I have noticed that lately more people in social media keep asking for banking in Poland. But what are the criteria for choosing the best bank account? Since I am just an amateur who was having the same type of a questions few months back, I made an analyzes of products available on the market from my perspective – regular guy looking for smart and modern bank account in Poland. A little bit of theory first, before we get to my comparison. Let’s get to bullet point list of subjects explained in my post:
- Debit Card and Account maintenance fees
- Online Account and Money transfers
- Mobile application
- BLIK and NFC – FAQ
- ATM withdrawals
- English support – test with few banks
- ePuap via online Banking
- Top 5 – comparison
“Debit Card” and “Account Maintenance” fees
Maintaining your account, debit card deployment and payments with it, should be normally for free, under two conditions, which are completely normal in polish banking. Condition number one: they expect you to transfer your monthly salary (usually between 300 and 1000 zł) on your account. Condition number two: use debit card payment at least once per month in order to pay for regular shopping. Let’s be honest – this is something for what you actually need bank account, which makes these two conditions pretty easy to achieve. You might want to ask, why do they need to do validate such details?
YOU are the customer, and you are so important to the bank, that they are willing to pay you real money for storing your salary and savings on their account. There are banks who are ready to pay up to few hundreds złotych for joining them and using their products, which means billing account, saving account or maybe also insurance policy in the future – who knows. Saying this, and knowing Polish creativity, you supposed to be aware, that some of the people were opening multiple accounts in many platforms, just for mentioned joining bonus. So, mentioned two simple conditions allowed banks to reduce the amount of abuse.
Anyway – how much do you need to pay if you miss somehow transferring your monthly salary or to use debit card? If any, then no more than 10 zł per month.
Online Account and Money transfers – Banking in Poland
Online accounts supposed to offer free money transfer between clients in Poland. No conditions here. This is current standard. But how to recognize the good online portal? Such portal supposed to be safe and contain proper valid SSL certification. Also, it supposed to allow you to plan your payments in advance, create and manage your own recipient list, check upcoming payments, easy check your history and a future, which I personally love vey much, called “Expense analysis”.
As expense analysis is not so obvious as the rest of terms used above, allow me to clarify, that analysis like this gives you possibility to track all your income and payments on and from your account. This is very good tool, which gives you opportunity to track unwanted money leakage 😉
I also think that this very good place, to remind few basic rules about safe banking:
- Create a strong password – if your bank requires a user-generated password in order to access online accounts make sure you choose one that is strong. “Start123” will not do. Afterall, it is about your money.
- Never trust the e-mail sent by Bank. Fraudsters have capabilities to prepare an e-mail in a way it makes an impression as it was sent from an institution or a person which you trust. You need to use caution and limited confidence in relation to e-mails containing any data requests, false invoices or warnings about a cell phone infection or blocking access to the mobile service and especially requests for small fees to unlcok your blocked account.
- Do not use any bank address or links received via SMS or social media. Banks are not using Facebook or SMS to send you any link. Only one exception here is the SMS with confirmation or authorisation code.
- Do not install on your computer and phone software from sources that you do not trust. Some applications may allow unauthorized persons to track the data entered in the browser, register activities performed on the Internet or automatically redirect SMS with the authorization code.
- Always log out when you are done – always.
- Access your accounts from a secure location –It’s always best practice to connect to your bank using computers and networks you know and trust. Open space networks are the worst place to make a connection like this.
Mobile apps – Banking in Poland
As we talk about online applications, we need to mention here the mobile app as well. Except standard friendly interface and intuitive arrangement of options, we expect that the functionality of app will allow us to perform standard activities which are available via regular online portal. Except this:
- fingerprint login / face scan – these are options which I personally avoid
- access to simple functionalities before logging in (e.g. account balance, account history, and even a transfer to a defined recipient)
- mobile transaction authorization
- wide product management options
- NFC – Near-field communication
- BLIK payments (including transfers to the phone)
But what are these BLIK payments? Blik is a polish mobile payment system that allows you to make payments in stationary and online stores, withdraw and deposit cash at ATMs, also make instant interbank transfers with a simple unique 6-digit code. Smart, isn’t? In 2017, 6.1 million users of the service performed 33 million transactions.
One-time codes are the basic identification mechanism in the Blik mobile payment system. They are generated by the Polish Payment Standard system at the bank’s request. The code is a unique combination of six digits between 0-9 and is only valid for 2 minutes. After this time, you can generate another code and perform another transaction. BLIK has own webpage in English, which allows you to get through tutorial “How does BLIK work?” in a different places. Just click the link here to get there.
So, what about NFC? As the name says: Communication near field is a contactless payment – a type of quick payment which can be used with smartphones equipped with NFC technology or a contactless card. To make a payment, it is enough to hold your contactless card or a smartphone close to the reader.
In Poland, the popularity of contactless payments is growing dynamically. In March 2017, 23% of Poles paid contactless payments every day or almost every day. This is three times more than the European average and 20 times more than in Germany. 77% of all payment cards in Poland support contactless payments. According to the report of the National Bank of Poland at the end of 2017, contactless payments accounted for approximately 70% of all payment card transactions in Poland. Summarizing, BLIK and NFC systems are really popular in Poland.
ATM withdrawals and deposits
When it comes to withdrawing or deposit of cash from own network of ATMs, service supposed to be completely free. Situation is slightly different in case of external ATM’s (Euronet, Planet Cash) or for example ATM from competition. Usually first withdraw is for free, but the each single next one within the same moth will cost you additional fee. This might be the percentage of your withdraw (for example 0,5 % of whole amount) with minimum fee of 5zł. Usually the same rule gets doubles in case of deposit. Therefore, we would like to have a well-developed network of dedicated ATM’s in scale of whole Poland. Especially, if you use withdraws and deposit very often.
Banking in Poland with English speaking support?
Currently, English version of web page and application is a standard as we talk about every bigger brand of a banks. In majority of the cases, we supposed to scroll to the very bottom of the page or navigate to the right top corner of the screen to get English version of app, but it is possible. I need to admit, that I didn’t find yet a polish bank page with completely translated 1:1 English version of available products. But. I tested few different bank applications of ING, mBank, PKO, Pekao (PKO and PEKAO are completely different banks) and Santander – each single one had fully translated English version of web application as well as mobile app.
So, talking about English – as in case of portals and mobile apps, every single bigger bank offers you the possibility to have English speaking support as well. But only few of them give you a chance to get support in English via chat – good examples here are mBank and PEKAO.
Still – accounts mentoined below in my comparison, do not give you possibility to go through the process of opening account in English – this is whay I highly recommend to use help of your polish speaking trusted friend, who can help you understanding the steps. I am not expecting any troubles with contract – we smply need to understand deals which we sign in.
Majority of modern banks allow you to get ePUAP via their portal – it is the abbreviation of the Electronic Platform of Public Administration Services (Elektroniczna Platforma Usług Administracji Publicznej). Thanks to ePUAP, you can settle many matters in various offices without leaving your home – via the Internet, at anytime and anywhere. You are not limited by the working hours of offices and you decide when you submit your application. Also, you do not have to sign the application by hand – a free trusted profile is used to sign electronic documents.
But what actually does this mean what can you do with it? You can for example:
- Apply for an ID card
- Enroll your child in kindergarten
- Deregister the car
- Report the birth of a child
- Get a “Big Family Card” (Kart Dużej Rodziny)
- Check the balance of the retirement and contribution account at ZUS
- Register for permanent or temporary residence
- Set up a business
- Check the number of penalty points at your driving license
- Apply for a funeral grant
- Apply for a baby bonus and 500+
- Enter in the register of voters
Very useful thing and great alternative for visiting government institutions.
I am working to deliver you “step by step” guide how to get it and use it. If you are interested about getting it at earliest, sign in on my newsletter or follow my social media accounts.
Actually ePuap post is ready and you can find it here.
Comparison – TOP 5 – Banking in Poland
I made below list of top 5 banks which are offering the best and very similar conditions of use. All of them have free debit card, free account maintenance, online account with free money transfers, mobile application, BLIK, English support and possibility to use ePuap. Differences in here are the types of joining bonus, obviously the logo and minor details which I described below. I have sorted them in terms of profitability and ease of getting joining bonus for new joining person – best offers on the top.
This supposed to close the subject of bank accounts in Poland. I hope you managed to choose one for yourself and you are happy with it. Let me know in comments, what is your feedback about this post – any kind of interaction with readers is always a pleasure – sometimes challenging, but still pleasure 🙂
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