How to open a bank account in Romania

31.08.17
5 minute read
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The expat community in Romania has proven to be super welcoming, and more and more people are making the choice to move there each year. The capital city of Bucharest features sprawling streets filled with famous architecture everywhere you look; it’s an energetic, dynamic and exciting city to live in, and is a must for museum-goers!

Bucharest has actually been listed as one of the cheapest European cities to move to for expats, and you’re likely to find your money goes a long way there. If Bucharest doesn’t interest you, you can venture further out and visit the infamous Cluj-Napoca, which features lots of Transylvanian attractions. If castles, forests and nature reserves don’t tempt you to move here, nothing will!

Moving to a new place can often be very daunting, but banking doesn’t have to be. Take the struggle out of opening a bank account in Romania with these tips.

Can I open a bank account as a non-resident of Romania?

Yes, the process is simple and shouldn’t take long. You don’t need to be a resident in Romania to open a bank account and there are many to choose from.

What's the process? How long does it usually take?

In order to open a bank account in Romania, you’ll need to call a bank to schedule an appointment and then meet face to face. Make sure that you take your passport, and to contact the bank of your choosing for their specific list of requirements, as some tend to differ.

You can open an account with Romanian LEU or Euros, or even a separate account for both; it’s completely up to you. Also, note that you’ll have to make a deposit into your account on the opening day for it to be operational.

What documents are necessary for a foreigner to open a bank account?

There are a range of documents that you may need to open a bank account as a foreigner. These include:

  • Tax residency
  • Passport
  • Proof of address such as utility bills etc.
  • Employment contract/Payslips
  • Previous bank statements

You’ll also usually need an initial deposit.

Can I open a bank account abroad? What about at least online?

Most banks in Romania require you to be in the country to open an account. There are currently 40 commercial banks in the country though, so there are lots of options to choose from with many different levels of international options available.

Additionally, you’re able to open a bank account with OTP Bank in Romania by sending your information by post to the branch where you’d like to open an account. You’ll then receive an account-opening application and once signed this will need to be approved by the Hungarian Embassy. You can also send over email, if this is easier.

What banking fees are involved?

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing who to bank with and bank fees are very important to consider. You don’t want to be paying high fees just for using your account, or for the services you use most often. It’s a good idea to pull the price list at the bank you choose before solidifying your account. These are typically available online, but you may need to ask your banker directly. Otherwise, some typical fees to look out for include:

ATM fees

If you withdraw money from other banks you’ll be charged a fee. It varies, but as an example at OTP Bank you’ll pay HUF 993 + 0.6%. That being said, using an ATM that belongs to your own bank should be free of charge.

When you use your card you don’t want to be bitten by nasty charges. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with foreign ATM fees and how they work, especially if you’re using your debit card from home.

Normal bank fees

There are fees with many accounts, however, basic accounts generally have lower fees than premium accounts. Some fee types to look out for are:

  • Minimum balance maintenance fees
  • Account maintenance fees
  • Check deposit fees

Fees for international transfers

Making international transfers is almost never free, and rarely cheap. The formula for fees is typically a combination of a flat fee, up to about €20, and a percentage of your total transfer amount. More than likely your bank will also charge a markup on the exchange rate, often without disclosing it to you expressly.

If you do make transfers often, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the mid-market rate, or to use TransferWise to make sure you never see exchange rate markups and cut down on fees.

Which bank should I choose?

OTP Bank has the most amount of ATM’s in the country so if you’re wanting easy access to cash this is an important factor to note. Alpha Bank is another popular choice.

If you’re looking for an international bank, look no further than Citibank. They have a great reputation, excellent customer service and have been in the country since 1996.

Otherwise, some of the best and most popular banks listed are:

Citibank

Citibank is one of the most awarded banks in the world with 200 million clients and branches across Romania:

Some benefits they provide include:

  • Basic account
  • No yearly maintenance fees
  • Business account
  • Cards

Bank of Transylvania

Very popular with all ages and nationalities, this bank offers the best value for money with practically zero charges.

The Bank of Transylvania provides:

  • A current account with Visa Electron contactless card.
  • Mobile banking.
  • SMS Alerts
  • Zero account management charges, zero cash withdrawal fee and zero cash deposit fee

ING Bank

ING was the first foreign bank to open a full service branch in Romania in 1989. They always ensure excellent financial safety so you never have to worry, and their branches and ATMs can be found in all major towns and cities across the country. Some services ING customers enjoy include:

  • 24/7 banking.
  • A range of cards, from personal to credit to bonus.
  • Fixed interest rates.
  • Up to 90,000 LEU.

Banking can sometimes feel like a hassle, but armed with the right information your finances will be set up in no time. Whoever you choose to bank with in Romania, make sure you read all the fine print and understand everything before you sign contracts. If in doubt take a translator, though most Romanians speak excellent English. With that, you’re ready to get started. Good luck opening your bank account in Romania!

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