How to open a bank account in Estonia

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How to open a bank account in Estonia

How to open a bank account in Estonia

Estonia, a small member country of the European Union and EEA, is the beating heart of the continent's edge-cutting technology and innovations. It has won international attention with its startups and companies that revolutionized the online existence of many of us, with Skype, Bolt or the fintech star company, Transferwise, to name just a few. 

Estonia is also in the avant-garde of remote work, supported with its famous e-residence program, which turned this small Baltic state into a home for international freelancers wanting to access the European market and Estonia’s seamless electronic bureaucracy. Estonian government constantly explores new ways in which it can make its services more time and cost-effective, including digital signatures, convenient tax solutions, identification of the citizens, and bureaucratic affairs.

How to open bank account in Estonia as a non-resident

Estonia places itself at the forefront of the digital revolution, and its citizens have been using online services, electronic IDs, and integrated systems for years now. The country is small and picturesque - with hundreds of little islands and sprawling forests, charming architecture in the cities, inviting people for daily trips and excursions. 

great universities (especially in the capital, Tallin, and Turku), and great social life, with friendly Estonians and many foreign professionals flocking here for well-paid jobs. For those who seek more intimate locations and an alternative to behemoths such as London, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona - Estonia is quite a compelling choice. 

We’ve prepared a tutorial for those of you interested in relocating to Estonia, explaining step by step how to open a bank account once you made a decision to live there.

Documents needed to open a bank account in Estonia

As usual, you’ll need to prove your identity when opening an account and the exact requirements may vary case by case, bank by bank, but the most common would be: Passport with a valid residence permit or visa

  • A rental contract or mortgage papers, or any other documents showing the reason for your extended stay in Estonia
  • Any other document that identifies you, such as bank statements from your home country, including your address

Since Estonia is a small country of well-educated citizens, you can count on the help of an English-speaking officer in the bank. The process should typically take 30 minutes.

Can I open a bank account in Estonia as a non-resident?

Yes, Estonia has a system that enables you to open a bank account without residency and as an e-resident, and you can start the process online. Generally speaking, it is often possible to open an account with only your passport - depending on the country of your origin and the bank you chose. Some banks might do a thorough analysis of your case and get back to you via email or phone within 5 business days.

Best banks in Estonia

There is a large presence of international banks in the country and these banks take care of the financial matters of the international businesses in Estonia. You can also choose from some of the Estonian financial institutions. Here is a list of the most popular banks in the country:

  • Swedbank is known for its convenient mobile and internet banking and the country's most wide-reaching ATM and branch network. Swedbank can be a convenient option for you, with its reward systems and a free debit card. 
  • S|E|B: SEB Bank has a current account offer for all the clients over 18 years old, with which you can do all traditional operations, such as payments and purchases with a contactless debit card. Once you become an e-resident, you get access to a regular private account. If you have questions, they have a phone line in English. More information about SEB can be found here.
  • TBB Pank is an Estonian bank offering personal and professional accounts, with electronic banking and service in Russian and English. The default operations with their accounts include payments, cash operations, bank cards, deposits, Internet and mobile banking. Clients can keep their money in various currencies on your accounts. TBB offers deposits in cash and transfers, cheques, and various accounts for young customers, non-residents and seniors. 
  • LHV Pank is another Estonian bank, which used to operate fully electronically until 2015, when it opened its first paper money ATM. it has a fast and easy application process and it offers a wide selection of payment, debit and credit cards - including options for football fans wanting to support the Estonian football, as well as for shopping lovers, hunting for discounts. 

Best banks in Estonia for non-residents

Other options for your banking choice include young Estonian banks, such as Inbank and Luminor, or an older player, Coop Pank. In most cases, you can either visit a local office or apply online for the preferred option. While opening an account on the internet, each customer is asked to provide an identification document online or offered a video-call verification as an alternative. Upon successful opening, you will receive further documents and your first card by mail. 

Opening an account is normally free, and there are no fees on operating the account. It’s worth checking the costs of withdrawals from out-of-network ATMs in each bank. All of the banks have modern, convenient online banking platforms.

The virtual bank account alternative

You are spending too much sending money out of Estonia

If you are sending money outside of Europe with a regular Europen bank, you’re usually losing money. An example? A transfer of 10.000 Euros to a bank account in India would costs you approximately 1000 EUR - the amount arriving on the recipient’s account will be closer to 9000 EUR. The reason is that banks use old systems, which require people’s attention and work, high maintenance - resulting in high costs of these operations. 

We’ve found an alternative for you. It is a virtual bank account with B2B Pay, which comes with a European IBAN and a fixed 1% fee. By using our services, the same 10.000 euro transfer will costs you around 900 euros less, depending on the market you send the money to. It’s all possible thanks to the technology we use and the deals we make with our partners.

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