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Banking in Estonia

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The country that offers the opportunity to people from all over the world to become e-residents and create their own business without setting foot on its soil could not possibly trouble herself with such mundane issues as going to an actual bank, or withdrawing cash from an ATM. In fact, most Estonians have never seen a bank cheque in their lives -- and in 99% of the cases, they use their debit cards instead of cash. It’s no wonder then that LHV, one of the four major commercial banks in the country, just doesn’t deal with cash at all. Here’s how to navigate your banking needs in this entirely digital world.

Procedures for opening a bank account in Estonia

This might be the only time you’ll need to physically visit a bank branch -- when you’re opening your bank account. Sometimes, not even then. If you choose LHV for instance, you can fill in a form online and be done with it. Also, the exact documentation needed to open a bank account in Estonia may vary slightly from bank to bank, but in general the advice is “have your ID on you” (meaning the Estonian ID-Card which is used for about every formality in Estonia).

If you don’t have an Estonian ID-Card with residency permit yet, you’ll need a couple more things:

  • Some proof that you have ties to the country (a title or deed to a property, articles of incorporation or organisation, or proof of employment).
  • Some proof of address (e.g. a rental contract).
  • Proof of identity (your passport, EU citizen identity card or an Estonian driver’s licence).


Because of how many non-Estonians from all over the world want to set up their business in Estonia, the country is discouraging opening a bank account (unless you absolutely need one) to prevent money laundering. Especially if you’re not an EU resident, you may have to pay some fees. But in many cases, you don’t need to open a bank account to run your business.

 Good to know: PocoPay app, another innovative Estonian e-banking solution, allows you to open and use a bank account from your mobile phone and perform services such as splitting bills, requesting money using email addresses (or QR codes), and making payments via a MasterCard contactless debit card.

Credit cards

It’s not that easy to get a credit card in Estonia if you’re a new resident. Credit is determined by your salary and the length of your employment, so the sooner you can apply for a credit card is six months or a year after you’ve started working in Estonia.

Online banking

At this point, you probably have a good understanding of the fact that almost all banking in Estonia is actually online banking. Once you’ve opened your account, you can access the full capabilities of internet banking services 24/7, from anywhere in the world.

 Useful links
Become an e-resident
Swedbank
SEB
LHV

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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