What about the banks in Bulgaria?
Bulgaria is a fully integrated EU member and therefore the EU legislation is applicable in the country. All bank deposits up to EUR 100,000 are guaranteed (even if the account holder (a company or an individual) is not a Bulgarian resident. Most bank products that are available within the European Union are also available in Bulgaria. The interest rates are generally a bit higher. Bulgarian banks use IBAN system, Visa and Mastercard are commonly used bank cards and multicurrency accounts are available. Most banks offer online banking in Bulgarian and English. Foreign-owned banks, which make up 70% of the sector, have better corporate governance and stronger risk management. They hold large amounts of customer deposits and are less exposed to a loss of customer confidence or other risks. Generally they are financially stable. The bank transactions in Bulgaria are not subject to any restrictions. Although if you transfer larger amounts to a foreign account you need to provide an invoice or contract for the transfer. The legislation in Bulgaria protects bank secrecy and only a court order can allow for disclosure. Keep in mind that business practices in Bulgaria are notorious for not offering the best customer service. Don’t be surprised if you find unfriendly, and often times rude bank employees. English is not largely spread however every big bank has at least one English speaking associate.
Can you recommend me a bank in Bulgaria to work with?
No, we cannot make such recommendation. Because your hard earned money is involved we do advise you to be careful when selecting a bank. Our only recommendation is to pick a well-known foreign owned bank. Domestically owned banks are more vulnerable to a loss of depositor confidence because of their corporate governance weaknesses and potential related-party lending (Fitch rating agency, July 2, 2014, read more here).
For your convenience we provide here a short list of the foreign banks that are present in Bulgaria. Please note that the comments regarding the online banking are based on our own experience and this does not suggest that the rest of the banks don’t provide good online banking. It simply means we have not worked with the rest.
Unicredit Bulbank is the biggest Bulgarian bank in terms of assets, owned by the leading European financial group Unicredit. The online banking is easy and very user-friendly.
DSK bank is the oldest Bulgarian bank, owned by OTP bank. The online banking is easy and very user-friendly.
Societe generale is owned by the French bank Societe Generale.
Procreditbank is owned by ProCredit group – led by its Frankfurt-based parent company, ProCredit Holding. The online banking is easy and very user-friendly.
Raiffeisen bank is owned by Raiffeisen Bank, Austria.
United Bulgarian Bank is owned by National Bank of Greece, the oldest and largest among Greek banks.
Again, please don’t consider this short list as our recommendation. We simply share our opinion and experience. Please carefully research and select a bank that will serve your needs best.
How to open a bank account in Bulgaria?
Opening a bank account for a Bulgarian or EU company or individual is fairly easy. For foreign companies, the process is more complicated but nevertheless possible.
If you are opening an account for an offshore company the process is complicated and many of the banks just won’t deal with offshores. If this is your case please feel free to contact us and we can review your case.
Generally, the manager of the company is required to be present at the bank in order to open a company account. There are some banks however that can open an account with POA.
We provide assistance with opening bank account for our long term clients only.