diligence, Compliance, AML — you will hear these words often when going through the process of opening a bank account in Europe. Every bank has a Compliance Department that performs prospective client identification procedures before an account can be set up.
The bank administration will want to know everything about you including your personal data, your sources of income, this history of your business venture, your business partners, all beneficiary company owners, and so on and so forth. This is not because the bankers are whimsical: they have to find out everything about the prospective client because such are the requirements imposed on them by the regulating authorities. The regulators try very hard to combat money laundering, terrorism financing, and tax evasion.
Even though there is a uniform legislation that governs the activities of banks located in all 27 EU countries, every bank in Europe will put forward its own requirements to non-resident clients. You have to be prepared for that when applying for services to a European bank.
Compliance procedures for non-resident applicants for banking services in Europe
All European banks want to have clients whose activities are legal and whose sources of income are perfectly transparent. When applying for services to a European bank, you will have to submit the following documents:
A high quality scanned photograph of the applicant’s passport;
A proof of the applicant’s residential address such as a recent utility bill, for instance;
A document confirming the legality of the sources of income: a tax declaration, a payroll, an inheritance certificate, a property sale agreement, a bank statement, etc.;
If you are opening a corporate bank account in Europe, you will have to submit the complete package of corporate documents including the Certificate of Incorporation, the By-laws, the Minutes of the first shareholders’ meeting, and so on.
Your chances of setting up a European bank account will increase if you are able to demonstrate economic ties with the country where you are opening the account or justify the need to do so. If we are talking about a corporate bank account, you will have to show that your company has economic substance in Europe, disclose the names of all beneficiary company owners, describe the character of the transactions that you plan to perform, and do everything else that is required to make your business perfectly understandable to the bankers. You have to be ready to answer numerous questions if you would like to have a bank account in an EU state.
We are talking about a corporate account in the first place. If you are unable to prove to the bankers that you have economic interests in Europe (or in the particular European country), that you have partners there or economic substance, opening a business account in a European bank is going to be rather problematic.
This said, we have numerous other options that we can suggest to you. We will be happy to assist you in opening a bank account in another part of the world or setting one up with a payment system or a neobank (digital bank) instead of a traditional one.
Legal support in opening a foreign bank account
Offshore Pro Group provides complex support in opening foreign bank accounts – in Europe or elsewhere. The list of our services includes the following ones:
- An analysis if the client’s profile;
- Selection of banks that will satisfy the client’s requirements;
- Selection of the bank account of the type that will suit the client’s needs;
- Assistance in collecting, completing, and legalizing the application documents required for opening a personal or a corporate bank account abroad (including the application documents for companies with complex corporate structures);
- Assistance in passing through the KYC, AML, and Due Diligence procedures;
- Issuance of a letter of recommendation;
- Assistance in the preparation for a video interview with the compliance department officer of the foreign bank;
- Full legal support in setting up a foreign bank account;
- Representation of the client’s interests abroad;
- Business company registration in, or re-domiciliation to, a foreign country and corporate bank account opening.
Please apply for our professional assistance to avoid the multiple traps and pitfalls that are there on the way to a foreign bank account. We communicate with over 200 banks and other financial institutions all around the world on a daily basis. Bankers trust us, as they know that we recommend only reliable clients to them so you will certainly benefit from cooperating with us. We will be happy to give you a free personal consultation on setting up a foreign bank account. Please request the consultation by writing to our email address (see above), our live chat, or a messenger. We always reply fast!