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In Europe today most people use online banking, with statistics showing that 70% of European adults access their online bank account at least once a month. In some European countries, as many as 90% of adults use internet banking. In fact, the number of people using internet banking on a regular basis has doubled in the last 12 years. Europeans regularly use digital banking for checking their transaction history; transferring funds from one account to another; checking their balance and making payments. As online banks progressively offer more advanced services and financial products people are using internet banking to apply for loans; make investments and research their financial options.

 

Different banks are geared towards different types of clients – some offer financial services suitable for private individuals while others are more focused on corporate accounts and business clients. You can discern the differences between banks by looking at their onboarding process; payment options, customer support services, and payment cards.

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    Europe’s top online banks share a number of important features:

    • With an online bank, you should be able to receive payments by wire transfer.
    • Make international payments by wire transfer.
    • Control your banking remotely without having to visit a brick-and-mortar bank branch.
    • The best online banks offer corporate bank accounts with comprehensive services.
    • Top digital banks offer internationally accepted debit cards.
    • Some leading online banks have a money transfer app.

    There are many online banks in Europe

    So to help you narrow down the best of the lot take a look at this list which includes the top digital banks in Europe offering full-solution banking. These top European online banks are the best digital alternatives to traditional branch-based banks. Some of the listed banks are linked to a network of brick-and-mortar branches through a parent company.

     

    They offer all of the services you would expect from a traditional bank including impeccable safety; regulation and customer service. And they have to meet other requirements like offering a user-friendly interface; convenient access and technically advanced applications.

    Best Online Banks in Europe

    Revolut

    Revolut is a FinTech company based in the UK and is available in 33 countries. They offer low fees and many extra services and products including personal loans, eMoney accounts, phone insurance, travel insurance and Cryptocurrency trading but unlike several other online banks Revolut does not offer overdrafts, joint accounts or interest on your savings.

    Valyuz

    Valyuz is a leading electronic money institution registered and regulated in Lithuania and in Europe. Valyuz offers a range of financial services and products to individuals and businesses. Valyuz account holders can manage their finances through a secure system with fast and simple applications. Continue reviewing. This digital bank is based in the UK and part of the Clydesdale Bank & Yorkshire Bank Group. Among the services offered by B are current and instant savings accounts that work together; contactless debit cards; loans; 24/7 phone customer service and B is accessed via a super-smart app with Touch ID. Customers earn interest on their current accounts up to 2,000GBP.

    Monzo

    Monzo is considered extremely user-friendly with an easy-to-use app. Although Monzo is based in the UK you can use this digital bank in any country where MasterCard is accepted. There are no fees for international spending; they offer overdrafts and loans; fast money transfers and integration with other online services. Monzo lets you set yourself budgets; you can pay direct debits through your Monzo account; earn interest on your savings and sort your money into separate “pots” for different purposes – rent money, spending, bills etc. And if you put your salary in your Monzo account they can advance you the money a day early!

    tarling

    The mobile-only digital bank Starling is from the UK and they offer personal and business accounts; 24/7 customer service; joint accounts; an app that gives you instant notifications and insights; they charge no fees overseas and have strong security using Touch ID. You can split the bill; control a flexible overdraft and get interest on your savings. Starling’s personal account won the Best British Bank and Best Current Account 2019. Their business account is also an award winner and easy to use.

    Monese

    Monese is perhaps the easiest and quickest online account to set up. Monese is UK-based but can be used in 20 countries with GBP and Euro. They offer free international transfers and free same-currency transfers. Monese does not offer interest on your savings and there are no overdrafts or joint accounts but there is customer service in 11 languages and an excellent contactless prepaid debit card.

    N26

    If you are looking for a diligent Euro digital bank then N26 is the answer. Based in Germany N26 is available in 22 countries and offers an excellent reward program; money transfers; a checking account with debit card and ATM cash withdrawals. With N26’s “Space” feature you can create sub-accounts for various purposes. You create a Space and set your financial goals then watch as you move towards your target. Soon you’ll be able to share Spaces with up to 10 people via their easy to use app.

    Fidor

    Fidor is a German-based digital bank offers personal current accounts; savings bonds and a business account as well as investments; loans; cards and overdraft options. You can set up standing orders; make international transfers and all with complete transparency. Their Smart Community is a forum for customers to discuss finance issues and even do business. Since September 2019 Fidor no longer offers products and services in the UK but continues to be a leading online bank in Europe.

    First Direct

    First Direct is an online bank based in the UK which offers 24/7 phone, mobile or online customer service. By partnering with HSBC First Direct customers can withdraw cash and make cash or cheque payments at HSBC brick-and-mortar branches. Some First Direct services are also available at UK post offices. Overdrafts can be arranged with no interest charged on the first 250GBP. First Direct arranges life, travel and house insurance. They offer loans, cards and even mortgages.

    Hello Bank

    Hello Bank was created in 2013 by BNP Paribas to be their fully online bank. This innovative Belgian bank keeps up-to-date with the latest trends and financial management needs of people on the go. Among the services offered by Hello Bank are loans; brokerage services; insurance; saving accounts; current accounts; Visa credit cards and prepaid cards. Their basic banking current account costs just 1 Euro a month and for that you get web, app and phone banking; a debit card; you can make standard orders and direct debits; manage your bank statements and make up to 36 manual operations each year in all BNP Paribas Fortis bank agencies.

    NatWest

    National Westminster Bank is a retail and commercial bank and in the Royal Bank of Scotland Group. It is considered one of the U.K.’s Big Four clearing banks with almost 1,000 branches and 3,400 ATMs across the country. They offer online banking and a full range of banking and insurance services.

    Popular Questions & Answers

    Challenges Facing Online Banks in Europe

    As online banking becomes progressively more popular digital banks are having to keep up with customer needs and offer more advanced services and products. The challenge facing online banks is to meet the needs of customers now and in the future. Customers are looking for a complete digital banking solution which can match and even surpass the services and products of traditional banks.

    In addition to the comprehensive financial services offered by Europe’s leading digital banks they also provide support services, a user-friendly interface and low fees. Some digital banks are EMIs or Electronic Money Institutions that offer limited services and focus on currency exchange and money transfers. An EMI can still be used for their services as you would use a regular bank.

    What to Look for in an Online Bank?

    When choosing your online bank stick to those with a good reputation for excellence and FDIC coverage so that your money is insured. Choose one that offers high interest rates; a user-friendly interface; credit cards; low fees and excellent customer service.

    Which are Europe's Best Online Banks?

    Among the best online banks are Monese; Revolut; Fidor; Hello Bank and N26. These digital banks make the list of best European banks because of their track record; comprehensive services and customer support. The best bank for you will depend on your personal banking needs. Many of these top European banks can provide you with loans, insurance, brokerage services, ATM access, money transfers and debit and credit cards.

    How to Open a Bank Account Online in Europe?

    If you hold an EU passport, then opening a personal bank account at one of the European online banks is simple. Online registration is not possible with all digital banks in Europe but there are those that do offer this service. To open a bank account online in Europe you will need proof of residence (a utility bill, phone bill, municipal tax bill etc.). To open a business account online in Europe the process is a little more complex. You will need to present the full details of your business; a KYC and AML questionnaire and list the business’s beneficial owners. Make sure your chosen bank accepts customers working in your field and jurisdiction.

    Can I Open a Bank Account in Europe?

    If you are a legal resident of the EU, you are entitled to open a basic bank account in Europe. Being an EU citizen does not automatically give you the right to open other kinds of bank accounts in Europe like a corporate account. If you are not a resident or citizen of a European country your options for opening a bank account in the EU are limited and expensive. Opening a bank account in Europe as a non-resident is easier in some EU countries than in others. If you opt for online banking in Europe, you will have access to most of the features of a traditional bank but with the added advantage of being able to do your banking digitally on your mobile device or a computer.

    What to Look for in a Top Online Bank in Europe

    • Efficiency – Many of the leading online banks choose to outsource some services to increase efficiency rather than having to develop the services themselves. For example, some EMIs and online banks use a third-party service to handle customer service and support or to handle AML checks and compliance. By using third-party services for some of their functions digital banks can save time and money leaving them more time to focus on your needs.
    • Security – Licensed online banks have to comply with the same regulations as regular banks and so they can reach the same high standards as traditional banks. One of the important safety features of all licensed banks is mandatory funds’ insurance. Always choose an authorized and licensed online bank.
    • Fees and Charges – Online banks can operate at a lower cost to traditional banks. This saving means they can afford to offer customers lower rates and fees. Online banks will generally offer customers higher interest rates and lower fees than traditional banks.
    • Practicality – Online banks can provide customers with an international debit card so that you can make payments and purchases; withdraw money; set limits and permissions; make security changes and block or unblock your own card if need be. A top online bank should give you all the services of a traditional bank but with easier access directly from your mobile phone app or desktop computer.

    European Bank Accounts

    There are many reasons to open a bank account in Europe – whether you receive payments in Euro from European customers or if you need to pay European suppliers in Euro. You may have considered Germany or Portugal as possible countries to open a European account or perhaps you’ve been looking at bank accounts in the U.K. All of these options are doable but US citizens might find it more convenient, and easier to open a multi-currency borderless account. With this type of bank account, you can work in Euro, GBP or any other European currency.

    Can anyone open a European bank account?

    All legal residents of EU countries are entitled to open a basic payments account. However other types of accounts like savings accounts or corporate accounts are not automatically right. The options for opening a bank account online in Europe for non-residents are limited.

    Can anyone open a bank account online in Europe?

    If you hold an EU passport you can open a private bank account online if your chosen European bank offers online registration. To open a private bank account online in Europe you will need proof of address in the form of a utility bill or other official document showing your name and address. If you wish to open a corporate bank account online in Europe you will need a number of important business documents and you will most likely need to make a visit to the bank branch rather than completing the entire registration process online. For opening a business bank account in Europe you will need the full details of the company’s beneficial owners; full KYC and AML compliance; sometimes a business plan and several other documents. Not all European banks will accept corporate clients from every jurisdiction and from every business sector; before preparing and handing over your corporate documents to the bank check that they are open to clients from your jurisdiction and business sector.

    European Bank Accounts

    There are many reasons to open a bank account in Europe – whether you receive payments in Euro from European customers or if you need to pay European suppliers in Euro. You may have considered Germany or Portugal as possible countries to open a European account or perhaps you’ve been looking at bank accounts in the U.K. All of these options are doable but US citizens might find it more convenient, and easier to open a multi-currency borderless account. With this type of bank account, you can work in Euro, GBP or any other European currency.

     

    Uses of a European Account

    Your choice of bank account in Europe depends largely on what you plan to do with the account and which financial services you will be needing. Some of the top reasons for opening a bank account in Europe include:

    1. European bank accounts are convenient for frequent travelers wanting a convenient way to access cash in all European countries.
    2. European financial institution can be acting as a virtual bank account too and preform like any other ban account.
    3. If you are buying property in Europe and need to make international payments for this purpose.
    4. If you’re opening a new business in Europe or expanding an existing one, launching your business in the European market.

    Freelance professionals needing to receive payments from customers in multiple currencies will find a European bank account useful for holding and converting currencies from across the globe.
    A bank account in Europe is good for individuals wanting to save, invest, add to their pension fund or diversify their savings in a foreign currency.

     

    Choosing a European Bank Account

    There are several banking solutions in Europe available to individuals and companies. The first question is what you will be using the account for and which financial services you will require. Once you have decided that, you can settle on the right European bank and account-type for you. Different clients have different banking needs – do you need a European bank with low fees for payments; good interest rates; convenient access? Compare the features each bank offers you then make your decision.

     

    Making your choice of the best online bank for your own needs must take into account your specific requirements. The best online banks and financial institutions provide a wide range of different services at various cost levels. Each one of the banks offers a unique package of services that will match different financial goals. Commercial banks in Europe that hold a fully-fledged banking license can offer their customers a full bank account and a universal credit card (Visa or Mastercard). By law, these banks protect customer deposits up to €100,000. The newer financial institutions (also called fintech banks) use modern digital platforms to offer a free standard current account with optional features like integrated budgeting, monthly reports, and other ways to keep customers in control of their cash. Common digital payment options like e-Wallets, debit cards, prepaid cards, internet transfers are available usually at a lower cost than from commercial banks. Some of the digital banks offer saving schemes in their online bank accounts with competitive rates of interest, but they cannot provide a universal saving guarantee. Customer growth and financial stability is the universal goal of the best online bank account provider.

     

    When choosing the best international business online bank account, the main features to look for are the cost of its services, its track record, the range of different services and the level of customer support. Simple measures such as level of transfer fees; whether the bank issues universal credit/debit cards (Visa/Mastercard); and is truly ‘borderless’ offering its services throughout your area of operation. These are the metrics that people use to judge which are the top international business accounts suitable for their own operations.

     

    The decision whether or not to open an overseas business account depends a lot on the type of business structure that you have, and also on whether you are going to transfer funds across several global areas. On one hand, having a business bank account will make the business appear more professional, as customers will be dealing with an account held in your business name rather than your own name. Generally, businesses don’t like making payments into non business accounts.

    If you are trading just inside one bloc, such as the European Union, or the USA, there is probably no need to open a global  bank account. If there is going to be significant international activity, a business worldwide bank account makes the operations more efficient and simplifies accounting and reporting.

     

    A more recent list of 100 top European banks comes from the 2018 S&P Global Market Intelligence report. In this report, banks were ranked according to their reported assets and were not adjusted for differences made by various accounting treatments. For many years U.S. based financial institutions dominated S&P Global Market’s annual report of the largest banks but recently Chinese banks have taken the lead. When total assets are assessed four of the top 15 largest banks in the world are Chinese and a total of six financial institutions on the list are based in Asia. In stark comparison, only two of the 15 largest banks in the S&P Global Market’s report are based in the U.S.

    What Features do the Best Online Banks in Europe Offer:

    • Safety – Most of the top online banks in Europe are fully licensed and meet the requirements of authorized brick-and-mortar classic banks or financial institutions. Only do your banking with authorized and FDIC insured financial institutions that will protect and compensate you if need be.
    • Usability – The best online banks in Europe use a user-centered design that makes it quick and straight forward to navigate the site. An attractive, user-friendly online banking site which is streamlined and simple to carry out banking transactions is one of the most important factors when choosing an online bank.
    • Simplicity – To make things simpler many online banks and EMIs outsource to third parties for some services including issuing payment cards; customer services; compliance checks; foreign currency exchange and integration with money transfer companies for SEPA and SWIFT. Not only is the outsourced service usually better than the EMI could provide but it also saves time and money.
    • Function – Online banks should provide you with an international debit card that allows you to make payments; withdraw funds; block/unblock your card; limit and set permissions for the card and alter security settings – just as a traditional bank card would do except with the added convenience of an app or desktop access.
    • Interest and Charges – Online banks with a fully operational business model will be able to function at on a much lower budget than traditional banks. The huge saving on physical branches; staff; organizational structures and other factors is passed on to the clients who get excellent value for money, higher interest rates and lower fees with their online bank.

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