Banking basics

There will never be a single banking provider best-suited for every company, or available to every company, so it’s important you understand your range of choices.

E-residents use a wide range of payment institutions for their business banking needs. The solution they choose varies based on physical location, business needs and prior experience using payment institution services.

You can choose a combination of the below options or change accounts in the future. For example, some e-residents choose a banking provider with an account they can easily open online to get their business started. Later, once their company is worth the investment or meets additional criteria, they switch to an account with more functionality.

The e-Residency programme is committed to helping e-residents access a broad range of business banking and other financial tools. We work continuously to identify the best solutions in the private sector and encourage e-residents to provide feedback on services that work for them.

For the latest list of services we've identified and established communication with, please visit our Marketplace or review our banking comparison guide. Note, you are not limited to using the services or payment institutions listed on our website.

NB: e-Residency status cannot be used as leverage to open a personal bank account in Estonia. Please read more at Banks in Estonia article. E-Residency programme will be focused on enabling business banking solutions for e-residents. 

EU/EEA payment institutions

Many e-residents find EU/EEA-based payment institutions, or fintech companies, to offer the most flexible and easy to access services for running a location-independent company.

Payment institutions can offer accounts with many of the same features of traditional banking, including IBAN (the International Bank Account Number that you will provide to your clients when they have to pay you), entirely online.

Depending on your needs, or if you have a bank account in your country of residence, this may be an option for you.

Banks in EU/EEA countries 

Some e-residents who are also residents of the EU/EEA have successfully opened a business bank account in their own country for their Estonian company. Changes to Estonia’s Commercial Code that allows share capital to be paid from any business banking account in the EU/EEA may encourage residents of the EU/EEA to consider this option.

These banks may not be familiar with e-Residency, or location-independent entrepreneurship more generally. However, there may be other factors in your favour.

If you are a resident of the EU/EEA, read more in our article on banks in the EU/EEA.

Banks in Estonia

The following is a brief summary of the companies most likely to meet the criteria to open a bank account with an Estonian bank. For more detail, read our article on banks in Estonia.

The first is a company that has a “connection to Estonia”. This should be clearly explained in your company plans for the future or demonstrated based on your existing activity. It could include employees in Estonia, as well as relationships with partners and suppliers, as well as actually serving the Estonian market.

The second is a company run by a single shareholder with easily traceable income. This covers many freelancers, consultants, solo entrepreneurs and other digital entrepreneurs around the world who fit under a broad group of people sometimes called ‘digital nomads’ as it is relatively simple for banks to monitor risks associated with these companies — especially when they are so visible online — as well as understand why they have chosen an Estonian bank account in order to benefit from Estonia’s location-independent business environment.

These criteria are assessed by the banks on a case-by-case basis, but if you would like to open an Estonian bank account then we strongly recommend that you first speak to a business services provider who can advise you on this process before you book any travel to Estonia for the purposes of opening an account.

Important information 

Banks and other financial institutions are private companies that set their own criteria as to the customers they choose to onboard. These companies must also follow all international regulations regarding the provision of financial products. The vast majority of e-residents are able to access the tools they need to run a location-independent company, but access to these business banking services is not guaranteed.

If you are connected to a country on the FATF list of high risk and other monitored jurisdictions, you will most likely have difficulty accessing any kind of business banking service even with a company registered in Estonia.

If any guidance is needed, business service providers will be able to advise e-residents of the right banking services to meet the needs of their company. For a selection of our business service providers, please visit our Marketplace.

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