Opening a bank account in Bulgaria

Opening a bank account in Bulgaria

Opening a bank account in Bulgaria

Bulgaria is an EU member state, located in the heart of Balkans. Its strategic location, the favorable tax regime and highly skilled work force attract international interest.

If you’re thinking about moving or investing in Bulgaria, one of the topics that you should keep in mind is opening a local bank account.

Foreigners and locals alike can open bank accounts in Bulgaria, this process requires the submission of several documents and forms, which will be detailed below, it is important to note that the list of partial and may vary according to the bank you’ll chose.

Bulgaria is home to a notable number of banks, both local and international, most of which offer similar services. Thus, the main criteria for choosing a bank should be the fees and charges associated with different transactions.

The Banking Sector in Bulgaria

The Bulgarian National Bank (BNB), is a member of the European System of Central Banks. The BNB independently regulates and supervises banks, conducts research, and analyses statistical data. It directly reports to the Parliament and maintains a fixed exchange rate of 1 EUR = 1.95583 BGN.

The country has more than 20 different banks, including branches of foreign banks, among which are Estonian, French, and Dutch banks.

Banks play a dominant role in Bulgaria’s financial system, representing 83% of total financial sector assets. Other financial entities, such as insurance, leasing, and investment funds, have limited influence and are relatively small.

In recent years, the banking sector has shown consistent growth in both loans and deposits, supported by a relatively low level of financial depth, which presents a favourable backdrop for substantial future expansion. Despite these positive indicators, a notable challenge persists in the form of Non-Performing Loans (NPLs). Although there has been a significant reduction since 2014, the NPL level remains relatively high.

Banking Services in Bulgaria

Bulgarian banks often provide a variety of standard services, including:

  1. Retail banking
  2. Business banking
  3. Private banking
  4. Online banking
  5. Brokerage services
  6. Institutional banking
  7. Investment banking
  8. International transfers
  9. Capability to handle accounts in foreign currencies

Types of bank accounts in Bulgaria

Bulgarian banks offer a variety of account types, designed to meet the specific requirements of individuals and businesses, including the following:

  1. Current accounts
  2. Payment accounts
  3. Savings accounts
  4. Deposit accounts

Choosing a Bank in Bulgaria

Selecting a stable and reputable bank is crucial because it ensures the safety and security of your financial assets. A bank with a solid reputation and financial stability offers peace of mind, knowing that your investments are well-protected and managed by trustworthy professionals. The major banks in Bulgaria comprise:

  1. UniCredit Bulbank AD
  2. United Bulgarian Bank AD
  3. Eurobank Bulgaria AD
  4. First Investment Bank AD
  5. Central Cooperative Bank AD
  6. DSK Bank AD

Most banks offer similar services, so an important aspect of choosing a bank to open an account in, is the different fees and changes and the availability of branches and ATMs.

Opening a Private Bank Account in Bulgaria

In Bulgaria, both residents and non-residents can open bank accounts, though the required documentation can vary, especially for non-residents. Commonly needed are a valid ID (for example, a passport), proof of address, and sometimes proof of income or employment.

Some banks may require filing in questionnaires or declarations, request detailed information regarding your tax residency status, the nature of our relationship with the bank, among other pertinent details. The bank retains the authority to authenticate identification data, solicit supplementary documentation, and adhere to regulations pertaining to anti-money laundering.

It’s advisable to contact the bank directly for specific requirements and any applicable restrictions, as the specific documentation needed can vary depending on the bank of choice.

Opening a Business Bank Account in Bulgaria

When registering a company in Bulgaria, opening a business bank account is mandatory and is part of the company incorporation process. While the process can be as simple as opening a private account, a business account requires more documentation and involves additional bureaucratic steps. Before opening a business bank account, assess the services offered by the bank, particularly if the company has international dealings or foreign shareholders.

To open a business bank account in Bulgaria, several documents are required for both local and foreign entities. For legal entities, such as companies under Art. 357 of the Obligations and Contracts Act or other legal entities, the following documents are needed:

  • Official identity document of the person/s representing the entity or the authorized person to operate the account.
  • Notarized power of attorney, if applicable, with the signatures of the authorizer/s.
  • Personal identification data and specimen signatures of persons authorized to operate the account, either certified by a notary or in the presence of an authorized bank employee.
  • Articles of incorporation/company agreement/statutes specifying management bodies and their power of disposition over property.
  • Resolution authorizing persons to operate the account, certified if presented as a photocopy.
  • Document certifying the registration of the entity, including a Unified Identification Code (UIC) for registered entities or a certified copy of articles of incorporation and a current registration certificate for non-registered entities.
  • Information about the actual owners of the entity as per the Law on Measures against Money Laundering.
  • For entities subject to licensing or registration, a copy of the relevant license, permit, or registration certificate.
  • Additional documents or information requested at the bank’s discretion.

Entities not registered in the Commercial Register and the Register of non-profit legal entities should periodically provide documents certifying their current status. Failure to submit required documents within 30 days may result in the bank closing the account.

Our firm specializes in international taxation and our team is happy to assist with any relevant matters, and if necessary, connect you with the relevant stakeholders to support your ongoing business activities in Bulgaria. Please feel free to contact us and schedule an introductory meeting

Additional professional information

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