Opening a Russian bank account is possible, whether you are a resident of Russia or not. You can start the process online from abroad but to finalize opening the account you need visit a local bank branch.
The lively culture and the history of Russia are attracting many people who have chosen to live in its cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg. Its strong economy, the ability of people to amass wealth, presence of many English speaking schools and friendliness of the locals are among the reasons why many people are choosing to settle in the country.
If you wish to move to the country, consider opening a bank account even if you are a non-resident. This is a guide on the necessary steps of opening a bank account in Russia.
Which documents are required to open a bank account in Russia?
There are different types of accounts available in the Russian banks. You will be required to provide the following documents while opening a bank account; a passport, valid residence permit, proof of address in Russia and a reference from your employer.
Is it possible to open a Russian bank account while you are abroad?
You can even start opening a bank account in Russia while abroad. However, you will still need to visit the bank to complete the process of opening an account where you will be required to provide a signature sample and activate the account. You can first fill the online application before visiting the bank.
The place where you will apply for the account is where your details will be held permanently. Making changes to the account in the future, you will need to visit the specific branch. Therefore, make sure that you choose a convenient branch location.
Is it possible to open a Russian bank account as a non-resident?
Can foreigners open bank account in Russia? You can open a non-resident bank account even if you are not a resident of Russia. You can opt to use international banks or national banks in Russia. Note that there are accounts designed to serve foreigners. However, you will need to visit the bank to provide your signature when opening the account.
You can open a bank account as a non-resident in an international bank. You will need to visit the bank in person to provide a signature.
Best Banks in Russia
The following is a list of banks in Russia that have vast network of ATMs and branches all over the country. The banks are either nationals or international. In case you are operating a global business, consider opening an account with an international bank. Also, ask if your bank has a branch in Russia before opening any account.
Sberbank is one of the largest banks in Russia and therefore you will not have a hard time finding its branch and ATMs. It has offices and ATMs in over 90 thousand locations. Some of the financial products they provide include debit cards, loans, insurance and investments. The bank has phone and internet services.
Rosbank is the most experienced financial institution in serving expats. You can visit the bank to get information about the best options available. The bank provides mobile banking accessible in English, French and Russian. It has many branches and ATMs conviniently located.
Raiffeisen is an international bank whose staffs are trained to serve expats. Some of the products they provide include accounts, cards, insurance and loans. They provide loans to students and businesses. They have international branches making the bank suitable for people doing international business. They have a network of ATMs and branches.
Gazprom has more than three million customers. The bank incorporates private banking to everyday banking. It provides debit card, credit card, loans, insurance and wealth management. The bank offers different packages of insurance.
Before opening an account with the above banks, visit their branches and ask about their charges. Some of the charges include; cash withdrawal fee, fees to keep the account open. Also, ask if there are charges for using a debit card while abroad.
There could be other charges for expats and international accounts. Expats could have more challenges while sending money to accounts that use different currencies. However, it is unusual since not all Russian banking payment cards can be used to transact web payments.
Cost of sending money to Russia
Sending cash through the bank to Russia is very expensive. Banks have high costs to cover and still they want to retain a profit. They also charge high rates compared to the average market rates that bank users are charged while transferring currency from banks.
Fintech startups such as Transferwise can be a good solution for sending money to Russia.
Note that there are international sanctions led by the US and the EU against many Russian individuals (and corporations). So it’s good to know what you’re getting into before doing business in Russia and this includes opening a Russian bank account.
Kasper is our expert for saving, investing and bank accounts. Kasper holds an MSc in Mathematics and worked with Mercedes-Benz and the Dutch tax authorities.