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How can I open up a bank account in the EU?

This is a question that will affect many people from the UK, whether they are intending to study in Europe, work in Europe or are being relocated. Here are the things to be taken into consideration.

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If you are a resident of a European Union country, you are entitled to open a basic payment account in another country of EU status. A bank cannot refuse to let you open a basic payment account under current legislation.

Legislative Precedent

The European Commission issued a directive in July 2014 on payment account fees as well as access to a basic account with the ability to switch accounts as desired. The Commission hopes it will result in more people having access to a bank account, as it estimated that 58 million people across the EU didn’t have access to a bank account.

Who Can Apply?

Anyone can apply regardless of their financial history. Bankruptcy is not an issue, and you don’t need to be in employment to apply. This will help people who are thinking of moving countries for a new job or if they are using the services of a corporate relocation company before they make the move. A corporate relocation company can help clients set up bank accounts in a new country.

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What Type of Account Can You Get?

You can have access to a basic paying account. This is an account that allows you to carry out basic banking transactions. You will be able to pay your salary in, and any pensions or benefits you receive as well. You will be able to use this account to pay your bills, from mortgage payments to phone bills. You will be able to deposit and withdraw cash as well as bank online where available. A bank card will be offered as standard.

Other Benefits

Under the directive you will be able to request any information, such as fees upfront. You will also be able to switch from one EU-based bank to another with ease – usually within 15 working days, and 30 days where the bank you are switching to is in another country. The bank will be responsible for transferring all direct debits and payments and cancelling any standing orders. If the bank misses a deadline, they will be liable for any fines incurred.

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