How to Open a Bank Account in Estonia [Complete Process]

Want to know how to open a bank account in Estonia? then stay glued to this article and discover what it takes to successfully open your bank account
Ketcha Brandon
Open a Bank Account in Estonia

Thanks to the numerous cultures and history of Estonia, it has been an establishment and destination for most expats and foreigners and today due to its progressive e-residency program, foreigners can now take part in many advanced virtual services that makes the country proud.

Estonia is a member and very important nation in the EU, EEA and the European continent as a whole. The country has paved in way in gaining international attention with its startups and businesses that have revolutionized the online existence of things, with Skype, Bolt or the star fintech company, wise and many more.

Estonia also sits at the fore front of remote working, supported by its popular e-residency program which has transformed this small Baltic state into a hotbed for international freelancer seeking access to the European market and the transparent electronic bureaucracy of the country.

In order to make its services faster and more convenient to individuals, the Estonia government is constant exploration especially in the fields of digital signatures, practical tax solutions, citizen identification and bureaucratic affairs.

So if you are actually in the Nation or may be you are still planning to reside in Estonia or you are already a non resident of Estonia, then this article will be of great help to you as I will let you know detailly what it takes and what you need in order to open a bank account in Estonia.

Table of Contents

Banking System in Estonia

Estonian bank account in the country is often referred to as Pangakonto and it comes with an International Bank Account Number ( IBAN) which you can use in order to free transfer funds to other SEPA countries including every country in Europe together with some others outside Europe.

But the disadvantage here is that it might appear to be  expensive for non residents to open a bank account in Estonia. Traditional banks in Estonia often charge between 100 Euro to 400 Euro in order to process applicant documents.

As any other bank, banks in Estonia may also charge some fees for account monthly( account maintenance fee)  and equally for off network ATMs withdrawals. Well it is quite fortunate that most transactions in Estonia are cashless - which means that it is an amazing idea to find a bank that issues a widely accepted debit card like Mastercard or Visa that can be linked to Apple Pay or Google Pay.

What Do I Need to Open a Bank Account in Estonia

Even though each Bank in Estonia has its own requirements, there are still some basic documentation that are found common to most of the banks in the country. These documents include;

  • Proof of connection to Estonia for non citizens or residents- Example of acceptable proofs include a signed residential lease agreement, a signed employment contract or better still a school enrolment certificate for the students coming to further their education in Estonia.
  • Proof of address or Estonia e- residency in case you are applying from abroad-  Do not forget the fact that e-residency is different from being an Estonian resident and may not necessarily make you eligible for a bank account.
  • Passport or EU national ID Card

Who is Eligible to Open a Bank Account in Estonia ?

It might be surprising to some of you hearing that Estonia is among the the most expat friendly European countries especially when it comes to opening a bank account and if you are already 18 years of above, own a valid passport, and can prove that you have a connection to the country, then its is a sure fact that you can open a bank account in Estonia.

Well one of the most stressful task might be at the level of proving your connection to the country and what even makes it more complicated is the fact that each bank determines what counts to them as connection.

Opening a Bank Account in Estonia as  non Resident and E- Resident

Since Estonia is an important country of the EU and EEA, it has a system that enables individuals to open a bank account as a non resident and as an e-resident while even making it easy for you start the process online as compared to many other banks.

Also, it is well possible for non residents to open an Estonian bank account with only your passport but have it in your mind that your approval will depend on both your country of origin and the bank that you selected. Most of the banks in Estonia will carry out deep analysis of your application and can take close to 5 business days before getting back to you via email or phone.

E-Residency does not guarantee the fact that you can open a personal bank account in Estonia because banks in general often want to see a strong connection to Estonia and are reluctant to open an account for non residents.

So for this reason, you will have to demonstrate your connection to the country- Estonia. Since e-Residency program is based on enabling business banking opportunities, we often advise contacting the bank directly before making any travel plans to Estonia.

IMPORTANT NOTE- Individuals with e-residency are unable to create a personal bank account in Estonia. Banks, on the whole, prefer to see a strong link to Estonia and are hesitant to open accounts for non-residents who do not have such strong ties to the country.

You'll have to show proof of your Estonian ties. Having a business in the country, for example, is one of the finest methods for non-residents to show banks that they have a link to the country. We propose that non-residents contact banks in the country before organizing a trip to Estonia as part of the e-residency program, which attempts to activate corporate banking prospects.

Best Banks in Estonia

It is of no doubt that Estonia is one of the countries with numerous international banks and these banks are known to financially handle international business in Estonia, below  I will let you known some of the most popular banks in Estonia;

1. Swedbank

This bank is mostly convenient for mobile and internet banking, it is the largest and most known bank in the nation of Estonia with the largest number of ATMs and branches across the territory. Due to its reward system and free debit card, Swedbank can be convenient option for you and your business.

2. S|E|B

With SEB bank, every individual above 18 years of age is able to open a current account and use a contactless debit card to do all standard transactions such as payments and purchases. Once become an e-Resident, you obtain a regular private account and in case you have any question, they have an English speaking phone number via which you can reach out to them.

3. TBB Pank

Here comes another Estonian bank that offers personal and business accounts as well as electronic banking and customer support in both Russian and English. Operations such as cash transactions, bank cards, deposits, internet and mobile banking are the default operations with their accounts.

As a client to this bank in Estonia, you are able to keep money in your account in a variety of currencies. This bank accepts cash and wire transfers as well as checks and a variety of accounts for young customers, non residents and elderly.

4.LHV Pank

LHV Pank is an Estonian bank that functioned only electronically until the year 2015 when they  opened its first physical cash machine. It makes use of a simple application process and a large selection of payment, debit and credit cards, including alternatives for soccer as well as shoppers looking for bargains.

Other banking alternatives include young Estonian banks such as Inbank and Luminor, as well as older player like Coop Pank. In most cases, you are left with the choice of visiting a local office or applying online.

Each consumer if often prompted to present an identification document online or offered a video call verification as a better option of  verifying when you are opening your account over the internet. You are going to be ask more paper wok and your first card mailed once the account has been successfully created.

Online Banking in Estonia

If you have an Estonian passport, ID Card, or Residency permit, you are able to open an account online or using the app of your selected bank.

You will be prompted to make use of Smart ID, Mobile-ID or an ID Card reader in order to authenticate your identification. Incase you do not have citizenship or residency to the country, you will have to provide proof of your ties to the Nation.

There exist a few banks that allows you to complete the application online whilst other banks require you visiting a branch with your papers. Have in mind that if you are not a resident, you may be charged up to 400 Euros as processing fees.

If you already live in Estonia, you can now complete the whole process. Before being approved by an Estonian bank, your application might take up to 2 weeks and you may be required to visit a branch site for face-to-face identification  and to sign the client agreement form once you have been accepted.

It goes without saying that opening an account with a local Estonian bank can be a lengthy and costly process. Simply download the app, upload and confirm your information, and complete the in-app verification process to complete the process — all in less time than it takes to board a ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki. To safeguard the security of your account, be sure your mobile bank has a full banking license.

Best Online Bank Account in Estonia

If you conduct banking operations such as moving money out of Europe using a standard European bank account, you are clearly losing a significant amount of money.

A transfer of €10,000 to an Indian bank account, for example, would cost roughly €1000, with the amount arriving on the recipient's account closer to €9000. The reason for this is because banks rely on outdated technology known as the "old banking system," which requires people's attention and work, as well as regular maintenance, resulting in high operating costs.

When making overseas transactions, a virtual bank account will be the best way to save money.

1. N26 Online Bank Account

This bank is developed for the digital generation and it is Europe's first regulated bank having more than 5 million customers in 25 nations and growing.

Being a fully recognized bank, it provides its clients with 100% mobile personal and business banking products making sure that your funds with them are safe. N26 offers online banking solutions for residents, non residents, e-residents of Estonia.

How to Open an Estonian Bank Account Online with N26

  • Online registration is made available and you can choose between a standard account and a Premium account which comes along with features such as spaces, travel insurance and hand picked rewards.
  • You will have to connect your smartphone to your new account and then verify your identity via a quick video call.
  • You can start spending immediately with the use of your virtual Mastercard.

2. B2B Pay Online Bank Account

You are now able to open a non resident bank account in Europe for your company and you are able to take payments from 36 EU nations by making use of virtual bank account. B2B Pay is bank that brings international wire transfers into the 21st century as it allows you to transfer funds in close to 35 EU nations. In most markets, we are able to get your money to your bank account in your home country the very day thereby saving you up to 80% on cost.

Final Thoughts on How to Open a Bank Account in Estonia Online and Locally

Estonia is a wonderful country with banks that provide convenient banking services to non-residents and even expats who want to open a bank account there.

To open a bank account in Estonia, you must have a solid link to the country, such as a long-standing business in the country that proves to the banks that you are a legal resident.

Virtual bank account companies such as N26 and B2B Pay allow e-residents to open a bank account in Estonia. They provide a more convenient option to bank online both within and outside of Europe.

B2B Pay or N26 should be your alternatives to traditional banks if you are an expat, e-resident, or non-resident looking to open a bank account in Estonia.

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Open a Bank Account in Estonia

Can foreigner open bank account in Estonia?

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.

Can I open a bank account in Estonia with e-residency?

No privileges to open a personal bank account in Estonia are granted through e-Residency. Banks are generally hesitant to open accounts for non-residents because they want to see a strong link to Estonia. You'll have to provide proof of your Estonian affiliation.

Can I open an Estonian bank account online?

If you have an Estonian passport, ID card, or residence permit, you can open an account online or through your chosen bank's app. You'll be asked to verify your identity using Smart-ID, Mobile-ID, or an ID card reader.

How many banks are there in Estonia?

Currently, of the 16 banks in Estonia, nine are licensed credit institutions and seven are branches of foreign credit institutions. Scandinavian banking groups dominate the Estonian banking sector, accounting for 90% of the total assets.

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