How To Get A SEPA Bank Account Online
In recent years more and more FinTech services have come up that provide banking services only through the internet. We call such companies "virtual banks" since they provide banking services such as SEPA accounts, bank cards and bank transfers, but without real world branches. So sign up, customer service and everything works online only. The services can usually be contacted by phone (customer hotline), live chat or email.
Still there are certain differences to traditional banks regarding the specific banking services they can provide or not, but when it comes to opening a SEPA bank account online, virtual banks are the place to go.
Our comparison gives an overview of the major features of such FinTech banking companies:
FinTech Provider Comparisons With SEPA Bank Accounts:
- SEPA (DE)
- UK-account (account no. + sort code)
- US account
- ATM: £200/month for free; then 2%
- Currency conversion: up to 3.5%
- Debit Card: $29.95 / year
- Transfer fees: 0 - 0.5%
- Cheap international transfers
- Real money saver for travelers
- No credit check / Schufa-free
- Only for European residents
- Proof of residency required
- SEPA - IBAN (GBP & LV Country Codes)
- Bank transfer local: $3 | SWIFT 0.5% | SEPA EUR: $0.60
- Cards 2.6 to 2.9%
- ATM $2.60 (+ 2.6% MasterCard fee when abroad)
- IBAN bank accounts
- MasterCard (Prepaid)
- Good App
- No crypto wallets
- No real credit card
- SEPA - IBAN (LT Country Codes)
- ATM: €1.00 to €1.50 + 1.80 % | Card: €3.00 to €5.00 | Card Payments: from 0 to €0.10 + 1.20% | Different bank transfer fees apply
- SEPA - IBAN Accounts
- Schufa-free / No credit check
- Cheap currency exchange
- Card only for EEA (Europe)
- Daily ATM withdrawal limit only €600
- bunq e-wallet
- SEPA - IBAN (NL Country Codes)
- ATM: €0.99 | Card: €9.00 per card + €2 to €3 p/m per card | Deposits: 1.5% | No transfer fees from Bunq's side
- IBAN Accounts
- SEPA / SWIFT transfers
- Credit Cards
- Support competence should improve
- Monthly account fee quite high
- SEPA - IBAN (DE)
- UK account (account number + sort code)
- ATM 1.7%
- No added exchange fees
- Regular Plan: €0/mo
- N26 You: €9.90/mo
- N26 Metal: €16.90/mo
- Cheap international transfer
- Good app
- No real credit card
- Fees for cash withdrawals in foreign currency
- SEPA - IBAN (GB Country Code)
- Account Fee: From £0/month Debit Card: FREE ATM: 2% (FREE limits) Foreign currency card spending: 2% (Free limits)
- 100% customer funds protection
- SEPA - IBAN accounts
- No proof of residency
- No "real" credit card
- Sign up only for EEA (Europe)
Get A SEPA Bank Account Online (EUR / GBP / CHF) With Virtual Banks
Thanks to modern virtual banks, which have been springing up more and more in recent years, it is now possible to easily get a SEPA bank account online. You don't have to belong to a particular nationality. The purpose of this development in banking is to simplify international payments globally.
Who Provides SEPA Bank Accounts Online
In the context of increasing globalization, there is a steadily growing network of service providers and customers from different countries or even continents who must be able to make payments to each other. And all this in a simple and fast way and without enormous additional costs for international transfers.
This is why some FinTech companies have specialized in solving such problems in recent years. There are virtual banks, which have accounts in different countries, and between these accounts the company then sends, so to speak, company internal transfers on behalf of customers who need to send money to other countries.
What Kind Of SEPA Account Can You Get
Currently with such providers you can easily create a EUR, GBP or CHF SEPA bank account from another country – even from outside Europe. Such SEPA bank accounts are even possible for non residents. For the FinTech company it's mainly important to know who their customers are and that signups comply with their KYC.
The country code your SEPA account will have depends on the cooperating "real" banks, where the FinTech Services hold real bank accounts. This means that the underlying system is still the real banking system, but the FinTech companies kind of put an extra layer above it – they get SEPA bank accounts with certain banks and pass them on to their own customers. They have their own specific agreements with the real banks to do so.
The benefit for customers of such virtual banking FinTech services is, that you can get the SEPA bank accounts through the FinTech systems which means you can simply sign up online, without all the effort opening a traditional bank account usually means. Also you handle your banking through their user-friendly apps, that are often more modern and easy to use than apps of traditional banks.
Sign Up Requirements And Restrictions
There might be country restrictions for signups due to the law situation of certain countries, this is something you have to check on the providers websites themselves.
Other requirements are that you certainly have to be at least 18 years old. Things like credit score don't seem to be important in that case, since those banking services don't provide loans or credits on cards. The banking cards you can get for your SEPA accounts are usually prepaid debit cards, so the credit cannot be overdrawn.
On this page we present you all the virtual banks that currently offer SEPA bank accounts to non residents and even to people from outside Europe.
Bank Cards with FinTech SEPA Accounts
As mentioned above, the banking cards you can get with your Online SEPA Bank account are prepaid debit cards. This will either be a MasterCard or VISA, depending on the card issuer the company is working with. The prepaid debit card system makes it easier for the FinTechs to offer such accounts and bank cards easily online, without much background check or credit score check, since customers can never overdraw their SEPA accounts and get into dept with the card.
What Are The Implications Of SEPA In Payment Transactions?
Since the introduction of SEPA, only IBAN and BIC are to be used instead of account number and bank sort code. These are account data valid throughout Europe.
IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number and BIC for Business Identifier Code.
To avoid confusion, IBAN and BIC must contain country codes, which is why they are longer than previous account numbers and bank sort codes. In addition to the country code GB for Great Britain, the IBAN consists of the old account number and bank sort code and is supplemented by a two-digit check digit.
SEPA Countries and Country Codes
SEPA – What is it actually?
The abbreviation SEPA stands for Single Euro Payments Area. The aim of the European Commission, who introduced this new bank transfer system, was to simplify payment transactions throughout Europe.
Bank transfers should be processed with uniform payment products, such as bank transfers and direct debits.
In order to end the cost-intensive coexistence of national payment products and SEPA products and to speed up all payments in the European Union, the European Commission launched a proposal for a regulation in December 2010. The aim was to standardize payment transactions in Europe for EUR payments.
This means that national payments as well as cross-border payments within the European Union are since then processed according to the same rules. This means that it doesn't matter whether a bank transfer is made within one's own country or whether, for example, a payment is sent from France to the UK, or from Germany to Italy, etc., the same applies to all other countries.
Although the UK still have their own currency, the UK banking system is integrated in the SEPA system, the same applies to the few other European countries that still have their individual national currency (Denmark, Switzerland, Norway etc.). However, for SEPA ctransfers to another currency account, i.e. from a EUR to a GBP account, there are no transfer costs in this sense, but conversion fees are usually incurred. This is a slight difference between EUR and EUR transfers or transfers from EUR to e.g. GBP or CHF accounts.
The SEPA credit transfer and the SEPA direct debit procedure have been standard in Europe for several years. But, despite the SEPA scheme, some bank customers can still use the old system, specifying the combination of bank sort code and account number for direct debits and transfers. However, this still works above all for domestic transfers.
The answer to this question can be given from different perspectives. If you want to look at the whole issue in a more abstract way, SEPA appeared to be the next logical step on the road to European integration. Money has long ceased to be tied to national borders.
The Euro has been a common currency and means of payment in many EU member states for around twenty years now. Consequently, this common path should also be pursued in the area of payment transactions and payment systems should be adapted to reality. Wouldn't it be contradictory to accept the same currency across borders but continue to play by national rules for payments?
This seems all the more odd given that today the importance of cashless payments - i.e. transfers and direct debits - is steadily increasing and a large proportion of payments within Europe are now made digitally.
Maintaining different payment systems in 27 Member States would be uneconomic and would hamper further integration of the common market. As soon as a payment crosses the border, this can only be done via SEPA credit transfer or SEPA direct debit.
Banks would thus have to operate different systems, and account holders would also have to keep SEPA data in addition to their national account data in order to make a cross-border transfer, even if this may not happen on a daily basis. It is much easier for both banks and payment partners to remember just one data record for the account details.