Saturday, 11 February 2012


A recent Facebook post by an ex-pat friend of mine reminded me that I have been intending to write a post about Czech banks for some time. He was complaining that his bank asked him to pay 65kc (over £3) to pay 200kc into his girlfriend's account. Yes, you read that correctly, the charge was about a third of the sum being paid!

How do Czech banks get away with such extortionate charges? If they were in the UK - there would be general outrage and tv and radio programmes on the subject. I suppose the Czechs don't know that in other countries such as the UK free current accounts are the norm.

I have a Czech bank account (essential for paying my electricity bill). Most months the only transaction that takes place is a standing order to EON, or rather it's the only transaction other than a list of bank charges.

When I try to go to my local branch I am often caught out by the fact that the bank is closed for lunch and on Tuesday afternoon. And when I do manage to arrive when the door is open, I am always surprised by the fact that there is only one cashdesk and one lone cashier, all the rest are devoted to other activities. So heaven help you if you are standing behind some local trader with a carrier bag full of small change. Another difference in Czech banking is that they don't use cheques, instead you either go into the bank and fill in a transfer form, stamp it and drop it into a slot or you sign up for electronic banking, for which of course you will be charged extra.


Karen said...

I was surprised that I had to wait six weeks for a debit card when I opened my Czech bank account. At my American credit union, they had blank debit cards on hand to be assigned to customers for immediate activation.

I admire Czech banking for having gotten rid of checks though. You can always tell the size of the town someone is from in America by how they choose to pay. Check writers are often rural people who don't seem to mind how long it takes to pay.

Anonymous said...

However, Czechs constantly complain about having to pay for simple actions on their bank accounts (having the account, having a card, sending annually information about your account, incomes, outcomes, incomes from abroad, paying when you change information about you - address, withdrawing from ATMs of your own bank, ...) and about the height of these charges.

There is even an annual public opinion poll which investigates the most absurd bank charges

It's said that several of the reasons that we still have to pay for such things and so much are that Czechs are very conservative, they don't want to undertake the quite exhausting job to switch to other bank and are not knowledgeable in the complicated (probably on purpose from the side of the banks) system of rules and charges.

Since recently several new "low-cost internet banks" have started to appear here in the CR, mBank, Fio banka, AirBank, Zuno, ...

I'm at mBank, I pay for nothing, have my e-banking. Only charges are for withdrawing from ATMs (first 3 in a month are for 9 Kc) because mBank doesn't have its own cash dispensers. Incomes from foreign countries are charged too (quite highly but I don't get money from abroad).

It's up to normal Czechs to start choosing these banks, which offer better standards, and then the "old" banks would think of changing their charges.



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