Welcome to the mini guide on how to open a bank account in Poland! As a foreigner, some things might be complicated as most of the banks have mostly polish only speakers. Things are starting to change though, so that is the good news.
The Bank I Chose
I went with Millenium Bank. I like it because of the following that they offer:
- English phone assistance/customer service
- Easy access to bank account details
- Good mobile app
- Not required to have a PESEL number (just passport will do)
- Website has English available
- All transactions made are available in the website or app via notification
- No withdrawal fees from the ATM machine
- Domestic money transfer between bank accounts is free
The account will cost you 15 zloty a month (students age 18-24 pay 4 zloty a month). However, the account is free if 2 conditions are met:
- Deposit more than 1000 zloty into the account monthly
- Make 1 debit card transaction a month
If you want to avoid the 15 zloty/month fee, then I suggest having more 1500 zloty in the account at all times. Then at the end of each month, you go withdraw 1000 zloty from the ATM and the deposit them back at the bank. Spending should be easy as you need groceries or food, so using the debit card wont be an issue.
How to Open an Account with Millennium Bank
There are 2 ways you can do this. One is to apply online while the other option is to walk into any branch and open it there. You will need a polish phone number if you want to open an account online.
Since I only had my US phone number, I had to walk in.
Do keep in mind that all the documents are in Polish, so you will have to know some basics to know where to sign. Thank goodness for google translate that I was able to get the bank account opened. Knowing basic polish numbers is a big life saver, so I highly recommend you learn numbers 0-10.
If you don’t know any Polish, I suggest heading to the big branches in the big cities such as Warsaw, Wrocław, Poznan or Kraków. All the bankers there will speak English, so you will have no issues there. I just happened to stay a bit further away from the center, so there is less English speakers there.
Documents You Need During Walk-in
- Your Passport
- Your Date of Birth
- Your Dad’s Surname (Last Name) and First Name
- Your Mum’s Surname (Last Name) and First Name
- Paying Taxes in USA (insert your country) or Poland?
- Your Country’s Phone Number
- Your Current Staying Address
Once the whole procedure is done, they will ask you where you want to send the debit card to. If you happen to stay in a Airbnb place longer than 2 weeks, they can request them to send the debit card to the address. The longest it will take is 2 weeks to get it, but most of the time it only takes 5 days. The last step will be to activate the card online.
Applying Online is Very Easy
- Provide your Polish phone number
- Complete Application
- Sign the agreement via courier delivery or visiting branch
- Card gets activated
You can also open a foreign account once you setup the online account. It is instant and doesn’t need any paperwork or documents. I have a US version where I transfer my US money into the account. This will save me some money due to the higher spread of the bank’s foreign exchange rate. I can withdraw the money from any Millennium bank and go exchange the money in a Kantor for a better rate.
Millenium Bank App
I highly recommend everyone to get the app. It allows you to do the following:
- Access bank account details easily with either PIN code or thumbprint
- Transfer or send money via app
- Pay for parking fares and temporary transport tickets
- Online loyalty cards (no more card carrying in your wallet or purse)
It just makes your life so much easier. Download below:
I have not used other banks, so I can’t vouch for them, but I have had heard good things about them. They also do not require a PESEL number to open one.
Millennium vs ING vs PKO Bank
- Only passport required
- No account maintenance fee
- Direct account allows you to get a visa card
- Cash withdrawals in ING bank and Planetcash ATMs are for free
- Withdrawing in other ATMs is free the first time and 2.5 PLN after
- Only passport required
- PKO Zero account allows you to get a debit card
- Cash withdrawals in PKO ATMs are for free
- Withdrawing in other ATMs is 5 PLN
- 0 maintenance fee if account has monthly inflow of 1500 PLN
I do not think you will go wrong with most of the banks here.