Open a European bank account for non-residents online
Residents of European countries can enjoy the advantages of having a bank account in Europe. There are some options for foreigners and non-residents who want to open a bank account in Europe. It is important to have an understanding of the European banking system before you seek out the best European bank account for non-residents.
Understanding banking in Europe
Opening a European bank account does not necessarily mean opening a bank account in a European Union country. Some countries physically located in Europe are not part of the European Union and make it easier for non-residents and foreigners to open bank accounts. Although having a bank account in a non-EU European country is beneficial it does not have all the advantages of banking in an EU country.
If you are looking for the best European bank for non-residents, it is important to understand SEPA – the Single Euro Payments Area. This unique payments system allows for faster and cheaper cross-border money transactions between SEPA countries, treating them as if they were domestic transactions. Bank accounts held in SEPA-member countries can also receive transfers from outside SEPA in a more timely and cost-efficient manner. Not all SEPA countries use the euro (Poland, Denmark, Sweden and some others) but all EU and EEA countries are SEPA-members. Non-EU countries inside SEPA include UK, San Marino, Liechtenstein and Monaco. Opening a bank account as a non-resident in a European country that does not use the euro is often easier than in EU countries where it is the national currency.
Advantages of opening a bank account in Europe when you are non-resident
You may ask yourself why you should open a bank account in Europe if you are a non-resident or foreigner. For non-European companies having a European bank account provides you with significant advantages:
- If you have a bank account in Europe your customers in the EU can make purchases from your company by SEPA transfer.
- SEPA money transfers are low-cost – this is an advantage for your EU customers and for you when you need to pay suppliers.
- SEPA euro money transfers are fast and can even be completed within 1-2 banking days.
- Regulations differ between the various EU and EEA countries but when using a European bank account and SEPA money transfers many of the regulations are standardized.
Requirements for opening a European bank account as a non-resident:
Physical EU address and EU personnel: Regulations vary between European countries. Some banks require that your company has a physical address in Europe – you will need to have a physical address in the EU even if you do not actually need it to operate your business from there. Some EU countries will allow you to list the offices of a European attorney, notary, registered agent, or representative as your business address. In addition to having a physical EU address, some countries require you to have local personnel.
Other requirements: Some EU banks will perform credit and background checks before they will open a bank account for a non-resident. To open your corporate bank account in Europe as a non-resident, you may also have to show proof of transaction volume; verification of identity; company registration information and in some cases, you may need to be there in person to open the account at a bank branch.