You may want or need to open a bank account in your home country or in another EU country.
If you are legally resident in an EU country you are entitled to open a “basic payment account”. Banks cannot refuse your application for a basic payment account just because you don’t live in the country where the bank is established.
This right does not apply to other types of bank account, such as savings accounts.
When banks can refuse you a basic payment account
You can be refused an account if you do not comply with EU rules on money laundering and terrorist financing.
In some EU countries, you may be refused a basic bank account if you already have a similar account with another bank in the same country.
If you’re applying for a basic payment account outside the country where you live, banks in some EU countries may also want you to prove a genuine interest for doing so – for example if you live in one country but work in another.
Features of a basic account
A “basic payment account” is an account that covers standard transactions that you use in daily life, such as:
- making deposits
- withdrawing cash
- receiving and carrying out payments (for example direct debits and card purchases)
It should also include a payment card that you can use to withdraw cash and make purchases – both online and in shops.
Where available, the bank should include access to online banking services with your account. However, they do not always have to include an overdraft or credit facility.
In some EU countries, your bank might still charge you an annual fee for this basic payment account. This fee should remain reasonable.
Before you open your account, the bank should give you a document showing the most important services offered on the account and any related fees that you might have to pay. This is known as a “fee information document”. You can use it to compare the cost of accounts at different banks.
Your bank must also give you a statement explaining the fees incurred on your bank account at least once a year. This “statement of fees” document should also give information on the interest rates applied to your account.
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