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Which bank?

Hi all,

I need to set up a forint bank account at last.  Now, I have been told that for Hungarian banks, they ask for you to PAY them to make money off your money.  Is this true in all cases?  Are there any banks available that will not charge me for keeping my money with them?  I will not have a guaranteed salary every month, so this isn't just principle, though that is the main point.

Thanks,

Tom

I dont want to recommend anything - but I have @ CIB Bank and i dont complain. they charge what they have to but i cannot say a bad word about them. I had also @ OTP but they were far more expensive than CIB and offered significantly lowet %. My colleague has @ CitiBank and he's not very happy.

Yes, monthly charges and fees for everything you do at a bank are the norm.
Quite amazing, right? :-)

Just wait until you see the fees for sending or - hold onto something solid before you read this - receiving money internationally!

I guess my bank account will be "offshore", then.  I won't pay a bank any money for making money on my money.

what do you want exactly please explain

stomalomalus :

I guess my bank account will be "offshore", then.  I won't pay a bank any money for making money on my money.

If you want a Hungarian bank account, there's no way to avoid the fees charged as that's how the market is structured. If Hungary was in the Euro zone, life would be somewhat easier. I wouldn't expect Euro zone membership anytime soon.

However, if you are moving money internationally, within the EU, then you can use a SEPA (Single European Payments Area) payment which is much cheaper than a SWIFT transfer. With SEPA, the costs are split between sender and receiver and the cost relatively low. To keep your transaction costs low, only take Forint cash out at an ATM (not at the counter) and avoid debit and credit cards transactions. Try and pay for everything in cash (which is good practice anyway).

Paying with a foreign debit- or credit card is also possible, and the exchange rate used is usually reasonable.
You do have to have cash as some places in Hungary accept nothing else.

I think I found out that CIB offers a fee-less service for under 26's.  I'm going to go and check tomorrow after I've been to the immigration office.  The OTP site does not mention any fees, though, and I've heard they're the worst, so I'm not holding my breath.

I began with CIB and was relatively pleased until I began paying fees to get money from the ATM, to domestically transfer money, and to even deposit money at the bank. I'm now with CitiBank because as long as you have 150,000 Ft deposited every month, everyday bank transactions/services are free. I'm very pleased with them and haven't paid a penny for any transaction yet. I can even use ATMs outside of Hungary for free.

I don't make any international transfers between my American and Hungarian accounts as there are high fees for that. If I did however, I would use PayPal to do so as their fees are pretty low.

Hope that helps!

I am with Erste Bank and I am not very impressed. I don't find their web site user friendly enough.

ecrusouth :

I began with CIB and was relatively pleased until I began paying fees to get money from the ATM, to domestically transfer money, and to even deposit money at the bank. I'm now with CitiBank because as long as you have 150,000 Ft deposited every month, everyday bank transactions/services are free. I'm very pleased with them and haven't paid a penny for any transaction yet. I can even use ATMs outside of Hungary for free.

I don't make any international transfers between my American and Hungarian accounts as there are high fees for that. If I did however, I would use PayPal to do so as their fees are pretty low.

Hope that helps!

Well I got the CIB bank, as I just need a Ft bank for now.  I will scrap it in a year anyway, as hopefully then I will be guaranteed that 150kFt you talk about with CitiBank.

Until then, though, I will stay with it, even though I do not like having to pay for ATM withdrawals after the first 2.  But at least it wouldn't charge me for withdrawals outside Hungary so long as they are one of those 2.

I would also offer up a vote for Citibank with their "Zero Forint" account, provided you have a sufficient regular income into the account it's free, not only that, the online banking with Citibank is very good.
I cannot recommend MKB, expensive and some rather quaint ideas about additional charges for everything plus their idea of service is very different to what you might expect in the UK (for example).

I had this conversation with a friend over the weekend and the result was that no one bank is good at everything... If you want a good HUF account try Raiffeisen, but they only keep record for 12 months - print out all your statements. ERSTE charges for almost everything. OPT is the most expensive but you can do just about everything. CitiBank was mentioned because they were hacked again, and we didn't discuss the others because we have no personal experience.

Long story short they are all bad at something or another you have to find the one which is least worse for your personal circumstances.

I have had bank accounts in most banks so i have some experience but i might also have bit special requirements.

If you are very cost conscious you need to of course check the costs, however, please note that you need to review what you do with the money. For example if you do lot of investments, or currency transactions there can be significant differences between exchange rates between banks, investment services etc. I have found that for me the overall best bank for me is OTP as it has excellent currency exchange rates, excellent online banking, good english speaking telephone service and in my bank very pretty staff...

Citibank is worst in my view in terms of over costs and pretty much riskest overall (pretty hypothetical but still)... :-) but then it has some benefits as well, like very fast currency transactions.

Thanks for this conversation as I too am looking for a local bank.

There's a complete list at budapestagentdotcom, but think I am possibly favouring CIB. I have no regular income presently, so particularly interested in forint savings accounts - at least they help match inflation on money spent here.

CIB have some interesting forint savings deals, though needs some reflection. There's also a pensioners' savings account and seems I'm 'nearly' the right age here. Might not qualify as an expat though. (But the lady at Margaret sziget swimming baths has promised me the pensioner rate!)

I also have been looking for a Bank to opening saving account and have been told the same thing it cost you money and they use your money ??   What I use is a charge card from Capital One no added charge for using out side of USA unlike the other cards and for cash have set up a account at Fidelity Investment my Smart Cash Manager account no charge to use ATM or they refund the charge and very good exchange Rate Good Luck If You do find some thing please post. PS. I have used this set up for about 4 years and works great all over the world

The person who wrote that either works for OTP or doesn't care to be robbed blind. OTP charges for things you are not even aware of. They will charge a MONTHLY fee for unused ATM or credit cards but they will also charge you a fee for closing it. If you live abroad and you don't use your account  with no transaction going through it at all, you will still see 4-5 fees monthly on your account. Absolutely ridiculous. The minimum you will see leaving your account for being idol is in a vicinity of $100 a year. If you have monthly automated transaction this fee can double. With actual use of an ATM card and in person banking activity, the fess can easily reach $500-$1000. OTP might have great transaction rate to lure you in but as far as I'm concerned they are thieves. I used to have an AXA bank account. Unfortunately they are moving out (or have already moved out by the time you reading this post). I paid 300ft per month. That's all. So for sure, there are low fee banks in Hungary, but what's even more sure that OTP is far the worse!

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