How to open a bank account in Lithuania

TransferWise
10.01.18
7 minute read

With a long Baltic coastline, peaceful countryside, culturally rich towns, and the vibrant and growing capital of Vilnius, Lithuania is a fun place for a break. But if you fall in love with this little slice of the Baltics, it’s good to know it’s also a great expat destination, thanks in part to its modern outlook and drive to become a knowledge-based economy.

As part of the EU, citizens of other member states can live and work freely in Lithuania, contributing to a growing expat community, especially in Vilnius. If you’re thinking of joining them and moving to Lithuania as an expat, one of the first things you’ll need is a local bank account. This guide tells you all you need to know about how to get set up with the Lithuanian bank account that’s right for you.

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

There are no legal restrictions on offering financial products to non-residents, although each bank will decide which accounts it makes available.¹ However, there may be fees to pay to open a bank account if you’re not a resident of Lithuania or another EU member state.

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

To open a Lithuanian bank you'll need to visit your local branch to submit an application with supporting documents.²

Although all the paperwork can be done on the spot, you might be asked to provide further supporting documents depending on your personal circumstances. It will then take a few days to have your bank card prepared. If you’re going to a large branch, you might not need an appointment - you just take a ticket and stand in line when you arrive. However, in smaller branches, it’s definitely a good idea to call ahead to make sure someone is available to help you, especially if you don’t speak Lithuanian just yet. Check the specific requirements of your chosen bank branch before you visit.

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

Lithuanian banks don't ask for a huge pile of paperwork as a standard but reserve the right to ask for more complex documentary evidence if they think it’s needed. If you’re opening a simple account you’re unlikely to need more than the following:³

  • Passport or another proof of ID such as a national identity card
  • Application form, and completed questionnaire to fulfil the ‘know your customer’ requirements
  • Check the bank’s website for any other documents they may require

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

To complete the process of opening your bank account, you - or a proxy with power of attorney - must visit a bank in person, and take along your passport or other proof of ID. Most banks don't offer the option to complete the process online, although it should be fairly simple once you get to the bank.⁴

What banking fees are involved?

When you choose which bank to use, you’ll need to know what fees will be applied to the transactions you make. Some of these charges will depend on your personal situation. For example, Swedbank charges an administration fee for anyone who isn't an EU resident, upon opening an account.⁵ SEB also levies a higher monthly fee for non-residents compared to resident account holders.⁶ However, the terms may vary if you’re already a resident of Lithuania or another EU country.

Even if this doesn’t apply to you, every bank will have charges for some services, such as withdrawing cash from an ATM or making international transfers. Even if these look pretty small, they can add up quickly.

ATM fees

As elsewhere in the world, many Lithuanian banks levy charges if you withdraw cash from an ATM which isn't in their network. These fees vary according to the bank - however, you can avoid them entirely by choosing a large banking network which offers many ATMs. As many of the banks operating in Lithuania also have branches or subsidiaries in the region outside of Lithuania, you might find that you can benefit from reduced charges by using ATMs in your network while you travel, too.

One thing to watch out for if you’re using your Lithuanian card abroad, or you choose to use your home bank card in Lithuania, is excess charges applied due to dynamic currency conversion (DCC). You can read more about DCC - and how to avoid it, here.

Normal bank fees

All banks offer a variety of different products - before you decide, you should read the small print about account fees. Some accounts levy a charge for holding a debit card against the account or insist on a minimum balance which you must maintain. Which is best for you will depend very much on how you intend to use the account once it’s active.

Each account is different, but most banks have their fees and charges set out clearly, in English on their website, so you can make an informed choice and know what you might pay for banking in Lithuania on a day to day basis.

Fees for international transfers

As an expat, you might need to transfer money to your Lithuanian bank account from abroad - or vice versa. This is simple but can be costly - and often your home bank won't offer the best deal. Banks usually add an administration fee, which might not be clearly advertised, and also use poor exchange rates. Instead of using the real mid-market rate, banks will often add a markup on the rate and pocket the difference.

You might find that you can get a cheaper - and quicker - international money transfer by using a specialist service like TransferWise. Unlike many traditional banks, TransferWise uses only the mid-market rate for international transfers, with just a small, transparent fee. Find out more about the mid-market rate, and check how fair your bank’s offer really is.

Which bank should I choose?

Lithuania has a developed banking sector, with plenty of choice despite it being a fairly small country. Banks available include local subsidiaries of well known Northern European brands, and local brands operating all over the Baltic and Nordic region.

Some of the largest banks in Lithuania, with products suited to expats are:

  • Swedbank⁷
  • SEB⁸
  • Luminor⁹
  • Citadele¹⁰

Swedbank

The Lithuanian arm of this Swedish bank works in partnership with Swedbank throughout the Baltic and Nordic region, meaning you have access to a wide network of branches and ATMs.¹¹

Helpful products they offer:

  • Wide variety of accounts for savings and everyday use
  • Online banking in English
  • Specialist corporate and business accounts available
  • Credit and debit cards

SEB

SEB is a subsidiary of the Swedish bank of the same name and serves over a million customers in Lithuania¹² There are also specific banking options for people looking to invest or find more specialised financial expertise.

Helpful products they offer:

  • Wide variety of accounts and loan products
  • Free online banking in English
  • Specialist business accounts available
  • Credit and debit cards

Luminor

Luminor is the third largest bank in the Baltic region. Luminor was established with the experience of two of the leading Nordic banks Nordea and DNB and offers products aimed at personal and business customers.¹³

Helpful products they offer:

  • Variety of accounts, including premium and travel focused checking accounts¹⁴
  • Free online banking in English
  • Credit and debit cards
  • Apps for mobile payments

Citadele

With a strong focus on retail and small business customers across the whole Baltic region, Citadele has many services and products for both private and business customers. However, business customers will have a larger selection of services. Their website and internet banking can be accessed in English.¹⁵

Helpful products they offer:

  • ATMs and branches across Latvia and Lithuania, a single branch in Estonia¹⁶
  • Free online banking in English
  • Specialist business accounts are available
  • A good variety of business services¹⁷

TransferWise

As an expat, a freelancer working with businesses based overseas, or someone who enjoys regular travel, managing your money across multiple currencies can be a challenge. One great option is a Borderless account from TransferWise. With a Borderless multi-currency account, you can hold your money in up to 28 different currencies, including EUR, USD, AUD and GBP. From early 2018, you can also get a debit card to use in ATMs and to make payments.

There are no monthly account fees, and you can move the money you have in your account between currencies using the mid-market rate, with only a small fee. Because you get local bank account numbers which can be used in the eurozone, the US, Australia and the UK, you can bank like a local wherever in the world you are. Accessing - and spending - your money has never been so easy.

You shouldn't have any problem getting set up in Lithuania with a local or Borderless account. The admin is fairly limited, and the process is clearly set out. And once you have your euro bank account, you’ll find it much easier to do things like set up local services. Even better, life is cheaper with a local account, so you can just get on with enjoying your new life in Lithuania, without worrying that you’re paying more than you have to.


Sources:
1.https://www.b2bpay.co/how-open-bank-account-lithuania (September 28, 2018)
2.https://www.swedbank.lt/en/pages/corporate/opening_a_bank_account (September 28, 2018)
3.https://www.b2bpay.co/how-open-bank-account-lithuania (September 28, 2018)
4.http://checkinprice.com/how-to-open-a-bank-account-in-europe-non-resident/ (September 28, 2018)
5.https://ib.swedbank.lt/private/home/more/pricesrates/pricelist?language=ENG#account-agreements (September 28, 2018)
6.https://www.seb.lt/eng/private/daily-banking/bank-account-and-transfers/bank-account#charges (September 28, 2018)
7.https://www.swedbank.lt/en/pages/about/apie_swedbank_in_lithuania (September 28, 2018)
8.https://www.seb.lt/eng (September 28, 2018)
9.https://www.luminor.lt/en (September 28, 2018)
10.https://www.citadele.lt/en (September 28, 2018)
11. https://www.swedbank.lt/en/pages/about/apie_swedbank_in_lithuania (September 28, 2018)
12.https://www.seb.lt/eng/news/2008-05-09/seb-bank-receives-global-finance-best-bank-lithuania-award-10th-consecutive-year (September 28, 2018)
13.https://www.luminor.lt/en/luminor-story (September 28, 2018)
14.https://www.luminor.lt/lt/paslaugu-krepseliai (September 28, 2018)
15. https://www.cblgroup.com/en/about-us/values-and-strategy/ (September 28, 2018)
16.https://www.citadele.lt/en/branches-and-atm/?lat=56.507554&lng=25.030425&zoom=6&search=&type=all (September 28, 2018)
17. https://www.citadele.lt/en/business-customers/ (September 28, 2018)


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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