In Serbia, there are several dozen different banks, ranging from the more internationally-known ones to the smaller, local banks, all of which maintain a steady presence throughout Belgrade. Although most banks are in foreign ownership, they are treated like separate legal entities under law.
If youâ€™re planning on staying in Serbia for a longer period of time, most likely you will want to open an account here for convenienceâ€™s sake. Total assets-wise, the top five banks are:
Banks usually offer a local currency account along with a foreign currency account, both of which can be accessed through a single debit card. Most banks offer mobile banking apps, practical for getting business done without waiting in line.
However, there will be times when you will have to go to the bank in-person in order to get your financial affairs together. From time to time, these visits to the bank might turn out to last longer than expected, due to queues and paperwork. Itâ€™s worth noting though that there have been efforts to reduce the amount of paperwork needed at the bank.
Still, if you encounter any banking difficulties, a lot of bank employees speak a fair amount of English. And donâ€™t be shy to reach out to any local friends you may have met in Belgrade, as many of us have experience with these kinds of things and are always willing to help out.
To protect your rights and interests and get information about banks, you can also contact the central bankâ€™s Centre for Financial Services Consumer Protection and Education. They provide guidance for free in respect to any issues you might encounter.
On the other hand, if your stay is short, there is little chance that you will engage in opening a bank account. In that case, dealing with money in Serbia is not always as easy as you are probably accustomed to â€“ bear in mind that wire transfer fees might be higher than in the EU, and contact your bank to verify that your card will work fine in Serbia (almost certainly it will, but just in case). And most importantly donâ€™t be alarmed â€“ if you have specific questions on money business, we provide free personal consultations for foreigners. Book it here.
In addition to a standard bank account, PayPal is also available in Serbia, however, keep in mind that, in most cases, it is illegal for residents and nonresidents in Serbia to make payments in foreign currencies. If you need to send or receive money, there is also the option of using Western Union, although these transaction fees can be quite steep.