Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, many former Eastern Bloc states have transformed beyond recognition – socially, politically, and economically. Few transformations are as remarkable as Lithuania’s. In a little over 30 years, the country’s GDP has grown a staggering 500%, placing Lithuania 12th in the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World index.
Lithuania is an attractive prospect if you’re looking to set up or expand business operations in Eastern Europe.
In this guide, we’ll cover Lithuania’s economic landscape, consumer payment behaviours, and how your business can manage payments to and from Lithuania. Let’s get to it.
Lithuania’s economy: a quick overview
Lithuania has an impressively diverse economy, spanning many industries. From agriculture and food processing to precision manufacturing – It’s also home to laser production and information and communications technology.
The country encourages trade and industry through a variety of strategies. It has the third highest number of Special Economic Zones in the world (after the US and Poland) as well as seven Free Economic Zones. New businesses and startups are entitled to a six-year corporate tax exemption, while incentives are available for companies that generate jobs and infrastructure.
This business-friendly environment is not only attractive to Lithuanian companies – many international businesses choose to outsource operations to Lithuania, including Uber, Ernst & Young, Western Union, and Booking.com. The country’s labour costs are among the lowest in the European Union (EU), and its workforce is among the most highly educated (57% of 25-34 year-olds have post-secondary educational qualifications).
The last five years have seen Lithuania’s plan to become an innovation hub crystallise, with companies including Microsoft, IBM and Siemens establishing a presence. It’s also home to Europe’s first International Blockchain Centre.
Lithuania has used the Euro since 2015, when it became the 19th country to join. It was scheduled to adopt the single currency much earlier, but the final transfer was postponed because of high inflation.
Joining the Euro has been a positive move for Lithuania, resulting in greater integration with other EU countries as well as more tangible benefits, such as lower borrowing costs, for example.
Consumer payment behaviours in Lithuania
Like many countries around the world, Lithuania has seen a significant shift in payment preferences in recent years, with growing favour towards cashless methods.
According to the European Payments Council, 52% of Lithuanians prioritise payments by card, or other digital means, over cash. In a further move towards digitalisation, 94% of Lithuanians with a bank account have used internet banking and 69% have used mobile payment apps.
Ecommerce in Lithuania is growing and forecast to reach $2.5bn by 2025. Currently, the most popular purchase categories are toys, hobby and DIY (42%) followed by electronics and media (28%).
When it comes to cross-border ecommerce, around 50% of online shoppers have made a cross-border purchase (primarily buying from China, Germany and Poland), demonstrating that Lithuanian consumers are happy to shop internationally.
Global transfers in Lithuania
As part of the Eurozone, Lithuania is integrated within European financial networks which means it’s well-connected for efficient business and personal banking. For example:
- Lithuania belongs to the EU’s Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). This means that transfers to other SEPA countries work just the same as transfers to domestic accounts within Lithuania.
- The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) network is readily accessible to many institutions in Lithuania, enabling straightforward international transfers between 190+ countries.
Transferring money to and from Lithuania is relatively straightforward, but it can be expensive – especially for businesses making regular transactions.
For some businesses, the right solution will be to establish all the necessary financial infrastructure locally – i.e., a headquarters in Vilnius and a Lithuanian business bank account. However, that can be challenging, costly and involve long waiting times before you can get your business operational.
Fortunately, there are solutions that mean you can access the Lithuanian market more easily. Next, we’ll look at the alternative options available to transfer money to and from Lithuania so you can start doing business.
What are the different ways to send money to and from Lithuania?
If you’re looking to transfer money to and from Lithuania, there are several solutions available to you. They include:
- International money transfer specialists
- Bank-to-bank international transfers
- Online multi-currency accounts
- Cash pick-up
- Digital or mobile wallets
The best one for you will depend on your business needs and operations, so we’ll look at the pros and cons for each.
International money transfer specialists
When it comes to companies that specialise in international money transfers, you’re spoilt for choice. Well-known examples include the likes of Moneycorp and Western Union.
With this method of transfer, you’ll be given more flexibility to choose how the money is received: bank transfer, mobile wallet, or cash pick-up from a physical location, for example.
However, fees for this type of transfer can be significant. If you want your payment to get to its recipient faster, you’ll pay a premium for it. Plus, these services often add a markup on the currency exchange rate. That means either the sender will have to pay significantly more, or the recipient receives less. Either way, the provider pockets a healthy profit.
With so many international transfer providers out there, it’s important to make sure the service you choose is regulated by a financial safeguarding body such as the FCA, FSCS, or similar. (3S Money is FCA-regulated.)
Bank-to-bank international transfers
Another option is to use your bank to transfer the funds. This is a popular choice for many businesses and individuals as it’s often the easiest and most convenient. But it can also be expensive:
- Banks usually charge a fee to arrange and process money transfers.
- Some banks may also charge a percentage of the total amount you’re transferring (as much as 3-4%).
- Banks may use their own foreign exchange (FX) rates which could cost you 5-7% more.
- International transfers often involve chains of different banks (called “correspondent banks”) all of which will charge a fee, bumping up the total cost.
All banks are different, so check the terms of your business account to see exactly what your bank’s international transfer charges are. If they charge a lot, consider an alternative, especially if you plan to make regular international transfers to and from Lithuania.
Online multi-currency accounts
Online multi-currency accounts are a great alternative to traditional bank transfers. Their digital platforms allow you to send and receive payments in multiple currencies, usually with far more competitive FX rates and lower fees.
Multi-currency accounts, like 3S Money’s International Business Account, are popular with businesses that operate in multiple markets across the world. This type of account offers a streamlined global payments system; one with easy cross-border payments, a single view of all transactions, and FX rates up to five times cheaper than traditional banks.
Electronic Money Institutions (EMIs), like 3S Money, tend to offer online multi-currency accounts, enabling businesses to make payments in different countries without the need to hold local bank accounts. They are attractive to business owners aiming to grow internationally – here are a few reasons why:
- Savings: EMIs offer lower fees and more competitive FX rates than traditional brick-and-mortar banks.
- Simplicity: all your business transactions are visible in one easy-to-use platform which is accessible anywhere in the world.
- Scale: your business can grow quicker with greater access to multiple markets and currencies.
Some transfer providers offer the option to pick up physical cash at one of their locations near your recipient.
This option is often provided by international transfer specialists, so the same pros and cons apply. It’s straightforward and the cash can be available in minutes (depending on the opening hours of the physical location).
However, there’s usually a price to pay for convenience and you run the risk of incurring losses due to significant markups on currency conversion. This solution is reasonable for occasional transfers but isn’t the best for regular as it can be costly.
Digital or mobile wallets
Another option for sending and receiving cross-border payments from Lithuania is a digital or mobile wallet.
PayPal was one of the first digital wallets and is still the world’s most widely used. While a popular tool for personal (peer-to-peer) transfers, for business transactions, PayPal can be expensive. There are no set-up fees however, the standard charge is 5.4% + $0.30 per transaction, and there are also hefty currency conversion charges.
Several digital and mobile wallets exist out there, and which one works best for your business will depend on factors like your location and specific needs.
What’s the best way to send money to and from Lithuania?
If you’re a business sending and receiving regular international payments to and from Lithuania, one-off transfer services (such as those offered by traditional banks and international transfer specialists) will turn out to be an expensive option for you.
Most international businesses will be completing multiple transactions on a daily basis, whether that’s paying suppliers, employees, freelancers, and taxes in different countries, or collecting payments from customers.
If you use transfer specialists or traditional banks for these regular transactions, their high fees, commission-based charges, and FX markups will add up and eat away at your bottom line.
For businesses that want hassle-free access to global markets, a better solution is an online multi-currency account where you can send and receive payments in 65+ currencies and 190+ countries, including Lithuania.
How do I send money to Lithuania? Step-by-step.
1. Open a 3S Money International Business Account
Once approved, your business can send hassle-free payments to Lithuania using your online account.
2. Enter the transfer details
Add the recipient’s name and their account details, then choose the currency and country.
3. Send your money
Make the transfer from your online account and receive an alert when it’s complete.
How do I receive money from Lithuania Step-by-step.
A 3S Money International Business Account makes it easy to receive international payments in 65+ currencies from 190+ countries, including Lithuania. Here’s how:
1. Open a 3S Money International Business Account
Benefit from one easy-to-use platform for all your international payments.
2. Give customers your account details
Collect EUR payments with ease and view all transactions in your streamlined account.
3. Receive your money
See the payment arrive in your online account and either hold or exchange it for another currency.
How long do transfers to and from Lithuania take?
It depends on where the transfer is being sent from, where it’s going, the systems used, and when you send it.
- Most traditional bank transfers take up to five working days.
- SWIFT transfers take one to five working days.
- Transfers between 3S Money accounts are instant.
- If you send your transfer on a weekend or public holiday, it could take longer.
- Some receiving banks take longer to process incoming payments than others, so delays can occur for this reason.
How much money can I send or receive from Lithuania?
In principle, there’s no limit to how much you can transfer. However, some providers will cap the amount you can send in a single transaction. So, if you want to transfer a large amount, you may have to do multiple transfers.
With 3S Money, there are no transaction limits. Once you’ve been approved for an International Business Account, you can transfer high-value payments with ease to 190+ countries around the world. We even offer expert support for clients who are transferring large amounts for extra peace of mind.
Transferring large amounts
If your provider does impose a cap, watch out for multiple transfer fees. If you send payments regularly this way, to pay supplier invoices or employee wages, for example, the costs could mount up.
When transferring large amounts, consider the following:
- Some providers cap the amount you can send in a single transfer, so you may have to do several.
- There may be a limit on the number of transfers you can make in any 30-day period.
- Larger amounts can take longer to process.
- Your provider may enquire about large transfers. This is considered best practice and is also an important part of how institutions that are regulated by the FCA (like 3S Money) meet their obligations. Learn more about who 3S Money is regulated by.
How much does it cost to transfer money to Lithuania?
We mentioned earlier how international transfers via traditional banks can be a costly way to send money. Let’s look in more detail at the fees you might pay:
- Outgoing transfer fee: you’ll most likely be charged a flat fee for sending an international transfer. A bank in the UK, for example, will typically charge between £20-£40.
3S Money charges just $1 (or your local equivalent) per transfer, regardless of how much you send. More about 3S Money pricing.
- Incoming transfer fee: most UK banks charge around £7.50 for receiving payments from international bank accounts.
3S Money charges £0.00.
- Initiation fee: some banks might charge you a fee if you request the transfer over the phone or in person rather than online. For a UK bank, you can expect this to be around £20.
3S Money doesn’t charge initiation fees.
- Commission: Banks might also charge a fee based on a percentage of the total amount you transfer. For UK banks, this is currently around 3-4%.
3S Money charges just $1 per transfer (or your local equivalent) regardless of how much you send.
- Exchange rate markup: the exchange rate you can find on Google or see on the news is called the “mid-market” rate. Transfer providers apply their own exchange rates to international transfers which means you’ll pay more – and they keep the difference.
3S Money offers FX rates that are up to 5x lower than traditional banks.
We’ve covered a lot in this article, so here are some tips and main takeaways to consider:
- Lithuania is a diverse economy with a focus on creating favourable conditions for business and innovation.
- Labour costs are among the lowest in the EU, but the workforce is one of the most highly educated.
- With 3S Money, you can get a multi-currency business account in your company name which brings you the benefits of local bank accounts across the world without the hassle or admin of setting them up.
- An online multi-currency account can be an effective solution for businesses looking to scale and access new markets with ease.
- With a 3S Money International Business Account, you can send, receive, hold and exchange EUR with low transaction costs and even lower FX rates.
- Watch out for currency exchange markups as they can eat into the money you’re sending.
- When choosing a provider for global payments, make sure they're regulated by an independent body. 3S Money is FCA-regulated and uses safeguarding to protect 100% of your funds. Other schemes such as the FSCS only cover up to £80,000 – so you have greater peace of mind with 3S Money.
Manage your money to help your business grow
Ready to start making and receiving payments easily from Lithuania and access this forward-looking, diverse European market?
3S Money’s International Business Account offers global payment solutions for businesses looking to operate in multiple countries – all from one easy-to-use account.