How to open a bank account in Austria: An expat’s guide

If you're relocating from a non-EU country, learn how to open an Austrian bank account so you can receive your salary and make payments easily.


5 minute read
Updated on 10 Apr 2024

Deciding where to open a bank account in Austria might feel overwhelming, given the staggering number of over 444 certified banks in the country. And what documents do you bring to your appointment as a non-resident? Can you open your Austrian bank account online from abroad?

To help you answer these questions and more, we’ve created the ultimate guide to opening a bank account in Austria so you can successfully take care of your finances there.

Do I need an Austrian bank account?

Those from EU member countries don’t need to open an Austrian bank account. They can conveniently receive salaries and handle utilities through their domestic banks.

If you're a non-EU citizen intending to stay in Austria for over a year, opening a local bank account is necessary. With an Austrian bank account, you can effortlessly handle financial tasks such as receiving your Austrian salary, paying utilities in Austria, and managing routine expenses while avoiding currency conversion and transaction fees. Moreover, you'll gain access to services like local gym memberships or be able to get an Austrian SIM card.

Can foreigners open a bank account in Austria?

Yes, foreigners can open bank accounts in Austria, regardless of nationality. Austrian banks welcome residents and non-residents, allowing foreigners to open accounts for various purposes, such as personal banking, business transactions, or investments.

However, the specific requirements and procedures for opening a bank account as a foreigner might vary from one bank to another. Some banks have specific products designed for non-residents, while others offer the same account options to residents and non-residents.

Types of bank accounts in Austria

Let’s take a look at the different account options available in Austria:

  • Current account (Girokonto): This is the most favoured choice for handling personal finances. You can deposit money, withdraw cash, receive or make payments, and perform both local and international transfers.
  • Savings account (Sparbuch): This option allows you to save some money for a rainy day. You can either open it yourself or have it linked to your Girokonto.
  • Basic payment account (Basiskonto): These simplified accounts provide vital banking services such as payments, direct debits, and account statements. They're designed with lower fees and fewer prerequisites, making banking accessible for newcomers, low-income individuals, and those lacking a fixed address.
  • Student account (Studentenkonto): If you're a student, you can benefit from a free bank account offered by certain Austrian banks such as Erste Bank, Raiffeisen Bank, and UniCredit Bank. This account can be connected to your student ISIC card.

You typically receive a debit card (Bankomatkarte) when you open one of the above accounts. This card is your handy tool for efficiently managing your finances, whether it's making purchases or withdrawing cash from ATMs.

Now, if you're considering a credit card (Kreditkarte), you must apply for it separately. Keep in mind that each bank has specific criteria you need to fulfil to be eligible for a credit card. This typically includes having a debit account with internet banking at that bank and a certain minimum monthly income.

How to open a bank account as a resident in Austria

You can either open a bank account in person or online. Opening an account online is available only to Austrian residents. So, if you're planning on staying in Austria for more than 6 months (or 183 days) you can open an account online.

If you decide to go in person, schedule an appointment at the nearest branch of your chosen bank via their website.

You need to bring the following documents to open a bank account in Austria:

  1. Completed application form (available on the website of the bank)
  2. ID/passport (Lictbildausweis)
  3. Visa (if applicable)
  4. Proof of residence, like a residency registration form (Meldezettel)
  5. Proof of employment or proof of enrolment
  6. In some cases, the last 3 salary statements (Gehaltsnachweis) to prove you have no outstanding debt in your home country

Once you've successfully opened your Austrian bank account, you'll receive your bank card via mail and a separate letter containing instructions on activating your online banking services.

How to open a bank account as a non-resident in Austria

Non-residents can open bank accounts in Austria in person. Opening an account online isn't always possible if you're staying in Austria for less than 6 months (or 183 days) in or have a permanent address in and stronger connections to a different country.

While a few Austrian banks might offer the option to open accounts remotely, it's not universally guaranteed. For instance, Bank Austria, a member of UniCredit, permits fellow UniCredit members to open accounts from abroad through a standard form. Certain Austrian banks, such as Erste Bank (Sparkasse), accommodate non-residents, but a visit to the bank in person is necessary.

To open a bank account in Austria as a non-resident, you need the following documents:

  1. Valid ID/passport
  2. Proof of residence in your home country
  3. Proof of income
  4. Visa/residence permit
  5. Reference letter/introduction (if applicable)
  6. Tax ID from your home country (if applicable)

Note that certain banks might request additional paperwork.

If you're not sure whether your bank of choice accommodates non-residents, give the local branch a call. They can explain what you can do before you arrive and may even start preparing your documents to speed things up.

Best banks in Austria for foreigners

To choose an Austrian bank as a foreigner:

  1. Research banks with English language support, convenient locations, and online banking services.
  2. Compare fees, consider international transfer options, and read customer reviews.
  3. Ensure the bank's services align with your needs and visit or contact them for clarification before deciding.

The top 3 Austrian banks for foreigners include:

  • UniCredit Bank Austria: An international bank with branches worldwide. They offer English service and don't require proof of Austrian residence. Although their accounts aren't free, they have affordable prices. Premium options could also waive international transfer fees.
  • Erste Group Bank: Austria's largest bank with branches across Central and Eastern Europe. They offer lower monthly rates (€2 to €5.50, depending on the account type and services) and don't require Austrian residency for account opening. Their website is available in English.
  • Raiffeisen Bank Austria: You can open an account without proof of Austrian residence. Their fees range from €15 to €20 per year, and they offer worldwide branch availability. You can set up their online banking even if you don't have a Raiffeisen Bank account.

To find your perfect fit, you can use the Bank Calculator of the Austrian Chamber of Labour. By providing some basic info, like the account type you need, your transfer frequency, and your residency status, you can get tailored recommendations for your financial needs.

Best online banks for foreigners in Austria

Online banks are a great alternative for foreigners who need only basic banking services like a current account and card.

The 3 most popular online banks in Austria are

  • N26: Europe's largest online bank, and it's totally free. No monthly fees, plus they offer affordable international transfers.
  • Revolut: Also free of monthly costs, providing some of Europe's most budget-friendly financial services.
  • Wise: Ideal for those looking for a multi-currency online bank with low costs and a top-notch card. They have the cheapest international transfers globally but require proof of Austrian residence.

Once you've selected your favourite online bank, simply head to their website or app and set up your account. Just like with other banks, you'll need proof of identity. Once you’re done, you'll receive a virtual bank card, and later, your physical one will arrive by mail. You won’t even have to wait for your physical bank card before you start spending!

So there you have it, a clear understanding of how to open an Austrian bank account, no matter your residency status. The cherry on top is that you can complete the entire process right from the comfort of your own home if you like.

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