Thursday, 18 August 2011
Opening a Bank Account
If you're staying here for a more than just a couple of months, then you may want to open a bank account. I realised after a few weeks, when I checked my netbank in Denmark, that it costs a lot to use the ATMs - I was paying about 4 euros everytimee I withdrew cash!!! So I decided that I had to open a bank account, then I would be able to transfer the money once a month, and avoid all those extra fees.
There are lots of banks to choose from, but the biggest bank (with the most ATMs) is OTP (www.otpbank.hu) so, for convenience, I thought I'd go to them. I set out on a sunny Friday afternoon and wandered into my local OTP bank and was struck my the first obstacle: a ticket-queueing system with about 10 options entirely in Hungarian. Hmmm, this wasn't going to be my day. The thought of waiting for 10 minutes, then finding out that I'd taken the wrong ticket and having to wait again didn't really appeal to me, so I thought that this was something I could leave for another day.
Fortunately, when I told this story to one of my colleagues, she kindly offered to come with me and help me open an account. So, we went to another OTP bank and began what was to be the loonnggg process of opening an account. (NOTE! Remember that you'll need your passport and something with your address on it). After about 20 minutes of working out which account I needed and typing in all my details (btw, for some reason they need your mother's maiden name, which I found a little odd), finally we were getting somewhere. It was here that I discovered that Hungarian banks either have no love of the rain forest or they own a paper manufacturer, because I spent the next 10 minutes signing lots of forms and receiving lots of paper about rules and regulations, all in Hungarian, about my account and the rules of the bank - the only one I remember was that if my account goes below zero, then they can close my account, "fair enough" I thought. I also discovered that the bank card would take about two weeks to reach me in the post, which was quite a long time I thought, but I did at least have online banking, and that was available in English which is good. And that was that. Even though it took about 40 minutes, it was relatively straightforward, and at least now I can avoid all those extra fees.