Here's the link to their website in English - yes that's right, it's in English! mBank.pl
You can read all the details of what they offer on their site so I won't duplicate it here, but the main points and the reason I am so happy and thought it worth a blog post is:
- the bank account is free to operate. Most Polish banks charge you monthly fees or fees to do basic things like make simple payments. Maybe this isn't a shock for non-Brits, but for us Brits who are used to banking for free (well free if you don't count unfair bank charges as a fee) then this is a taste of home
- they are quite foreigner friendly. You don't need to have a PESEL number, you don't need to have a karta pobytu. Their website is in English.
- opening an account is easy - because mBank is an internet bank you don' have to physically go to a branch. I did the formalities over the phone and then a courier came to my house to check my passport and give me my activation pack.
- mBank is actually part of one of the big boy banks in Poland who collectively hold a third of all personal accounts in Poland. Well their brochure says something like that, so at least they're not a little mickey mouse bank
- Unfortunately when you call them they don't speak English, so that might be a bit of a show-stopper if your Polish is a bit ropey or non-existent. I will guess that having a friend call won't help as you have to personally answer their questions and accept their terms and conditions etc..
- Their internet banking service is only in Polish too.
Here's a couple of things I recently discovered which might help a newbie to Polish/international banking:
- When you want to make an international payment the UK banks ask for the foreign bank's Swift code. In Polish this is called the "BIC" number - numer rachunek BIC.
- Poles don't quote the sort-code and account number separately like we do in the UK. They use the IBAN system. Therefore their bank account number is just one long number such as 04 2000 1234 0000 1111 2222 3333 (preceded by "PL" for international operations). I have no idea how Poles remember their bank account numbers. ...