Latvia’s capital Riga attracts many people, which means it is growing bigger every day. People seek a quality of life, European culture, warm people, and beautiful architecture. As a student, worker, or investor in Latvia, it is important to know that there’s a need to open a bank account.
To open an account, a valid passport or a national ID card is required. Most banks, also require that residents of countries in Latvia with a visa regimen can present a travel document with an entry stamp, this means they will be opening their account in person.
The process of opening an account
To open an account, it will be either by an appointment (recommended for non-native speakers to ensure an English-speaking clerk is at hand or otherwise to have a translator present) or going to any bank of choice.
It is generally better to choose a larger bank office because smaller ones may not have an English speaker available. All necessary documents to open an account should also be present.
At the bank, the banker sees the document, an application form is issued to be filled. The banker opens the account which lasts within a matter of minutes or hours, but it can also take a few days or even weeks in some cases, especially if there’s a need to prove income/deposit source which some banks will require before processing the application.
The required documents vary from bank to bank, it is best to call in advance to ensure that all needed documents are brought on appointment. Here is the list of documents banks in Latvia most often ask for:
- Proof of residence/your foreign resident card/resident permit
- Proof of address
- Work Agreement/contract
Also, know that accounts can be created online, but it is recommended to go to the bank location in person to make the process easier. There’s also a need to access a scanner to scan the documents required to open the account. In most situations, there are visits to the branch for picking up cards and signing of a few last documents.
Latvian banks charge non-residents a fee from the range of 100 to 250 euros to open an account. It is advisable to collect and compare information from several banks to see which bank offers the most competitive rates and desirable services. This information is available online or from a clerk in the bank. Typical fees include the following:
Most ATMs in Latvia won’t charge a fee for taking out money if you hold an account in the bank that owns the ATM.
A debit card from a non-Latvian bank at a Latvian ATM is charged a foreign ATM fee as well as the percentage of the amount withdrawn. This is the flat fee set by the ATM, plus a percentage of transactions that go directly to the bank at home.
Standard bank fees
Banks aim to eliminate or reduce costs to stay competitive. However, some banks do not have maintenance and convenience charges that can add up to cost a pretty penny such as:
- Express Card Issuance Fees
- Account statement by mail
- Monthly account maintenance fees
- Self-defined pin fee
- Check cashing fee
- If your account balance falls below the bank’s minimum, you pay a maintenance fee.
- Wire transfer and deposit fees
Fees for International Transfers
Banks normally charge for any international transfers similarly to that foreign ATM fees, a flat fee can sometimes be as high as 50 EUR, plus a percentage of your total transfer.
List of banks
In Latvia, there are numerous banks, each with unique services. Most of the largest banks in Latvia are predominantly foreign banks, the banks include