The Georgian Lari is the currency of Georgia and sole legal tender for payments on the territory of Georgia, except for the operations related to export-import and free industrial zone.
The central bank is the National Bank of Georgia (NBG). It sets monetary policy, issues licenses, and supervises the activities of banking institutions and currency exchange offices. Commercial banks require a license from the NBG and the minimum statutory capital required to register a bank is 12 million Georgial Lari. Banks are required to be organized as Joint Stock Companies and to report using International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
While there are dozens of banks in Georgia three biggest banks are Bank of Georgia, TBC Bank and Liberty Bank which have correspondent banking relationships with the United States through Citibank. They are included in the London Stock Exchange’s top 250 largest companies list and their shares are traded on the London Stock Exchange.
Opening a bank account in Georgia for foreigners is a remarkably simple process compared to most countries in the world and takes about 30 minutes. Bank accounts for newly registered entities can be opened as soon as the entity registration is completed and a unique identification number is given. All you need to do is visit a bank, show your international passport, fill out a forms and typically your account is open for the next business day. While English is fairly commonly spoken in the country Foreign citizens need to bring a translator with them. You can also make an appointment at the bank of your choice and ask for an English-speaking banker. It is important that opening bank account can be done from distance, remotely by Power of Attorney (POA).
Unlike most international accounts for foreigners, Georgian banks do not require a minimum deposit in order to open the account. Fees for operating the bank account are very low and the exact amount depends on which particular bank you decide to use and the level of service offered by the account. The only payment that you need to make at the time that you open the account is a small payment (about 70 Gel) in order to obtain a debit card, which can also be used to withdraw funds from ATMs both inside Georgia and around the world. The bank offers a choice of either a Visa or Mastercard. All the three banks offer mobile apps for mobile banking as well as internet banking – so you can track your funds from anywhere in the world.
Bank accounts opened are three currencies in one – one each for GEL, USD and EUR, which means that if you wire funds into your account in either USD or EUR, then the funds will remain in that currency until you want to convert them. All bank accounts in Georgia use the international IBAN format, which makes it simple to transfer funds between the accounts without difficulties of working out the SWIFT/BIC Codes. Funds sent to the account arrive quickly, no later than the next working day.