Polish banking has come a long way since its monopolised and inefficient banking system of the 1990s, and nowadays offers a good number of both local and international banking options. Each has different fee policies and different account options, so it’s highly recommended expats do some preliminary research to find which will work best for them.
Money in Poland
Even though Poland joined the European Union in 2004, it has not yet adopted the euro. The Polish currency is the złoty (PLN), which is divided into 100 groszy.
Notes: 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 PLN
Coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 groszy and 1, 2 and 5 PLN
Expats can change money in banks or kantors (exchange offices). Banks will likely charge a commission, whereas kantors usually provide better exchange rates and don't charge a commission.
Banking in Poland
PKO BP is the largest and most popular national bank in Poland, while Citibank, MultiBank and MBank (a purely telephonic/online services bank) are most commonly used by expats. Bank staff generally speak English, and online banking can also be done in English.
Smaller, more traditional Polish banks and branches may not have English-speaking staff readily available.
Banking hours in Poland are generally from 9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.
Opening a bank account in Poland
A local bank account is necessary for day-to-day expenses and is needed in order to receive payment from employers.
Expats can use their passport and residency card (Karta Pobytu) to open a bank account. In cases where an expat doesn't have a residency card, it is often adequate to sign a declaration of residency.
A small monthly fee is required to maintain an account, and additional charges for transactions and direct debit orders also apply.
ATMs and credit cards
ATM machines are plentiful and conveniently located around the major cities, but rarer in rural areas. Credit cards are widely accepted.
Taxes in Poland
Expats living and working in Poland qualify for tax status based on the amount of time they spend in the country, or the nature of their employment contract.
Those who are residents, or who spend more than 183 days of the tax year in the country, will be taxed on their worldwide income.
Poland has a progressive tax system, meaning that according to the annual income earned, expats will be taxed between 19 and 32 percent.
It is necessary for expats to register for a tax identification number (NIP) upon arrival. This is a 10-digit number that is also required for social security payments. It can be requested and applied for at local public tax offices.