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Estonia - Banking

The main banks in Estonia are Swedbank, Luminor, TF Bank and Bigbank. As a non-resident, you will be allowed to set up a bank account in the country as long as you meet certain requirements and have the necessary paperwork. The definition of a non-resident is a citizen of another country who doesn’t have a long-term residence permit or who has a temporary residence permit which is issued for less than one year.

A crucial prerequiste for non-residents who wish to open a bank account is that they have a connection with Estonia.

The purpose for opening the account must be clear and sufficiently explained.

The decision as to whether you can open your account will be made as soon as possible, and no later than within 10 banking days after receiving all the required documents. You will be notified of the decision either by phone or email – whichever is more convenient for you. If the answer is positive, you will be asked to come to the same branch to open an account within 30 days of receiving the notice.

As a non-resident you will be asked for additional documents to evidence your connection to Estonia. The below conditions are acceptable connections:

• studying in Estonia
• working in Estonia
• owning or renting real estate in Estonia
• shareholding in an active Estonian company
• having close relatives in Estonia – that is, spouses, partners, children and parents.

It’s advised that you take original documents, such as employment contracts, school certificates and marriage certificates, with you when you come to apply for the account.

The following documents are accepted by banks as proof of ID:

• An Estonian passport
• The identity card of a citizen of an EU Member State (including Estonia), an EEA Member State or the Swiss Confederation (known as an ID card or Digi-ID)
• A driver’s license issued in the Republic of Estonia (except for a temporary driver’s license)
• An alien Estonian passport which has a valid Estonian residence permit
• A diplomatic passport
• A passport from another country which has a valid Estonian residence permit or visa, unless the passport is from one of the countries that has entered into a visa-free deal with the Republic of Estonia.

Swedbank and Luminor seem to be the most user-friendly when it comes to everyday banking, while TF and Bigbank focus more on investments and lending. An overdraft is not really an option for a private bank account, but you can apply for a credit card subject to the terms and conditions of your chosen bank. As a rule, cheque books are not issued with a private bank account. Please be aware that the bank may charge you for depositing cash via the branch office. If you don’t wish to pay, you can use cash machines to deposit up to €5000 per day for free.

You can withdraw money without charge from a cash point associated with your bank; other banks will charge you for the privilege. If you wish to have a debit card, the bank will charge you €2.50 at the point of issue and around €1.28 per monthly afterwards. If you choose a bank card with additional benefits – such as bonus points or travel insurance – the fee will be higher. All banks have online banking available free of charge, so you can have access to your finances at all times. Should you wish to speak to someone, there are customer support lines open 24 hours a day, details of which are below. English version available, 24-hour support line (+372 6 310 310), internet banking English version available, 24-hour support line (+372 628 3300), internet banking – no English version, mainly leasing and financing – English version available, lending and investments.

Please be advised that some operators may not speak English since the service is provided in Estonian and Russian.

Most banks are closed at the weekends, and keep regular office hours Monday to Friday, which are 9am to 5pm or 10am to 6pm. Currency exchange offices are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm and often on Saturdays from 9am to 3pm. There are some currency exchange points not associated with the banks that are open 9am to 9pm every day; one of the more popular ones is Eurex.

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