Polish banks see surge in foreign customers

Earlier this year, PKO Bank Polski launched its banking app in Ukrainian and Russian, in addition to the existing Polish and English versions. Kalbar / TFN

With Polish portals offering comparisons of the best bank accounts for non-residents, foreigners working in the country can make an informed choice.

More and more foreigners are opening bank accounts in Poland. Over 600,000 non-residents now have accounts at banks in Poland, up from 424,000 a year ago, according to Dziennik Gazeta Prawna daily.

The rise reflects the continued increase in foreign workers in Poland, especially from neighbouring Ukraine. Apart from being a vital source of labour, they are increasingly becoming an attractive group of customers for businesses in Poland, notably banks.

As banks compete for Ukainian customers, many now offer deals and services geared to their needs. With Polish portals offering comparisons of the best bank accounts for non-residents, foreigners working in the country can make an informed choice.

Earlier this year, PKO Bank Polski launched its banking app, IKO, in Ukrainian and Russian, in addition to the existing Polish and English versions. The bank also has a website in Ukrainian, advertising a range of accounts, including ones for people in their early 20s. The bank also offers quick transfers to Kredobank in Ukraine, which can take as little as 40 minutes.

“We observe that foreigners account for an increasing percentage of PKO Bank Polski’s customers, which is why IKO is now available in four languages and we do not rule out others,” said Łukasz Kuc, director of the bank’s office for mobile and Internet projects in May.  

Banks compete on the cost of opening a non-resident’s account and the cost of sending money back home. For example, Raiffeisen Polbank offers new customers one free transfer to Ukraine a month for the first year.

“[Ukrainians] often use expensive money transfers or opt to cross the border with larger amounts of cash, which is both uncomfortable and not always safe,” said Tomasz Dymowski, head of the bank’s retail banking department, when the offer launched in December 2017.

“Polish employers’ declarations indicate that Ukrainians’ salaries will grow the fastest now. This shows that these customers will increasingly be an attractive partner for Polish banks,” he added.