Are you looking to open an e-residency bank account for your Estonian company? If yes, you’re not alone.
In fact, many e-resident owners of Estonian OÜs are in the same position, struggling to open a European business bank account online after being promised easy corporate setup and account opening.
Of course, foreign business owners obtain e-residency for many reasons. But, one of those reasons is access to Euro and low-cost SEPA transfers in a stable EU country. But, to tap into these services, you first need an e-residency bank account for your business.
Unfortunately, on its own, Estonian e-residency doesn’t qualify you or your business to open an e-residency bank account with an Estonian bank.
- Specific criteria need to be met to successfully open an e-residency bank account in Estonia
- e-residency is not a permanent residency of Estonia
- Many foreign businesses can’t open e-residency bank accounts in Estonia
- There are many other alternative banking solutions worth considering
Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.
Table of Contents
- Estonian e-Residency Business Bank Account
- What Is an e-Residency Bank Account?
- Alternative e-Residency Business Banking Options
- Frequently Asked Questions on e-Residency Bank Accounts
- Do You Want Help Opening Bank Accounts?
Estonian e-Residency Business Bank Account
To qualify for an e-residency bank account in Estonia, your company must meet specific criteria. This includes sufficient ties to Estonia and often requires local business operations. However, other banking options do exist, including banks in the EU, in foreign banking hubs, and digital banking platforms and services.
In this article, we’re going to share the truth about e-residency bank accounts in Estonia. This will apply whether you want an account for your Estonian OÜ in Estonia, or abroad.
Of course, we’ll also detail the account opening challenges you’ll face, some of the benefits you can tap into, and banking alternatives you may want to consider instead.
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What Is an e-Residency Estonian Bank Account?
To understand what e-residency banking is (and isn’t), there are two steps to follow.
First, you need to understand why opening a local bank account in Estonia is so hard. Fortunately, we’ve broken this down for you in a detailed article on opening Estonian bank accounts for non-residents, which you can unlock for free in our archive.
Second, you need to navigate all the misleading information on the web… and there’s lots of it to get through.
So, to speed up the process, we thought we’d share a quote directly from the official Estonian e-Residency website to see what they have to say about opening e-Residency accounts:
“E-Residency does not guarantee a business banking account. Opening an account is at the sole discretion of banks or fintechs. E-Residency also does not give people the ability to open a personal bank account in Estonia or the EU.”
So, before we get any further, we’re going to clear a few things up…
e-Residency Is NOT and Does NOT Do…
- Temporary, permanent, or fiscal residency
- Immigration status of any kind
- Path to obtaining Estonian citizenship
- Travel identification document
- Guarantee that you can open an e-Residency company bank account
- Path to open a personal e-Residency bank account
e-Residency Is and Does…
- Estonian digital “residency”
- Provides access to Estonian banking services & resources
- Enables you to sign and transmit documents remotely
- Helps you efficiently register a company in the EU
- Allows you to efficiently manage your company online
- Allows you to efficiently file your Estonian taxes online
- Possibly a helpful corporate entity for tax efficiency
Please note: If you are planning on using e-Residency and an Estonian OÜ for tax efficiency purposes, you must speak with a qualified tax professional first.
Now, you may have read that once you obtain an e-residency in Estonia, you’ll be able to open an Estonian bank account for personal or business purposes. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.
In fact, due to the 2017 Estonian money laundering scandal, many banks have closed their doors to non-resident companies. Yes, this includes e-residency accounts for Estonian OÜs without a physical presence in Estonia. This has involved tighter restrictions on business account opening, more stringent compliance practices, and even terminating non-resident and e-residency business accounts that were previously opened.
But, what if you have an e-residency, proof of an Estonian company, and even proof of an address in Estonia? Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter. Banks in Estonia have been turning such customers away because, to them, these factors do not demonstrate sufficient economic ties to Estonia.
Not surprisingly, this has made it extremely difficult for Estonian e-Residents and their companies to open e-Residency business accounts and access the banking services they are offering.
So, where can you bank instead?
Well, to save you time and money, we’re going to break down the alternative Estonian bank account solutions that you can consider in the next section.
Alternative e-Residency Business Banking Options
Despite the many challenges you can experience when opening an account for your business in Estonia, there are banking alternatives you can consider elsewhere.
Of course, the jurisdictions available to you will depend on your specific banking needs, where your customers are located, the account opening requirements you can meet, the banking services you are after, and a wide range of other considerations.
That said, you may have an easier time opening accounts for your business in the following alternative jurisdictions compared to opening accounts in Estonia.
Business Accounts in Cyprus
Some Cyprus banks will open accounts for non-residents and foreign companies that can demonstrate a sufficient reason for wanting to open a company bank account in Cyprus. This even includes offshore entities used for wealth management purposes.
So, if you’re struggling to open an account with an Estonian bank and you’re looking to tap into the EU banking system, opening an e-residency account in Cyprus may be worth considering. But, you will need a reason for wanting to bank there.
We detail the entire account opening process in Cyprus, which banks you can consider, and how to get started opening accounts in our premium report “Banking in Cyprus: Transactional Business Banking in the EU”.
Business Banking in the US
No, the United States is not in Europe. But, it can be an attractive banking option for e-Residency business owners. In fact, the US can be an attractive option for foreign businesses from most jurisdictions, if you know which banks to approach.
So, if you’re open to non-European banking hubs for an e-residency bank account, the United States may be worth considering.
In fact, if you decide to open an account for your e-residency business in the United States, you can do so 100% remotely, without a US SSN or ITIN, and in most cases, you don’t even need a US address.
If you’re interested in considering the United States for your e-residency banking needs and want to learn more about the unique services US banking can offer, you can review our dedicated US banking service GlobalBanks USA by clicking here now.
Virtual Business Bank Accounts
In addition to traditional brick-and-mortar banks, you can also consider opening virtual e-residency accounts for your business.
In fact, if you’re looking to open an account for your Estonian business and require a solution that offers Euros, an IBAN, and SEPA transfers, a virtual account may be the best (and most immediate) option to consider.
But, knowing which EMI or fintech is best for you in Europe is not that straightforward. This is especially true if you are not an EU citizen, your business operates outside of the EU, or your business engages in high-risk services and activities.
If this sounds like an option you want to consider, we share everything you need to know in our premium report “European EMIs for Non-EEA Businesses”.
This report is a detailed look at opening European online bank accounts for non-EEA businesses. Including the account opening process, a full breakdown of the available jurisdictions, which platforms are best for which clients, and much more.
Other Alternative Options to Business Bank Accounts in Estonia
Of course, a company in Estonia (an EU company) can potentially open bank accounts in many different countries. For example, an alternative to Cyprus could be opening a Malta business account for your company. But, the specific countries that are available to you will depend on a wide range of variables.
Such variables include where your business operates, where it has customers and suppliers, your transaction volume, how much money you’re able to deposit, and much more.
In other words, you can tap into e-residency banking anywhere in the world. But, to do so, you need to meet the bank’s requirements. Unfortunately, this can often be easier said than done.
That’s why we’ve prepared the premium report “How to Open International Bank Accounts for Offshore Companies.” It helps you find the best banking solution for your non-resident and offshore business.
In this report, we include account opening strategies, recommendations on specific jurisdictions, lists of specific banks to consider, and actionable strategies for offshore and non-resident businesses. In other words, it shares which banks might open bank accounts for your e-Residency business.
Frequently Asked Questions on e-Residency Bank Accounts
Below are three of the most common questions we receive from people exploring how to open an e-residency bank account. If you have further questions you would like answered, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.
Can I Use an Online Bank as a Business Account?
Yes, you can use an online bank as a business account. While most companies use online banks in addition to a traditional bank account, online banking platforms can offer unique perks, including lower fees and accessible digital tools.
Can I Open a Bank Account in Estonia with e Residency?
Yes, you can open a bank account in Estonia with e-residency. However, this isn’t always the case. This is because banks in Estonia require non-residents to provide sufficient ties to the country. Unfortunately, proof of e-residency isn’t always accepted. It’s important to understand the bank’s requirements before applying for an account.
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