Opening a bank account in Armenia

What are the main advantages of opening a bank account in Armenia?

Armenia offers:

  • A stable and stainable banking system (all banks are licensed and controlled by the state)

  • No or minimal fees for opening and maintaining a bank account

  • Availability of a wide range of banking services, including online and mobile banking

  • Supporting major foreign currencies (AMD, USD, EUR, RUB, GBP, CAD, CHF, AED and paper gold of 999,9 purity)

  • Insurance of deposits with any bank by the Deposit Guarantee Fund of Armenia (insurance coverage limit is AMD 10 000 000 for deposits made in Armenian drams and AMD 5 000 000 for foreign currency deposits)

Fitch affirmed Armenia's B+ rating and Moody's affirmed it at B1.

What documents are required for opening a bank account for individuals?

The list of documents for opening a bank account differs depending on several circumstances such as legal status and origin of the applicant, the type of the account and so forth.

Generally, residents can very easily open a bank account by submitting only a passport and social services card (or a document from RA Police on the absence of the latter) or ID card, whereas foreigners may be required to provide additional documents.   

When opening an account for foreigners, apart from the above-mentioned documents, some banks may require proof of residence in the form of utility bills, bank statements or other supporting documents (such as information or document on the source of funding or source of wealth, etc.).

 

From a compliance perspective, citizens from non-compliant (Iran and North Korea) or high-risk countries (Syria, Yemen, Tunis, Pakistan, etc. https://www.fatf-gafi.org/countries/#high-risk) may be subject to strict and enhanced customer due diligence under the KYC procedures or bank account opening request can be denied at a bank’s reasonable discretion.

The US nexus citizens will also be required to fill out a FATCA (W9) form while opening a bank account (for submitting an annual report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)).   

What documents are required for opening a bank account for companies?

For opening a bank account, both companies incorporated in and outside of Armenia, are normally required to submit the following documents:

  • Certificate of Incorporation

  • Articles of Association or Memorandum or any equivalent document

  • Taxpayer Identification Number (if available)

  • Certificate of Incumbency

  • List of shareholders (ultimate beneficial owners)

  • Copies of passports or any government-issued ID card (in some cases proof of address) of individual shareholders (participants) possessing a substantial quantity of shares (5%, 10% or 20 %) and directors (manager, a controller who can operate the account) as well as of other real beneficiaries.

 

Within the due diligence procedure, legal entities incorporated outside of Armenia may be required to submit additional documents on their financial situation, shareholders, ultimate beneficial owners, such as:

  • Financial statement

  • Audit report covering the preceding period of up to three years

  • A document verifying the ownership structure

  • availability of several types of policies (AML, Data protection, and Information security, conflict of interests, etc.)

  • other relevant information upon request by the bank 

  • Also, documents submitted by non-resident legal entities should be certified (apostilled or notarized)

 

Who applies for opening a bank account?

Most banks in Armenia require the physical presence of the director of the company. However, with some banks, accounts can be opened by a duly authorized representative on the basis of a power of attorney.

 

How long does it take to open a bank account?

 

Generally, the account opening procedure for residents takes up to two banking days (often 30 minutes) after the submission of the application form and all required documents. The account opening procedure for non-residents may sometimes take significantly longer (sometimes up to two weeks or more after providing the full set of documents required for account opening).

 

When can a bank account be closed and how long does it take?

Normally, a bank account can be closed:

  • at the customer’s discretion. The customer is entitled to close his bank account at any time by giving prior written notice and after making all outstanding payments to the Bank or

  • at the bank’s reasonable discretion, such as: 

    • if a customer has breached the legal requirements and conditions of the Bank related to the Customer’s bank accounts, bank deposits, bank electronic services and other bank services

    • a bank account with zero balance for some period (6 months or one year) and any bank transfer or transaction has not been done via that bank account

 

Bank account closure, as a rule, lasts for up to three days after the submission of the required documents unless provided otherwise by the Bank’s internal procedure or RA legislation.

 

In the case of closing the account, the positive balance is paid to the Customer in cash or transferred to another bank account upon the latter’s instruction.

How much does the opening, maintenance and closure of a bank account cost?

Often, an account in the national currency (AMD) can be opened for individuals free of charge. There may be a small fee for foreign currency accounts (for instance AMD 1000 - 10 000 depending on the bank’s service tariffs). Additional fees apply for internet or mobile banking services.

Annual account maintenance fees are also quite small and can normally range from as little as AMD 1000 for individuals and up to AMD 5000 for legal entities. Certain banks have minimum balance requirements.

Normally, there is no charge for a bank account closure.

 

The following 17 commercial banks operate in Armenia (some of them are subsidiaries of foreign banks):

 

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