Really? Damn, I knew something was wrong.
the bank would give you interest on a savings account but then charge you for having the account...so unless you have loads of money in the account it probably isn't worth having the account in the first place....
I'm sorry I've read your question in a wrong way.
I didn't notice the word "savings" or rather got confused by the part when you wrote about "taking out cash whenever you wish" :)
1/ Savings account (lokata oszczędnościowa) - in Poland it is usually an account where you put your money for a longer period (3, 6, 12 months for example) and take it
out at the end of this period.
Then you don't pay fees. But if you (for some reason) need the money before the end of the declared period, then you pay fees like for a current account.
2/ Current account (rachunek bieżący or some similar name) is an account where you keep your money and you're allowed to take it out at any time (in cash at the counter, from an ATM, using a debit card, like Visa Electron or Maestro to pay in shops etc.). A debit card can be used to pay up to the amount of the money you have on your account (or up to a fixed limit, usually for safety reasons), it's not a credit card, and the payment is immediately charged on your account.
I'll tell you how it works for me:
I'm not talking about all the banks in Poland, because there may be big differencies in their offers.
I have a current account
and a savings account (both in ING Bank Śląski :)
I pay the bank monthly 11 złoty of fees for running my current account (8 zł is for the account and 3 zł for a Visa Electron debit card). There are some additional fees though (unfortunatelly, I don't remember them, because I avoid any operations that are payable extra) for taking out cash at the counter, for using ATMs belonging to foreign banks (cash from an ATM belonging to ING = 0 zł fee, from ATMs of most other Polish banks = 4 or 5 zł, at least last time I used a foreign ATM) and probably for other operations. What is free (or rather included in the basic fee of 11 zł a month);
- using debit card with ING's ATMs,
- using debit card in shops or for online payments (but not all debit cards can be used for this, Visa Electron - not),
- money transfers to other accounts (yours or someone else's) in ING.
- money transfers to other accounts (yours or someone else's) in all Polish banks, but only if made via their online system (maybe phone system too, but I'm not sure, I use only internet banking).
I also have a savings account
in the same bank.
But I don't have any passbook to it.
I can transfer the money to my current account, if I need them.
The advantage of "OKO", that's how they call it in my bank (Otwarte Konto Oszczędnościowe, open savings account) is that you can take out money once a month
without breaking the contract, so you will keep the interests on the remaining money, without paying any fee.
Interests on a savings account are changeable, currently ING offers (in reality) 0,385% a month (so having a 20,000 zł, equal to about 4,750 pounds, you get 77.12 zł of interests a month, minus 19% for taxes, because there's a 19% tax on savings interests in Poland, so effective interests (19% of 77.12 zł = 14,65zł, rounded up to 15 zł, because tax systems accepts only payments rounded up/down to a full złoty) would be 77.12-15= 62.12 zł a month (from 20 thousands zloty savings), about 0.311%. Those interests will be added to your account each month, so next month your earning will be a little higher (because you'll have 20,000 zł + 62.12 zł as a basic amount).Edit:
As I mentioned before, the banks in Poland may have very different offers, so you must check several different banks (for example those that have a good web page in English) and choose what is best for your needs.