When choosing a place to relocate to, banking might not be the very first on your list of priorities. Without it, however, life in your new home country is going to be inconvenient. It goes without saying that understanding Andorra’s banking system before moving here is vital.
We understand that as a new resident, familiarizing yourself with new banking processes can be challenging. If moving to Andorra is part of your life plan, we can help you to get a better understanding of the banking system here, and set you up with everything you’ll need.
In this article, we’ll go over the basics of Andorran banking and discuss the subject in detail.
Banks in Andorra
As of today, you’ll find 5 banking institutions within the country. Each of them are available to the general public and are accepting new individual accounts along with business banking clients. You can choose from the following banks:
- Banc Sabadell d’Andorra
- Credit Andorra
Every bank listed above is national and domestically owned. They mainly serve private and consumer banking needs for the Andorran population and local businesses. In the years prior, offshore banking was very important to the Andorran economy. However, with the exchange of information treaties, those offshore positions have reduced.
Some banks are more “digitised” than others, but all feature internet banking. All offer debit and credit card facilities, typically with Visa and Mastercard. Payment processing is available through RedSys and mortgages for Andorran real estate are available as well.
Opening a Bank Account in Andorra
To open an account here, you don’t have to be a resident — you can do so as a non-resident, individual, or a company. Opening a personal or company account will determine what information you need to provide, but be prepared to show documents such as a valid passport or government-issued identity card, proof of address, economic activity and asset origins, and a reference letter from your current bank.
One thing to note is that you will need to comply with anti-money laundering standards and the FATCA protocol. This entails that you might have to indicate the origin of your funds and provide documents for transactions above a certain value.
Andorra’s banks offer a wide range of services, including multi-currency accounts and various financial products. They also offer instruments for diversification from traditional Spanish and French banking practices.
Before you can set up a bank account in Andorra, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the national currency.
In 2011, a monetary agreement was made between Andorra and the EU — this agreement came into force in April 2012, establishing the Euro as the official currency. Andorra did not have an official currency before adopting the Euro, but most commonly used the Spanish Peseta and also accepted the French Franc.
Key Features of Andorran banks
Banking has proven to be a pivotal part of the Andorran economy; not only does it account for one-fifth of the country’s total GDP, but it also proves an important lifeline between Andorra and the world economy.
Some of the key features of the banking system in Andorra include:
Being a micronation that houses just over 75,000 people, Andorra’s financial market is relatively small. This makes it difficult for the limited number of financial institutions to gain market share and thus promotes the need for more competition.
This calls for high-value services and a high level of trust at all times. Banks have adopted the digital trend and are consistently becoming more modern and compliant.
Privacy is paramount with any country’s banking practices. Historically, many banks here offered numbered accounts without shared names or records. This made Andorran banking a haven for foreign residents.
Nowadays, Andorra has embraced a more transparent banking model while maintaining privacy for all residents.
The banking system here has recently been overhauled; reforms have been made to both the tax system and how banks report to financial regulators. The goal is that each bank remains in compliance with the OECD and other international organizations. As a result, many banks have had to update their processes to reflect those standards.
Automatic Exchange of Information and Common Reporting (AEOI)
Back in 2014, Andorra made the decision to sign the declaration of the Automatic Exchange of Information in Tax Matters. The goal was to combat tax evasion and facilitate compliance via a Common Reporting Standard.
This reporting standard requires all jurisdictions to collect proper financial information from all banks and financial institutions. They can then exchange this information automatically with other jurisdictions.
How AEOI Impacts Residents
Local financial institutions do not have to share information about your account with the Andorran authorities, however, the Andorran authorities will be made aware of any accounts that you have abroad.
With regard to privacy, this is a definite positive. It means that residents of Andorra can declare income appropriately to the government. All financial information within the country will be kept private. Andorra’s banks truly do respect the privacy of their clientele.
Non-Resident Banking Privacy in Andorra
If you’re a non-resident of Andorra, the following information may be shared with other jurisdictions and authorities:
- Taxpayer ID Number
- Account Number
- Account balances and transaction information
- Ultimate beneficiary owners (company accounts)
Andorran institutions first began collecting this information back in 2017 and currently use a “narrow approach” to reporting.
We’ll Make It Easier
Whether you’re a resident or non-resident, the process of setting up a bank account in Andorra isn’t the easiest out there. However, with the right assistance, it can be quite straightforward.
There are only five financial institutions here in Andorra and each have their own strengths and weaknesses. If you’re not sure which is right for you, or you need help with setting up a bank account, contact us today!
Our team of experts is well equipped to make your transition to this lovely country nice and smooth.