It is possible to open a personal bank account as a foreigner in Georgia remotely, even without visiting the country. In this article, I will provide some details about the procedure of opening a bank account online in Georgia for individuals. Also, I will explain how we (TPsolution LLC) will support you in the process.
Procedures for Opening a Bank Account Online in Georgia
You just need to send us a Power of Attorney (POA) and a copy of your passport via post (banks do not accept scanned copies). We will provide a draft of the POA. Both documents need to be properly approved (the approval process is explained below).
We take the POA and copy of your passport to a Georgian notary, translate the documents into Georgian, and the Georgian notary subsequently approves the translation. As a next step, we take the translated POA and copy of your passport to a bank and request the opening of your account on your behalf.
When your Georgian bank account has been opened, bank representatives contact you directly via email and/or mobile (both your email address and mobile number will be stated in the relevant POA) to set up online banking.
Notably, we offer our clients the option of opening a bank account in two of the biggest and most used Georgian banks: TBC bank or Bank of Georgia (BOG). However, if a client prefers a different bank, we will gladly provide support with this process too.
Procedures for Opening a Bank Account at TBC vs BOG
Opening a bank account is quite a smooth process in both banks; however, opening an online account may take more time, and the mentioned banks have different approaches.
Recently, TBC tightened its procedures around identifying clients to switch on online banking services (after an account is already open). At TBC, the process is the following:
After we open your bank account (debit cards are prepared second day), the bank provides bank account information to you via email. Then, you order a service of sending a debit card (TBC bank can send it to you directly for a fee, which is usually not expensive). You must make at least two transactions before setting up your online banking.
- Transfer money to your Georgian bank account (you will already have all the details to make a transfer).
- Make a payment with your Georgian debit card.
After you perform two operations and you have received your debit card(s), TBC will contact you via mobile and will complete identification verification by using your bank account number, the last few digits of your debit card number and identification of the last two transactions.
Due to current sanctions, it has become much more complicated for Russian and Belarussian citizens to open a bank account in Georgia, especially remotely. Opening a bank account is more difficult for citizens of those countries, but it is still possible.
The procedures at BOG are a bit smoother:
At BOG, after we open your bank account, they will send online banking login details to your mobile so that you can start to use your bank account online.
Based on our observations, BOG is more hesitant to send a debit card(s) directly to you. In such cases, we may need to organize sending the cards to you without having access to the pin code or any other sensitive information.
Documents Needed to Open a Bank Account in Georgia Remotely
As mentioned above, you need to send us a POA and a copy of your passport. Those documents need to be approved accordingly. Approving documents mean that such documents will either be notarized, apostilled, or legalized (depending on the country where the approval takes place).
In certain countries, apostille or legalization is unnecessary, and just approval by a notary suffices. The exhaustive list of such “privileged countries” are the following (countries which are a member of the convention of Minsk):
Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine.
In addition, documents from most other countries, particularly those members of the Hague conference of 5th October 1961, need to be apostilled.
Documents from other countries that are neither a member of the Hague nor Minks conference need to be legalized (which is a more complicated process than using an apostille or notary).
Power of Attorney for opening a bank account in Georgia
After you request our support with a bank account opening and we commence the project, we will provide a draft of the POA as a word file for you to review.
Please note that we will have limited rights granted by you via POA. In particular, we will only be entitled to open and/or close your bank account, request information on transactions (optional), and switch on different banking services – we will not have any access to your bank account, login information, pin or any other sensitive personal banking details.
In short, the rights granted by the POA will be strictly limited to what we need to open a bank account on your behalf so that your security is guaranteed.
Please bear in mind that you state your email address and mobile number in the POA granted to us. Banks will use this email and mobile number to contact you directly; thus, it is crucially important that you state an email and mobile number that is at your disposal and on which you can receive emails, SMS, and calls without delay.
The Biggest and Most Used Banks in Georgia
The two biggest and most used banks in Georgia dominate Georgia’s banking market. TBC Bank and Bank of Georgia (BOG) are those banks.
To illustrate how big a portion the banks mentioned above take of the Georgian banking market, I can cite the ranking of Georgian banks based on their net profit published by Forbes Georgia:
- TBC Bank – 485,819,370
- Bank of Georgia – 434,871,593
- Liberty Bank – 23,247,257
- VTB Bank – 19,366,015
- Procredit Bank – 19,351,459
As you can see, the third-ranked bank’s net profit is 18 times less than the net profit of BOG, while TBC’s profit is even greater than BOG’s profit. The difference is significant; this is why we recommend TBC or Bank of Georgia.
Individual Banking Services in Georgia
TBC and BOG have individual banking services, which allow clients to have personal bankers and do their bank operations with their support online, with less effort.
The package of individual banking services also includes various benefits like a higher withdrawal limit, less commission, lower interest rates on loans, a priority queue at the bank, and discounts on services/goods offered by partner companies.
The individual banking service of Bank of Georgia is called SOLO. The monthly commission for a SOLO account amounts to 22 GEL (approx. 8.5 USD), including a debit card (either Visa or MasterCard), SMS and online banking services.
Besides SOLO, Bank of Georgia offers other packages for less monthly fees (with less benefits, however).
The individual banking service of TBC bank is called TBC Concept. The monthly commission for a TBC concept account amounts to 25 GEL (approx. 9 USD), including up to three debit cards (VISA and MasterCard), SMS and online banking services.
TBC also offers a 15 GEL package of a Concept Account; however, this account does not have a personal banker’s service.
Besides the Concept Account, TBC offers other packages for less monthly fees (with less benefits, however).
Online Banking Services in Georgia
TBC and BOG have well-structured mobile applications for online banking, making it easy for clients to conduct bank operations online.
TBC has the following applications for online banking:
- TBC business
- TBC pass (for online passcodes)
BOG has the following applications for online banking:
- BOG Business
- BOG Digipass (for online passcodes).
Generally, Georgian banks are trusted, and many foreigners open bank accounts here. Besides trust, there are other reasons for foreigners to open a bank account in Georgia.
Georgia taxes only Georgian source income of individuals as the country applies the so-called “territorial taxation principle”. Therefore, in many cases receiving funds to a Georgian bank account may not be subject to any tax in Georgia (however, each case still needs to be analyzed on an individual basis).
Regarding territorial taxation in Georgia, you can read my article here.
Do Georgian banks automatically report your bank transactions?
As of today, Georgian banks are not obligated to automatically report your bank transactions to the Georgian Revenue Service (GRS-Georgian tax and customer administration). Therefore, local banks do not do any automatic reporting.
On the other hand, if GRS specifically requests information regarding your transactions, the bank will be obliged to make such information available to GRS. GRS has no access to your bank transactions except the information banks or you provide based on any such specific requests.
In addition, Georgia is not a member of any system of automatic exchange of information between countries as of today (this may change in the future, but there is no even draft legislation available yet. So, such joining may be postponed for quite long).
Please Note: FATCA is not discussed in this article.
Consulting/Accounting firm that provides a bank account opening service in Georgia
We offer full support in opening a bank account in one or more Georgian banks.
We have significant experience in opening personal (as well as business) bank accounts online for individuals around the world. Our success rate in opening a personal bank account remotely is 100%.
Procedures regarding opening a Georgian Personal Bank Account online- Sum-up
Opening a personal bank account remotely in Georgia is not a complicated process. You will need to send us a properly approved POA and a copy of your passport via post, and we will do everything for you.
After receiving the POA and copy of your passport, we will take care to open your account, and then the bank will directly contact you to set up online banking services. We have established our draft POA, which is frequently used and well-adapted, where our rights will be limited to only such rights as needed to open/close a bank account on your behalf.
Our success rate of 100% speaks for itself about the quality of the service we provide.