EEA citizens with biometric identity cards and address on them is the only requirement* we have at iCard for opening your account**. But if you are a legally residing foreigner with a residence permit, you passed our verification with your foreign passport, then we will require a proof of address (in some cases 2) and the permit as additional documents. An additional document needs to be provided when you open an account and present to us a non-biometric European ID, or a biometric one with no address on it.
The integrity of the financial system depends on knowing who the participants are. Preventing fraud by identifying account holders is one way for banks and financial institutions like iCard to maintain trustworthiness and brand image while complying with regulations. A major pre-requisite of the actual identification includes knowing and verifying your address prior to opening your new account.
But, what are the accepted documents? Should I prove my address with a utility bill or a bank statement would work? What if I don’t have any of these?
* In some cases like the Croatian ID which display no place of birth, you could be required to present a second document.
** In the event that the document has expired, is damaged or for any discrepancy, our team reserves the right to ask you for more documents or information.
What works as proof of address?
With proof of address, things are pretty much unified throughout the industry and all around the European Economic Area (where we operate). Nevertheless, each institution has its own rules about what is an acceptable document and what isn’t.
Here is iCard’s non-exhaustive list of documents that should serve you well in proving you live at the address you say you do. Having one of the following should be sufficient:
- Bank account statement
- Credit card statement
- Mortgage statement
- House or flat utility bill – power, water, gas, tv or landline (keep in mind that mobile phone statement is usually not accepted)
- Driving license or ID card*
- Tax bill
- Residence Certificate issued by a Municipality
* Not every driving license or ID issued around the EU includes an address – some do, while others don’t.
All of these documents must be issued in your name and the address should be visible. With statements and bills, the rule of thumb is that they should not be older than 3 months.
Is residence permit proof of address?
Residence permit cannot work as a proof of address if they don’t have it visibly printed. In rare cases, if the residence permit is expired, we may accept the receipt for renewing it or a letter containing the date for the appointment. In some European countries, a resident permit does include an address and in this case, it will be accepted.
The residence permit is a requirement if you come from a non-EEA country and you presented your passport as proof of ID. For example, you are from Brazil and currently live in Germany. Then, you will also need to present a separate document proving you live at the address you stated.
iCard, as a financial institution, accepts long- and short-term residence permits because we know how important it is for you to have access to a European IBAN account as soon as possible and as easy as possible.
Proof of address is not easy to obtain but it’s very important
Getting your hands on a proper document may not always be easy, especially if you recently changed your address or moved to a new country. We try to give you flexibility but verifying your address may not always be possible.
There are certain types of documents that we cannot accept. For example, we cannot accept a rental agreement, unless you have arranged a municipality stamp verifying it as a valid proof of address. In all other cases, neither us nor our regulator will recognize it as an official and verifiable document.
At iCard, we understand the importance of having an IBAN account for sending and receiving money. We know you probably need it badly and many things depend on it, such as getting your salary paid via bank transfer. At the same time, we need to be very strict with KYC (Know Your Customer) procedures and we ask for understanding. One of the reasons is that we open accounts to people throughout Europe – remotely – without the need to visit us in person.
With that in mind, our policy at iCard may be similar or it may differ from another fintech or bank’s requirements. As another example, we do not accept copies of ID documents. Instead, we take pictures of them via the app and your phone camera only. We only do that after seeing you and your ID document in your hands.
My ID has an address but was not accepted. Why?
Some countries like Italy or Greece still use outdated paper ID like these:
A financial institution, in order to be fully compliant, may request a second document, when the first one does not contain any biometric information and has no MRZ (Machine Readable Zone).
MRZ is the series of numbers and letters on the front or back of the ID card, which is scannable – see the numbers on the bottom:
What doesn’t count as valid proof of address?
Passport can’t be used as proof of address, because usually, it doesn’t list any. For example, French passports do have it and is acceptable.
Birth certificates can only be used for verifying your place of birth, but not address.
Bills or statements that are older than 3 months would likely not be accepted.
Mobile phone bills may include an address but are generally not accepted as a proof of it.
All banks, fintech companies or other financial institutions have different procedures and lists of requirements. Simply talk your way through the situation and find out how things can work out as easy as possible before you can have your new bank account opened.