An Overview of How to Open a Bank Account in Greece
Greece is a beautiful country. It has an enviable climate and wonderful scenery. It is a welcoming country and has a striving tourist industry. It offers a high standard of living along with good educational establishments, healthcare and safety and security infrastructure. It has a strong legal system with a business and tax-friendly environment. For an individual to relocate or a company to open premises in Greece, they needs to know how to get the best out of the Greek Bank system. Having a bank account in Greece enables the account holder to manage their salary, pay taxes in the country, purchase a property, and demonstrate commitment to Greece while applying for a residence permit.
Documents required to Open a Bank Account in Greece
The procedure of opening a bank account in Greece starts with collecting documents. The following documents should be provided for opening a bank account in Greece:
- An ID card of a resident of the European Union or a foreign passport;
- ArithmoForologikoMitro (AFM) or a non-Greek TIN if the country participates in the system of automatic exchange of tax information;
- Income statement or a bank statement;
- Utility Bill showing address and name or tax notice address and name or a lease contract;
- Certificate of the place of work or salary statement; or
- Certificate of deductions from the Social Security Service.
Step-by-Step Procedure on How to Open a Bank Account in Greece
The procedure requires submitting an application along with supporting documents and paying a minimum deposit into the account. Some banks do allow opening a bank account online however, in all cases, one has to visit the bank personally. Let’s look at the step-by-step procedure to open a bank account in Greece:
- Get AFM: The applicant has to provide the TIN of Greece or the country of residence if it participates in the automatic exchange of tax information. to get the list of countries participating in the exchange system.
- Choose a bank branch and collect all the necessary documents: One has to select a bank branch nearest to their residence or wherever they could easily operate from. The documents required by the bank to open a bank account may vary from bank to bank.
- Apply to open an account: Citizens and residents have a right to apply to open a bank account on the bank’s website however, foreigners without residence permits have to personally apply to the bank branch to open an account.
- Pass a bank Due Diligence: The Due Diligence is conducted as per the principles of KYC. This step is in compliance with the requirements of the law on combating money laundering AML. The applicant may be asked for additional documents to justify the purpose of opening a bank account and to confirm the origin of the money. Verification of a client may take a week.
- Minimum deposit: When after verification, the account is opened one has to make the initial minimum deposit into the account. The minimum amount varies for every bank.
Banks in Greece
The largest banks in Greece which account for 85% of the country’s banking assets, are as follows:
- Piraeus Bank: It is the largest bank in Greece in terms of assets, number of branches, and employees. It has its headquarters in Athens and is operating since 1916. It has four hundred and fourteen divisions operating in Greece and one in Germany. In the last 5 years, the net profit has increased 100 times. It has assets of over 80 billion euros and deposits of over 55.6 billion euros.
- The National Bank of Greece: This is the oldest bank in Greece, operating since 1841. It was under the duty to print national currency until the opening of the Central Bank in 1928. In terms of profitability, this bank is the first with 0.7 billion euros. There are 33 branches in Greece, 11 branches in Egypt, and one each in Cyprus and UK.
- Alpha Bank: This bank was founded in 1879. It endured the financial crisis of 2010 more easily as compared to other Greek Banks. Post the financial crisis; it increased its profitability 5-10 times as compared to its largest competitors. For consecutive five years, the bank’s profit increased by 2.5 times. This bank has 299 branches in Greece and one in Luxembourg. This bank offers the following banking services:
- Retail banking for students, adults, and retirees;
- Debit and credit card facility;
- Alpha wallet for digital payments;
- Prepaid cards;
- Reward systems;
Alpha banks offer a separate section of products for businesses and entrepreneurs with an established record of business. The banks offer the following financial services:
4. Euro Bank
This is the youngest yet one of the most important banks in Greece. It is operating since 1990 and has 299 bank branches in Greece. It has no other branch in any foreign country. The headquarter of Eurobank is in Athens.