Can a foreigner open a curren account in Europe?

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Nowadays, having a current account has become more than necessary for all our daily tasks. Whether it is to receive a salary, benefits or to transfer money to your family, having a current account is essential. But what if you want to open a banl account without papers and have foreign status? Can you have access to this type of account without them?

Indeed, the only law in force requires that you can present a valid identity document (passport, identity card) and proof of address. Generally speaking, being a foreigner remains an obstacle to opening an account with a traditional bank. That’s why many people turn to new digital players like Moneytrans.

In this article, we show you what type of account you can open depending on your situation and the conditions you have to respect. Let’s get started!


What are the conditions for opening a current account today?

Currently, financial institutions are becoming more and more demanding when it comes to opening a current account: proof of income, obligation to domicile one’s salary there, payment of a substantial initial sum, etc. Indeed, for some years now, many foreigners have not been able to access this type of service due to their residency status and lack of legal documents. Thus, it is difficult for them to live like a local because of these restrictions. In order to open a bank account without papers, one must nevertheless be eligible to open an account.

These eligibility criteria are the same in all EU countries, although there may be differences in practice:

1. Legally, as a foreigner, you are not required to have a residence permit to open a current account. Indeed, the only essential documents are your identity card and proof of address (rent receipt, electricity bill, etc.)

2. Despite this, the bank is entitled to choose its customers by refusing to open an account for you without having to justify itself. It will then give you a letter of refusal.

3. If you are refused, you have another option: refer to the banking regulator of the country in which you reside and initiate the “right to an account” procedure by submitting your file. This will allow this institution to designate a bank that will be obliged to open your account.

4. You have another much quicker and easier option: Open a Smile Account! This is a very accessible current account designed especially for residents of foreign origin. It is an alternative to traditional banks and aims to promote the financial inclusion of residents of foreign origin living in Europe.


An alternative, the basic account service!

Nowadays, more and more banking institutions are obliged to offer the basic banking service to some people who do not meet all the criteria for opening a traditional current account. However, if your banking institution refuses to open an ordinary current account for you, you have the option of applying to open a basic account at more accessible financial institutions such as Moneytrans. This basic account service offers the opening of an account as well as a debit card in order to have access to essential services to live serenely in your host country (receive a salary, find accommodation, etc.).

With this, you will be able to:

  • Make physical or online money transfers.
  • Deposit and withdraw money.
  • Set up direct debits.
  • Pay with your debit card.
  • Take advantage of the digital tools of your financial institution.
  • Benefit from a free life insurance (in the case of some entities such as Moneytrans).

That type of account does not allow access to a negative balance which is good because it means you can’t get into debt. You can only use the money available in your account balance. Moreover, it is reserved for individuals and not for companies. Finally, you cannot pay by cheque, and cannot make deferred payment transactions.


Is that type of option available to everyone?

The basic banking service is available to anyone residing in a European Union member country (including asylum seekers, identified refugees, or persons without a residence permit without grounds for expulsion)! Indeed, whoever you are, you will be able to access it. Indeed, even asylum seekers have access to it, only a temporary address is required for its opening. All the financial institutions concerned are obliged to inform their customers about this option, as well as provide a written application form to be filled in by the person concerned.

The bank may refuse to open this account only in certain rare cases:

  • If you have another current account (or basic banking service)with a different financial institution.
  • If you have more than 6,000 euros in another account.
  • If you have a loan of at least 6000 euros.
  • If you are found guilty of money laundering, fraud, or swindling.

In some of these cases, the institution may decide to terminate your account.


Does this option involve any fees?

This service is not necessarily free. The banks concerned may charge annual account maintenance fees which vary according to the financial institution you turn to. These fees generally include the costs of opening, managing or closing the account as well as the costs of account statements.

These fees are flexible and the offer can include specific features, such as the Moneytrans Smile Account which offers you free account maintenance fees for the first year and a Mastercard debit card for free.


A current account in 5 minutes and without a bank!

Is it possible to open an account without a bank? The answer is YES! The Moneytrans Smile Account meets the special needs of all foreign residents in Belgium, France and Spain who wish to benefit from an all-in-one financial solution. Enjoy the benefits of the first current account for global citizens, which offers you a free Mastercard debit card in your name and life insurance that takes care of you and your loved ones.

Moneytrans is part of the family of fintechs that offer a financial package that is generally more competitive than that of traditional players, with a particular focus on the specific needs of the foreign communities in Europe. A tailor-made offer! However, the best thing is that you can say goodbye to the hassle of banking, the Smile Account makes it easy: you only have to provide proof of identity and proof of residence. Simple, isn’t it?

Open your Smile Account in just 5 minutes and take the keys to your financial freedom, while protecting what really matters. Thanks to its integrated life insurance policy*, the Smile Account gives you up to 3 months of free insurance to face the unexpected with peace of mind.

*Insurance only available for new accounts opened in Belgium.




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