Business and Taxes
April 8, 2024
Reading Time: 10 min

How to open bank account in Greece

There are 36 banks in Greece: national, foreign and EU banks, which operate under a single licence.

Investors and cosmopolitans open accounts in Greek banks to use money abroad, receive dividends from foreign companies, and save money. A foreigner can obtain a residence permit in Greece if they open a bank deposit of €400,000 or more.

Opening a bank account in Greece as a foreign resident is possible if you come to the branch in person. A new client needs to justify the purpose of opening an account and pass the bank’s Due Diligence.

Julia Loko
Julia Loko

Told about Greece’s banking system

Greece banking

How to open bank account in Greece

Documents for opening a bank account in Greece

The procedure of applying for an account in a Greek bank starts with collecting documents. Clients should confirm their identity, source of income and place of residence.

The information about the client that the bank collects to open an account is established by the Law of the Greek Republic No. 4557/07/30/2018 and the decision of the Central Bank of Greece No. 281/17.03.2009.

The applicant provides some of the following documents, depending on the requirements of the bank:

  • an identity card of a resident of the European Union or a foreign passport;

  • AFM — Arithmo Forologiko Mitro, or non-Greek TIN if the country participates in the system of automatic exchange of tax information;

  • income statement from the tax office or a bank statement;

  • a recent utility bill showing address and name, tax notice with address and name, or a lease contract;

  • certificate from the place of work or salary statement;

  • certificate of deductions from the Social Security Service.

Requirements to open bank accounts for foreigners in Greece

It is more difficult for foreigners without a residence permit to pass Due Diligence than for the country’s residents. The result of the check may depend on the country of first citizenship. For example, banks are more loyal to holders of a Caribbean passport than to citizens of African countries.

The bank may refuse to serve a foreigner without an EU residence permit and not explain the reason. You can get a residence permit in Greece by investment.

A foreigner without a residence permit in the country must personally apply to a bank branch to open an account. Greece residents can open an account online.

If a foreign customer has a TIN from a country which is not participating in the exchange system, they must obtain a Greek AFM. To do this, you need a tax representative — a Greek citizen or resident. A foreigner, together with a representative, submits an application to the Tax Office. AFM is issued free of charge in about half an hour.

Individual cost calculation of the residence permit in Greece

Individual cost calculation of the residence permit in Greece

How to open bank account in Greece: step-by-step procedure

The process requires submitting an application with supporting documents and, in some cases, paying a minimum deposit into the account.

Many banks will allow you to initiate the application process online or by giving someone local a power of attorney to do so for you. However, in all cases, before your account is fully activated, you need to visit the bank personally. This can add time to the process, as you’ll usually need an appointment. Check the specific requirements of your bank branch before you visit.

To open an account in a Greek bank, one should complete the following steps:

  1. Get an AFM. The client provides the TIN of Greece or the country of their residence if it participates in the automatic exchange of tax information. The current list of countries participating in the exchange system is available on the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development website.

  2. Choose a branch of the bank and collect the necessary documents. The final list of documents depends on the bank branch and the applicant’s identity.

  3. Apply to open an account. Citizens and residents of Greece have the right to apply on the bank’s website.

  4. Pass a bank Due Diligence in accordance with the principles of KYC — Know Your Client — to comply with the requirements of the law on combating money laundering AML. The client may be asked for additional documents to justify the purpose of opening an account and confirm the origin of the money. It may take a week to verify a client.

  5. Replenish the account. When opening a savings account or a deposit, you also need to prepare the money to deposit into the account. The minimum amount is considered by each bank independently.

Largest banks in Greece

Four Greek national banks account for 85% of the country’s banking assets. Over five years, their assets have grown by an average of one and a half times. Greek banks are oriented towards the local market and rarely open international branches.

Piraeus Bank is the largest bank in Greece regarding assets, number of branches and employees. It has been operating since 1916, with headquarters in Athens. Four hundred fourteen divisions operate in Greece and one in Germany. The net profit increased 100 times in five years from 2017 to 2021.

  • Assets — 1st place, 80 billion euros

  • Deposits — 1st place, 55.6 billion euros

  • Revenue — 1st place, 2.4 billion euros

  • Profit — 3rd place, 0.4 billion euros

  • Credit rating — 4th place, B− "positive"

The National Bank of Greece is the oldest Greek bank, operating since 1841. It had the right to print the national currency until the opening of the Central Bank in 1928. The NBG is in first place in terms of profitability in the country. Clients are served by 339 branches in Greece, 11 branches in Egypt and one branch each in Cyprus and the UK.

  • Assets — 2nd place, 78 billion euros

  • Deposits — 2nd place, 52 billion euros

  • Revenue — 2nd place, 1.7 billion euros

  • Profit — 1st place, 0.7 billion euros

  • Credit rating — 1st‑2nd place, B+ "stable"

Alpha Bank was founded in 1879. The bank endured the financial crisis of the 2010s easier than other Greek banks: after the crisis, Alpha Bank’s profit was 5—10 times higher than that of its largest competitors. For five years, the bank’s profit increased by 2.5 times. The bank has 299 branches in Greece and one in Luxembourg.

  • Assets — 3rd place, 67 billion euros

  • Deposits — 3rd place, 43 billion euros

  • Revenue — 4th place, 1.1 billion euros

  • Profit — 4th place, 0.1 billion euros

  • Credit rating — 3rd place, B "stable"

Eurobank is the youngest of the most important banks, operating since 1990. There are 299 bank branches in Greece, just like Alpha Bank. The bank has no branches in other countries. The headquarters of Eurobank is in Athens.

  • Assets — 4th place, 61 billion euros

  • Deposits — 4th place, 37 billion euros

  • Revenue — 3rd place, 1.5 billion euros

  • Profit — 3rd place, 0.5 billion euros

  • Credit rating — 1st‑2nd place, B+ "stable"

Eurobank became the best bank in Greece in 2022, according to the international financial magazine Global Finance. Banks were ranked based on financial performance, international credit rating, customer convenience and expert opinion.

The advantage in the rating was given to banks that focus on working with foreign individuals and international businesses. Despite the victory of Eurobank as a bank for customers worldwide, information about the services is available on the site only in Greek. When switching to English, a client enters the section for foreign clients with general information about the bank and a feedback form.

Greece banking features

The credit rating of Greek banks is low, 4—6 notches below the reliability threshold and 2—3 notches from the pre-default state. The reason for this is the low rating of the Greek economy: a bank’s rating cannot be higher than the sovereign’s. For comparison: the rating of the Portuguese bank Banco Santander Totta — the best according to Global Finance, is two steps above the reliability threshold.

Money on accounts in Greece is insured. The depositor can return up to €100,000 in total on all bank accounts in case of default. If a client has accounts of €100,000 in several banks, then the money is fully protected.

Money in the accounts of the Greek branches of EU banks are insured in the country where the bank is registered. National banks and foreign non-EU banks participate in the Greek deposit insurance system.

Open a bank account in Greece. Credit rating of the best bank in Greece

Eurobank’s rating outlook is "stable". This means that the agency does not expect it to decline

Banks in Greece are usually open until noon — from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and only from Monday to Friday. Some banks have branches with extended working hours: on weekdays — from 9 a.m. to 8.30 p.m., on Saturdays — from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Payments and transfers can be made around the clock on any day through ATMs, mobile applications or bank’s website. All major Greek banks have internet banking and mobile banking apps.

Banks of Greece: a comprehensive list

The list of banks is published by The Central Bank of Greece, which controls the work of financial organisations: banks, investment and insurance companies. In addition, the bank implements the monetary policy of the European Central Bank and ensures the stability of the country’s financial system.

Banks of Greece: a comprehensive list

National banks

Address, phone number

91, Megalou Alexandrou & 25th Martiou
Str., 151 24 Marousi
+30 210 623 41 10

40 Stadiou Str., 102 52 Athens
+30 210 326 00 00

23 Omirou Str., 106 72 Athens
+30 210 366 90 00

28-32 El. Venizelou Str.,
731 32 Chania
+30 282 102 55 00

6 Patriarchou Ioakim & Karapanou Str., 45 221 Ioannina
+30 265 105 90 00

Taliadourou & 1 Kolokotroni Str.,
43 132 Κarditsa
+30 244 104 00 99

61-63 Kondili Str.,
421 32 Trikala
+30 243 109 54 04

7 Great Alexander & K. Dai Str.,
66 100 Drama
+30 252 102 84 00

Vas. Vasileiou & Nik. Plastira Str.,
621 22 Serres
+30 232 109 80 50

8, Othonos Str.,
105 57 Athens
+30 210 333 70 00

86 Aiolou Str.,
102 32 Athens
+30 210 334 10 00

32 Aigialeias & Paradissou Str.,
151 25 Marousi
+30 210 817 30 00

5 Ikarou Ave. & Efesou,
71 306 Irakleio, Crete
+30 281 033 88 00

4 Amerikis Str.,
105 64 Athens
+30 210 333 50 00

Vivabank Single Member Banking

18-20 Amarousiou-Chalandriou Str.,
151 25 Marousi
+30 211 760 30 00

EU banks with branches in Greece

38 Patriarchou Ioakim Str.,
106 75 Athens
+30 210 722 76 00

68 Vas. Sofias Ave. & 2 Aiginitou Str.,
115 28 Athens
+30 210 741 50 00

2 Mesogeion Ave.,
115 27 Athens
+30 210 771 35 06

192 Alexandras Ave.,
115 21 Athens
+30 210 641 25 80

72 Pentelis Ave.,
152 34 Chalandri, Attica
+30 211 199 43 70

10 Seneka & 33 Kimis Str.,
145 64 Kifisia
+30 210 911 85 00

2 Lampsakou Str.,
115 28 Athens
+30 210 746 85 00

8 Othonos Str.,
105 57 Athens
+30 210 329 20 00

23a Vas. Sofias Ave.,
10674 Athens
+30 210 720 87 00

342b Kifisias Ave & Ethnikis Antistaseos Str., 154 51 N.Psychico
+30 210 678 46 00

580a Vouliagmenis Ave.,
164 52 Argiroupoli
+30 210 998 87 77

115 Kifisias Ave.,
115 24 Athens
+30 210 691 95 52

2, Filellinon Str. & Akti Miaouli,
185 36 Piraeus
+30 210 429 53 00

109-111 Mesogeion Ave.,
115 26 Athens
+30 210 696 00 00

3 Charitos Str.,
106 75 Athens
+30 210 741 70 00

47 Siou Kazantzidi, Pilea,
55535, Thessaloniki
+30 231 600 88 41

6-8 Agisilaou Str.,
15123 Marousi, Attica
+30 212 222 00 02

196 Kifisias Ave.,1st Floor,
152 31 Chalandri, Attica
+30 210 300 99 90

409a Vouliagmenis Ave.,
163 46 Ilioypoli
+30 210 892 59 00

Foreign banks

25-29 El. Venizelou Ave.,
105 64 Athens
+30 210 324 91 54

2, Ermou Street,
105 63 Athens
+30 210 322 30 38

Source: Bank of Greece

Types of Greece bank accounts and service fees

Clients open current and savings accounts in Greek banks. Current account holders can get a chequebook and use an overdraft, and savings account holders can receive interest on the balance. All accounts allow you to issue a bank card, withdraw cash, transfer money and pay for services. Term deposits are also available to bank customers.

Types of Greece bank accounts and service fees

Current account

Saving account


Interest on the balance up to 0.3% per annum

Account maintenance is usually free, but savings accounts tend to have a minimum amount for opening: from several dozen euros to several thousand. For example, in Alpha Bank, you need to put €300 into a savings account and €5,000 into a term deposit. At the National Bank, the minimum amounts are €0 for a savings account and €3,000 for a deposit.

You can pay for services in other EU countries thanks to the SEPA payment system from a Greece bank account. Commissions may apply for payments and transfers.

Interest on savings accounts and deposits in Greece is about 0,1% per annum, as in other Eurozone countries. The rate depends on the banking product and the amount in the account. Banks offer bonuses or increased interest on the balance if the client receives a salary or pension in the account. Banks provide the maximum interest on salary and pension accounts for a balance of up to €1,000.

The reason for near-zero rates is low inflation: in Greece, prices have fallen by 1,5% over ten years.

Open a bank account in Greece for foreigners. Inflation rate for the past 10 years in Greece and the EU

Inflation in Greece for ten years fluctuates from −1.4 to 1% per year. Source: Eurostat

It isn’t easy to find information about the terms of service on banks’ websites. Be prepared to find out the details at the bank: at the branch or by email. Interest rates on deposits and loans are not indicated on the product page but in a separate file: for example, interest rates on accounts and loans of the National Bank of Greece.

Loan rates in Greece’s banking system. Mortgage loans are issued for up to 30 years at 3—4% per annum, depending on the amount and term. In addition to a mortgage, you can get a loan to renovate or improve energy efficiency, such as thermal insulation. The interest rate on consumer loans is about 10% per annum, and on credit cards — from 12 to 22%, depending on the card type.

Banks in Greece do not offer car loans. Car dealers offer money for new or used cars in cooperation with partner banks.

How to get a Greece residence permit

Greece residence permit may be obtained by investing €250,000 or more. It allows you to live in Greece and enter the Schengen countries without a visa for 90 days in half a year.

The residency-by-investment program offers six options:

  1. Buy a property for at least €250,000. About how much Greek real estate costs and what to look for when buying, they told in the guide for investors “Property in Greece”.

  2. Rent a hotel or a tourist property for 10 years from €250,000.

  3. Buy land for construction or agriculture from €250,000.

  4. Rent a timeshare for 10 years from €250,000.

  5. Receive real estate as an inheritance or under a donation agreement from €250,000.

  6. Buy securities or open a deposit in a bank in the amount of €400,000.

Spouses, children and parents of any age can obtain a residence permit together with the investors. They do not need to take an exam in the language or history of Greece.

A residence permit is issued for five years with the right to extend it, and it is optional to live in Greece to renew the permit in future. After five years, you can get permanent residence if you live in the country. To do it, you must be present in Greece for at least six months each year and be absent less than ten months in total in five years.

Permanent residence is a life-long status. And after seven years of living in the country, you can apply for Greek citizenship. It is not required to renounce the first citizenship.

Final notes on opening an account in a Greek bank

Greece’s banking system is on the path to its recovery after a crisis. Locals and foreigners can opt for a reliable bank to open savings and current accounts and take loans.

Banking Due Diligence is an essential part of the application process. A client may be asked to confirm the source of money. It may take a week to verify a client.

International customers can get a card faster if they have a Greece residence permit.

A foreigner without a Greece residence permit in the country must personally apply to a bank department to open an account. Residents and citizens can use online banking services to receive debit or credit cards.

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Will you obtain a residence permit in Greece?

Practical Guide

Will you obtain a residence permit in Greece?

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What banks operated in Greece?

    There are 36 banks in Greece: local banks, banks from EU countries and from third countries.

    The largest banks in Greece:

    1. Piraeus Bank.

    2. National Bank of Greece.

    3. Alpha Bank.

    4. Eurobank.

  • How to open a bank account in Greece?

    To open an account in a Greek bank, you must provide the following documents:

    • an identity card of a resident of the European Union or a foreign passport,

    • AFM — Arithmo Forologiko Mitro, or non-Greek TIN if the country participates in the system of automatic exchange of tax information,

    • income statement from the tax office or bank statement,

    • a recent utility bill showing address and name, tax notice with address and name, or lease contract,

    • certificate from the place of work or salary statement,

    • certificate of deductions from the Social Security Service.

    The chosen bank checks the client’s trustworthiness under the legislation on combating money laundering and terrorist financing. The bank may refuse to open an account and not explain the reason for the refusal.

  • Can foreigners open bank accounts in Greece?

    Foreigners can open an account in Greece, but it is more difficult for non-citizens of an EU country without a residence permit in Greece to pass Due Diligence. Banks check clients for compliance with anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing legislation.

  • What are the deposit rates in Greek banks?

    Rates on deposits and interest on account balances are low: up to 0,3% per annum. Money in the accounts of Greek banks almost does not depreciate due to near-zero inflation. For ten years, prices in Greece have decreased by 1,5%.

    Money on bank accounts is insured for up to €100,000 in each of the banks where the client has an account.

  • What are the best banks for American expats in Greece?

    Banks worth considering for expats include Alpha Bank and HSBC, which have branches around the country.

    There’s also the option of Piraeus Bank, which may be helpful to Americans who cannot speak or read Greek since it offers internet banking in English. Most of the major banks in Greece offer customer services in English.

  • Did Greece banks freeze accounts?

    The restriction of operations on bank accounts in Greece was due to the financial crisis. In 2010, the Greek government turned to the EU for economic assistance because of the risk of default.

    The European Commission provided the country with three aid packages in 2012 and 2015. Creditors represented by the European Commission and the IMF financed the country’s macroeconomics.

    The increased economic control of the EU over the Greek economy ended on August 20, 2022. Therefore, now there is no reason to fear the freezing of accounts in Greek banks.