How to Open a Bank Account in Croatia
There are plenty of reasons to open a bank account in Croatia. The most common reason is that you get an Eastern European lifestyle at around 30% less than what you would pay in adjacent Italy. Croatia has a growing economy and a reasonably large expat population. Expats are people temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of their citizenship. The large number of expats is probably the reason the banks are so friendly towards foreigners opening bank accounts. You do not need to be a citizen of Croatia in order to open a bank account there, but you do need to be a resident with a residency permit.
What Do I Need In Order To Open A Bank Account In Croatia?
You need to pick a bank. There is a modest selection of banks in Croatia for you to choose from. You need to pick a bank(s) that you think is suitable and secure enough to hold your money and for you to conduct your personal business.
Each bank is going to have its own rules on what you need in order to open a bank account in Croatia. Each bank will have its own rules on if you can apply online or not. Most banks are going to ask for these things as standard:
[O] – A residency permit or something showing that you are living in the country
This rule will vary from bank to bank. For example, some will accept a work permit or proof you are working or studying legally in the country. Others will require a local proof of address such as a utility bill. It all depends on the bank you are applying to.
[O] – Photo ID proof of identification
Whenever you are dealing with a situation where you need to show ID, it is always best to take as much as identification and paperwork as possible. You should take whatever ID you have that has your photo on it. The most reliable document you can take is your passport. Sometimes the problem is the bank staff and not the bank rules. For example, a bank staff member may think that foreign driver’s licenses are not acceptable. If you take more paperwork and ID than you need, then it helps to prevent temporary problems.
[O] – A sum of money
Every bank we have ever tried in Croatia has always asked for a starter deposit. It is not like opening a bank account in Hong Kong where you need a starting deposit in excess of ten million dollars. Suffice it to say that you are going to need some Euros or Croatian Kuna to make your opening deposit.
Resident And Non-Resident Accounts
If you are a resident with all the suitable permissions (residency permit and such), then you may open a bank account in Croatia as a resident. As a resident, you will be issued with an OIB number that your bank will enter into personal information files on you.
If you do not have the suitable permissions to reside in Croatia, or you are not planning on living in Croatia, then some banks may open a non-resident account in your name. In order to open a non-resident bank account, you will need to make contact with the Croatian Ministry of Finance because you will need an OIB number. This is like your National Insurance number in the UK, or your social security number in the USA.
An OIB number is needed if you wish set up a bank account in Croatia as a non-resident. You also need an OIB number if you wish to start a business or buy property in Croatia. If you are planning on residing in Croatia, then an OIB number will be given to you after all your paperwork is completed and you are set up as a permitted resident of Croatia. Non-residents have to apply for one with the Croatian Ministry of Finance.
How To Open a Bank Account in Croatia Online
Your first instinct may be to open a bank account in Croatia online because it is quicker and seemingly easier. This is true, though you should consider the quality of the bank and your need for its services. The bank that suits you the best may require that you visit in person.
Applying to open a bank account in Croatia using the Internet is not as easy or care-free as you think. Most of the banks in Croatia will use the Internet as a starting point. They will send you instructions and online forms so that you may start the process online, but in most cases you are still going to have to visit a branch.
Some of the banks in Croatia will allow you to download and print off their application forms. You may then fill them out, sign them, and post them to the bank in order to get the process started. Some will also allow you to send copies of your ID through the post too.
Obviously, if it suits you, then you should get as much of the paperwork done before you enter the country. Since the bank is probably going to want you to enter a branch, you can arrange this over the Internet or over the phone prior to entering the country. Also, quite a few Croatian banks hire English and German speaking workers. You should request an appointment with a banker who speaks your language if you are not so hot at the Croatian language.
Account Fees, ATM Cards, And Appointments
If you are a resident in Croatia and you have suitable permissions and documents to prove it, then opening a bank account in Croatia is as simple as walking in and having a staff member take you through the process. However, I suggest that you call or make contact in advance, especially if you are worried about your suitability and/or if you want an appointment with a staff member who speaks your language.
Most bank accounts in Croatia come with a monthly charge. Some student accounts have this charge waived. When you sign up for your account, you are usually able to access your funds right away, but it will take between a week and ten days for your ATM card to arrive at your postal location. This means you will have to make withdrawals in person in branches.
International Banking Fees
As with most banks, you are going to see some sort of markup when you exchange currency. Just like in this country, you are going to see hidden markups, fees, hidden fees and service charges. You may also see nasty fees if you wish to transfer money in and out of the country. Multi-currency accounts are also going to come with extra fees and monthly charges.
Withdrawal Limits And ATMs
The amount you may withdraw from your Croatian bank account from inside the branch will vary depending upon the bank in question. They will each have their own security protocols for giving out larger and larger amounts of money. It is different with ATMs.
Most of the ATMs in Croatia will allow you to withdraw a maximum of 2000 Kuna within a 24 hour period. If you go to a post office, then you may be able to withdraw as much as 6000 Kuna in one day, though they will probably ask for photo ID (passport) and your debit card.
Just like in your own country, your bank is going to have network ATMs and out-of-network ATMs. The network ATMs are probably going to be free to use unless they state otherwise. If you use out-of-network ATMs, then you will probably have to pay a fee.
Croatian Money And Foreign Currency Limits
There are restrictions on how much Croatian Kuna you may move in and out of the country, but at the time of writing there are no limits on how much foreign currency you may move in and out of the country.
Despite the fact that the Croatian government does not set limits on how much foreign money you move into or out of the country, there is a chance that your bank will have limits. The banks set their own rules in the same way they set rules about how much you may withdraw from their accounts each day and how money your service fees are going to be.
A Final Word Before You Open a Bank Account in Croatia
Check to see if a bank in your country also has a branch in Croatia. You may find it more easy and quick to go into your local branch and ask them to set you up with an account with one of their branches in Croatia. For example, Sberbank exists in both Serbia and Croatia.
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If you are worried about entering the country without a bank account, then consider starting out with an international account. For example, there is the Transferwise Borderless account that acts just like a bank account in almost any country you are in. You may like to start out with that sort of account until you get settled into the country, or you may simply wish to stick with your Transferwise borderless account and forget about your plans to open a bank account in Croatia, (maybe you are only staying in Croatia as a one-off for a short while).