How to open a bank account in Luxembourg
One of the first tasks to complete when moving to Luxembourg is opening a bank account. Luckily it doesn’t take much besides a valid ID and a proof of address.
There are about 200 banks operating in this tiny country, with nearly a quarter being foreign bank branches. Although Luxembourg is one the world's largest financial centers as well as worldwide, don’t let it overwhelm you. Living in Luxembourg as an expat means setting up a home and lifestyle, and opening a bank account is essential when getting started. While most of us vaguely remember the process from years ago, if you want to work in Luxembourg then pick your bank and open an account. Here is how you open an account.
Banking in Luxembourg: What you need
In order to open a bank account in Luxembourg, there are basic things a bank will ask you for. What you need to bring depends on the reason you want to open a bank account. Read our list of banks in Luxembourg in our Banking in Luxembourg article, and many of them provide a list of what packages specifically offer.
Bring: Valid ID
A valid ID can be an international passport, an EU/EEA identity card or EU/EEA driver’s license. A driver’s license from a country outside the EU will most likely not be accepted, nor would other credit cards and bank cards with your name on it but no photo.
Bring: Proof of address
This needs to show your name and your address in Luxembourg. This can be a housing contract, or proof of mortgage on a house. It can be as simple as a utilities bill with your name and address officially stated. If you do not live in Luxembourg this is also acceptable, although your banks options and package options might differ from those offered to Luxembourg residents.
Bring: Employer contract
If you are living in Luxembourg or just moved, you will need to support you Luxembourg address with a proof of employment. An employer contract is the best way to show this. If you are unemployed then a copy of savings funds under your name can help, or the employer contract of your spouse.
Bring: Proof of income
Are you opening a bank account and also wish to access credit cards and debit cards? You will need to show a proof of income for a consistent amount of time – the longer the time the better but aim for the past 6 months to a year.
Banking in Luxembourg: What’s offered
Depending on your lifestyle – as a family in Luxembourg, someone who travels often for work, or just covering the basics – many bank plans offers similar packages with slight adjustments to help cater specifically. Packages include usual activity of providing statements, access and transactions, online and electronic banking, as well as bank card offers, loans and investments, insurance, securities accounts. Some even include perks like discounts on particular restaurants and leisure activities. The largest and most expansive bank throughout Luxembourg is BCEE (Banque et Caisse d'Epargne de l'Etat Luxembourg). Signing up with BCEE involves choosing a plan from a list that benefit different customers -- a similar layout is with each bank.
Savings accounts usually include interest tax fees, however a good portion of savings can be exempt from this tax. Accounts that are specifically for saving for a house also have benefits and tax advantages. Students, children, and starting-out customers under 30 years old are also entitled to more discounts and benefits than the average customer. Lastly, many employers offer special rates and services if you open an account at the bank they use.
Lastly, nowadays there is little need to visit a bank in daily life, most of the day-to-day banking can be done either online or at ATM transaction machines. It might be important to consider this and see which bank is most accessible to where you live in Luxembourg.
Most banks are open weekdays from around 8.15am to 5pm, with a lunch break from 11.45am to 2pm. A few banks at major shopping centres are open through lunchtime and Saturdays.
The Luxembourg banking industry maintains an informative website (www.bank.lu) where you can find information about all the banks in Luxembourg, including the services they offer to individuals and corporations. The site has a search engine that you can use to draw up lists of banks offering particular services.
Luxembourg is considered an offshore bank as it's located outside the country of residence of many of its banking clients, with most of its account holders being non-residents of the country. More importantly, Luxembourg banking is attractive and is considered 'offshore' because of its greater privacy, little taxation for companies, access to deposits and protection against local, political, or financial instability.
The disadvantages? Offshore banking has been associated in the past with the underground economy and organised crime. Accounts can be less financially secure when there is an economic downturn or collapse, and the appeal in general is for those with a considerable higher income. In return, secrecy has been decreased and Luxembourg has agreed to and adhere an comply with EU banking laws that demand their clients to be more transparent. However, perks like tax breaks for companies remain a lucrative asset still connected to Luxembourg banking.
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