Do I need to open a bank account in Croatia?

Just because you live in Croatia, doesn’t mean you need to open a bank account in Croatia. There are a variety of factors to consider before opening up a bank account.

There was a time in the not-to-distant past when the police required that every person applying for residence show they had money to support themselves on a Croatian bank account. Lately, they are now accepting foreign bank statements. Due to this change in procedure, there is even less of a reason to open a bank account in Croatia in certain scenarios.

We’ll go over the reasons why you may or may not want a bank account below. Let’s get started…

If you are an individual without a business or a job in Croatia

If you are financially independent or employed outside of Croatia, then you don’t need a bank account.

Really?

Really. If you are financially-based outside Croatia, then it doesn’t make a lot of sense to pay a monthly fee to have a bank account in Croatia if you aren’t going to use it. Bank accounts are used primarily for bill payment and receiving a salary. As an alternative, you can pay bills at the post office for a fee of 5-6kn per bill. For invoices associated with your health insurance, a small percentage is charged to pay the bill instead of a flat amount, which is negligible.

If you make all your money outside Croatia, it’s not a good idea to move large amounts into a Croatian bank account for use. This puts you on a radar you don’t want to be on.

If you are an individual that owns a business

Yes, you most definitely, unequivocally need a bank account. This is where your salary will be deposited as long as you own the business and collect a salary.

If you are individual with a Croatian job

Yep, you need a bank account too. This is where you’ll receive your salary.

How to open a Croatian bank account

To open a bank account, you’ll need to be registered at an address (with proof from the Policija or an ID card) and have an OIB identification number.

If you plan to pay bills from this account, best to sign up for internet banking and bill pay. You’ll be charged a small fee, less than 10 kuna usually, per month for this service.

Before opening a bank account, check out our comparison of the largest Croatian banks here.

What else should I know?

If you have any debt in Croatia whatsoever, the government will take it out of your bank account without warning.

Haven’t paid your national health insurance fee? First they freeze the money, then they take it, and you will not get it back. I would avoid a situation where the government must resort to freezing your bank account as it is a laborious and extremely stressful process to get it unfrozen and chances are you, you’re not getting that money back. If they took your money, then you probably owed that money.

To be clear, getting your account “unfrozen” does not mean that you get your money back. It only means that you have proven that you’ve satisfied the debt in full, at which point your account will be unlocked and usable again.

Are you an American?

Even in Croatia, you cannot get away from Uncle Sam.

As part of FACTA, the US “requires” foreign banks to report bank accounts for all American citizens. By “requires” I mean, they have threatened to freeze wire transfers that go through the US from the foreign bank for non-compliance.

If you are an American citizen and plan to open a bank account in Croatia (or any foreign country really), the process is lengthier than for non-Americans. Be prepared to complete some IRS tax forms. You may also need to provide a third ID (like a driver’s license) that shows an American address, in addition to your passport and Croatia ID.

There is a lot of paperwork. It can take an hour to sort through all of it with the bank. Usually, you’ll get a banker who has not done this before. That also adds time, but be patient. Remember that these kind Croatians are having to fill out tax forms for the overbearing United States.

On top of the FACTA requirement for banks, you as the citizen are required to file an FBAR annually if you have foreign accounts with a combined value of $10,000 at any time during the tax year. You can file an FBAR online here. Please note that this $10,000 threshold could increase at the discretion of the IRS in future tax years. Here is what can happen to you if you fail to file an FBAR.

Freedom tastes good, doesn’t it.

Have you run into any issues opening a bank account? Please share your experience in the comments.

Please note: All information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal advice in any form. For legal advice, you must consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. We can recommend one if you contact us.

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20 thoughts on “Do I need to open a bank account in Croatia?

  1. Preet Singh
    July 22, 2018 @ 3:09 pm

    Hello folks.

    Since last one week i’m searching a bank to open saving account for my kids in zagreb.Any advice would be appreciated.

    Regards!

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      July 24, 2018 @ 3:26 pm

      Hi Preet,

      Do you have residency in Croatia? Only legal residents may open bank accounts.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

    • Lazar
      January 29, 2020 @ 1:42 pm

      Hi Sara,

      What documents do you need to provide if you are an American and do not have croatian documents in order to open bank account for your company in Croatia ? Thanks

      {reply}

      • Expat in Croatia
        January 29, 2020 @ 6:10 pm

        Hi Lazar,

        If you are opening a bank account for your company, you must have Croatian documents (articles of incorporation, etc) plus your Croatia ID and US passport.

        Regards,

        Sara

        {reply}

  2. Preet Singh
    July 24, 2018 @ 10:49 pm

    Yes i do have, my wife is croatian, just looking for some options for better saving plans for my kids future.
    any advice about good banks or there plans?

    Regards!

    {reply}

  3. MR Nhân
    October 15, 2018 @ 12:53 pm

    I want to buy vcc issued by bank of croatia, who can sell, please conntact me at skype: anhnhanvn !
    Thank and best regards!

    {reply}

  4. John Russel
    June 12, 2019 @ 12:06 pm

    Hello, i’m creating an offshore company in Croatia and i need an account in a croatian Bank. The company through which i’m creating my company suggests i use the banks in this list http://www.confiduss.com/en/banks/list/croatia/ . What do you think, which bank should i choose?

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      June 13, 2019 @ 8:39 am

      Hi John,

      I don’t have any experience with these banks. The bank I usually recommend is PBZ, which is not on this list.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  5. Christine Rubinic
    July 17, 2020 @ 3:22 pm

    I am English and have a bank account in Croatia. I have now moved away and want to close it. This appears to be a problem! Can you help with any advice please?

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      July 20, 2020 @ 10:16 am

      Hi Christine,

      Usually you must close the bank account in person at the branch where you opened it. If you’re not able to do this, I would contact the bank to see if they will allow you to do it another way like providing a written letter or getting a legal representative in Croatia to handle it for you.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  6. Dayna
    December 10, 2020 @ 9:52 pm

    Hello, thank you for the helpful information, as always. I laughed out loud at your final line (I am an American who apparently does not need to open a bank account in Croatia). I just finally got a checking account open with a larger US bank for better ease of international payments (and no more ATM fees from my small bank), but no, they do not transfer money in kuna… Trying to pay a few bills in Croatia, and have concluded thanks to your article that the best way to do so is at pošta or in cash!
    Hvala opet. Cheers, Dayna

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      December 16, 2020 @ 2:41 pm

      Hey Dayna!

      Oh, so happy this post was helpful to you! Yep, Pošta all the way!! Makes things SO much easier. 🙂

      Cheers,

      Sara

      {reply}

  7. Brent Phillips
    December 25, 2020 @ 4:22 am

    Hi Sara, thanks for all your work providing info, very helpful! My question is whether or not it is yet common Croatia to be able to pay things like utility bills with automatic payments to credit cards?

    Thanks in advance,
    Brent

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      January 3, 2021 @ 1:03 pm

      Hi Brent,

      You can set up automatic payments to a Croatian bank account. A credit card cannot be used.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  8. DC
    December 30, 2020 @ 1:13 pm

    I’m an American citizen as well as a Croatian one and currently I’m handling enrollment of health insurance side of things.

    1. Is it possible that HZZO (Hrvatskog zavoda za zdravstveno osiguranje) take money with a VISA credit card?
    2. If not (above) is it possible that they take money out “automatically” of a U.S. bank?

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      January 3, 2021 @ 12:51 pm

      Hi DC,

      Neither is possible. You can only pay for HZZO with cash at a bank or the post office, or you pay with a Croatian bank account.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  9. Axel
    March 19, 2021 @ 9:46 am

    Hello,

    I am still a non resident and the only things I have are a Spanish passport and Croatian OIB. Can I still open a bank account? I feel that would make it easier when I’m applying for jobs.
    Thank you

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      March 19, 2021 @ 5:36 pm

      Hi Axel,

      Having a Croatian bank account is not going to improve your chances of getting a job. But yes, you can open a bank account without legal residence.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

      • Geoff
        August 14, 2021 @ 9:27 pm

        I purchased an investment property in Croatia and I need to open an account to pay utility bills and other small expenses. I see most banks offer accounts in HRK or EUR but I have not found one account that allows switching between the two.

        1. If I am only paying small bills is it better to open an account in HRK?
        2. Do you know of any banks that allow switching between HRK and other currencies with just one account?

        Thanks!

        {reply}

        • Marija Tkalec
          September 1, 2021 @ 4:45 pm

          Hi Geoff,

          Bills can be paid only in cash in person in Croatia or from a Croatian bank account (you can not use a foreign bank account).

          Croatian banks usually provide separated accounts to their users: the one for foreign currencies and the one for HRK.

          Warm regards,
          Marija

          {reply}

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