The banking system in Romania has been brought into line with EU standards. Most banks are currently branches of foreign banking groups that ensure the stability of the Romanian banking system. The level of services is high, and online banking is the norm.
Currency in Romania
The currency in Romania is the new Romanian Leu (RON). The exchange rate with other accepted currencies fluctuates, but it usually ranges between 4.3-4.5 RON per euro and 4 — 4.3 RON per US dollar.
One RON is divided into 100 «bani».
ATMs and credit cards in Romania
ATMs (bancomate) are easy to find in Bucharest and in the rest of the country. The machines usually accept Visa, Mastercard, Amex, CirrusPlus and Maestro. If your card issuer differs from the ATM provider, you are usually subject to payment. The exact amount depends on each supplier, and you will be informed in advance.
ATM Robberies are not common, but general precautions are necessary when withdrawing money from an ATM and on the street.
Banks in Romania can issue either a debit card or a credit card depending on your needs.
Currency exchange in Romania
The best rates are cash withdrawals at an ATM. It is also the safest and most convenient way to exchange.
Other options include banks and currency exchange offices (case de schimb valutar). Exchange offices are usually open during business hours. When exchanging currency, you will need to present a valid identity document. Special care should be taken when using a currency exchange office, as some of them may be unauthorized and may pose a risk to your security. Always ask Local when choosing a currency exchange point, especially when you exchange large amounts of money, and check the banknotes you receive. Never exchange money on the street.
Electronic money transfers are usually free in Romania, but may charge for international money transfers. The fee may be low if you transfer funds between EU bank accounts, but transfers with non-EU countries can be quite expensive. When transferring money abroad, you should also keep in mind the exchange rate at which the money will be sent.
Necessary information for international bank transfer:
Full name of the bank
Name and/or branch number
SWIFT Bank number
Full name and address of the receiving account holder
The account number to which the funds will be deposited. Please note that this should be at the international level. Recognizable format. IBAN numbers are used by Romanian banks.
Other MoneyGram and Western Union payment options are also available. The money can be paid and withdrawn in cash based on your ID card within a few hours. Depending on your circumstance, this may be more convenient, but it is also associated with higher fees. Offices can be found in most banks, post offices and some supermarkets and shopping malls.
Open a bank account in Romania
Opening an account in Romania is quite easy for Romanians and EU citizens, but more difficult if you come from a non-EU country. As a foreigner, proof of residence in Romania is required, as well as a valid employment contract or a letter of recommendation from your Employer.
It is recommended to make purchases in order to find a bank that offers the most convenient package in terms of services, fees and ease of opening an account by a foreigner.
After you receive the full documentation, the invoice is several business days.
Bank accounts and cards in Romania
The main bank account in Romania is usually a checking account (current), and it comes with a debit card, usually Maestro or Visa Electron. Debit cards are the most common and easy to get when you open an account, and they allow you to withdraw money from your account and make payments in stores and supermarkets. Debit cards are used through a personal identification number (PIN), but Stores will also request your signature.
Credit cards attached to your current account are less common, but they are recommended when making payments online or abroad, as a simple debit card may not always be accepted. The most common types In Romania are Visa and Mastercard credit cards. Conditions and fees depend on the type of card and the issuing bank, but they are usually higher than for credit cards.
Credit cards may have an overdraft limit. You may need to submit additional documentation confirming that you have a stable source of income before approving the overdraft limit.
Savings accounts (cont de economii) are also available once you have a checking account, and they offer modest but guaranteed interest in your savings, but also less flexibility than the main account, since funds cannot be withdrawn at any time. There are no credit or debit cards in savings accounts.
Banks in Romania
Banks are usually open from 8:00 to 16:00, from Monday to Friday, but banks have longer opening hours and can even visit on Saturday mornings.
Banca Comercială Română
BRD — Groupe Société Generale
Banking services in Romania
Internet banking is provided by most banks for free, and it respects the online security measures of EU banks. Direct debit is available to most banks and it allows you to pay your bills with minimal hassle.
Cheques are not common in Romania, as they are not accepted as a valid means of payment for retail. However, they are used by companies when making commercial payments.