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A bank that suits my priorities?


Slein Jinn 2 | 19
8 Sep 2012 #1
I'm soon to be relocating to Poland, and I'm trying to work out what bank I should be looking toward when I arrive. I've read through several lengthy threads of advice on which banks to use or to avoid in Poland, but it appears that most individuals have quite significantly different priorities about what they want from their bank than I do. If you could provide me with some feedback about how well the bank(s) you've used serve to fulfill specifically the following criteria, I would very much appreciate it. (A bit of relevant background: I have a permanent address in Dębica and should have my one-year residency permit sorted out shortly; I'm neither a citizen nor a permanent resident.)

What I ideally want from a bank (in no particular order):

1. Low minimum account balance. I enjoy what I do, but it doesn't pay spectacularly, so it isn't always possible for me to keep a lot of cash tied up in the bank. Nothing is worse than having your bank confiscate some of your money because you don't have enough money.

2. Minimal service/maintenance fees. I don't really care about ATM fees--I very rarely use them anyway--but monthly usage fees and transaction fees and the like really rub me the wrong way.

3. Online banking services available in English.
4. A credit card with no monthly fee through the bank where I have my accounts so that I can pay it directly through online banking. A low credit limit is fine; I try to always pay the balance in full at the end of the month. (I don't care about a debit card; I have no problems being responsible with a credit card and find debit cards generally come with a lot more strings.)

5. Convenient branch location in Dębica.

Things I'm not overly bothered about:

1. Savings account interest rates. As I mentioned previously, I don't typically have a lot of capital sitting idly in the bank anyway, so a difference in interest accrual isn't going to add up to much for me anyway.

2. Debit cards. I find them to be a bit of a hassle, and in my experience they're laden with a lot more fees than just using a credit card.

3. ATM's/ATM fees. I almost never use them. I would much rather walk into the branch location than use an ATM.
4. Customer service. In my experience, customer service generally is really just you make of it. I'm a patient man and generally pretty understanding with such things. My bank in the U.S. had frankly dire customer service by all accounts, but it ticked the right boxes and served my needs pretty well.

With my bank stateside, I had a $10 minimum balance on both my savings and chequing accounts with no monthly maintenance fees. I could write five cheques per month without incurring any usage fees. I had a credit card with no monthly fee, a $1500 credit limit (recently it was raised to $2500, but $1500 had always been plenty), and a 10.99% interest rate. I could pay my credit card bill directly out of my savings account through the online banking service. My savings account had a whopping 0.04% annual percentage yield, meaning I basically earned no interest. This was basically perfect for me; the closer I can get to replicating that in Poland, the more satisfied I'll be.

Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,719
8 Sep 2012 #2
It's worth pointing out that in Poland, the opposite is true with debit cards - they come with usually no fees and no usage fees (except abroad), while credit cards usually come loaded with all sorts of fees.
Zibi - | 336
8 Sep 2012 #3
... and it also s/b mentioned that cheques are not used in PL at all. We simply skipped that stage of development of banking industry.
OP Slein Jinn 2 | 19
9 Sep 2012 #4
It's worth pointing out that in Poland, the opposite is true with debit cards - they come with usually no fees and no usage fees (except abroad), while credit cards usually come loaded with all sorts of fees.

It seems that most banks have very little information about their terms on their websites. So are there no options for a no-fee credit card, then? Or do business just pass the transaction fees that the credit card companies charge them onto the customers? Given the other sources of revenue available to credit card companies (interest and transaction fees on businesses), it just seems hard to imagine that there wouldn't be some option on that front. I really dislike using debit cards, but it just isn't practical to always pay cash for everything.

... and it also s/b mentioned that cheques are not used in PL at all. We simply skipped that stage of development of banking industry.

So do you just pay all of your bills with electronic funds transfers or whatever, then?
delphiandomine 83 | 17,719
9 Sep 2012 #5
It seems that most banks have very little information about their terms on their websites. So are there no options for a no-fee credit card, then?

Generally speaking, You might find that there are promotions to avoid monthly/yearly fees, but you'll still be hit with huge fees for cash withdrawals/etc.

Given the other sources of revenue available to credit card companies (interest and transaction fees on businesses), it just seems hard to imagine that there wouldn't be some option on that front.

It's just not how they work in Poland, unfortunately.

I really dislike using debit cards, but it just isn't practical to always pay cash for everything.

What's the difference? Debit cards are normally free to issue, free to use and free to withdraw cash - it would be unheard of here (or in Europe in general) to use a credit card for day to day stuff.

So do you just pay all of your bills with electronic funds transfers or whatever, then?

Yes. Transfers are the way how much business is done here - I don't use my debit card for any regular payments for gas, administration fees, etc.
Srb
9 Sep 2012 #6
Look at mbank, advantages:

Ipad ap in english
Use euronet machines (everywhere)
My experience with fees is good, but may be different with low balance
People you can talk to by phone in english

Eerything else you'll need to research

But i have no plans to switch


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