How to Open a Corporate Bank Account in Estonia

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If you want to open a bank account in Estonia, you will find that all banks have very much the same requirements to customers and request very much the same documents. The attitude to the customers can be quite different, however. If yours is a non-resident company in Estonia (the company founder is not a resident of the country), you should be prepared that some banks are going to deny services to you. Some other banks will be ready to take onboard but you should realize that the internal policies of the banks can differ when it comes to providing services to non-resident corporate clients.

We will say from the outset that you do not necessarily have to bank in Estonia if you have a company registered there. For example, you can consider setting up an account with a Fintech company, a PSP (Payment Service Provider) or an online bank. Because banks in Estonia can be rather demanding to non-resident customers, you can also consider banking in another jurisdiction.

This said, however, acquiring banking services in Estonia is not impossible even if you have a non-resident company in the country. If you have some weighty reasons to bank in Estonia, you can do so. You have to realize though that some serious preparatory work is going to be required. The main thing that you will have to show to the Estonian bankers is that your company’s activities are related to Estonia in this or that way.

The following items can demonstrate that you company has ‘ties’ with Estonia:

  • Partners in Estonia (suppliers, clients, etc.);
  • Turnover in Estonia (and as a consequence, a VAT number in the country);
  • Payment of taxes in Estonia (payroll tax, VAT, divided tax, etc.);
  • Residence permit in Estonia held by at least one Board member;
  • Estonian company employees;
  • A company office in Estonia;
  • A warehouse in Estonia;
  • A startup visa and an approval from the Startup Committee (relevant mostly for IT companies);
  • An ‘alive’ company website (preferably adapted for Estonia);
  • Logistic facilities in Estonia.

These are key things that you will have to show to the bank administration when applying for corporate banking services in Estonia. But even if you are able to show all of the items listed above to the bank officer, there is no 100% guarantee that an account will be opened for you. The bank will have to have the final say. This is why we started by suggesting that you should probably consider opening a bank account for an Estonian company in another jurisdiction.

Below we provide information about two banks that do open accounts for non-resident companies. Both of them will have specific requirements for prospective corporate customers.

Swedbank AS 

About the bank in brief:

  • The bank opens accounts for companies whose (co-)founders are non-residents of Estonia;
  • The website, Internet banking applications, and personal services are available in English;
  • Inexpensive banking services;
  • Multicurrency accounts (USD, EUR, GBP, etc.);
  • The largest bank in Scandinavia based on Swedish capital;
  • Efficient and responsive client support;
  • The bank sets limits on Internet payments for beginner companies: 20,000 euros per day and 100,000 euros per month. This applies to outgoing payments only: no limits for incoming payments. The limits can be extended later. Usually, this opportunity becomes available after the first 6 months of using the bank. Besides, the limits apply only to Internet transfers: you can transfer any sum of you visit a bank office;
  • You have to pay 2 personal visits to the bank to open a corporate account there. First, you have to fill out the forms, pay 200 euros, submit documents confirming your company ‘ties’ with Estonia, and apply for account opening. Only a Board member can do it on behalf of the company. Then the bank will take up to 10 days to make the decision. If the answer is ‘yes’, you have to visit the bank office for the second time, sign the service agreement, get the pin code generator and access to Internet banking applications;
  • The bank officers are critical of the place where the company conducts business operations. If they believe that your company is insufficiently tied to Estonia, they won’t open an account for you;
  • It is desirable to bring agreements with Estonian partners when applying for bank account opening;
  • The bank can be suspicious of a company whose intended monthly turnover exceeds 200,000 euros from the start;
  • The application processing fee of 200 euros mentioned above will not be returned to you if your application is turned down.

Required application documents and account opening timeframes:

  • Application forms (to be filled out at the bank office);
  • Contracts with Estonian partners;
  • CVs for all company founders and Board members (you can bring the CVs on your first visit to the bank or send them by email later);
  • A brief business plan (a description of prospective activities without any financial forecast);
  • The bank officers can ask you to send some additional documents related to company’s activities;
  • The application is processed within 10 business days. 

TALLINNA ÄRIPANGA AS

About the bank in brief:

  • The bank opens accounts for companies whose (co-)founders are non-residents of Estonia;
  • The website, Internet banking applications, and personal services are available in English;
  • Inexpensive banking services;
  • Multicurrency accounts (USD, EUR, GBP, etc.);
  • You can set your own limits on Internet transactions; 
  • You can apply for banking services remotely (by email);
  • ​The client support responds quickly;
  • The bank officers are critical of the place where the company conducts business operations. If they believe that your company is insufficiently tied to Estonia, they won’t open a corporate account for you;
  • A rather large package of allocation documents is required (see below);
  • The account opening fee is 250 euros plus you will have to make a 500 deposit if the bank agrees to open an account for you.

Required application documents and account opening timeframes:

  • Application form to be filled out by a Board member;
  • Scan copies of passports for each company founder and Board member;
  • Letters of recommendation from any other banks where company founders have personal bank accounts;
  • CVs for all company founders and Board members;
  • A handwritten confirmation from every beneficial company owner that he or she is a true beneficial company owner;
  • The most recent utility bills for all company founders and Board members. The bill has to carry the name and the address of the person. If the letter from the bank (see above) carries the address of the person, no utility bills are required. 
  • The bank can ask you to send some additional documents related to company’s activities;
  • The application for banking services is processed within 10 business days.

Besides, such banks in Estonia as AS SEB Pank, AS Citadele banka Eesti filiaal, and AS LHV Pank will also take non-resident corporate clients aboard. The requirements are more or less identical in all cases. At the same time, you do need professional assistance in setting up a corporate bank account in Estonia because the task is non-trivial indeed. 

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