Where To Flee
Social Security Screening Tool for foreign residency | The US State Dept Travel Advisory (interactive map)
The Golden Visa Programs

Banking for expatriates in Europe

Basics for finances in Europe for expats

Of course, banking in Europe for expatriates will vary depending on which specific country is being discussed, but some of the basics for Europe are:

Setting Up a Bank Account: In many European countries, it's relatively straightforward for expatriates to set up a bank account, although the precise requirements can vary. Typically, you'll need a proof of address (which can sometimes be a foreign address), proof of identity (such as a passport), and in some cases, proof of employment or student status, or a visa showing residency status.

International Banks: For those who frequently move between countries or need to maintain ties with their home country, international banks are considered one of the best and simplest options. As international banks they can make is easier to manage international transactions and issue of currency exchange. Here is a list of the top fifty banks in Europe

Online Banks: Digital banking has grown significantly in Europe over the last few years. Online banks such as N26, Revolut, and Wise/TransferWise provide "borderless" accounts managed online, and they often offer lower fees than traditional banks. Popular among expats for their convenience and for features such as multi-currency accounts and relatively inexpensive international money transfers.

Banking Fees: Banking fees in Europe will vary by country and the bank, but are typically charges for the account maintenance, ATM withdrawals, money transfers, and credit card fees. Some banks will offer customized accounts designed for expats or international students that can have lower fees and other built-in benefits.

ATMS: ATMs in Europe generally do not charge fees to customers of their own bank, but fees can be charged for using another bank's ATM.

SEPA: The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) is an initiative by the EU to standardize electronic euro payments in Europe. In practice this means a bank transfer to another SEPA country should be easy with a low-cost fee. This service can help expats conducting their finances within the Euro zone.

Currency Consideration when not using the Euro: If you're in a country that doesn't use the euro, you'll need to consider currency exchange rates and any attendant fees. Banks that offer services using multiple currencies can can help mitigate those costs.

Related – this is an older article at CNBC that discusses some of the "big differences" between banking in Europe vs the United States.

The largest fifty banks of Europe

  1. HSBC Holdings PLC, UK
  2. BNP Paribas SA, France
  3. Crédit Agricole Group, France
  4. Barclays PLC, UK
  5. Banco Santander SA, Spain
  6. Groupe BPCE, France
  7. Société Générale SA, France
  8. Deutsche Bank AG, Germany
  9. Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, Italy
  10. Lloyds Banking Group PLC, UK
  11. Crédit Mutuel Group, France
  12. UBS Group AG, Switzerland
  13. ING Groep NV, Netherlands
  14. NatWest Group PLC, UK
  15. UniCredit SpA, Italy
  16. La Banque Postale SA – France
  17. Credit Suisse Group AG, Switzerland
  18. Standard Chartered PLC, UK
  19. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, Spain
  20. CaixaBank SA, Spain
  21. Rabobank, Netherlands
  22. DZ Bank AG, Germany
  23. Nordea Bank AbP, Finland
  24. Danske Bank AS, Denmark
  25. Sberbank of Russia, Russia
  26. Commerzbank AG, Germany
  27. ABN AMRO Bank NV, Netherlands
  28. KBC Group NV, Belgium
  29. Nationwide Building Society, UK
  30. Svenska Handelsbanken AB, Sweden
  31. Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB, Sweden
  32. Erste Group Bank AG, Austria
  33. DNB Bank ASA, Norway
  34. Landesbank Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  35. Raiffelsen Gruppe Switzerland, Switzerland
  36. Swedbank Ab, Sweden
  37. Bayerische Landesbank, Germany
  38. Banco de Sabadell SA, Spain
  39. VTB Bank PJSC, Russia
  40. Nykredit AS, Denmark
  41. BFA Tenedora de Acciones SAU, Spain
  42. Banco BPM SpA, Italy
  43. Belfius Bank SA, Belgium
  44. Raiffelsen Bank International AG, Austria
  45. Zürcher Kantonalbank, Switzerland
  46. OP Financial Group, Finland
  47. BPER Banca SpA, Italy
  48. Bank of Ireland Group PLC, Ireland
  49. Banca Monte del Paschi di Siena SpA, Italy
  50. AIB Group PLC, Ireland

Related: Where to go if you have arthritis

AMAZON: The Expert Expat: Your Guide to Successful Relocation Abroad

Home | Countries | Embassy List | FATCA | Residency | Expat Health | Contact | Site Map