Have you tried to open a European business bank account online? Welcome to the jungle.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur, business owner, startup founder, or have an international business, you probably know how tough opening a normal business bank account can be. But, trying to open a European business bank account online in 2020? Well, some people might say that’s impossible… but is it?
European business bank accounts are usually characterized as this:
- Extremely difficult to open for foreign companies
- Laced with extortionate fees
- Strongly opposed to non-resident businesses
And it’s no wonder…
The internet is littered with stories about account opening rejections, non-resident companies being given a flat-out “no,” and business owners spending (and losing) thousands during the account opening process..”
With that sort of introduction, you’d probably think that all hope is lost. But it’s not…
In this article, we’ll explore the best ways to open a European business bank account online, what the benefits are, how to do it, and what you MUST watch out for.
But before diving in, download your FREE copy of the Business Banking Starter Guide. It shares useful, lesser-known tips that international businesses and foreign companies can use when opening business bank accounts abroad.
Can You Open European Business Bank Accounts Online?
Yes, it is entirely possible to open European business accounts online.
Whether or not your company can open one? That depends.
Each bank and fintech has different opening requirements. And, business banking is getting increasingly difficult due to changing banking regulations and tougher compliance procedures.
Whether or not your company meets the bank’s criteria depends on where you’re from, where your company is registered, how much money you have, what ties you have to the country the bank is in, and whether or not you can acquire the right paperwork.
Analyzing each bank’s opening procedures, document requirements, specific sensitivities, likes and dislikes, and the experiences of companies similar to yours is key.
It also helps if you know what your peers are doing, where they’re opening, and what problems they’ve faced during account opening.
With this in mind, selecting the right country and the right bank is critical to getting your account open. If you choose incorrectly, you’ll either get rejected or end up with a useless account that you can’t even use.
Typically, the most undesirable accounts will have high fees, horrible customer service, lack basic functionality (think: no online banking, debit cards, or major currencies), and you’ll pay above-market fees to open, close, and maintain it.
In the fintech space, you’ll want to be careful not to open an account with constant fund holds, compliance investigations, and sudden terminations that are becoming increasingly common.
In a nutshell, there are six ways to open a European business bank account online:
- Traditional bank
- Digital bank, fintech, EMI, payment system – without a banking license
- Digital bank, fintech, EMI, payment system – with a banking license
We detail the other three for GlobalBanks Insiders in our banking intelligence reports, which share specific strategies and account opening tactics for specific banks and countries.
Europe’s Fintech Frenzy
Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock for the last five years, you know that Europe is in the midst of a fintech frenzy. New fintechs, e-money institutions (EMIs), payment systems, and banks are popping up left and right.
There are thousands of them… and, it’s hard to know which (if any) you should trust.
Some of them have banking licenses, some don’t. Others don’t even have IBANs. Some can’t even transact in US dollars. And many of these companies are notorious for account freezes, sudden shutdowns, and backfiring when you need them most.
But, what’s worse?
Many European fintechs are entirely reliant on ONE German company for their infrastructure. And, that German company is now being accused of fraud and had its CEO arrested… in case you didn’t hear they lost around $2 billion dollars.
So where does that leave entrepreneurs and business owners who still need to open a European business bank account online? And what options exist for anyone wanting to open remotely or online?
Well, that mainly depends on your background and what type of business you have. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at who should be opening European accounts online in the next section…
Who Should Open European Bank Accounts Online?
Generally, there are three groups that typically want to open European business bank accounts online.
Some are EU citizens or residents, while others aren’t. Some have EU registered companies, while others have foreign companies.
Who Can Benefit Most From Open European Business Bank Accounts
- Digital Nomads, Expats, & Freelancers
- Non-EU & Offshore Companies
- International businesses doing business…everywhere
- Businesses with European customers
Here are the three groups:
Group #1: Entrepreneurs & small businesses who need a European business bank account
Included in this group are digital nomads, expats, life coaches, dropshippers, Amazon FBA sellers, online business gurus, subscription businesses, software developers, freelancers, and startups.
Group #2: You have a business that fintechs hate.
This group includes non-EU companies, offshore companies, investment funds, small fund managers, traders, high-risk businesses, and businesses with no ties to any EU country.
Group #3: You’ve outgrown fintechs, have high volumes, and need a real bank.
Fintechs either reject you, constantly freeze your account, or just have too many limitations. For businesses on a serious growth trajectory, transacting in high volumes, or in certain industries, they’re either unrealistic or unsustainable.
- Outgrown Paypal, N26, Revolut, and friends.
- Has a business fintechs don’t like or is a compliance risk
- Dislikes restrictions and limitations for transaction size, frequency, and volume
- Can’t afford banking disruptions
Why Open a European Business Account?
Why do people and companies want to open European business bank accounts online?
Reasons range from raw business utility to diversification, safety, backup accounts, payment processing, affordability, and opportunity..
Low-cost SEPA transfers within Europe
International wire transfers from non-EU countries are expensive. Some companies want to open European business bank accounts to get access to SEPA and slash their transaction fees.
This might be highly desirable for foreign companies with business bank accounts in countries that aren’t yet supported by Transferwise or that have exorbitant wire transfer fees, horrible conversion rates, and high rates of lost wires.
Can’t travel & need to open remotely
Sometimes, visiting a European bank in-person just isn’t realistic. Maybe you’re too busy. Flights are too expensive. You can’t get a visa. Or, there’s a global pandemic.
If you choose the right bank and know what you’re doing, opening a European business bank account online can be easier, faster, and way less expensive. But, the opposite is true as well, so choose wisely.
Backup business bank account
Some entrepreneurs want to open a European business bank account online because they want a backup banking option for their company. For example, if your current business account is frozen, gets shut down, or has a major disruption– you can just shift your business to your backup bank account instead.
Some businesses want to open European business bank accounts for diversification purposes. Whether that diversification is geographic, economic, political, or currency focused varies.
For example, some entrepreneurs hate the idea of holding 100% of their company’s cash in a single country or single bank. If the country is unstable, has unpredictable laws, has failure-prone banks, or is known for ambulance-chasing lawyers and frivolous lawsuits– keeping some of your company’s cash abroad just makes sense.
Access to European Payment Processors, Transfer Services, Online Marketplaces
For some entrepreneurs and companies from non-EU countries, a European business bank account is a golden ticket.
With a European business bank account, you can access European payment processors, transfer services, online marketplaces (like Amazon), and get debit cards. Plus, having access to the currencies and payment methods that your customers actually want is key.
Profitable Arbitrage Opportunities
Some entrepreneurs open European business bank accounts online to take advantage of certain arbitrage opportunities that aren’t available in other countries.
For example, government regulations in Europe keep prices artificially low for certain types of banking activities. Payment processors have to keep fees below certain amounts. And bank to bank transfers within the EU is regulated.
European payment processors are sometimes more lenient. If you’re a new company with high transaction volume, some European payment processors may be easier and cheaper to deal with. Whereas in the US, you’d have your account frozen every few months, constantly have to send supporting docs, and pay double the fees, their European cousins are sometimes more laid back. This alone can boost profits.
Bank Stability & Deposit Guarantees
If you’re from a non-EU country with unstable banks, high corruption, and an unpredictable currency– being able to open a European business bank account online is a godsend.
It might also be the only way for your business to access a stable bank with a deposit guarantees up to €100,000.
Why People Fail When Opening Bank Accounts Online
Here are the top reasons why businesses fail to open a European bank account online.
Many entrepreneurs and businesses end up rejected for entirely avoidable reasons.
- Misunderstanding (or ignoring) the bank’s requirements before applying
- Overlooking the bank’s sensitivities & concerns
- Not realizing that an in-person visit is still actually required
- Not getting the right paperwork before applying
- Applying with the wrong business structure
- Your business appears high-risk and sketchy… when it really isn’t
- Applying for an account that (and then having to close it)
- Discovering your business can’t meet the minimum balance or turnover requirements
- Realizing the fees are insane AFTER opening the account (and then having to close it)
In GlobalBanks Insider, we get granular, giving you the tools, information, and support you need to open accounts and navigate the international banking world.
Discover what the biggest pitfalls and stumbling blocks are in specific countries, banks, and even certain branches are before applying.
Don’t go in blind. Don’t waste your applications. And stop repeating the same mistakes over and over again.
Here’s the nightmare scenario…
If you get rejected at your “dream bank” because you made a careless mistake or didn’t know what you were doing– you just lost your chance at opening an account there.
And, that’s a huge problem. Sometimes, there are only one or two banks in an entire country that’ll work with your business. If you go to the wrong branch, wrong banker, or don’t have the right documents going in– you’ve essentially blacklisted yourself and eliminated that bank as an option for your company.
A lot of business owners and entrepreneurs are brilliant when it comes to business– but they don’t know about the nuances of account opening and business banking.
Let us do the heavy-lifting for you. Join GlobalBanks Insider and get access to the most powerful banking platform on the internet for entrepreneurs, business-owners, non-residents, expats, and international businesses.
Ready to Open European Business Bank Accounts?
Fortunately, if you want to open a European business bank account online, feel lost, or just want to sort out your banking options, we can help.
If you want to know which specific banks will accept you, which account opening strategies to use, how to avoid high fees, and overcome tough requirements, then we’d be happy to help you on your journey.
If you’re ready to take action and start opening international accounts now, you can access GlobalBanks IQ, our dedicated international banking intelligence platform.
GlobalBanks IQ gives you everything you need to start finding and opening accounts for you or your business today.
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, including 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.