Opening a bank account in Europe, for a US citizen

I’m going to Ireland for a few weeks in May, I would like to open a bank account in Euros, not so much for this trip but for further trips for a number or reasons. I want to know what kinds, if any, problems this will cause me. Since I will not have an address in Europe how hard will it be?

Some background now. I spent a semester in Ireland ten years ago and had a bank account then, they did send me a few statements here in the states but it was soon closed. There are a number of reasons that I want to open an account, some so that I can have a checking account in Euros so that I can write checks. I will not be writing many checks now but I will be swimming in Europe this year and I need to send the fees in Euros, which is somewhat of a pain. I also plan to do some traveling around Europe next summer by motorcycle so it would be nice to have access to an ATM. Yes I know that some US ATM cards are accepted in Europe but not mine.

So my questions are how much money would I need to open an account and how much would I need to keep in there? How much of a problem do banks have having people live in another country? I’m guessing not much since I did it once but that was for school. What will I do about taxes here and in Europe? I’m sure that I will not make on interest to have to worry about though. How difficult will it be to transfer money into said account being I’m not near one of their banks?

I think for now that’s all my questions, but knowing me I’ll probably think of more.

I don’t know about Ireland specifically but I have spent considerable time in Europe and still have accounts there. How much money you need depends on the bank - largely like it would here. I don’t see any reason for them to need a European address, however, they may have a requirement that you actually have activity to keep it open. Yes, every country in Europe I have been to accepts American bank cards but Mastercard is more widely accepted than others I have seen and some countries will not have an ATM translation in English. Taxes are another animal - I am not sure again about Ireland but in both Italy and Germany where I have lived, they will tax your bank account quarterly. I used to remove most of my money from my Italian bank prior to taxation day to avoid the taxes, then put it back. Crazy but true – they also taxed my TV…

I am not sure about opening an account without being there. Normally I open the acct when I get there and then transfer money between my American, German and Italian accounts.

Good luck.

We’ve just opened a bank account here in Ireland and the rules have changed recently.

We were told we couldn’t open a bank account without the following:

Proof of address
Identification showing you are a resident or citizen of Ireland

the PoA has to be an ESB (electric) bill or tax statement. As a visitor, you’ll have neither of those.

They may, however, have an alternate type of account for you, but as far as I know, you cannot open a standard bank account. You can check with AIB or BoI (Bank of Ireland, Allied Irish Bank) who both have an online presence, to confirm.

Good luck.

Money laundering regulations have got a lot tighter throughout the EU, and nowadays banks like to “know their customer”. Your best bet is one of the banks which specialise in what are termed “internationally mobile” customers, and which tend to be established in places like the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. You will probably find that more conventional banks are, with some pressing, willing to open an account for you, but not to issue you with a chequebook or give you any overdraft facilities.

Be aware that cheques are strictly local; a cheque drawn on a bank in (say) Ireland is not going to be accepted in (say) Greece, even though both countries have the same currency; this is becaus there is no Eurozone-wide cheque clearing system.

On the other hand, ATM cards issued in any Eurozone country will generally not only work in another Eurozone country, but will work with no extra charge - it cost me the same to draw money from an ATM in Greece or Portugal as it does to draw it at home in Ireland.

Most European countries deduct tax on interest at source in the bank. However, if you are non-resident and so not liable to tax, most have a procedure whereby you can make a declaration of non-residence and receive your interest gross.

Opening a bank account is very difficult over here. Even though I live in England (not Ireland), it took me over 2 years to find a bank that would accept me.

My ID and address information was with: US driver’s license, US passport, marriage certificate, Inland Revenue mail… Still they were not satisfied.

Only after over 2 years of going into my hubby’s building society, and they got to know me, was I able to open an account - also with about 20 pieces of ID and various bits of post.

It is a pain.

Good luck.

Thanks for the info. I did look into the Bank of Ireland’s web site but couldn’t find anything about opening an account. I find it strange that in Europe it seems to be pretty hard to open an account and here, at least in my experience which does deal with non-citizens, can open an account pretty easy.

I’ll look around some more and see if I can find some more info.