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How to Open a Bank Account in Greece

One of the most common questions about buying property in Greece is whether a Greek bank account is required. In this article, we will cover frequently asked questions about bank accounts in Greece, the benefits of having one, as well as the process to go through when opening a Greek bank account.

Skopelos

Frequently Asked Questions About Greek Bank Accounts

Do I Need a Greek Bank Account to Buy a Home in Greece?

No. You do not need a Greek bank account to buy a home in Greece. You can make all necessary payments relevant to the purchase or sale of a home from a bank account in your home country.

 

Do I Need to Live in Greece to Open a Greek Bank Account?

No, you do not need to live in Greece to open an account.

 

Is it Harder to Open an Account Compared to a Greek?

It is possible for foreigners to open a bank account in Greece and it offers some advantages. However, note that it may be slightly more difficult to open an account than a Greek resident, because it requires additional documents and translations.

 

Are There Benefits to Having a Greek Bank Account?

There are some advantages to opening a Greek bank account when purchasing a property. A bank account in Greece can be useful once you own a house in Greece, for example, to pay the energy bill by automatic direct deposit. If you plan to spend a significant amount of time in Greece, it allows you to pay at restaurants with a card, and also to withdraw cash without international transaction fees.

How Can I Open a Bank Account in Greece?

1) In-Person

The easiest way is to communicate with your chosen Greek bank, collect the necessary documents, and visit a branch in Greece to sign the documents needed. This is the process we will focus on most in this article.

 

2) By Proxy

It is possible with several banks in Greece to send a representative to present your documents to the bank and to open your account for you. This typically takes more time and costs more because it requires a Power of Attorney. 

 

If you are exploring this option, be sure to ask your bank for more details. Note that the Power of Attorney must have specific language that is unique to each bank in order for your proxy to open an account on your behalf. Contact your bank for more details.

 

3) Online

Out of the four largest banks in Greece, Eurobank and National Bank of Greece offer online account opening. Note that there may be some limitations based on the country you apply from, if you are based outside of the EU.

 

Each bank will have a slightly different process for opening an account online, and in some cases only certain account privileges are available to online account holders. The transactions allowed with an online account may also be restricted until you offer a signature at a branch in person. Contact your bank for more details.

Do I Really Need to Go In-Person?

Note that regardless of what type of account opening you choose, you will eventually need to visit a bank branch in person in order to have a fully functioning account. Even if you open a Greek bank account by proxy or open a Greek bank account online, this in-person visit will only be delayed.

 

When opening a greek bank account as a non-resident, you may need to return every 1-2 years to a branch after opening the account. In the branch, you may be asked to update verification documents in order to maintain a fully functioning account. This process may differ based on the bank, so be sure to contact your bank for more details.

Step 1: Prepare Your Documents

You will need the following papers to open a bank account in Greece. In general, these documents will establish a deposit account, a debit card, and an e-banking account so that you can access funds online. Note that the requirements may change slightly based on the bank.

  • Greek Tax Number (AFM)
  • Copy of proof of identity
  • Proof of your home address (For example, an extract from the civil registry or a utility bill)
  • Employer’s declaration or extract from Chamber of Commerce (if you are a freelancer or business owner)
  • Tax assessment

Note on Document Translations

All documents will need to be translated into Greek or English. You may also need an apostille stamp. Be sure to ask your bank when applying for an account to see if you will need one.

 

Note on Extra Documents 

Note that some banks will require extra documents. Be sure to ask your bank when applying if you will need to provide other papers. In general, it is best practice to send your documents to your representative for pre-approval before visiting the bank.

 

How Recent Should My Documents Be?

Documents should be issued sometime in the past six months, and tax documents need to refer to the current tax year. In some cases, you will be asked for tax documents from the last three years.

Lindos, Rhodes

Step 2: Choose a Bank

You can do a quick search online to see which bank in Greece you want to open an account with. This can be done at the same time as you prepare your documents. There are four main banks in Greece, as well as several smaller ones to choose from. Most of our clients choose one of the main four.

Olympοs, Karpathos

Piraeus Bank

Piraeus Bank is a common choice for our clients, with about 4500 branches and 1400 ATMs, located both inside and outside of Greece.

 

National Bank of Greece

NBG is the fourth-largest bank in Greece, with 400 branches and 1500 ATMs located in Greece, the UK, and Europe. You can pick it out by its green color scheme.

 

Alpha Bank

Alpha Bank is the second-largest of Greece’s top four banks and has branches in Southeastern Europe as well as in the UK. It has several hundred branches in total and 1000 ATMs across the world. 

 

Eurobank

Eurobank has 600 branches in Greece and 1000 ATMs located around the world. Eurobank is known for its advanced online and e-wallet services. 

 

Banking Hours

Note that business hours of Greek banks are generally from 08:00 to 14:30, Monday to Friday. You can expect banks to be closed on local, national, and religious holidays.

Metsovo, Epirus

Step 3: Make an Appointment

Once you have all your documents together and know which bank you want to apply to, you will need to go in person to the bank to open your account. Most Greek banks require an appointment, so be sure to call ahead and schedule. To get ahead, send in your documents to your bank representative ahead of time for pre-approval.

Next Steps

After all this talk of paperwork and bank visits, it’s time to move on to the fun part: Picking the area of Greece where you want to buy a home.

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