Thursday, July 2, 2009

Czechs Don't Write Checks

I now have a Czech bank account with Raiffeisenbank. I have my main debit account which IBM will set up for direct deposit and then a savings account that earns interest. But it's weird as an American to open a bank account without checking. If you set up direct deposit over 25.000 Kč (Czech crowns) then there are no monthly maintenance fees -- 25.000 Kč is about $1,200 USD. Europeans use periods for thousands and commas for decimals. 

A few things were kind of different about opening the account. Besides showing my passport and Czech work visa (green card), you have to have a cell phone to open an account because a temporary PIN code gets texted to you in order to activate the account. Good thing I still have service on my U.S. cell phone for a few more weeks. I was able to set up a dual currency account for both crowns and dollars. I'm getting a Visa debit card in 7 days but it's not mailed to you. You have to go back to the opening branch to pick it up. Extra security I guess. 

I get two free withdrawals from my bank's ATMs per month. Then it's 9,90 kč (about 50 cents) per transaction. It's also 9,90 Kč everytime you use another bank's ATM. 

Here's the kicker for my Equifax friends...despite having worked in the credit industry for the last nine years, I have no Czech credit history. LOL!!! Once I have collected 3 monthly pay statements from IBM then I'll go back to my branch to apply for a credit card. I'll need a Czech credit card over here because everytime I use a U.S. card, I get charged a 2%-3% foreign transaction fee by the U.S. banks. Bastards!

At least the bank agent had some basic English which helped. But it still took a couple of hours to get everything set up. When I go back to apply for a credit card I'll also open an investment account. Well enough about banking. Tomorrow's adventure begins with my 9 AM appointment at the foreign police (immigration control) and possibly a haircut.  More to follow later...


  1. Hello Christopher, just to let you know at least one person is reading your blog. I am very interested by your feedback because my husband may be sent to Brno for an assignment and I will, of course, follow him...
    Keep on writing ! Thanks, C**

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.