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English-speaking bank in Warsaw ?


new-expat
19 May 2009  #1
Hi,

I'm an 'expat' and new in Warsaw. I don't speak a word of Polish (OK, apart from 'dzien dobry, dziekuje, piwo prosze :)) and I need to open a bank account here because a part of my salary will be paid in PLN.

Can you please advise me an English-speaking bank with English-speaking consultant over here ? Can you please give me the adress of the banks because even if they have a Polish version of their website, most of the banks don't say if their consultants speak English or not.

Many thanks in advance guys
R.
Harry
19 May 2009  #2
Citibank. The website is entirely in English, the telephone banking is entirely in English and staff in every branch speak English. Go to the main branch in Warsaw (the one on plac Teatralny).
OP new-expat
19 May 2009  #3
Hi Harry,

Thanks :)
That's what I call a clear and precise answer !
dcchris 8 | 432
19 May 2009  #4
I use Get In. They seem to actually be a Polish bank which isn't easy to find. There is one guy at my branch who speaks English and thats enough for me. I like to try and support the Polish companies when I can.
BevK 11 | 248
19 May 2009  #5
Welcome! Why not register an actual account so we can talk to you properly?
OP new-expat
20 May 2009  #6
Actually colleagues of me talked to me about Mbank... a cheap one, no fees, no blabla.

What do you think of MBank ?
db1874 7 | 227
20 May 2009  #7
Citibank is expensive, 5zl for every ATM withdrawal ( if not a Citibank ATM) and other monthly fees on top of that.

I heard MBank is best but you still have to pay a fee for transfers to accounts in other Polish banks.
OP new-expat
20 May 2009  #8
OK thanks.

But anyway I don't need to make transfers and stuff : having a Polish bank account is a request from my company as they want to deposit 20% of my salary in PLN (the 80% remaining in Euros on my French bank account).

I don't intend to do a lot of things with these 20%, I'll use them to pay my flat rent and that's all.

For the others 80% I've my international card (no fees no commission :))
bullfrog 6 | 603
20 May 2009  #9
For the others 80% I've my international card (no fees no commission :))

What kind of international card (apart from a polish one of course) offers you no fees no commission in Poland? Remember that it is not in the Eurozone!
OP new-expat
20 May 2009  #10
It's a VISA card but it's an agreement with my French bank: I suscribed an international contract call 'jazz international' and it offers amongts other things :

- no fees nor comission for any payments / money withdrawing
- one international transfer / month for free

Remember that it is not in the Eurozone!

Really :) ? That's why the coins and banknotes are not the same... lol
Seriously, I know, but when I withdraw money, the conversion PLN - EUR is automatically done to the daily rate.
ukpolska
20 May 2009  #11
There are more and more Poles speaking English and you maybe surprised how many actually do speak it.
I have my own company here and I used to get constant phone calls from advertising agencies offering me advertising space on their website for 300zl per year.

A simply, "sorry I'm English do you speak English", which was usually met with silence and a clunk of the receiver being put down; however, that doesn't suffice nowadays as they almost always answer yes and then I have to end up putting the receiver down.

Times are changing!!!
OP new-expat
20 May 2009  #12
Times are maybe changing but my point of view is certainly more objective than yours :) I mean, I AM a foreigner and I'm in Warsaw right now.

Did you ever wonder why I posted this thread ? mmmh ?
Well, it's because I've been trying in some banks and none of them had any english-speaking consultant.

There are more and more Poles speaking English and you maybe surprised how many actually do speak it.

Well, maybe, but surprisingly, in many shops, no one does (even young salesperson).
bullfrog 6 | 603
20 May 2009  #13
Seriously, I know, but when I withdraw money, the conversion PLN - EUR is automatically done to the daily rate.

If I were you, I would check this "daily rate" applied against the NBP rate published daily.. then you'll find out what the hidden commission is!!
ukpolska
20 May 2009  #14
Times are maybe changing but my point of view is certainly more objective than yours :) I mean, I AM a foreigner and I'm in Warsaw right now.

Errr, I have lived here in Poland for eight years and I am British, don't really get your point unless your penis is bigger than my penis lol
OP new-expat
20 May 2009  #15
Errr, I have lived here in Poland for eight years and I am British

Sorry I thought you were a desperate chauvinist Pole trying to convince me that ppl over here speak English lol ! But still, you must admit it's not so easy to find an English-speaking bank over here (which is the reason why I posted this topic...)

England 1 Australia 0

I didn't know Australia was into the match but as far as I'm concern, I'm French.
ukpolska
20 May 2009  #16
Sorry I thought you were a desperate chauvinist Pole

Sorry my friend and I don't wish to cause no offence but that's rather a fixed and damning statement regarding Polish people isn't it?

Please try and be a little bit more liberal in your judgements of nations :)

And I could return with you try finding a Bank in Paris that speaks English eeekkk
Or a Bank in London that speaks French... get what I am saying now? :)
OP new-expat
20 May 2009  #17
I guess I was misunderstood again (damn !). I didn't mean to say all Polish ppl are desperate chauvinists, I just said I had thought you could be ONE. Is that clearer ?

And yes, you can return with me about finding a bank in Paris that speaks English lol, I'm perfectly aware that it's the same problem in France. But this forum isn't about France... is it ?

If I had seen your mail on a French forum, saying that you're desperately looking for a bank that speaks english in Paris, well, I guess I'd have tried to help you to find one rather than saying "times are changing".

U get my point 'mon ami' ;) ?
OP new-expat
20 May 2009  #18
Sure but I guess it's even less common than one where ppl speak english... and what's more I couln't ask for advice on this forum ;)

But since you're talking about that... is there any bank in Warsaw where ppl speak french ? (I have no hope lol)

I still don't get your point... I said something, it was misunderstood, so I precised it... so I think we don't need a referee......
Ziemowit 12 | 3,385
20 May 2009  #19
If I were you, I would contact a bank in Warsaw by phone first, for example, the mBank (mBank is one of the trade marks of Millenium Bank which is a publicly listed company on the Warsaw Stock Exchange). Then I would try to arrange with them a meeting with an English-speaking (a French-speaking maybe) consultant to open an account. You only need one visit to a bank for that purpose actually, then you may carry on your banking operations through the net or with an ATM.

Bon courage à vous !
OP new-expat
20 May 2009  #20
Thanks Ziemowit :)

The point is... it's exactly what I've been trying to do lol ! And it wasn't so easy :'(

But it's OK now, Mbank has a little corner in a mall near my office and luckily the lady speaks English, so it should be all right.
Harry
20 May 2009  #21
Citibank is expensive, 5zl for every ATM withdrawal ( if not a Citibank ATM) and other monthly fees on top of that.

Free withdrawals from all Euronet machines, free online transfers (including international ones), think it is 3.99zl a month for the account itself.

But it's OK now, Mbank has a little corner in a mall near my office and luckily the lady speaks English, so it should be all right.

My experience of MBank is that they do not always have an English speaker on their telephone banking line. Citibank always do.
OP new-expat
20 May 2009  #22
My experience of MBank is that they do not always have an English speaker on their telephone banking line

Mh and what about Internet banking ? They have a full-english version don't they ? I hope I won't need to call them ;)
ukpolska
20 May 2009  #23
millenet.pl
The Millennium Bank have English speakers on the phone and also in a lot of their branches plus their internet banking site is in English and Polish.
db1874 7 | 227
20 May 2009  #24
Free withdrawals from all Euronet machines

Is that a new policy (or is it specific to a product) ? I closed my citibank account last year and I'm pretty sure i was paying 5zl even when withdrawing from the Euronet machines. I've switched to HSBC which has no charges.
Harry
20 May 2009  #25
As far as I know it is not a new policy and it works on both the accounts I have (the business account I've had for a year and a half and the personal account I've had for 12 years). What's HSBC like?

I hope I won't need to call them ;)

From what I remember you will probably have to call them a few times.

The Millennium Bank have English speakers on the phone

Not all the time they don't. I've got an account with them (for somebody else) and a couple of times when I called to sort things out, they had no English speaker available.
db1874 7 | 227
20 May 2009  #26
What's HSBC like?

HSBC is great but only their Premier service is available in Poland at the moment. You need a large minimum balance to qualify for the account or you need to have an HSBC account in another country (which I do).

The website is in English, all staff speak English and no fees.
ukpolska
20 May 2009  #27
Not all the time they don't. I've got an account with them (for somebody else) and a couple of times when I called to sort things out, they had no English speaker available.

Yeah that's true actually I remember that it happened to me once,
Harry fancy a beer in Lublin in early June?
Harry
20 May 2009  #28
HSBC is great but only their Premier service is available in Poland at the moment.

What kind of minimum are we talking here? And can this account be used to pay tax for a one-person company? If so, I might have to give Citibank the boot, their service is shite.

Harry fancy a beer in Lublin in early June?

Would love a Perla there but won't get the chance until well after summer, all my days off 'til then are being used on research trips for the next book (which isn't all that bad, means I get to visit some cracking places in backwater Poland). I'll be near Lublin at the end of next month for a couple of days but no chance to get into Lublin for a pint, got to go to Wlodowa, Zamosc, Belzec, Izbica, Jozefow, Arlamow, Zaslaw, Rzeszow, Sandomierz and Mielec. Oh, and Kock.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,596
20 May 2009  #29
My experience of MBank is that they do not always have an English speaker on their telephone banking line. Citibank always do.

I can report the opposite - they've always rustled up an English speaker when I've called, even at absurd times in the morning.

The major issue with them is that their 'finance centres' are run as just that - finance centres. You have to go to the kiosks they run in order to find out about any banking issues.

mBank's internet service is only in Polish though, which is a major problem for anyone completely unfamiliar with the language.
bullfrog 6 | 603
21 May 2009  #30
BISE, which has been taken over by DNBNord, use to have a french speaking service (it was owned by Banques Populaires). So You could try with DNBNord to see if this still exists

PS I confirm Citibank service is crap, I was a client for 2 years


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