How to Open an Online Bank Account in Europe

Online banking is popular among European residents due to its convenience and ease of accessibility. With an online bank account in Europe, an individual can transfer money to other accounts, pay bills and keep track of savings without having to leave his or her home. The larger European banks that provide online banking accounts also often offer higher interest rates than traditional, brick-and-mortar banks.

Choose the European bank with whom you would like to open an online account. The United Kingdom's Financial Services Authority offers a complete list of UK banks that offer online banking services (see Resources below). Europeans who live outside of the UK can search the European Union's European Central Bank database for local banks in countries such as Spain and Germany. Popular online banks offered throughout Europe include the RBC Royal Bank, HSBC Online, the Smile online bank, Barclays and the Halifax online bank.

Determine whether you are eligible for an online bank account in Europe. Due to European Union financing standards, a bank account applicant must be over the age of 18, not bankrupt, not have a County Court Judgment (CCJ) placed against him, and have a stable salary.

Make a list of online European banks you are interested in, and contact them to find their Annual Equivalent Rate (much like the APY in the United States and Canada). A lower AER is better, especially if you plan to carry a balance in your European account.

Consult family members, significant others, and/or a financial consultant to determine what type of account works best for your lifestyle. There are two main types of European bank accounts: a sole account (in which you have sole control over the account) or a joint account (in which a spouse or significant other has joint custody of the account).

Apply for an online bank account at the European bank's website. You will need your tax identification number (or National Insurance Number if you live in the United Kingdom) and proof of residence in the European Union member state in which you reside. You may also need to know your VAT number.

Wait for confirmation as the bank investigates your financial history. Most banks will confirm your application and setup your new online bank account within 3 to 4 business days.


  • Have a list of your personal information (such as your tax identification number, or national insurance number if you live in the UK) to expedite the process of filling out your application.