Online Bank Account Registered To A Georgian Business: Can be used, with some limitations, by: Legal Entities & IEs
NOTE: Online bank accounts may allow you to hold currency in GEL, but they do not offer full account activities in GEL. So they are primarily useful for businesses registered in Georgia which receive income in major currencies like USD, GBP, AUD, etc. For these foreign currency accounts to be linked to your Georgian business, you must open an account in the name of your Georgian business along with its tax ID.
An online business account is sufficient for many businesses. If you will not need to attach your bank account to the Revenue Service’s online portal (because you will not be claiming tax refunds or be VAT-registered) and if you do not need to accept card payments directly, then an online bank bypasses the complications of opening a corporate account at one of the physical banks.
There are a number of online banks that allow you to register as a Georgian business for online accounts. The service which I and many other expats use is Wise*. There are other services like Payoneer and Paysera, but Wise (formerly TransferWise) is my preference. For this reason, the information below relates directly to the functionality available with Wise. Some similarity may be found with other similar services.
Even if you don’t need an account for your business activities, you can open a personal account with Wise, which can then be used to easily get money to Georgia and pay for local services via online transfer. Learn more and get an account here.*
Quick and easy account opening process.
Even though online banks are international, the income is connected directly to the Georgian business the account is registered to. This may potentially reduce the chance of tax liability in the countries where each currency account is held. Normally this results in lower money transfer fees and an easier transfer process than when transferring funds between physical banks.
Borderless online accounts give you full bank details (IBAN, etc.) for accounts in 8+ currencies (including USD, EUR, GBP, AUD, & NZD), meaning that clients can conveniently send money via a domestic bank transfer (not an international wire transfer) from their local bank account in any of those currencies.
Online accounts give you the option to hold income in more than 50 currencies. In addition to actual account details, you can also receive and hold money in many different currencies (including GEL) and then withdraw the funds to a local account in the same currency – avoiding currency conversion fees.
The Georgian version of Wise does not have a debit card option, so you have to move your money elsewhere to perform card transactions.
Online accounts can only accept money by transfer. They cannot accept credit cards, cash, or online payments.
An online account is not sufficient to pay your taxes to the Georgian RS, to deal with VAT registration, or to recieve any tax refunds.
If you decide to go with the online business/personal account option, then opening an account is easy:
Head to wise.com*
When opening a business account, select “Georgia” as your country.
Include your business name and tax ID.
Once the account is open, you can request the borderless account option, so that you have full bank details available in both USD and other currencies. A nominal one-off fee is charged for opening.
Once you have these bank details, they can be used as any regular bank account would for sending and receiving money.
How to use a Wise account in Georgia:
Sign up for a Georgian Wise business account, where all your business income will be received.
Business expenses: Make payments by bank transfer to vendors, contractors, and employees worldwide, direct from your account, keeping the income in the original currency it was received. For LLCs paying expenses by card, you can make a cash advance to a personal account, and pay by card from there. However, keep in mind that this must be tracked in your accounts. IEs, in most cases, can pay expenses from any account without making a cash advance, so long as they log the expenses in their general journal (ledger).
Send money direct to Georgian banks in GEL, with low exchange rates and fees. Pay yourself via a local account, or even pay local staff and vendors by tranferring directly to their bank accounts.