How Difficult Is Opening Bank Account in Bulgaria

Mina Boycheva 27/08/2018

Back in 2016 opening of bank account in Bulgaria and starting any business was one of the easiest operation in whole EU. Today in 2018, In order to open an account in any bank and register company in Bulgaria, you should be aware of the new restrictions for any foreign individual or company.
The biggest banks in Bulgaria like UniCredit Bulbank bank, Raiffeisen Bank, First Investment bank , ProCredit bank are getting even more conservative and almost do not allows new foreign client accounts.

However if your business is very strict forward, transparent and you can proof that. You may not have any problems to open your new bank account and benefit from the Bulgarian lowest EU tax treatment. Great news is that Virtual Office is still very acceptable and the banks does not complaint with that.

2018 Bank Account Opening Procedure in Bulgaria

Ones you visit any branch of bank operated on the territory of Bulgaria be ready for the following list of questions:

  • What is the main activity of the company
  • Who is the beneficial owner of the company
  • Is there any local who can be contacted if necessary

Ones you pass this first interview you must be very strict with all you have declare. Invoicing, clients, payments from and to the account. Your account will be monitored in the first 1 year and if there differences from what you have declared first, you account can be in the risk to be closed immediately.

Normally different banks are entitled to proceed according to their terms on local or foreign clients or regarding the type of the accounts which they can open and hold. In general the most popular type of bank account remains the current bank account that serves for all kind of transactions such as depositing, storing, withdrawing and transferring money.

Other types of bank account that can be open are either an individual account or a business account (for different types of legal entity, joint stock company in the process of being set up, etc.) that can be a capital account. There are no legal restrictions on the number of the bank accounts you can open and hold in one or several banks but a certain bank may have its own policy or certain limitation.

Documents required to be presented for individuals are identity card (for a Bulgarian citizen or a EU member citizen) or another identity document such as passport (for a foreigner or a non-EU citizen) or another type of residence permit of the foreigner. This document must be presented both in original and copy.

Also some of the banks may require the foreigner to submit IBAN of an existing bank account in the foreigner’s country in order to confirm he has bank customer’s history as well as a recommendation letter, translated in Bulgarian language, from a Bulgarian who is a client of the same bank.

Bulgarian banks opens and maintains accounts and carries operations in local currency (Bulgarian levs) but also in all major foreign currencies such as Euro, US dollars, Swiss francs or British pounds both for local and foreign customers. Respectfully, money can be received into the account through cash payments or cashless transfers.

Once you are prepared to open an individual bank account, you have to sign a contract (obligatory in written and completing forms of the bank) with a request of opening and maintain a bank account under general terms governing the relationships between you and the bank including fees (monthly, yearly, etc.), commissions, termination and other terms of use of the account. Afterwards you will receive the unique personalized number of the newly opened account, IBAN, which is also an international number.

In case of opening a business account, you need also to present a Specimen of the signatures of your company. All the specimen signatures must be handwritten in front of a responsible bank employee or certified by a notary. You will also have to provide to the account an amount equal to the capital stated n the contract and in the articles of association of the company. Depending on the type of the entity the bank may require more additional documents such as a court decision to set up the company, a bank certificate, etc.

For the opened individual account the bank provides to the account holder a card containing the account number, the name of the holder, the personal identification number for the Bulgarian citizens and date of birth or personal number of the foreigner (in case he had already issued) and term of validity of the card. Most of the banks provides their customers with the online banking opportunity too by which you can execute various operations with your bank account in real time through your Internet profile on the bank website.

Banks are entitled to require opening fees or minimum amount for initial powering of a current account.

If you need someone else to operate of the funds of your current account, you must authorize the person to have the rights to dispose of this account by an authorized power of attorney.
Sources used:

1) Ordinance No. 3 of 18 April 2018 on the Terms and Procedure for Opening of Payment Accounts, for Execution of Payment Transactions and for Use of Payment Instruments
2) Payment Services Directive of EU of 1 January 2018 (PSD2)

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