If you are setting up a company in Hungary, you will need a corporate bank account. Over the last few years, bank policies have changed, so bank account opening in Hungary for your company as a foreigner has various aspects you should be aware of if you want the process to be smooth and swift. Let us share our experience with you.
When do you need a corporate bank account?
In Hungary, every company must have a corporate bank account, and ideally it should be opened within 8 working days after registration. You need at least one HUF account to pay taxes to the authorities and salaries to your employees, but it also makes sense to have a separate bank account for each currency you regularly trade in (e.g. EUR or USD) so you can avoid losing money on the exchange. Read more about the basics of bank account opening here, or about banking in Hungary here.
If something happens to your bank (like Sberbank Hungary, which is currently being liquidated), you will also need to open a new bank account as soon as possible.
Can you open a bank account if you are not a resident in Hungary?
While opening a corporate bank account as a foreigner used to be quite straightforward in Hungary, banks have become stricter over the years. You can no longer expect to walk into a bank and have your request approved right away. Banks these days prefer clients who have an EU registration card or a Hungarian residence permit, since that lets them screen their clients better. If you intend to relocate to Hungary, our team can assist you with acquiring either of these documents; if not, bank account opening might become more difficult, but certainly not impossible.
How to improve your prospects without a residence permit?
Banks want to see that you are dependable and that your business is feasible. To confirm that, they want to see what ties you to Hungary. Having residency is a great way to prove that you are a serious client, but everything demonstrating that you have local partners, suppliers, clients, and establishments will improve your prospects at the bank of your choice.
The most convincing document you can present is a business plan, supported by contracts with Hungarian companies, and a rental agreement for an office, a shop, or a warehouse – whichever suits your business activity the most. If you cannot sign contracts, you might want to consider asking your potential partners for reference letters – since these are not binding documents, they are easier to acquire but also less effective when it comes to opening a bank account.
What does KYC mean in bank account opening?
Since banks want to learn more about prospective clients before approving their corporate bank account opening, it makes sense to arrive to the bank well prepared to present your case in a convincing manner. Besides inspecting your personal and company documents, the clerk will ask you to fill in a know-your-customer (KYC) form that will be submitted to the bank’s own compliance office for evaluation. Questions of the KYC form vary from bank to bank, and the forms are usually not shared with third parties. However, you can expect to be asked the following:
- What kind of business activity will you perform?
- Who will be your main clients and suppliers?
- How many employees will the company have?
- Where will your starting capital originate from?
- From which countries will you receive transfers?
- To which countries will you send transfers?
- What is your expected monthly transaction volume?
- How much cash are you planning to deposit into the account?
- Do you have a controlling share in other companies?
- Are you using a virtual office provider? If yes, why?
If you form your company with Helpers, we help you prepare for the bank visit and filling out their KYC. In fact, we start providing you with advice even before your company is registered. We help you not only with the KYC procedure, but also book an appointment for you. Should you need additional assistance, we will gladly refer you to our trusted partners in the banking sector.
Should you attend your bank appointment alone?
Although most banks in downtown Budapest have English-speaking personnel, it might be helpful to have an interpreter by your side, especially if you are not familiar with the procedure. However, depending on the circumstances (your residency status, your supporting documents, your language skills, and your confidence) you may also benefit from visiting the bank on your own. You will have a chance to discuss your options with our expert colleagues before the big day so you can make the right decision.
Need help with bank account opening? Contact an expert!
Helpers is Hungary’s leading business and relocation service provider for international clients. Our track record guarantees that you will receive nothing but the best service on the market. If you are interested in company formation and corporate bank account opening, contact us for more information.