I'm moving around the EU a fair bit at the moment. First in the UK was fine - I was able to open a bank account with just a passport and a mailing address. Having a local bank account made life a lot simpler while there.

Then I moved to Sweden and tried to open an account there. You need a residence card, proof of home ownership or rental contract, a Swedish social security number ("personnummer") which in turn means you need to be able to prove the right to live there for at least 12 months, proof of employment, they want to know the ins and outs of your expected income and where you'll be transferring money to/from, etc etc etc. It took nearly 4 months in all.

What countries in the EU are the easiest for opening a bank account? It doesn't need anything like a credit card, overdraft facility etc, just basic savings, ATM card and online banking.

  • My personal experience is that it is most difficult in the Nordic countries (e.g. Denmark is the same as Sweden), while the UK and Germany (here it may vary from bank to bank) seemed much easier. Italy lies somewhere in between. Generally money laundering rules in the EU require a proof of identity and some form of proof of address - the required 'quality' of the latter seems to be what causes the difference in difficulty of setting up an account. – greyshade Dec 16 '14 at 16:00
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    There is a money stackexchange site that you'll get good answers. We don't keep money in the banks - we buy flight tickets instead :) – AKS Dec 16 '14 at 22:28

Czech Republic is extremely easy.

  • All you need is your passport and a phone number (to use the online banking)
  • No proof of address or residence status required
  • Debit cards are usually issued within 1 week
  • Both Visa's payWave and Mastercard's PayPass contactless cards are available
  • You can open an account in Euros, Dollars, and pretty much any other currency to save on transaction fees
  • Some banks (mBank.cz) even offer free worldwide ATM withdrawals, with no monthly fees

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