7 July 2023 3 minutes

Sending and receiving payments from Poland

Witamy w Polsce! If you’re looking for the perfect country to set up operations in Europe, look no further. Our latest guide covers everything you need to know about sending and receiving payments in Poland.
Sending and receiving payments from Poland

After nearly half a century behind the Iron Curtain, Poland was one of the first Eastern Bloc countries to emerge into capitalist Europe in 1989. 

Despite rocky beginnings with the "shock therapy" of sudden and far-reaching economic reforms, its GDP has grown uninterrupted since 1992 and has increased by 6% a year over the last 20 years – the highest growth in the EU. If that wasn't impressive enough, it was the only country in the EU to avoid a recession in the economic downturn of 2007/8. Both point to Poland's significant economic resilience. 

Despite this sustained growth, Poland is still transitioning in three key areas – moving to a green economy, accommodating an ageing population, and digitalisation. This new direction will open up opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs to lead the market in these areas. 

Poland has considerable potential if you're looking to expand your business into Eastern Europe. This guide offers an overview of Poland's economic landscape, consumer payment behaviours, and how your business can manage payments to and from Poland. Let's get you up to speed! 

Poland's economy: a quick overview

Poland's economy is based primarily on services (62%), industry (32%) and agriculture (3.5%). It has the sixth-largest GDP in the EU and has seen consistent growth for the last two decades. 

Regarding natural resources, Poland is rich in minerals and a leading producer of rhenium, silver, and copper. It's also an important food exporter and the world's third-largest producer of apples. Aside from these more conventional forms of economic activity, Poland is looking to technology as part of its future. 

The country's Venture Capital scene has developed rapidly in the last few years, with 203 firms active in 2022 – 56% more than in 2019. Tech startups and scaleups are finding it far easier to access funding leading to a vibrant ecosystem of 3,000 startups and 250,000+ software engineers. 

Currencies

The currency of Poland is the zloty, designated by the zł symbol or the three-letter ISO code PLN. The zloty (meaning Gold in Polish) is the most traded currency in Central and Eastern Europe. It became the legal tender in 1924, replacing the Polish marka introduced during World War I. However, the origins of the zloty can be traced back over 500 years.  

Consumer payment behaviours in Poland

Cash is still the method many consumers prefer to pay for items and services in Poland. Nevertheless, ecommerce spending per capita continues to grow and is projected to increase from $841 in 2022 to $1,300 by 2026.  

Around 80% of the population have access to the internet, and approximately 65% have a smartphone. Amazon Poland is, unsurprisingly, popular with consumers. However, the Polish platform Allegro is the country's most popular online shopping destination, with over 22 million monthly visitors and 135,000 professional merchants. 

Only 19% of Polish people have credit cards, so most online purchases are made with debit cards. Other locally popular payment methods include Blik (over 10 million users), PaySafe, TrustPay, and Paysafecash.  

Global transfers in Poland

While not part of the Eurozone, Poland has access to European financial networks, which means it's well-connected for efficient business and personal banking. For example: 

  • Poland belongs to the EU's Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). This means that transfers to other SEPA countries are the same as to domestic accounts within Poland.  

  • The SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) network is readily accessible by many institutions in Poland, enabling straightforward international transfers between 190+ countries. 

Transferring money to and from Poland is relatively straightforward, but it can be expensive – especially for businesses making regular transactions.  

Establishing all the necessary financial infrastructure will be the right solution for some businesses. However, that can be challenging, costly and involve long waiting times before operationalising your business. 

Next, we'll consider alternative ways to transfer money to and from Poland. 

What are the different ways to send money to and from Poland?

Several solutions are available if you're looking to transfer money to and from Poland. They include: 

  • International money transfer specialists 

  • Bank-to-bank international transfers 

  • Online multi-currency accounts 

  • Polish IBANs (International Bank Account Numbers) 

  • Cash pick-up 

  • Digital or mobile wallets 

Which one works best for you will depend on your business needs and operations, so we'll look at the pros and cons of each. 

International money transfer specialists 

In Poland, there are several options for companies that specialise in international money transfers. You can choose from local providers like Spoko and SAMI SWO, as well as well-known companies such as Moneycorp and Western Union Business. 
 
With this method of transfer, you'll be able to choose how the money is received: bank transfer, mobile wallet, or cash pick-up from a physical location, for example. This flexibility and range of options can make it a helpful tool. 

If you want a faster transfer, you'll pay a premium for it. That means the sender must pay significantly more, and the recipient will receive less. Either way, the provider pockets a healthy profit.  
 
With so many available options, ensuring that a recognised local body regulates your chosen service is vital.  

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 most accessible and 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, pushing up the total cost. 

All banks are different, so check your business account's terms to see your bank's international transfer charges. If they charge a lot, consider an alternative, especially if you plan to make regular international transfers to and from Poland. 

Online multi-currency accounts 

Electronic Money Institutions (EMIs) are leading providers of online multi-currency business accounts. Free from the trappings of traditional banks, digital providers offer a genuine alternative for modern business.  
 
As well as providing all the features of a bank account, multi-currency accounts are designed specifically for businesses that trade in foreign markets. They offer a streamlined global payments system: easy cross-border payments, a single view of all transactions, and bank-beating FX rates.  

Here are a few reasons why EMIs are so attractive to growing international businesses:  

  • 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, accessible anywhere in the world.  

  • Scale: Your business can grow quicker with greater access to multiple markets and currencies.  

The alternative banking solutions EMIs offer enable businesses to make payments in different countries without holding local bank accounts. Find out more about EMIs here.  

Here are a few reasons why EMIs are so attractive to growing international businesses: 

Cash pick-up 

Some transfer providers offer the option to pick up physical cash at one of their locations near your recipient. 

This service is often an option provided by international transfer specialists, so the same pros and cons apply. It's straightforward, and the cash can often be available in minutes, depending on the opening hours of the physical location.  

However, there's usually a price to pay for convenience and the same risk of losing out to significant markups on currency conversion. And again, this solution is reasonable for occasional transfers but problematic and costly for regular payments. 

Digital or mobile wallets 

E-wallets, or digital wallets, are a commonly used payment method in Poland. They are popular for online and peer-to-peer transactions, accounting for 22% of online payments.  

Various digital wallet options are available in Poland, including international choices such as PayPal, Google Pay, and Apple Pay can be used on mobile phones and for online payments. 
 
However, leading the way is the local payment system, Blik. With 13 million active users (35% of the population) making over 1.2 billion transactions, any accepting Blik is necessary for any business in Poland. 

What's the best way to send money to and from Poland?

Suppose you're a business sending and receiving regular international payments to and from Poland. In that case, one-off transfer services (such as those offered by traditional banks and international transfer specialists) will be an expensive option for you. 

Most international businesses will complete multiple transactions daily, whether paying suppliers, employees, freelancers, or taxes in different countries or collecting consumer payments.  

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, an online multi-currency account is a better solution where you can send and receive payments in 65+ currencies and 190+ countries and territories, including Poland. 

How do I send money to Poland? Step-by-step.

With a 3S Money International Business Account, you can send money in 65+ currencies to 190+ countries, including Poland. Here's how: 

1. Open a 3S Money International Business Account 

Once approved, your business can send hassle-free payments to Poland using your online account. 

2. Enter the transfer details 

Add the recipient's name and 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 Poland? Step-by-step.

A 3S Money International Business Account makes it easy to receive international payments in 65+ currencies from 190+ countries, including Poland. 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 

Get a Polish IBAN in your business name to easily collect PLN payments – it's just like having a local bank 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 Poland 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. 

  • It could take longer if you send your transfer on the weekend or public holiday. 

  • Some receiving banks take longer to process incoming payments than others. 

How much money can I send or receive from Poland?

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, you may have to do multiple transfers if you want to transfer a large amount. 

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 moving 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 in 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 an essential part of regulated institutions' operations

How much does it cost to transfer money to Poland?

We mentioned earlier how international transfers via traditional banks could be a costly way to send money. Let's look in more detail at the fees you might pay: 

Transfer costs 

  • 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 per transfer

  • 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 your transfer amount. For UK banks, this is currently around 3-4%.
    3S Money charges just $1 per transfer. 

  • 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 up to 5x lower than traditional banks. 

Key takeaways

We've covered a lot in this article, so here are some tips and main takeaways to consider: 

  • Poland's economic growth over the last 30 years has been remarkable, with room for further opportunity in the green economy and digitalisation.  

  • With 3S Money, you can get local Polish account details in your company name, which brings you all the benefits of a local bank account without the hassle of opening one. 

  • An online multi-currency account can be an effective solution for businesses looking to scale and easily access new markets. 

  • With a 3S Money International Business Account, you can send, receive, hold, and exchange PLN with low transaction costs and lower FX rates. 

  • When choosing a provider for global payments, ensure an independent body regulates them. 

The smarter way to send and receive business payments

Ready to start making and receiving payments easily from Poland and access this growing 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.  

Meet the authors

Matthew Ivo

Author

Matthew Ivo is the Senior Content Manager with a strong background in crafting engaging finance-related articles. With extensive experience in the field, Matt’s writing brings clarity and valuable insights to complex financial topics, captivating readers with his expertise.

/media/1759/download/Matt_03_optimized.png?v=2

Enjoy this blog?  Share with your connections

You may also like

Payment Guides

How to send money to Hong Kong

Hi, Nǐ hǎo, hello! Making business payments to Hong Kong couldn’t be easier thanks to our comprehensive payment guide.
157 days ago
Matthew Ivo
Payment Guides

How to send money to the UK

Wherever you are in the world, transferring money should never be complicated – and these days, it doesn’t have to be. We explain how to send money to...
164 days ago
Matthew Ivo
Payment Guides

How to Send Money to the UAE

As-salaam 'alykum! With one of the world's most inclusive, innovative, and inspiring economies, the UAE is a world-leading business hub. Find out how ...
170 days ago
Matthew Ivo