How to open a bank account in Greece

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How to open a bank account in Greece

Greece is, despite its struggling economy, a magnet for foreigners. Those who seek a place to retire in a warm climate, close to the water and with plenty of wonderful food, local wine and music to entertain themselves with, settle on the country’s islands and coasts. 

Young creatives love the Greek cities for their energy and affordability, giving them an opportunity to live more relaxed lives. There is a lot of potential for running a small business. You can see plenty of small shops with various crafts, arts, services, and products around the city. 

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

Many areas in Athens are pulling wealthy expats from Europe and Asia, especially those who are interested in relatively cheap real estate options and investment. The capital is surprisingly rich in foreign cultures, and you can hear people speak many languages, besides Greek and English, on its streets. This mix has created an environment of vibrance and openness, and it adds to the attractiveness of Greece as a place to settle in. 

If you need help with opening a bank account in Greece, here is our guide on how to do it.

Documents required to open a bank account in Greece

The minimum requirement to open a bank account in Greece is to bring two documents:

  • Passport
  • AFM or Arithmo Forologiko Mitro - a tax number, which you can get by visiting the Tax Office closest to your address in Greece. You can find the list of these offices here. To get AFM, you need your full registration card or residence permit and a proof of address

Some banks may have additional requirements, and these depend on the types of operations you plan to use your account for. These documents can be:

  1. Recent mobile phone bill.
  2. Recent utility bills
  3. Last tax return 
  4. Latest monthly salary slip
  5. Bank statement 
  6. Copy of birth certificate

Prepare yourself for paperwork, a visit in person in the branch office, (although you can ask your lawyer or legal representative to do the bureaucracy for you), and ideally prepare a translator who’d come with you and help. Remember, Greeks do banking in person quite often, so reserve time for queues. The good news is that the banking - online and ATM especially - is widely available also in the English language.

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

Yes, it is possible to open a bank account in Greece as a non-resident. The banks would require from you the AFM,  Arithmo Forologiko Mitro, a 9 digit tax number, which you can easily obtain at your tax office in your Greek neighborhood.

Best banks in Greece

There are lots of large banking and financial institutions that direct their services to international individual clients and foreign investors. As mentioned above, online, mobile and ATMs are in most cases available at least in English and Greek. 

Best banks in Greece for residents and non-residents

The most popular banks in Greece are the Piraeus Bank, Alpha Bank, Eurobank and NBG, also known as the National Bank of Greece. You can consult a longer list of banks operating in Greece on Wikipedia. They all have English mobile banking which is handy.

  • Alpha bank has a history reaching back to the 19th century, and today is the second-largest bank in terms of assets in the country. It has an overseas presence, with subsidiaries and branches in London, Albania, Cyprus and Romania. The offer comprehensive banking services, including retail banking aiming at students, adults, and retirees, a full stack of cards - debit, credit, a modern Alpha Wallet for digital payments, prepaid cards, reward systems, the list goes on. It has a separate offer for business clients, as well as a premium option for established entrepreneurs. They cover loans, investments, savings and insurance as well. You can count on their large network of ATMs and wide-spread branch network, and digitilized services to make your banking experience smoother. 
  • National Bank of Greece: is a global financial and banking institution, with a large network of ATMs. The bank has over 500 branches in Greece, as well as in Australia, Egypt and United Kingdom, and subsidiaries in Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, North Macedonia, Malta, Romania, Serbia and South Africa. As with any major player, you have a great selection of account types for private and professional purposes. Please consult the overdraft offered with the type of account you’re planning to open. A basic account comes with cheques and a debit card. And you can conveniently start the process via telephone. 
  • Eurobank aka Eurobank Ergasias is part of the Eurobank Group, operating in Greece, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Serbia, Bulgaria and UK. In the case of banks with international presence, opening bank accounts in Greece might be possible remotely, before your arrival in the country. Eurobank has a modern mobile app and an e-wallet you can use for online transactions and payments. Their online account has all the necessary features, and their branches and ATMs are easy to locate all across this southeast European paradise. You can check the list of locations under this link.
  • Piraeus Bank is one of the multinational banks with headquarters in Greece. It specializes in small and medium-sized enterprises, offering special services in areas of agricultural banking, consumer and mortgage credit, green banking, capital markets, investment banking, leasing, and electronic banking. Piraeus Bank boasts a large network of ATMs and has English speaking staff. There is a handy, 24-hour phone service line, along with online and mobile banking, making it easier for you to manage your finances.  When it comes to their basic current account, there is no minimum deposit amount, and what you get on top of that are low-interest rates, low overdraft, checkbooks as an option, and a debit card. 

What’s important to note is that most commonly, banks in Greece have very limited opening hours - they usually operate between 8 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon, only on the weekdays. If you need to visit a branch in person, plan it ahead, calculating the possible waiting time and a queue. Fortunately, a lot of banking can now be done via the internet. 

You will be required to sign a document that states that you will not use your personal bank account for business purposes, as it is illegal in Greece.

You should also consult the exchange rates offered by each of the banks, depending on the type of account you want to have and the currencies you usually use, and the fees for withdrawals from various ATMs inside and outside of the country.

The virtual bank account alternative

Do your money transfers out of Greece cost too much

If you need to transfer money anywhere outside Europe, you will probably consider using a traditional bank transfer. Because banks use the mid-market rate to transfer and convert money between one another, in order to cover their expenses and to profit, your bank transfer will be subject to considerable charges. For example, if you transfer 10.000 euros from Greece to India, your recipient will get around 9000 euros worth of rupees, depending on the bank you use, the currency of the transaction and the charges this operation incurs, including exchange rates. These charges are not obvious and transparent from the beginning. 

With a virtual bank account offered by B2B Pay, we provide an easier, simpler solution aimed at users who do international transfers, especially if you send money outside of Europe. B2B is an offer that includes a European IBAN account (especially convenient when doing transactions in Europe, inside the SEPA zone - bank transfers in Euro, between the EU and partner countries, such as Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, have fixed rates, keeping the costs of your payments low). 

Second, B2B Pay uses mid market rates as a basis and only charges a flat fee of 1% of the total transaction. For the above transfer example, your recipient would get 9900 euros worth of rupees within 24-48 hours, a much faster time than in case of regular bank transfers.

 

How to open a bank account in Europe

We have a few guides to guide you through the process of opening a bank account in multiple European countries and explaining why a virtual bank account with B2B Pay may be a better alternative if you are transferring money outside of Europe and taking advantage of a better rate.



How to open a bank account overseas

We have a few guides to guide you through the process of opening a bank account in multiple countries all over the world and explaining why a virtual bank account with B2B Pay may be a better alternative if you are transferring money outside of Europe and taking advantage of a better rate.


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