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Czech Banking Update 2015

Czech Banking Update 2015

With a growing number of options in the Czech Republic, how to choose the best bank for you

Czech Banking Update 2015

Czech Banking Update 2015

With a growing number of options in the Czech Republic, how to choose the best bank for you


Published 28.04.2015
Last updated 30.04.2015
COMMENTS (25)

VIEWS (25846)


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With over 20 different banks operating in the Czech Republic, no doubt many are already familiar to you. But which bank should you go with? And how? We've compiled a guide to the main banks and their accounts to help you decide.

Regarding the ramifications of FATCA, all the banks listed below except GE Money Bank and Equa Bank allow American citizens to open accounts with them. For more information on how FATCA affects Americans here, see our article on the subject.

Česká spořitelna

General Information: The oldest savings bank in the Czech lands, it has grown to be the largest on the market with branches found across the country.
Account Type: Osobní účet ČS II and iÚčet
Monthly Fee: Osobní účet ČS II = 69 CZK but it can be higher or lower depending on the services used. iÚčet = no fees providing account holder makes 7,000 CZK worth in EFTPOS purchases a month and manages the account online. 98 CZK if conditions are not met.
ATM Withdrawal: 5 CZK from Česká spořitelna ATMs, 40 CZK from other banks’ ATMs
Card Type: Visa Classic
Fee for Card: 400 CZK/year
ATM Distribution: Many machines in Prague
Domestic Standing Orders: 2 CZK
Foreign payments: Incoming payments from abroad – 1% of the sum (min. 400 CZK and max. 2,000 CZK). Outgoing payments – 1% of the sum (min. 220 CZK and 1,900 CZK).
Minimum Opening Deposit: 100 CZK
ID Required: Passport and a second form of ID for the iÚčet

Comment: You have the certainty of banking with the country’s largest bank but there is a sense the size is hampering innovation.

Komerční banka

General Information: The bank entered the market following the Velvet revolution. Today, its largest shareholder is Société Générale.
Account Type: My Account
Monthly Fee: 68 CZK (This can increase to 107 CZK if you do not have a payment deposited monthly.) Fees are reimbursed in part or full if a customer fulfills certain “rules”. ATM withdrawals: 7 CZK for using their ATMs and 39 CZK for withdrawals from other banks. The 7 CZK is refunded for every electronic purchase made through EFTPOS.
Card Type: Visa Electron
Fee for Card: 200 CZK/year
ATM Distribution: Fairly good
Domestic Standing Orders: Free
Foreign Payments: Incoming, 0.9% of the sum (min. 225 CZK and max. 1,095 CZK); outgoing 0.9% of the sum (min. 250 CZK and max. 1,500 CZK).
Minimum Opening Deposit: 300 CZK
ID Required: Passport and second form of ID

Comment: As with the previous bank, KB’s main selling point is its size. However, customers need to jump through a few hoops to get to not pay fees.

ČSOB

General Information: Though established as a state bank under communism, ČSOB today is very much a private concern and one of the largest banks in the country.
Account Type: Konto
Monthly Fee: Basic account = 55 CZK per month; active account = 95 CZK.
ATM Withdrawals: Basic account allows two free withdrawals from the bank’s ATMs per month; the active account permits five per month. 6 CZK for using their ATMs; 35 CZK from other banks’ ATMs.
Card Type: Visa Classic
Fee for Card: 45 CZK/month
ATM Distribution: In the very center of Prague, there are a number of ATMs, but as you move out their concentration becomes sparser.
Domestic Standing Orders: 3 CZK per order
Foreign Payments: Incoming payments have a charge = 1% sum (min. 150 CZK and max. 1000 CZK). Outgoing = 1% (min. 250 CZK and 1500 CZK).
Minimum Opening Deposit: 200 CZK
ID required: Passport

Comment: The bank has quite high fees and its reputation for quality service is not great. 

UniCredit

General Information: The bank started operating under its current name in 2007. It does not yet have the presence of the banks mentioned above but its share in the country is growing.
Account Type: U Konto. Clients 26 years old and under have unlimited withdrawals from UniCredit ATMs.
Monthly Fee: 199 CZK for people 27 and over without the 12,000 CZK on the account. Other there if you are under 27 or have 12 000 CZK on the account, there are no fees.
ATM Withdrawals: Free if the previously mentioned conditions are met. If not the fees are 5 CZK from their ATMs both in the Czech Republic and abroad. 30 CZK for using other banks.
Card Type: Visa Electron
Fee for Card: None
ATM Distribution: The bank has only a few ATMs around the city.
Domestic Standing Orders: 6 CZK per order
Foreign Payments: Incoming and outgoing payments = 0.9% of the sum (min. 250 CZK and max. 1500 CZK). However within the UniCredit group incoming payments are free and outgoing incur a 30 CZK charge.
Minimum Opening Deposit: 200 CZK
ID Required: Passport

Comment:
Fine if you’re under 27 and travel often to countries with UniCredit branches. However, many customers may find the 12,000 CZK requirement to avoid fees as unrealistic.

Raiffeisenbank

General Information: Raiffeisenbank is an Austrian banking group with subsidiaries here and around Central and Eastern Europe.
Account Type: eKonto SMART (in Czech) and eKonto KOMPLET
Monthly Fee: for KOMPLET it is 129 CZK. This goes up to 250 CZK if the client does not have 15,000 CZK deposited monthly and a minimum of three transactions are not performed. SMART has a 99 CZK monthly charge if the same conditions are not met. Otherwise it is free.
ATM Withdrawals: Free from all ATMs
Card Type: Mastercard BASIC, VISA Electron and Maestro
Fee for Card: Included in the fees
ATM Distribution: A decent number of ATMs  around Prague and you can use other banks’ ATMs.
Domestic Standing Orders: Included in the monthly fee
Foreign Payments: Incoming = 1% of the sum (min. 300 CZK and max. 1,200 CZK). Outgoing = 1% (min. 300 CZK and max. 1,500 CZK).
Minimum Opening Deposit: 500 CZK
ID required: Passport

Comment: If you’re earning enough and actively using the account it could be worth checking out.

Zuno

General Information: Zuno specifically targets customers who do most of their banking online.
Account Type: účet (account) and účet PLUS.
Monthly Fee: PLUS costs 68 CZK a month. The standard account is free.
ATM Withdrawals: PLUS has no ATM fee, providing the withdrawal is above 1,000 CZK. With the standard account the fee is 28 CZK.
Card Type: Visa contactless card
Fee for Card: No fees
ATM Distribution: As the withdrawals are free in the case of PLUS or the same for all banks in the case of the standard, we won’t show the ATMs.
Domestic Standing Orders: Free
Foreign Payments: Incoming foreign payments are free of charge. Outgoing SEPA payments are 180 CZK for the standard account and free for the plus.
Minimum Opening Deposit: None
ID Required: Passport and permanent residency

Comment: The PLUS option offers a simple approach to banking. Though not completely free, it is cheaper than many of the accounts of established banks.

GE Money

General Information: The bank is one of the largest providers of banking services in the Czech Republic.
Account Type: Genius bene +
Monthly Fee: There is a 149 CZK charge unless the account holder has at least 10,000 CZK in the account, in which case there is no fee.
ATM Withdrawals: Four free per month and then15 CZK per withdrawal and 40 CZK for using ATMs of other banks.
Card Type: MasterCard Standard or Maestro
Fee for Cards: 39 CZK/month (Maestro) and 59 CZK /month (MasterCard Standard)
Domestic Standing Orders: Free
ATM Distribution: Quite common in the city center less so on the outskirts.
Foreign payments: Incoming and outgoing payments 1% of sum (min. 220 CZK, max. 1,500 CZK) unless from another GE Money Bank account in which case they’re free.
Minimum Opening Deposit: 200 CZK
ID Required: Passport

Comment: The four withdrawals is a little more generous than some of the better known banks, but the 10,000 CZK requirement might not be feasible for everyone.

mBank

General Information: Founded in Poland but owned by the German Commerzbank, mBank gained attention for its “zero fees” policy.
Account Type: mKonto
Monthly Fee: None
ATM Withdrawals: 35 CZK for withdrawals from ATMs above the monthly limit of three. The price is the same for any ATM both in the Czech Republic and abroad.
Card Type: Visa
Fee for Card: None (But there is a fee of 29 CZK if payments are below 500 CZK for a given month.)
ATM Distribution: Not many ATMs about, but given the flat rate for withdrawals from all ATMs it is not an issue.
Domestic Standing Orders: Free
Foreign Payments: Outgoing payments are 0.5% of the sum (min. 250 CZK, max. 840 CZK). Incoming payments made through SWIFT have a set 99 CZK fee.
Minimum Opening Deposit deposit: No minimum
ID Required: Passport

Comment: The account is not completely without fees, but if you keep ATM withdrawals below three a month and make enough purchases with the card, then it can be.

AirBank

General Information: AirBank is one of the newest banks in the Czech Republic. It is part of the PPF financial company, whose majority shareholder is Petr Kellner, the wealthiest person in the Czech Republic.
Account Type: Two accounts “Malý” (small) and “Velký” (big).
Monthly fee: Velký = 100 CZK; Malý = free.
ATM Withdrawals: Velký account = no charges. Malý = free from AirBank ATMs, 10 CZK from Sazka and 25 CZK from other banks.
Card Type: MasterCard
Fee for Card: None
ATM Distribution: Not so many ATMs. (Some shown are for a different bank.)
Domestic Standing Orders: Free
Foreign Payments: 100 CZK flat rate, except for SEPA which have 25 CZK fee for incoming payments and no charge for outgoing.
Minimum Opening Deposit: None
ID Required: Passport

Comment: The Velký accounts single fee which covers certainly makes banking easier and can be useful for people who use the services often and do not want to keep track. Otherwise the Malý will work out cheaper if you can stick to the parameters.

Fio banka

General Information: This bank is another relative newcomer to the banking sector. In a short time it has seen its presence in the country grow.
Account Type: Current account
Monthly Fee: None
ATM Withdrawals: 10 free per month, after you incur a 9 CZK charge on Fio’s ATMs. Using other banks ATMs costs 30 CZK.
Card Type: MasterCard Debit PayPass
Fee for Card: None
ATM Distribution: The center has a handful
Domestic Standing Orders: Free
Foreign Payments: 0.50 % of either outgoing or incoming sum (min. 200 CZK max. 1,250 CZK)
Minimum Opening Deposit: 100 CZK
ID Required: Passport and second form of photo ID

Comment: This bank finds a balance between low to no fees while permitting fairly frequent use.

Equa bank

General Information: The bank changed its name to Equa bank when it was taken over by the Equa Group Limited. Last year the bank won the Zlatá koruna (Gold crown) award, a prize given to financial institutions.
Account Type: Current account
Monthly Fee: None
ATM Withdrawals: Free from any bank in the Czech Republic.
Card Type: MasterCard Debit PayPass
Fee for Card: None
ATM Distribution: Very few ATMs in Prague but given there are no fees for withdrawals from other banks it may not matter.
Domestic Standing Orders: Free
Foreign Payments: Incoming = 29 CZK, outgoing = 299 CZK.
Minimum Opening Deposit: None
ID Required: Passport

Comment: The account appears to provide what it offers – a current account with practically no fees.

Expobank

General Information: Formerly operating under the name LBBW, it has changed names and owner, who is Russian financier Igor Kim.
Account Type: 5 for 50 account which allows you to choose five services for the monthly fee.
Monthly Fee: 50 CZK
ATM Withdrawals: 6.50 CZK at all ATMs in the Czech Republic.
Card Type: MasterCard Standard
Fee for Card: None
ATM Distribution: The relatively low standard fee for withdrawals is useful as Expobank do not have any of their own ATMs.
Domestic Standing Orders: FreeForeign Payments: Incoming = 0.9 % of the sum (min. 350 CZK and max. 2,200 CZK); outgoing = 0.9 % of the sum (min. 500 CZK and max. 2,200 CZK).
Minimum Opening Deposit: None
ID Required: Passport

Comment: The low standard fee and one price for ATM withdrawals simplifies banking, but it is not the cheapest on the market.

Sberbank

General Information: The largest Russian bank, it entered the Czech market through its acquisition of Volksbank.
Account Type: FAIR account with three variants:START, PLUS and EXTRA; there is no minimum deposit.
Monthly Fee: START = no fee ; PLUS = 53 CZK; EXTRA = 133 CZK.
ATM Withdrawals: START requires you to pay for each transaction: 5 CZK from Sberbank’s machines; 10 CZK from CŠOB’s; 37 CZK from other banks. PLUS entitles you to three ATM withdrawals a month. EXTRA gets you the services for free.
Card Type: Visa Electron or Maestro
Fee for Card: 19 CZK/month
ATM Distribution: They do not have too many ATMs in the city.
Domestic Standing Orders: 5 CZK with START. PLUS gives you three free. With EXTRA they are free.
Foreign Payments: Incoming = 0.9% of the sum (min. 150 CZK; max. 900 CZK); outgoing = 1% of the sum (min. 300 CZK and max. 1700 CZK).
ID Required: Passport and at least a long term visa

Comment: None of the three options offer anything more than products already on the market and the range of options can muddle the offer a little. 

CitiBank

General Information: Part of Citigroup, this is a global financial institution with branches in over 140 countries.
Account Type: Citikonto
Monthly Fee: Free for the first three months. It remains free if there is 250, 000 CZK in the account or 25,000 CZK of incoming payments made per month. Otherwise it is 169 CZK.
ATM Withdrawals: Four free per month then 30 CZK per subsequent withdrawal.
Card Type: Contactless CitiCard MasterCard
Fee for Card: None
ATM Distribution: There a few but not as many as other branches.
Domestic Standing Orders: Free
Foreign Payments: Incoming = 90 CZK and Outgoing = 1% of the sum (min. CZK 300, max. CZK 2,000)
ID Required: Passport

Comment: This is a more expensive option, though it may appeal to those who want the certainty and reach of a worldwide banking service.

Final recommendation: Based on the lack of fees and the few conditions, Equa bank seems to be the cheapest choice, followed by Fio. If you do a fair amount of travelling around Europe, the Raiffaisen KOMPLET eKonto could be the account for you.

For a helpful list of banks on the Czech market click here.

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nice compilation, Ryan. Is the 2016 update in making? Raffeisen just become bank of the year and was no brainer for me until I read review of Relitista... Also put all this info in table format would be probably easier to digest.

10.48.38 19.11.2016

of course. also a czech address

22.16.54 02.11.2016

Really useful article Ryan Scott. Thank you very much! Honestly opening a bank in cz is a nightmare as they contain tone of hidden fee and "rules". These comparisons make thing much easier. Thanks again Ryan!!!

18.55.53 05.10.2016

If you want an Euro account, don't get one with Raffeisen. Their EUR accounts are actually in CZK and when you go to charge things in countries using EUR, they will see the card as a CZK card and charge you a giant fee to convert from EUR to CZK and back to EUR. On a 2265 EUR transaction for a hotel, I got charged 2419 EUR in the end! What a scam. I'm of to search for another bank.

19.42.55 29.08.2016

Hello, I have a question. Does every bank ask for a czech phone number?

18.03.40 02.08.2016

A current account, is a checking account.

14.28.06 01.04.2016

Is anyone familiar what is the difference between SAVINGS and CURRENT account?

13.24.24 10.02.2016

What's the most ethical bank?

00.53.23 29.12.2015

Hi Ryan. When I'm in the Czech Republic I'm going to be moving around quite a bit for the first 2 and a half months and so will not have a fixed address. Can you or anyone else offer any advice regarding this issue?
Adam

22.05.29 16.12.2015

Hi Ryan. Excelent informaton.
I would only add the offered interest rate of the savings accounts. Then it would be 100% complete!
Thank you very much for the information. Just saved me a LOT of time and hassle!

Ricardo

09.17.28 07.12.2015

Hi Ryan thanks for banking information. Decided to open account with Equa due to low fees. Jonathan

11.34.04 11.11.2015

Comment from: Doudine Mohamed Published: 12:37:25 22.09.2015
hi, i am interested on Current account with Fio Bank as i am fairly frequent user, just one question guys, can i use the credit card internationally for purchasing from internet and ATM machines? and what about the monthly charges. thanks
Comment from: brianwilliams82 Published: 04:35:26 21.07.2015
@moroni, never heard about that. The guy behind the counter didn't mention it either, just said that it was a requirement. Anyway, I'll know for again.
Comment from: moroni Published: 06:10:26 20.07.2015
@brianwilliams82 not sure about Fio, but in other banks here it is common that you have free cash deposits to your own account, but you get to pay a fee if you're depositing on someone else's account. Perhaps they asked for your ID so they can know whether to charge you the fee or not.
Comment from: brianwilliams82 Published: 02:00:30 20.07.2015
I set up an account with Fio earlier this year and about a week ago went to lodge 40euros in cash as I have both a Euro and CZK account. I was, quite incredibly, asked for ID and my account number in order to lodge it - handing over my card to the cashier was not enough. I have never, ever been asked for ID in order to lodge money before in any bank anywhere and handing over my atm card was always enough for them to access my account. I could understand the ID request if it was a large sum but 40euros? Ridiculous! Anyone else experienced anything like this before?
Comment from: moroni Published: 06:51:25 19.07.2015
I've been with Zuno for around 3 years and have never paid any fee. The monthly 68Kc fee for the Ucet Plus is waived if you use the card to pay more than 3000Kc in the said month. I've been searching around since due to the lack of a better customer service in Zuno (they are nice and speak English, but don't expect a problem to be solved in less than 1 or 2 weeks, sometimes more) sometimes I feel like moving away, but after checking all other banks Zuno is the cheapest by far. No other bank offers foreing payments for free (incoming or outgoing), or card withdraws abroad for free. If they only could improve the response time...
Comment from: messju2 Published: 02:08:24 19.07.2015
Although Sberbank is Russian, it does have the highest interest rate at its Internet SAVINGS account. They to mortgages up to 90%, provided that the valuation is done well (!) Airbank has highest interest rate and no transaction fees either, which can also make it attractive. Their ATM to deposit money at Palladium is quite often broken though... CSOB has account for free (almost) if you have mortgage with them. Raiffeisen is for free if the monthly turnover is over 25000 Kc. Disclaimer: I do not own shares of aforementioned banks, nor do I work for these banks!
D(Guest) Published: 12:23:56 02.05.2015
Not really and "update", more like business-as-usual with the antiquated Czech banking system. Also not a useful article in terms of the scope of the information. Why not include on-line banking details and ease-of-use (or lack of), credit card options, etc., i.e. mBank does not offer on-line banking in English or credit cards.
Comment from: hroch Published: 09:16:35 01.05.2015
Most (but not all) banks and savings institutions here are members of the Czech national compensation insurance scheme - Check here > http://www.fpv.cz/en/where-is-insured.html
Comment from: Published: 12:31:51 30.04.2015
Actually, this is not a very useful article. Quite a few of the banks listed do not have services for English speakers. As this is an English language site, don't you think that might have been a little tidbit worth mentioning?
Comment from: tafexpert Published: 07:46:36 29.04.2015
Agree with Bopo. Fail to see the why Raiffeisen warrants a recommendation for travellers
Jimmy S(Guest) Published: 04:21:17 29.04.2015
@bopo: That account gives free ATM withdrawals worldwide so could be beneficial for frequent travellers.
Comment from: Rob_Prague_2004 Published: 02:36:22 29.04.2015
Nice to see free banking creeping into the CZ market, albeit mostly with strings attached (minimum balance; minimum deposit per month or minimum card usage per month). Equabank has no fees, though this is not available to US citizens due to some reporting requirement from the US government being costly to comply with (that's my understanding). Might be worth pointing this out to avoid any Americans having a wasted journey.
Bopo(Guest) Published: 10:15:41 28.04.2015
"If you do a fair amount of travelling around Europe, the Raiffaisen KOMPLET eKonto could be the account for you." Why? I fail to see the connection with travelers' needs and RB's offerings.
Marcio Santos(Guest) Published: 08:14:58 28.04.2015
This was a great and very useful article, thank you. It would also be great to have an overview like this, but regarding the banks saving and investment options. For instance, which bank pays better interest on savings account, or which bank has the higher offer regarding Mutual Funds, which bank will provide a Financial Adviser for those savings and investment options. Thank you once more.