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Poland is a favorable location for basing a business in Europe and the country offers many business opportunities. Foreign investors have the same rights to open a company and open a bank account as locals and they also have access to a series of incentives and Special Economic Zones.
Opening a bank account is an essential process when starting a business and investors should include this step on the list of issues that need to be handled personally or through a representative. Likewise, employees or sole traders, entrepreneurs who derive income from Poland can benefit from having a bank account opened with a local bank or the branch of a foreign financial institution.
Selecting the bank with which one will open the account in 2021 can depend on how fast the account can be formed as well as the banking rates and the general availability of ATM units, among others. investors who open a company in Poland will also be interested in the bank’s policies towards its corporate clients and facilities such as the merchant account, required for e-commerce companies and online stores. Many banks offer online services as well as general services for clients that were already available in the physical branches. The quality of these services, as well as accessibility and perhaps the availability of functioning and reliable online and mobile services, can be criteria for selecting the bank to work with.
In Poland entrepreneurs can choose from state owned banks, cooperative banks and regular (commercial) banks. The most common European banks also have branches in Poland. Almost all banks offer account access via Internet and there are also several that only operate online, without a physical branch. After registering a company in Poland, the manager must choose the right bank considering the company's profile.
Businessmen who would like to open a bank account in Poland must be aware that some of the cooperative banks - that usually do not benefit from a lot of publicity, might offer less expensive services than the regular banks. Therefore any trader should compare different offers regarding the quality and costs of services - like international and local money transfers, cash processing, cash in transit, currency exchange, cash loans, account maintenance fees etc.
Some examples of the banks that are present in Poland are the following:
PKO BP: one of the largest banks in terms of assets that offer commercial and private banking services to individuals and companies;
Santander Bank Polska: a universal bank and also one of the largest in the country in terms of assets;
ING Bank Śląski: the Dutch ING bank present in Poland, formed after a merger between Bank Śląski and the ING Bank branch, thus resulting in the name change;
Bank Millennium: a commercial bank owned by Millennium BCP; one of the largest banks in the country that has been in operation for more than 25 years.
What are the main steps for openign a bank account in Poland in 2021?
The necessary documents for opening a bank account in Poland are a passport or residency card for expats who obtained residency permits in Poland. Interested individuals should note that the required documents differ from one bank to another and while some financial institutions will only require an identification document, others may ask for the residence permit.
Banks that have foreigner-friendly policies may only ask for an identification document such as the passport (in most cases) and proof of residence in the applicant’s country of origin. In this case, the applicant will need to provide a statement. Foreign companies that open a bank account in Poland for establishing a branch will also be asked for specific documents such as the Articles of Association and the Certificate of Registration with the corporate authority in the country of origin. Our team of lawyers in Poland can help you with detailed information about these requirements.
Monthly fees are required for maintaining a bank account in Poland and other fees may apply is the client required additional services. Charges for transactions and debit orders are also applicable. These fees can vary depending on the chosen bank.
Bank accounts in Poland comply with the IBAN format. This format is also used for international money transfers. Credit cards are widely accepted in Poland and ATMs can be used for cash withdrawal.
Companies that require a merchant account for their activities can open this with the same bank with which the corporate account operates or with a different bank. This is a bank account that allows the company to accept payments in more than one way, most notably via a credit or debit card – making it essential for companies that sell their products online. This account operates under an agreement between the bank and a third party that processes the payment card transactions. The choice can depend on the rates for processing the payments as well as the security protocols that may be in place for safe payments.
One of our lawyers in Poland can give you more details on how to open an online business, the merchant account, and how to handle other matters related to relevant laws in Poland for these types of companies.
If you wish to open a bank account in Poland in 2021, or if you need to start the company incorporation procedures from abroad, our team can help you in this sense. Even if you are unable to travel to Poland, we can prepare part of the documents as soon as you provide us with the mandatory information. We can also make part of the submissions in your name using a power of attorney.
We invite you to watch the following video on opening a bank account in Poland:
What are the conditions for transferring money from or to Poland?
Some investors and entrepreneurs who derive income from Poland (but who are not based here and need to transfer their income) may be interested in the manner in which the ongoing banking regulations apply to money transfers.
If you want to transfer up to 10.000 euro in Poland you can do it without any declaration at the border. For cash amounts above 10.000 euros, the owner is requested to submit a declaration form at the custom. It is advisable for him to use the EU Standard Transfer, since specialists say it is the cheapest, fastest and convenient way to transfer larger amounts in and from Poland. Please note though that the EU Standard Transfer can only be used for transactions within the European Union.
For money transfer between Poland and countries outside the European Union you can also use the services of Western Union, MoneyGram.
Please keep in mind that the aforementioned regulations apply to money transfers, however, the Polish laws for transferring provide for different principles. If you are interested in this, as well as the regulations set forth by the Ministry of Finance, please contact our team of attorneys in Poland.
Main facts about banking in Poland
Poland joined the European Union in 2004 but has not yet adopted the Euro. The Zloty (PLN) is the Polish currency. Each Polish zloty is sub-divided into 100 groszy. Coins are available for small values, such as 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 groszy and 1, 2 and 5 PLN. Notes are available for 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 PLN.
A bank account in Poland is useful for business owners who run different types of companies in Poland, as well as for foreign employees in Poland who must receive their remuneration. Polish residents and non-residents can open bank accounts in all the convertible currencies, as well as zloty.
Many important banks have opened branches in Poland and most large Polish banks offer services both in English and in Polish. Some banks even offer online options for accessing the necessary forms for opening a bank account.
Our law firm in Poland can help you with additional information about banking fees and types of services offered by banks and can help you open a bank account in Poland.
The Central Bank of the Republic of Poland, Narodowy Bank Polski, is the one that is in charge, among others, with the annual monetary policy principles. The Central Bank is also the one to issue important data about the country’s financial sector status and, overall, it governs the financial system’s stability. Our team of lawyers in Poland presents a set of these figures below:
2,181,736 PLN the total banking sector assets in April 2020;
1,992,124 PLN the banking sector assets in December 2019;
1,886,674 PLN the banking sector assets in December 2018.
The data is based on information regarding the banking sector (banks as well as branches of credit institutions) that is sent to Narodowy Bank Polski based on self-reporting. The principles for reporting, and the manner in which the Polish authorities present the available data, are in line with the International Financial Reporting Standards.
Opening a bank account for companies in Poland
Opening a bank account in Poland is required when starting a business here. For medium and large companies this step is mandatory. Only micro-entrepreneurs in Poland can, in some cases, be subject to an exemption from opening a bank account when starting their business, however, in practice, not doing so can have certain disadvantages as it will be easier to manage the financial issues when doing business in the country. Micro-companies that can opt out of opening a Polish bank account will need to satisfy a number of other conditions, such as having a low annual net turnover and a limited number of employees. When the banking exemptions apply in their case, they will also be able to pay fewer social contributions and taxes as well as claim the available tax refund in cash form.
Companies that are subject to VAT in Poland, and will apply for VAT refunds, must have a business bank account.
In all other situations apart from the one for micro-entrepreneurs described above (which can be listed in most detail by one of our lawyers in Poland, as needed) all companies are obliged to receive payments through a bank account, their payment account. The law does not stipulate a mandatory provision to receive these amounts solely in a business bank account, however, for corporations, the bank will have internal regulations that can prohibit the use of a personal account for business purposes intended for corporate income.
Our team of Polish lawyers can give you more details about the distinction between the investor/entrepreneur and the chosen business form. This is most apparent in the case of the limited liability company, for example, which is a legal entity completely separate from the founder(s). Other business forms, such as the sole trader, are subject to fewer incorporation requirements and in this case there is no difference between the founder and the business, meaning that the personal account can and will likely be used to receive business income.
Corporate bank account creation in Poland is conditioned by having obtained the legal entity’s registration documents. Once the company is registered, our team of lawyers can help you submit these, as well as others, with the chosen bank branch. When the company is registered with CEDIG, the Central Register and Information on Economic Activity, where the registration takes place, the process of opening a bank account is simpler because the company owner is not required to submit the bank account information separately to the social insurance authorities in the country and the tax office (he will, however, need to indicate if the business account was already created).
Investors who cannot be present in the country during this step can rely on our services. We offer banking solutions through a special power of attorney that will mandate an agent to act on the investor’s behalf particularly for the purpose of opening a business bank account.
Opening a bank account for foreign nationals in Poland
Foreign nationals in Poland who decide to open a business will most likely already have a personal bank account. However, those who have just arrived in the country, and for whom the language may be a barrier, can reach out to our team of lawyers for solutions that will suit their needs. Through a special power of attorney, one of our specialists will be able to submit the needed documents in the foreign national’s name.
A personal bank account is required when signing an employment contract in Poland as well as when opening a sole trader. For these small, one-man businesses, the founder will use his bank account (he can open only one after arriving in the country), however, it cannot be a joint bank account, for example if the entrepreneur shares one with the spouse. The aim is to link the bank account to a sole holder, the sole trader – given the fact that the owner of a sole trader business is fully liable for the debts and obligations of the business.
When using the same bank account for business and personal purposes, the holder will need to keep track of the two different types of expenditures, and will need to document the business ones for tax and accounting purposes.
Personal income in Poland is subject to a tax at different rates. This means that sole traders are taxed differently compared to corporations. This is also an issue to keep in mind.
When choosing to use a personal bank account to receive all or part of the business income derived from a sole trader, for example, entrepreneurs may need to provide additional information to the bank regarding this use.
Opening a bank account in 2021 is an essential part of running a business in Poland. Choosing the right bank will depend on the types of services provides just as well as it may depend or whether or not the account holder is already working with a certain bank outside of Poland and he prefers to maintain the relationship by selecting the same bank branch in a Polish city, if available.