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European Bank Account

European Bank Account

Old May 22, 19, 11:36 am
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European Bank Account

Not sure if this is the right place butÖ. Iím thinking about opening a European Bank Account. Iím a US citizen who doesnít live in Europe but do visit often. I also have Hungarian dual citizenship based on family heritage but from what I understand Banks in Hungary are awful in regards to service and fees. I would like the bank to offer at least a debit card and must have internet banking ability.

Main reason would be to just park some money outside the US, letís say about 50K. And yes, all legal and will be reporting in the IRS yearly.

Any suggestions or insight?
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Old May 22, 19, 11:51 am
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Ask your current US bank as they may have partners in Europe and that may facilitate the opening of the account. There will be concerns at the European bank about money laundering and having an 'introduction' from your existing bank would help allay those fears.

Though I would ask yourself the reasons you want to do it this way.

If it's to try and avoid foreign currency fees for using US based cards then there are other ways around that such as a prepaid credit card that you can top up. I have one each for US and European travel and both are managed by an app so I can see transactions and balances etc.
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Old May 22, 19, 12:27 pm
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All laundering concerns should be answered by FBAR and that I will be wiring the funds from the US instead of taking a bagful of cash. Again, all will be on the up and up.

I already have cards to escape foreign currency fees so good there.
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Old May 22, 19, 12:34 pm
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I was in Geneva a week ago and inquired about opening a bank account there. I was shocked that the bank required a minimum deposit of USD$ 1 million to open the account
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Old May 22, 19, 1:08 pm
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Unlike in the US, most banks will charge fees for a standard account. In the order of $100/yr, so it wont exactly bankrupt a person.
As far as "service" goes, if you will have minimal interaction with the bank -- i.e. just to park money there, then theres no concern is there?

Most banks will require proof of local residency. So that might be a challenge for you.
Being a US citizen will also pose another albeit minor hassle -- its extra paperwork on bank's side for compliance, unique to US persons.
Theoretically you can just show your Hungarian passport, but then you probably don't want a HUF account do you?

Many internet-centric or internet-only banks have recently popped up, and they offer free accounts with skeletal services. N26 is one such example.
(it's possible they wont service Hungary).
Transferwise not really a bank but you can establish an account there. Take a crack at these - you might even be able to open them remotely
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Old May 22, 19, 1:13 pm
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It would be difficult to open a standard bank account without (proof of) a residential address in the EU. By standard I mean the banks that you typically see in towns and cities that most people use day to day, as opposed to private banks that may have fewer branches that you are unlikely to come across without somehow being introduced - i.e. the ones mentioned that would probably require 1 million as an opening deposit.

Once open, the address on the account can be changed to a foreign address, although some banks may close accounts if you move outside the EU, and some banks may not wish to service US citizens at all due to the reporting requirements.

If you hold an HSBC or Citibank account in the US, they may assist you with opening HSBC or Citibank accounts in other countries. If you are HSBC Premier you can move money between your accounts in all countries for no fees, though in practice you would have to convert currency elsewhere due to the poor exchange rates offered (but you can have accounts in many currencies in a single country's HSBC).
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Old May 22, 19, 1:21 pm
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If you have a Hungarian passport, open a Revolut, Transferwise or an N26 account.
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Old May 22, 19, 1:41 pm
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Originally Posted by NA-Flyer View Post
I was in Geneva a week ago and inquired about opening a bank account there. I was shocked that the bank required a minimum deposit of USD$ 1 million to open the account
If it makes you feel any better, that's the standard reply to any non-resident, even Swiss citizens living abroad. US citizens are extra toxic due to the FACTA reporting (or whatever it's called).
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Old May 22, 19, 4:34 pm
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Originally Posted by malmostoso View Post
If it makes you feel any better, that's the standard reply to any non-resident, even Swiss citizens living abroad. US citizens are extra toxic due to the FACTA reporting (or whatever it's called).
FATCA was supposedly named so as to be aimed at proverbial "fat cats", but it mainly hits individuals who are anything but proverbial fat cats.

Opening personal bank accounts as a local resident who is not a US citizen is a lot easier than opening an account as a local resident who is a US citizen; and opening a personal bank account as a non-resident who is a local citizen is a lot easier than opening a bank account as a non-resident who is a US citizen. If you can come across as a domestic resident and not a citizen of the US, the opportunities to open the bank accounts is higher.

Once the account is open and operating for some time, the banks are more likely to let the account remain. But then there may be the issue of keeping an address for relevant physical mail delivery at times.
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Old May 22, 19, 11:08 pm
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
FATCA was supposedly named so as to be aimed at proverbial "fat cats", but it mainly hits individuals who are anything but proverbial fat cats.
You just blew my mind with this factoid

Once the account is open and operating for some time, the banks are more likely to let the account remain. But then there may be the issue of keeping an address for relevant physical mail delivery at times.
Interestingly this was not my experience in Switzerland: once my bank realized I was not a resident they told me to close the account, or they would have terminated it. I still had a valid address and everything, it's just that they don't want to deal with the hassle of reporting, unless of course you make it worth their while with a six figure account.
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Last edited by malmostoso; May 23, 19 at 12:09 am
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Old May 23, 19, 1:48 am
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Originally Posted by malmostoso View Post
You just blew my mind with this factoid



Interestingly this was not my experience in Switzerland: once my bank realized I was not a resident they told me to close the account, or they would have terminated it. I still had a valid address and everything, it's just that they don't want to deal with the hassle of reporting, unless of course you make it worth their while with a six figure account.
My government tends to come up with names for proposed legislative acts so as to make the bills easier to pass or to otherwise play to the peanut gallery. Think of the USA PATRIOT Act, as it too was creatively named for public appeal purposes.

My rule of thumb is that the more creative a proposed act's name is, the worse it probably is for the public at large -- even as the public at large won't know and appreciate that such acts will mainly hit those who are doing nothing wrong.
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Old May 23, 19, 2:45 am
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If you have a Hungarian passport, just walk into basically any bank branch in Budapest and open an account in the currency(-ies) of your preference (Ft, €, $, whatnot) The fees depend on the attached services, the basic accounts are very cheap, max a few bucks a month. If you speak Hungarian, the experience is even smoother.

Debit cards and online banking is usually part of any basic package (credit cards are different)

With 50k (USD?) on your account, you might make it to VIP/Gold/Premium/... level, where the fees are mostly waived.

The banks in HU will do due diligence, especially as you're not resident.
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Old May 23, 19, 6:56 am
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Hi! Try to check Poland and Check Republic, i thik there is possible to get online visa
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Old May 23, 19, 10:36 am
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Why would he need an online visa??
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Old May 23, 19, 11:25 am
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Keep in mind that European accounts are basically paying 0% interest at the moment. So, compared with an account in the US earning 2.25% (current online banking rates), you'd be losing $1,125 annually in interest by using a European account.
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