Estonian residents and e-residents can now open bank accounts remotely

The new Estonian regulation will allow banks to open current (checking) accounts for Estonian residents and e-residents without the need for the customer to visit a branch.

“We will make opening a bank account easier and faster for everyone, including e-residents,” the Estonian finance minister, Sven Sester, said. “We want to make things more convenient, but also maintain the security necessary in the financial sector. The IT solutions that make it possible to identify people from a distance have existed for some time. Allowing for them to be used when bank accounts are opened certainly makes sense.”

When the new regulation enters into force from 1 November, it will be possible for banks and other financial institutions to identify people without being at the same location as the person or their representative.

A real-time video bridge for identification and verification of a person will be used, which makes it possible to compare the image of a person’s face with the data of their identification document and the data of the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board. The person will also be interviewed via video, which will help ascertain the client’s risk profile: assess their background, the origin of their financial resources and the purpose of establishing a business relationship. The entire process is recorded and the recording is preserved.

However, banks will retain the right to identify a person by being at the same location as them. It will be up to the service provider to decide whether they want to open accounts for clients or conclude transactions with them using information technology tools. The service is meant for everyone who holds an Estonian ID card, digital ID or e-resident’s card.


Cover: Estonian e-residency ID card.