Finding the Best Online Bank Accounts in Europe

The best online bank accounts in Europe offer an attractive path for foreigner non-residents to access EU banking. In fact, if you’re struggling to open with a traditional European bank, opening with an online bank may be your only option.

But, unless you have the right information, know each platform’s shortcomings, and understand their opening requirements, your chances of being approved and benefiting are slim.

Online Bank Accounts in Europe

Finding the best online bank account in Europe (as a non-resident) is possible. In fact, for many non-residents, an online bank account in Europe is a preferred alternative to traditional EU banks. However, whether or not an online bank account is the right choice for you, will depend on several key variables. We detail these variables and the account opening process below. 

Naturally, when banking in Europe, most foreign non-residents want to choose a bank with the lowest fees, attractive services, and the easiest account opening process.

But, opening at a brick-and-mortar bank in the EU can be difficult, expensive, and time-consuming. So, it’s no surprise that many non-residents are trying to find the best online bank account in Europe instead.

In this article, we’re going to help you navigate your options and get started with opening accounts. We’ll do this by covering everything you need to know about the best online platforms Europe has to offer. Including who can open an online bank account in Europe, the benefits you can tap into, and how to get started.

But, before diving in, if this is your first time visiting GlobalBanks, don’t forget to download your free Non-Resident Banking Starter Guide. It’s designed to help non-residents open accounts in top banking hubs around the world.

What Are Online Bank Accounts?

Before explaining how to find the best online bank account in Europe, let’s define the term “online bank account” to make sure we’re on the same page.

Online bank accounts are client accounts offered by technology platforms that provide banking services to individuals and businesses.

These accounts can be offered by EMIs (Electronic Money Institutions), transfer services (Wise), digital banks (Revolut), and other fintech-enabled platforms.

Although each platform offers slightly different banking services than the others, they’re all online platforms that (with the right information) many non-residents can access.

Finding the Best Online Bank Account in Europe

Finding the Best Online Bank Account Europe
When determining which European online bank to open accounts with, many factors should be considered.

For instance, before you apply for an account with any of the available options, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you actually need an online bank account in Europe?
  • Which specific services do you need to access?
  • What are your most important banking priorities?
  • How much are you willing to pay in fees?
  • Have you tried opening at brick-and-mortar banks in Europe?
  • Are you able to meet the phone and address requirements of online banks?

Of course, you also need to consider important questions related to each platform. These include:

  • Does the online platform have a banking (or similar) license?
  • Do they accept clients with your specific profile?
  • Can they send & receive money in your name?
  • Do they offer the international currencies you need?
  • Do they transfer funds to & from the countries you need?
  • Can they transact outside of SEPA?
  • What are the fees for opening (and closing) accounts?
  • Are there restrictions on how long you can hold funds?

It’s important you consider these questions for a few reasons.

First, understanding your banking priorities and needs will save you time and money by allowing you to apply for the best online bank account in Europe the first time around.

Second, answering these questions will help you uncover hidden fees and security concerns that most people miss. Plus, they also ensure you open an online account that actually meets your needs.

Here’s a closer look at a few of the most important considerations:

Understanding Fees & Charges

Some of the traditional brick-and-mortar banks in the EU charge fees for almost everything. From ATM withdrawals, account maintenance, transactions, and (in some cases) even opening accounts.

However, online banking platforms typically have lower fees due to lower operating costs and overhead. And when such platforms pass on those savings to customers, banking can be much more affordable.

But, not all online platforms have adopted this model. In fact, many EU online banks actually charge higher fees. This is usually because they cater to high-risk or non-resident individuals and entities.

If you are considering opening an online bank account where fees are involved, you should confirm onboarding fees, due diligence fees, and maintenance fees. In other words, confirm exactly what you will be expected to pay before applying for an account.

Confirming Online Bank Account Functionality

There are many online banking platforms to choose from in Europe. But, each platform differs from the others.

Some online platforms offer an easy account setup, international debit card, and zero transaction fees. But, other online banking platforms offer direct access to crypto, enable transfers to and from exchanges, and more.

So, it’s important to find the best online bank account in Europe based on your specific requirements. This will ensure you actually unlock the benefits and functionality that you’re looking for.

Online Bank Account Integrity

When deciding on the best online bank account in Europe, you should be considering security, privacy, and protection.

In other words, make sure you’re comfortable with the license of the entity, the regulatory environment it operates in, and how your information is going to be handled, remarketed, etc.

Otherwise, you may find that the account you opened is actually being serviced by an entirely different entity in a country you’re not comfortable with. It happens.

In the end, finding the best online bank account in Europe comes down to choosing an online platform that best suits your needs and client profile. And, understanding the above factors can help you do that.

But, opening an account is just the beginning. You also need to make sure you’re getting the most out of your online bank account.

So, let’s take a look at the benefits you can unlock when you find the best online bank account in Europe for you.

Benefits You Can Unlock With an Online Bank in Europe

Best Online Bank Account in Europe Benefits
Let’s take a look at what benefits a foreign non-resident can unlock when they find the best online bank account in Europe for their profile.

Of course, it’s important to note that these benefits will vary depending on the online bank account you plan to open.

So, it’s important to confirm which benefits you can access with each online bank before applying for an account.

Benefits of Finding the Best Online Bank Accounts in Europe:

  • Less expensive international transfer fees
  • Access to multi-currency accounts
  • Deposit guarantee
  • Free worldwide ATM withdrawals
  • No minimum deposit required
  • No minimum account balance
  • Free Euro deposits
  • Free SEPA transactions
  • Quick account opening process
  • Secure online banking platforms
  • Strong focus on technology
  • Transactions to and from crypto exchanges
  • And more…

Like banking elsewhere, not all European online banks will offer the above benefits. Instead, you need to determine which benefits are most important to you and find the platform that offers them.

How to Open the Best Online Bank Account in Europe for You?

How to Open the Best Online Bank Account in Europe
First things first, you need to know which online bank account in Europe accepts foreign non-residents. An obvious first step, but the most important.

Second, as a non-resident, and depending on the online bank account you choose to open with, you may be required to provide proof of the following…

Now, if you’re unable to provide proof of any of these items, finding the best online bank account in Europe as a non-resident is going to be more difficult. But, it’s still possible, with the right information and guidance.

In fact, if you’re looking for more information on how to navigate the process of choosing the best online bank account in Europe as a non-resident, you’re in luck.

GlobalBanks IQ — our international banking intelligence platform — includes two in-depth premium reports that are dedicated to this topic.

The first report, “European EMIs for Non-EEA Individuals,” includes everything you need to know to find and open the best online bank account in Europe as a non-resident individual. Including breakdowns of each platform, who they are suitable for, and the account opening process.

Virtual IBAN Providers for Individuals
The second report, “European EMIs for Non-EEA Businesses,” is a detailed look at opening European online bank accounts for non-EEA businesses. Including the account opening process, which jurisdictions are acceptable, which clients benefit the most, and much more.

Virtual IBAN Providers for Businesses
You can access both premium reports and all of our other members-only international account opening reports when you join GlobalBanks IQ.

Click here to see everything you receive when you join GlobalBanks IQ.

What is the Best Online Bank Account in Europe?

Of course, if you’re trying to determine which online bank account in Europe is best for you, you can start by using the information in this article.

But, if you’re looking for a more immediate solution, here’s how to start:

If you’re ready to take action and start opening international accounts right now, you can access GlobalBanks IQ, our dedicated international banking intelligence platform.

GlobalBanks IQ gives you everything you need to start figuring out where you should (and shouldn’t) open accounts.

When you join GlobalBanks IQ, you immediately unlock the GlobalBanks Database of international banks – home to 250+ banks in 50+ countries.

And, you get access to our library of premium (members-only) reports. These include proven account opening strategies, country-specific banking options, and lists of banks for specific client types.

Plus, you unlock our account opening checklists, dedicated account opening alerts, and much more.

To get started, click here to see if GlobalBanks IQ is the right choice for you to start accessing the benefits of international banking today.

You can also view all of the account opening solutions offered by GlobalBanks on our products page.

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