Update date: 13.12.2023
Пражский образовательный Центр

How can a foreign student open a Czech bank account?

How can a foreign student open a Czech bank account? - 1

If you have come to study in the Czech Republic and plan to spend a long time in the country, you cannot do without a bank account. It is much easier to make payments, make purchases, and pay for services with a card. However, at the beginning of March 2022 Visa and Mastercard announced the suspension of their activities in Russia. As a result, cards issued in Russia stopped working abroad. But despite all this, students from Russia can still open an account in a foreign bank, but there are a number of restrictions, difficulties and risks.
Opening a personal account in a foreign bank is one of the main tasks an applicant has when moving to study in the Czech Republic. Let's first understand why you should open a Czech bank account:
  • withdrawing cash from a foreign account in the Czech Republic is expensive, with fees of up to 15% + the fee of your card-issuing bank;
  • in case of blocked or lost card - it is much more convenient to solve the issue locally;
  • it is better and cheaper to make online transfers between accounts in the Czech bank's Internet banking;
  • Often your "home" accounts are kept in the national currency (ruble, hryvnia, tenge, etc.), a Czech account will help you avoid double and triple currency conversions.

While you have not opened a Czech account yet, try to make payments by bank card as much as possible, it will minimize your expenses on commissions. Cash withdrawals are very expensive! You lose on currency conversion, you pay commission to your bank and the Czech bank and probably something else:)

Vocabulary for account openers:
  • Current account - Osobní účet
  • Business account - Podnikatelský účet
  • Savings account - Spořicí účet
  • Student account - Účet pro studenty a mladé
As we can see, the advantages are obvious, and now we just need to understand which bank to choose, how to open an account and what documents are needed for this.

Which bank to choose in the Czech Republic

Attention! A common mistake: many students go to the largest or "neighboring" bank, which may not always offer favorable student conditions. Carefully study the terms and conditions of each bank.

Almost all banks in the Czech Republic offer students the opportunity to open accounts with preferential terms, and as a rule, the account maintenance is free of charge.
The Czech banking sector is dominated by two banks: Ceska sporitelna and CSOB, with branches and ATMs at every turn. What do they offer Czech students?
Bank Česká spořitelna offers a Plus účet tariff, which is intended for young people up to the age of 28 (if you actively use the account and other services of the bank, it is possible to continue using the account)). Account registration and maintenance, as well as card issuance are free of charge. However, you can withdraw money only 2 times a month without fees and only at ATMs of Česká spořitelna. Each subsequent withdrawal costs 6Kč per transaction. All other "benefits" are provided on a paid basis.
ČSOB offers a similar tariff for students called Studentský účet Plus Konto. For free, you get all the same features offered by Česká spořitelna, as well as unlimited incoming and outgoing online payments. At Česká spořitelna you will have to pay 29 Kč per month for outgoing payments without commissions. ČSOB also offers free alerts about your bank transactions via SMS or e-mail. 
In most cases, opening a bank account abroad requires personal presence. You can open an account remotely with a power of attorney, but you need to understand the risks involved. You can conclude an agreement with a law firm, which will take on the functions of an intermediary for a certain fee

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Our comparison table, which contains information on account fees and age restrictions, will help you choose the right bank.
How can a foreign student open a Czech bank account? - 2

How to open an account in a bank branch and how much does it cost?

The procedure of opening an account in a bank branch takes no more than 1 hour, provided you have all the necessary documents:
  • an application for opening an account (provided by a bank employee on the spot)
  • Two identity documents (required by most banks): a passport and, for example, a birth certificate, driver's license or biometric card.
  • the amount of money for the first deposit (from 100 CZK, not in all banks)
  • your contact details (prepare your residence address and postal address (if different) in advance) 
For students from Russia, in order to open an account you need to not be on the sanctions list, prove the purity of the origin of the capital, no connection with sanctioned companies. It is difficult, but possible. In addition, according to the Central Bank's clarifications, a person can transfer no more than $10 thousand per month or the equivalent in another currency to his foreign account.

How to open a bank account via the Internet?

Some banks offer to open an account via the Internet. For example, mBank allows you to open an account online in minutes. You can fill out the contract online or have it delivered to your home by a courier.

The account can be either in Czech crowns or multi-currency. By obtaining a card in both CZK and euros, students can easily travel and pay in many European countries. 

How old can I open an account?

The main condition for opening your own bank account is that you must be 18 years old. Some banks (see table) open student accounts from the age of 6, but with the presence of a legal adult representative. However, this year you can open your own account from the age of 15 with mBank, which is undoubtedly a great pleasure for our students.

Where are clients spoken to in Russian?

UniCredit Bank and Raiffeisenbank, especially in Prague, have staff who speak English and Russian. In smaller banks, staff are selected with English skills in mind.KB (Komerční banka) offers foreigners Foreign Customer Desks (FCD) - special branches for foreigners. In them, customers are served by staff who speak English, German and Russian. Addresses of these offices are here.Useful links:List of banks in the Czech Republic Banky v ČR
Map of ATMs in the Czech Republic: link
Comparing terms and tariffs of banks: linkWe hope you will make the right choice of bank when you come to study in the Czech Republic!
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