Bank services in Sofia

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Cost of Living in Sofia

The cost of living in Bulgaria is relatively affordable. The average consumer prices in Bulgaria are comparable to other Balkan countries.

The capital of Sofia is more expensive compared to smaller towns and rural areas in Bulgaria, especially when it comes to rent and services. However, the price of goods is still fairly affordable.

  • Groceries (on average): 1 lt. full-fat milk costs 2.05 BNG, 12 large eggs costs 4.04 BNG, 1 kg of potatoes costs 1.04 BNG, Bread for two people for a day costs 0.82 BNG, and 500 gr of chicken breast costs 4.89 BNG.
  • Eating Out: A meal out can cost 13 BNG on the cheap end and 35 BNG on the expensive end for multiple courses and drinks for one person. A 16oz domestic beer costs 1.16 BNG and a good quality table wine costs 12 BNG.
  • Leisure: Dinner for two in neighborhood pub costs 35 BNG, two movie tickets costs 22 BNG, Theater tickets for two costs 43 BNG, and a cocktail in a downtown club costs 9 BNG.
  • Utilities: 1-month of utilities for 2 people in a flat costs 177 BNG average, 1 month utilities in a studio costs 97 BNG, and 1 month of 8Mbps of internet costs 17 BNG.
  • Transportation & Gas: 1 liter of gas costs 2.09 BNG, a month ticket of public transportation costs 50 BNG, and an average taxi trip on a business day for 8km. costs 8 BNG.

Currency in Bulgaria

Although Bulgaria is a part of the EU, it is not on the Euro. The currency used throughout Bulgaria is the Bulgarian lev (BGN). The coins range from 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50. The banknotes used are 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100.

ATM and Credit Cards in Bulgaria

ATMs and bank cards are used and accepted all over Bulgaria. When withdrawing cash from an ATM it is smart to do so in a well-lit area and one that is attached to a bank. Be sure to check with your bank about ATM charges when abroad.

Most hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, and shops accept Visa, MasterCard, and Maestro debit card (AmEX is not usually accepted). There are no additional charges when paying with a credit card and no minimum amount of purchase required. Some places in Bulgaria only accept cash, so be sure to have some on hand or know where the nearest ATM is located.

Open a Bank Account in Bulgaria

You can open a bank account in Bulgaria whether you're a resident or a non-resident. It's advisable to check which banks have branches nearby and if they speak your language.

To open an account in Bulgaria, all you need is your passport and evidence of your address in Bulgaria. You must make an opening deposit of at least a few lev or euros.

Most banks offer the choice between a lev account and a euro account – or you can open an account of each. If you plan to transfer money using a foreign exchange dealer you will need a lev account. Euro accounts are often used for paying larger sums.

Bulgarian banks commonly charge for withdrawing money, so shop around for the lowest fees.

Banks in Sofia

The biggest banks working with private customers in Bulgaria:

Exchanging Money in Bulgaria

Currency exchange can be done either at a currency exchange office (located in main squares, airports, and major train stations) or at a bank. The rates can be significantly different from location to location. Particularly in the touristy parts of the city, currency exchange offices may offer higher fees than elsewhere. Therefore, it is advisable to compare fees before deciding on where to exchange money.

An alternative for exchanging currency is simply withdrawing money from an ATM or using a multiple currency ATM.

Electronic Transfers

The banks in Bulgaria offer a wide range of services electronically - both online and via mobile - often making it unnecessary to visit a bank branch in person once the bank account has been open. As a rule, while electronic services are largely low cost or free of charge, performing the same operations in a bank branch costs significantly more.

Electronic transfer costs differ depending on the bank. And note that some banks do not offer internet services or electronic transfers.

Update 6/06/2018


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