How to open a bank account in Hungary as an American

Gabriela Peratello

If you’re planning on an extended stay in Hungary, you’ll probably find it beneficial to open a local bank account.

The good news is that most large and popular financial institutions already have systems in place to make getting a bank account for expats that much simpler.

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Can foreigners open a bank account in Hungary from abroad?

Most banks require you to be present in the country to open a day to day account. There are exceptions, but usually to open an account digitally you’ll need a Hungarian ID card, making this pretty impractical if you’re not yet in the country.

Can a US citizen open a bank account in Hungary as a non-resident?

While it’s a case-by-case basis for each bank and most require you to be present, some major banks do have non-resident account options which you can open with your US ID and address.

Non-resident accounts may be limited to foreign currency account options, and you’ll need to bring along a set of paperwork when you open your account in a branch.

If the accounts you’re eligible for don't fulfill your needs you may also want to check if your US bank has international accounts you could open from home before you move to Hungary.

Expat banking services are often available from major global banking brands, and can offer more flexible ways to hold and exchange major currencies.

What documents will you need to open a bank account in Hungary?

To prepare for opening an account, keep in mind that the bank will require a few documents from you. Since your paperwork will stack up fast, it’s a good idea to save multiple copies for your own records should the originals go missing.

In order to open a bank account in Hungary, most banks need:
  • A valid residence permit or work visa

  • An address card (or some kind of proof of rental such as a lease or utility bill)

Fortunately for the majority of expats, a passport, proof of address, and some kind of work visa are more than enough to open an account.

However, depending on the bank, you may also need proof of employment or earnings, or proof of student status if you’re opening a student account for example.

What are some of Hungary's best banks?

Hungary provides a wide array of banks that expats can choose from depending on personal preferences and individual needs. Some popular and reliable major banks to consider are:

OTP Bank®

OTP Bank¹ has the largest branch and ATM network in Hungary, making it pretty convenient to open and manage your account. Services are available in English as well as Hungarian which makes them a good pick for expats.

You’ll be able to access products including:
  • Checking and saving accounts

  • Cards for easy payments

  • Foreign currency accounts

  • Corporate and business services

K&H Bank®

K&H Bank² has a good suite of different account types and banking packages which include premium and basic products, as well as more specialist options for students and customers with particular needs.

Other options include:
  • Credit and debit cards

  • Savings and investments

  • Wealth management options

  • Business and corporate services

Erste Bank®

Erste Bank³ is another major provider with a full suite of products including good online and in-app services you can use on the go. If you have a local ID card you may even be able to apply for your account digitally - a service that isn’t always available.

Options from Erste include:
  • Checking and savings accounts

  • App based investment management

  • Loans and mortgages

  • Easy ways to get debit or credit cards

CIB Bank®

CIB Bank⁴ is part of the Intesa Sanpaolo Group®, offering personal, private, SME and corporate banking online, in branch, by phone and through the CIB app.

As a personal customers you can choose products and services which include:
  • Varied bank account packages

  • Children’s accounts

  • Card services

  • Loans and mortgages

  • Ways to save and invest

Hungarian banking fees and charges

As you’d expect, banking in Hungary will involve some fees. Most major banks have English language websites which give full details of the fees you’ll have to pay to open and use an account, so finding the information you need shouldn’t be too tricky. Here are some costs to look out for.

ATM fees

Most standard accounts will come with a bank card, which you can use for free ATM withdrawals in ATMs in your own bank’s network. However as soon as you use an ATM from a different bank or network, fees are likely to apply - so do double check before you transact so you’re not caught out.

Other common bank fees

Of course, service fees will vary from bank to bank. While there’s no way to avoid the charges attached to opening and maintaining an account, each bank can offer unique packages that will help you access your money during your stay in Hungary.

Watch out for maintenance fees, particularly for premium account packages, as well as card fees which can apply annually. Transaction fees and charges for using optional facilities like an overdraft will also apply.

International transfer fees

International money transfer fees vary from bank to bank, but can include transfer fees charged by both sending, receiving, and possibly several intermediary banks. Exchange rates may also have a markup added, which is a fee that’s common, but harder to spot.


All in all, opening a bank account in Hungary should be a fairly straightforward process. Having the right documents ready, you can hopefully open an account without too much hassle.


Sources:

  1. OTP Bank
  2. K&H Bank
  3. Erste Bank
  4. CIB Bank

Sources checked on 10.19.2023


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