Opening a bank account in Greece is one of the first things that you need to do when you move here. Fortunately, the process of opening a bank account here is not as difficult as you may expect. A Greek bank account is a prerequisite for obtaining a residence permit, and for receiving your salary from a Greek employer.
Opening a Bank Account in Greece
Bank tellers here (like most Greeks) speak a good level of English. When I first arrived in Greece I could not speak a word of Greek (except for that infamous “m” word!). Fortunately, this was not a problem.
Some branches in large cities also have designated staff members for dealing with international customers.
Banks That Operate in Greece
You have several banks to choose from in Greece – both domestic and international. During the economic crisis, banks in Greece were subject to high levels of scrutiny and control.
In the height of the crisis, opening a bank account was tricky, and getting your hands on a credit card was virtually unheard of. Things are improving though, and now the process is straightforward.
Reputable domestic banks that you may want to consider are:
- Piraeus bank
- Alpha Bank
- National Bank of Greece
Most Greek domestic banks detailed above also have branches throughout Southern Europe.
Reputable international banks that you may want to consider are:
- ProCredit Bank
I personally bank with Piraeus bank and have never had an issue. If you opt to open an account with one of the domestic Greek banks detailed above, rest assured you will find plenty of branches and ATMs operated by them.
You will generally find plentiful bank branches and ATMs in all towns and cities across the country. Opening a bank account in Greece is not all that different to following this process anywhere else in the world.
Choosing a Greek Bank
It is worth reviewing the products and policies of a couple of different banking options before you select which bank to go for. Always read the small print and look out for any additional fees.
Some Greek banks will charge you if you withdraw from ATMs that are not owned by that specific bank. Others may charge you a monthly admin fee for certain accounts.
Banking products in Greece are comparable to anywhere else in the world. You can have a basic debit account, or you can pay extra for banking that also includes insurance for your home, car, etc.
Opening Your Account
To open a bank account in Greece, you must go to the bank in person and make an appointment with the teller. It isn’t possible to open an account online or from your home country. This is because the bank needs to see and scan your passport and other official documents.
Just like opening an account anywhere else, there will be forms to fill out and documents that need to be scanned. This process should take about 45 minutes to an hour.
Do be patient and allow for getting caught up in a queue. Most people here like to go into the bank and discuss their account with the teller, rather than relying on online banking or statements, especially older Greeks. As such, banks can become quite crowded.
Documents to Take with You to Open a Greek Bank Account
The documents that you need to take with you to open a Greek bank account are detailed below. This is fairly standard across all banks.
Document requirements for opening a Greek bank account:
- Your passport
- AFM number (Greek tax number)
- Proof of address (recent utility bill)
- Funds to open your account
- Proof of salary (This can be a payslip, a letter/contract from your employer, or recent tax returns if you’re self-employed)
- Reference from previous bank or copies of previous bank statements (check with your chosen bank to see if this is required and what they need to see)
- Marriage certificate (if opening a joint account)
If you do not have an AFM number, you can read about how to obtain one in this guide on moving to Greece.
Transferring Money from Greece to Abroad
If you are relocating to Greece, chances are that you may keep an account open in your home country. You may need to transfer funds internationally between your accounts at some point and so there are a few things worth noting.
Transferring money to and from Greek accounts usually comes with high additional fees. If I transfer funds from my account with Piraeus bank, for example, I get charged a 5% administrative fee plus a terrible exchange rate.
Sometimes banks do not provide visibility on these fees and the exchange rates are usually pretty bad. If you need to transfer funds, consider using a service such as Transferwise to do so, so that you cut down on fees.
Additional FAQs about banking in Greece are detailed below.
Can I Do All of My Banking in English?
Most Greek banks offer online banking and 24/7 telephone banking. Both services are available in English. Virtually all ATMs in Greece have an English language option too.
What Time are Banks Open?
Banks in Greece are open from 8.30 am – 2.00 pm from Monday to Friday. They are closed at weekends.
Can I get Credit in Greece?
Even though the Greek economy is improving, there are still some restrictions in place when it comes to banking here. It is still fairly tricky for foreign expats to get a credit card, and it is not possible to get a mortgage.
Most Greek banks have secure payment processing, or dual-factor authentication in place for online purchases. This means that if you try and purchase something online, you will get an SMS or a pop-up on your phone banking app asking you to confirm that it was you making the purchase.
Capital Controls on Greek Banking
After the economic crisis in 2015, capital controls were placed on Greek banks to limit the amount of cash that was withdrawn or sent overseas. As of September 2019, these limitations have been lifted.
Opening a Greek bank account really is quite straightforward. You will breeze through this process and then you’ll be able to worry about more important things – like which local coffee shop makes the best freddo espressos, and which Greek island to escape to during the summer.
Have any further questions or concerns about how to open a bank account in Greece? I’ve been living in Athens for three years now and I’m happy to assist with any questions you may have. Feel free to drop me a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Geia sou! Melissa xo
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14 thoughts on “How to Open a Bank Account in Greece – A Handy 2022 Guide”
Im from Lebanon, i absolutely have no idea how to open a bank account in Greece noticing that i only have a lebanese passport . & Im a resident in Lebanon, i dont have any address in Greece yet.
Im a freelancer in Lebanon & i have a lebanese bank account & some few cash $$$.
Can you help where to start from & proceed.
Can these documents be mailed or do you have to physically present yourself at a bank? I have a bank account in Greece, I need to update some information.
Hey, amazing blog.
As far as I know with rhe rigt papework and intial outlay, it is possible for a foreign citizen to open a banck account in Greece.
Alex yes it is – hence why this entire post was written, to help foreign citizens open bank accounts in Greece. Did you not read the article or the very obvious title? or were you just using this comment section as a way to try and promote your own link and blog which I have now removed?
Yassu, wonderful informative blog. Im in the process of making my.dream reality~ moving to ellada! I am on limited time scale due to brexit. Your info is invaluable. I have lived/worked in athens but only seasonal so.never gone for resedency.. Im english, tefl & media degree holder. Ive also written for ex pat mags. Be great to meet up in Greece. I hope to based on Kos island but will go to athens frequently to do paperwork im sure haha… hugs, luci
Super informative blog about opening a bank account. Last I tried to open a bank account [that was due the crisis] I needed to transfer 3.000 EUR to the bank account from outside Greece before I they would let me open the account. That’s the only time I have been inside a Greek bank. That’s it’s easier now is good news.
They also now offer a 7% tax heaven for Nordic old timers. Worth to look into as well.
I came to Thessalonica in 2017 to help my daughter with a highly allergic grandson. My daughter is married to a Greek and has been there for 25 years.
I have an Austrian passport and was told that, in order to open a bank account I had to put in $10,000! I have a secure, but small pension and was 68 years old at that time. I am also American and had just recently returned to Europe after 20 years. I couldn’t believe that. There was some rule that anyone coming from outside of Greece had to have a substantial sum of money to put into a Greek bank, and that was officially listed at $11,000. I was appalled. I can open a bank account in the US for $20!!! Besides that, even as a tourist and non-Greek, I was not allowed to take more than $400 out per week at the ATM, even after restrictions were loosed, theATM still gave me that message. The transaction fees required by the Greeks from my US account are OUTRAGEOUS–highway robbery at the least!! From my small pension I took out $300, and had a transaction fee from the Greek bank for $125!!! Besides all that, every time anyone buys anything, there is a 25% tax, and even on foodstuffs! The people in the shops always over-charge or short change, besides being extremely impolite. I have even been refused service numerous times. The coffee houses here don’t even have coffee by 11:00AM-12:00PM! Table tops and toilets are filthy, as well as the streets. As far as my daugher’s Greek in-laws–yes, they are horribly impolite, only value anyone who is a true Greek, and make continual snide, nasty remarks about the “Barbars”, and have tried to pit my two beautiful grandsons against me, for no apparent reason, other than that I am American/Austrian. This is no place for me. There is absolutely no international activity here because of the hatred and impoliteness of the Greeks. I wouldn’t stay here for two days, if it weren’t for my grandson. I have travelled a lot and can truly say that I have never experienced conditions like this anywhere, neither in Europe nor in the US! People tell me that it gets even worse in the Balkans, but I have no intent whatsoever to go there, either.
You are a legend. I’m proud to be Greek but you observations are 100% correct.
Hi Melissa ,
We are retired and live near Rethymnon on Crete and Bank with Alpha.We send money over from out UK account via a transfer provider [ if that’s the right word] who give decent rates. I read an article in one of the tabloids today saying that some European countries are going to start charging for transfers post Brexit. Do you know if this applies to Greece ?
I live in the UK, and I’m wanting to visit family friends in Skiathos for 6 months (April -Octobet 2021). I have an authorised invitation letter from them, and waiting to get an appointment with the Greek embassy in London.
I am trying to get a long term D Visa as a financially independent person, as I am now retired and receive a monthly pension.
What implications apply to this?
Would I have to open a Greek bank account, pay tax, how often would I be able to return to UK, and any more tips would be greatly appreciated!
I just want to visit family friends for now, with a hope of perhaps moving eventually.
Many thanks xx
Hi lm 68 .l am in the same situation. A visa (d) may require you to show regular monthly income of aprox 2200 euro pm, this may be more than your pension, also full medical insurance plus more !!
My advice just stay 90 days . The greek authorities will run you round in circles while emptying your wallet, (its a national sport)
Regards and enjoy your 90 days.ps late reply but holds true
Can you provide any insight into whether or not a US Passport and other documents in English need to be translated to obtain the AFM number and open a bank account?
Hello Mrs. Melissa Douglas,
I am writing from an International Private College here in Athens and i am the admissions executive for International students. I help students from abroad come to Athens for studies for a European or American degree. My major concern is that the students want to open a bank account but the papers they sign are in the Greek language. Do you know a bank that provides its services in the English language?
Your reply is highly appreciated
I would appreciate your thoughts on this. We lived in Crete for 8 years, leaving in 2014 to live in France. Last year we went back to Crete on holiday and decided to reopen our bank account. I sent them all the requested paperwork but have been told that the account is locked as I am in a dispute with the tax authorities over an unpaid bill. Can they do this?
Secondly, we approached another bank regarding opening a new account and again I supplied them with the relevant documents but now they want our French Tax return translated even though it is self-explanatory. Does this make any sense (the other bank didn’t require a translation)?