Banks and finance related to house purchase in Poland
One of the first things you will need to arrange is to open a bank account in Poland and to transfer funds into the Polish currency of zlotys.
Our estate agent took me to a bank he suggested and helped me through the process. There were English speaking employees in the bank and the manager spoke English really well.
The documents required to open a bank account in Poland are:
- Passport (I used my British passport)
I produced my driving licence for proof of address but that was not essential, I could have just written it down for them. The whole process took about half an hour; there was the first collection of personal data, the setting up of the account. I was then shown how to use internet banking and given my online user id and password. Having someone with me was helpful but not absolutely essential - but very useful. Since then I have also opened a bank account at a local branch because I discovered that local utility bills for sewerage and rubbish disposal could only be paid via the local bank.
Since opening this bank account I have transferred money into a deposit account for additional interest, over the web from the UK, arranged for bank transfers to pay for the purchase and estate agency fees, also setup Standing orders to pay utility bills.
I have been most impressed with the security of my bank accounts over the web. Their systems are hi-tec and they really do carry out identity checks before allowing for any major transfers of cash. One of them sends an SMS message to my phone with a code which I key in to accept the transaction.
- Polish current accounts are not free as many in Britain - a monthly fee is payable, although this is small, approximately £2.
- It is possible to pay utility bills via standing orders and direct debits over the web.
- This particular bank's web site also has an English version.
- Debit cards are issued for cash withdrawal at ATMs although you can use your own bank cards throughout Poland in ATMs - it's a good method of obtaining money in Polish currency. With my British bank of the Halifax, a £1.50 transaction fee is charged each time I withdraw cash abroad so it's best to withdraw as much as required for the entire trip in one transaction. We have usually found the exchange rate to be favourable.
- Units of Polish currency in Poland are frequently shown as PLN. Each zloty is sub-divided into 100 groszy
Useful financial links:
Up-to-the minute exchange rates: www.xe.com
During the process of opening a bank account in poland, I had discussed transferring a large amount of money and possible exchange rates with the bank manager. She told me to call nearer the time and that the department in question would give me their best exchange rate. Unfortunately this transpired to be something that would be done after I transferred my money in Sterling. Not quite the way we do it in the UK, we want to know what exchange rate we're getting in advance.
After some shopping around, we found a company that gave us a good rate of exchange and carried out the transfer for us. It entailed filling in a form including details of this new Polish bank account. This process proved to be a little scary in that Polish banks do not have sort codes and bank codes in the same way as we do back home. They have an international bank number or IBN. I wrote down my IBN and lengthy account number and waited with bated breath to see if the money would appear in the account. To my relief it appeared there a few days later.
I would recommend the services of the company that transferred the money for us they were very helpful, professional and patient, plus they gave us an excellent exchange rate. They also contact us at intervals to let us know when there is a favourable exchange rate. They also operate www.xendpay.com - which deals exclusively with money transfers to Poland, and can be displayed in several languages including Polish and English.
English - UK (8am - 5pm UK)
+44 20 7220 8181
Polish - UK (10am - 5pm CET)
+44 20 7220 8173
Polish - Poland (10am - 5pm CET)
+48 61 880 0118
French - UK (9am - 6pm CET)
+333 59 36 04 50
French - France (9am - 6pm CET)
+44 20 7220 8195
Payment of utility bills via online banking
Once your purchase is complete, you will need to arrange for payment of utility bills by direct debit unless you plan to reside in Poland. This usually works fine although occasionally a contract expires ot terms of a contract change and details need to be accepted to implement the change.