Banking in Bulgaria

Banking in Bulgaria is reliable and convenient, though it is not free

According to EU legislation, anyone who is a resident in Bulgaria is entitled to open a “basic payment account”. This account would facilitate most of the standard transactions: making deposits, withdrawing cash, as well as making and receiving payments.

Customers are expected to show proof of identity in the form of an identity card or passport. Once armed with a bank account, customers have their money protected by the state-backed deposit protection scheme up to the value of 196,000 BGN.

Bulgarian National Bank has the exclusive right to issue banknotes and mint coins. The most widely used coins are the 1 lev and 2 lev (approximately 1 euro). Banknotes come in 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 leva. A quick way to convert from EUR to BGN is to multiply by 2.

Mind the fees and charges

Bank charges are common practice in Bulgaria. They include but do not limit to account setup fee, monthly maintenance fee, cash withdrawal fee, and interbank transfer fee. Potential customers should be made aware of all such tariffs and fees. This is known as the “fee information document”.

In addition to a new bank account, the bank may offer a debit card and internet banking. Internet banking is often cheaper compared to traditional in-branch transactions. The prerequisite for this online facility would be access to a mobile phone number.

A debit card can be handy, and it is widely recognised for payments in shops, cafés, and restaurants. Most banks would charge a small fee for every cash withdrawal from an ATM. In addition, all debit cards have daily and weekly limits to the maximum amount one can withdraw or spend.

The “Big Three” Bulgarian banks

Most banks in Bulgaria are subsidiaries of bigger European banks. The biggest three do not make an exception, for example, Unicredit Bulbank is owned by the Italian Unicredit, DSK Bank is owned by the Hungarian OTP, and United Bulgarian Bank (UBB for short) is owned by the Belgium KBC. They all offer savings accounts, as well as personal loans, mortgages, and sometimes even insurance. A well-known Bulgarian insurance provider DZI is also part of the KBC group of companies.

DSK Bank has been serving customers for decades. It all started back in 1951, when the State Savings Institute was established, the only retail deposit and credit institution at the time. In 1998, it transformed into the commercial bank we know today. 5 years later DSK was acquired by the Hungarian OTP Bank. 2020 witnessed another key transformation, when DSK and the French SG Expressbank merged into one group, leader in terms of bank branches and ATM network.

Unicredit Bulbank was founded as then Bulgarian Foreign Trade Bank in 1964, 100% state owned. Bank changed name from BFTB to Bulbank in 1994. In 1998, the Bulgarian government opened up a procedure for the privatisation of the bank. In 2000, 93% of the bank capital was acquired by UniCredito Italiano. Bulbank and two other Bulgarian banks merge in 2007.

UBB was established in 1992 through the consolidation of 22 regional Bulgarian commercial banks. Belgian-based KBC Group acquired UBB in 2017 thus continuing on their expansion in Central and Eastern Europe. The bank takes pride in their well developed distribution network with branches throughout the country. After UBB’s acquisition by the Belgian group the bank was awarded the highest credit rating in Bulgaria according to the assessment of Fitch Credit Rating Agency – ‘A‘.

Branches count:

DSK Bank has the highest number of branches 295 and ATMs 1,113 in the territory of Bulgaria. Next, UBB has 214 branches and 1,086 ATMs, while Unicredit Bulbank has 171 branches and 731 ATMs.

Site by site comparison of affordable everyday bank accounts:


Alternatively, sending money from your bank account is easy with Wise (former TransferWise).

  • Wise offers bank transfers in most currencies directly to BGN (Leva) bank account.


(Last updated 1/6/2024)

It has been a while since we last had interest rates on deposits in Bulgaria. National Bank base interest rate is set at 3.78% at present.

We have identified two smaller banks that offer reasonable rates for your savings.

  • Bigbank’s 12-month deposit brings you +2.50% interest,
  • TBI Bank’s 12-month deposit brings you +1.90% (* TBI Bank app required, 1.70% without the app)


BigBank first started operations in Estonia back in 1992. It has entered the Bulgarian banking sector in 2021. Website:

TBI Bank has operated in Bulgaria since 2003. Website: