How Can a Foreigner Open a Bank Account in Poland

Poland is a favorable location for basing a business in Europe and the country offers many business opportunities. Foreign investors have the same rights to open a company and open a bank account as locals and they also have access to a series of incentives and Special Economic Zones.

Geographically speaking, Poland has a convenient position in the heart of Europe, with numerous affordable flights connecting Poland with the rest of the planet, and a good network of buses and trains. For many the decision will be based on the affordability of living, good quality of food, beautiful natural and historical sites to spend holidays in, or the famously welcoming nature of Polish citizens.

Opening a bank account is an essential process when starting a business and investors should include this step on the list of issues that need to be handled personally or through a representative. Likewise, employees or sole traders, entrepreneurs who derive income from Poland can benefit from having a bank account opened with a local bank or the branch of a foreign financial institution.

How to Open a Polish Bank Account for Non-Residents

Depending on the banks you choose and what documents you have, there are some serious hoops to jump though when figuring out how to open a Polish bank account for non-residents.
Sometimes, just finding a branch that’s willing to accept non-residents can be time-consuming and tedious.
If you do go to a branch, try and find a member of staff that can communicate in English or take one of your Polish friends to assist you. A lot of the staff can and will communicate in English but sometimes they might be a little nervous so be friendly and patient.

Required Documents

Different banks require different documents confirming your identity and legal status in Poland. Check in advance whether your passport is enough to open a bank account. It may not be sufficient – a bank might request another ID, your visa or a residence card while you are still in the process of obtaining one.

In most banks, the offers for foreigners do not differ from those for regular Polish citizens. However, foreign nationals cannot open a bank account via the Internet, although it is offered by many banks to Polish clients. Therefore foreigners need to visit one of the banking facilities and deliver their documents in person.

Although many banks waive this requirement, some banks may still require customers to have a Polish personal identity number (PESEL) to open a bank account. Any foreigner living in Poland may automatically obtain a PESEL number if they register their residence for a stay of over 30 days. If they cannot register their residence, the foreigner may apply to the municipality to obtain a PESEL number in a special procedure. Having a PESEL number is often a condition for applying for credit products linked to a bank account, such as an overdraft facility or revolving line of credit.

Banks are usually open Monday to Friday between the hours of 9 am and 6 pm or 7 pm. On weekends, selected bank agencies are available in shopping malls and other commercial centres. Additionally, banks offer their customers a banking website, where they can check their account balance, make a transfer or apply for a loan online, 24/7.

Alternative to Traditional Banking Methods

When it comes to international transfers of funds from Poland, these can cost you a lot since many banks do not respect the mid market rate used when trading currencies between banks. Traditional banking institutions tend to hike up these rates in order to make a profit, and then add the SWIFT fee on top of it. Eventually, you might end up spending around 10% of the total transferred amount in currency conversion and fees when doing international money transfers to certain markets.

Using Jeton Wallet in Poland might save you on transaction cost and the money will arrive quicker in most cases. With a Business account you also get your own European IBAN, which means you can receive payments and send money between many countries for a fixed, low rate.