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.
Although Luxembourg is one the world’s largest financial centers, personal banking in Luxembourg is not particularly difficult for expats, even if they have not opened a new account for some time. This helpful guide explains the process of how to open a bank account in Luxembourg and what you need to know. Sections include:
- Banking in Luxembourg
- Do you need a bank account in Luxembourg?
- Before opening a bank account in Luxembourg
- Types of bank accounts in Luxembourg
- Opening a bank account in Luxembourg as an expat
- Business bank accounts in Luxembourg
- Opening a bank account in Luxembourg for your children
- What to do if you are refused a bank account in Luxembourg
- Banking services in Luxembourg
- Managing your bank account in Luxembourg
- Changing accounts or closing a bank account in Luxembourg
- Useful resources
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Banking in Luxembourg
Luxembourg is a small country but one with many banks – 136 according to recent statistics. Around a quarter of banks in Luxembourg are foreign bank branches. Most of these are from Germany, France, and Switzerland. It also has a high number of investment banks.
Do you need a bank account in Luxembourg?
Both residents and non-residents can open a bank account in Luxembourg. However, it is not a legal requirement to do so. You can manage your finances from an overseas account if you prefer.
Opening a bank account in Luxembourg will make it much easier to manage your finances if you are living there. Therefore, it makes sense to look into what account options are available to you. Having a bank account in Luxembourg will save both time and money when it comes to managing your day-to-day life. It will also help when it comes to paying utility bills in Luxembourg or if you want to take out a mortgage in Luxembourg.
Before you open a bank account in Luxembourg
If you move before opening a bank account in Luxembourg, you can still manage your money and conduct financial transactions from an overseas account. Most businesses in Luxembourg take international cards such as Visa and Mastercard.
It is also possible in some cases to open a bank account in Luxembourg in advance of your arrival, or at least make preparations for opening the account. Opening a bank account in Luxembourg before moving can be done if you have any of the following:
- Luxembourg employment contract
- certificate of residence for Luxembourg
- acceptance onto a study course in Luxembourg
- income that is earned in Luxembourg (e.g., Luxembourgish pension or rental income)
Some banks in Luxembourg may also allow you to open an account online. If you have an account with a bank that has branches in Luxembourg, you can simply transfer the account to your new address when you move.
Another option is to open a non-resident account before you move. Some banks in Luxembourg offer non-resident accounts. You will usually need to provide ID such as a passport along with details of your current address.
Types of bank account in Luxembourg
Banks in Luxembourg typically offer a range of current account options, including basic accounts, online or mobile accounts, and tailored accounts for the likes of students or young people. Many banks also offer joint accounts where more than one name is on the account.
Current accounts usually include debit or credit cards, options for loans or investments, and sometimes even perks such as discounts on particular restaurants and leisure activities.
Savings accounts usually include interest tax, but a portion of the savings can be exempt from this tax — accounts that are opened specifically to save for a house, for example, may have benefits and tax advantages. Students, children, and new customers under 30 years old are also often entitled to discounts and benefits. Many employers offer special rates and services if you open an account at the bank they use: worth a check.
Internationals often use Luxembourg as an offshore bank — in fact, many of the country’s banking clients are non-residents. Besides those who simply work in the country and live across the border (cross-border workers), other customers have chosen to bank in Luxembourg due to its greater privacy and favorable taxation for companies; it boasts one of the lowest total tax rates in Western Europe. Furthermore, it enables access to deposits and protection against local, political, or financial instability. You can read more about offshore banking and its benefits in our detailed guide.
Opening a bank account as an expat
Most banks in Luxembourg will require you to visit a branch in order to open an account. If you are able to open an account online, or if you are opening a non-resident account from overseas, you will usually need to send posted or scanned copies of any documents required.
To open a bank account in Luxembourg, you will need to provide:
- valid ID, such as a passport or national identity card;
- proof of Luxembourg address (or overseas address, if opening a non-resident account), such as certificate of residence or utility bill;
You may also be asked to provide:
- an employment contract from Luxembourg or proof of income, especially if you want access to credit cards or are opening an account where you need to deposit regular funds;
- tax number
You also need to provide any documents relevant to the specific account you are opening, e.g. proof of study if you open a student account. Once you’ve made the application and submitted all the necessary documentation, your Luxembourg bank account will be opened fairly quickly and you should receive your bank card and information on your account within a few days.
Mobile banking in Luxembourg
If you prefer, you can choose to open an account with a mobile-only bank that operates in Luxembourg. Mobile banking has the advantage of being faster and more accessible when it comes to managing personal finances. The process for opening an account is also usually more straightforward.
International mobile banks available in Luxembourg include:
Many mobile banks only require personal details such as mobile number, e-mail address, and physical address. They are less likely to ask for documentation such as ID or employment contracts. Any additional information asked for can usually be sent online using a scan or photo.
Opening a corporate account
You can open a personal or company account with most banks in Luxembourg. Business account products often vary depending on business size and type, with some banks offering specific accounts suited to start-ups and small businesses in Luxembourg.
The process and requirements for opening up a business account will also depend on your business type. If you are a freelancer or sole trader, the process is similar to opening up a personal bank account. You will need to provide a business name and address plus the same documentation as for a private account.
For limited and incorporated companies, you will need to provide documents such as company registration details and details of executive staff. Banking costs may also be greater for larger and limited companies. Check your bank for details.
Opening a bank account for your children
It is possible to open a bank account for your children in Luxembourg. Accounts available vary across banks but both current and savings accounts are available. Young people can open an account on their own, but there may be age restrictions with some banks.
If you want to open an account on behalf of your children, the best thing to do is contact your local branch first to make sure this is possible. If so, you will probably have to visit the branch and provide:
- ID and proof of address for your child
- ID and proof of address for yourself
Depending on the type of account you are opening, you may need to provide some additional documents.
What to do if you are refused a bank account in Luxembourg
Banks in Luxembourg are private businesses that are entitled to refuse you an account if you don’t meet the required criteria. However, they cannot discriminate against you based on things such as nationality or sexuality.
If you feel that you have been unfairly refused a bank account in Luxembourg, you should first contact the complaints department of that particular bank.
If you haven’t heard anything back from the bank within one month, you can complain through the CSSF which regulates banks in Luxembourg.
Choosing a bank account in Luxembourg
When shopping for a bank in Luxembourg, there are a number of elements to consider depending on your own circumstances and what you are looking for. Factors you may want to consider include:
- Range of services offered – for example, can you take out a loan or a Luxembourgish mortgage with the bank using your account?
- Banking costs – how much are general administration fees and what are the charges for borrowing or additional services?
- Account types – do they offer tailored accounts such as a student account or young person’s saver account?
- Expat-friendly services – what is available, e.g., non-resident account options or English-speaking services?
- Reputation – check out any forums or comparison sites where different accounts can be rated on personal experience.
- Incentives – e.g., free gifts or discounts at other businesses.
- Convenience – is mobile banking in Luxembourg an option or is it easy to make international transfers?
Banking services in Luxembourg
Luxembourg banks provide a wide range of services beyond bank accounts and credit cards. These include:
- loans and overdrafts
- Luxembourgish insurance options
- savings and investment options including pension plans
International money transfers
International bank transfers may result in fees from both the issuing and receiving banks.
For international money transfers, there are alternative solutions to banks which could prove cheaper and more convenient, such as:
You can also use Monito’s online comparison tool to save on fees, obtain the best exchange rates and find the cheapest option for your international money transfers.
Managing your bank account
You can choose how to manage your money when opening a bank account in Luxembourg. This can be done through:
- Face-to-face banking – Luxembourg has around 68 bank branches per 100,000 inhabitants, which is among the highest per capita number of bank branches in the world.
- Online banking – all major banks in Luxembourg offer online banking options.
- Mobile banking – download the app from your bank’s website to enjoy 24/7 account access and make mobile payments. See our guide to mobile banking in Luxembourg for more information.
Changing banks or closing a bank account
Following a law change in 2017, the Luxembourg Bankers’ Association issued a guide on switching bank accounts. According to the law, you can ask your new bank to take care of transferring the account including all payments and direct debits. If you prefer, you can sort out the transfer yourself.
If you want to close a bank account in Luxembourg, make sure that you:
- check with the bank to see if there are any formal procedures such as filling out an account closure form;
- get confirmation in writing from the bank that the account is officially closed;
- have no outstanding payments being charged to the account, or that there are no penalties for closing the account;
- inform anyone making regular payments to your account, such as your employer, that it is no longer in use