In order to open a bank account, do some research online to find which bank best serves your needs. No appointment will be necessary to open an account, simply walk into a branch of your selected bank. Be prepared to provide valid proof of address (utility bill or rental agreement), and a valid ID (passports are fine). One can choose to have a checking account, a savings account, or a combination of the two.
New checking account holders can pick out checks at the time of the initial opening of the account, or order online later. Once ordered, checks are delivered, via mail, within 10 business days and are ready to use. New account holders also have the choice of using their “bank debit card”, which displays either a “Mastercard” or “Visa” logo, anywhere in the world that accepts either of the two.
The larger banks offer free checking accounts to customers. These accounts have no minimum balance requirement or banking fees. Most savings accounts require a minimum deposit amount, based on a monthly time period, meaning, there has to be a certain amount of money in the account to avoid a minimal fee to the account.
ALL new accounts are given options for overdraft protection, which means that if you overdraw on your account, the bank will cover the payment for a fee. The terms of overdraft protection can be renegotiated upon receiving an improved credit rating. Credit ratings are determined by timely or untimely payments reflected in one’s credit history. ALL new expats must start their credit history from scratch (from 0) upon arriving to the country. ANY credit rating from their home country is NOT valid or considered.
Business accounts are also available to those who qualify. To open a business account, one must have a business tax ID number or filing. Some account require a minimum balance in order to be opened.