Compare the best options on the market and choose the one which best adapts to your day to day needs.
Our Rating: 9.5/10
Best Mobile Bank for non-German speakers
✔️ Best mobile app interface
✔️ Multi-lingual support
✔️ Excellent free base account
✔️ Zero fee transactions
✔️ Excellent benefits for higher-tier accounts
N26 Bank Review
One of the real upcoming giants in the digital world of banking is N26. Launched in 2015, it now has a full European Banking license, operating in 25 markets worldwide with over 5 million customers.
Your money is safe as can be in this digital bank since it is supervised by the Financial Markets Regulator. This means that clients’ funds are guaranteed up to €100,000 by the Deposit Protection Fund.
What does N26 offer and how do its different tiers work?
N26 offers “zero exchange fees on card payments in any currency” which is really useful for any of you who like to travel.
Since the bank account comes along with a free Mastercard Debit card (and an optional Maestro Card), your ability to pay should be accepted pretty much everywhere.
The sign-up process is short and can be easily be done completely in English, as well as French, Italian and Spanish. Which is a huge bonus over other banks if you struggle with German.
Its important to note though, that you will need some form of EU/EFTA residence to open an account.
To give you a quick rundown on the 3 tiers N26 offers, here it goes.
The Basic N26 Bank account
The standard N26 bank account, with all its basic functions, is free and doesn’t charge any opening or maintenance fees at all.
With it, you can gain access to its online and mobile banking with a super easy-to-use app. And make unlimited payments in any currency anywhere in the world with your card or phone. Also, you can withdraw cash for free from ATMs up to 3 times per month.
The interface is honestly great, along with fantastic customer support to help you with everything.
You can even set up 2 sub-accounts with features to help you budget and manage your money to meet your financial goals.
It also uses artificial intelligence to “automatically categorize your spending”. So you can see the total amount you’re spending in each category. You can even create your own #tags categories – “#gifts # friends #eatingout, you name it.”
N26 also makes it pretty simple and easy to use in exporting your transaction information and downloading it as a CSV or PDF file to make your tax returns and invoicing easier.
For higher levels of features, you can upgrade to a N26 You account for €9.90 per month.
This increases your free cash withdrawals in the Eurozone to 5 times per month. Also, you now can have unlimited free ATM cash withdrawals worldwide in any currency outside the Eurozone. You also get some extra-poppy debit card colours to choose from.
N26 You gives you a whole travel insurance package to protect you with Medical insurance, Trip insurance, Flight insurance and Luggage coverage.
This definitely helps for people who like to travel by giving you peace of mind that you’re covered against any unpleasant surprises.
If you thought you weren’t insured enough, it also provides Mobility insurance for shared vehicles, covering you for damages of up to €20,000. There’s also Winter sport insurance in case of accidents on trips to mountains.
N26 You also increases the number of sub-accounts you can create. From the basic 2, to up to 10 sub-accounts so that you can better organise your money and save for different goals and projects.
Finally, N26 You grants you premium partner offers and discounts with world-class brands. Which is a huge bonus for those who like to buy things from those partners anyways.
You might even end up saving more through the discounts than what you actually pay in the monthly fee. So, this is definitely a great option to consider.
Then, if you want to upgrade to the highest level of N26 Metal for €16,90 per month, you get to choose from 3 metallic shades to get a stainless steel Debit card.
Now on top of the N26 You benefits, your Eurozone withdrawals increase to 8 per month. Also, you’re given Car rental insurance for your rental care hires away from home of up to €20,000 as well as Phone insurance of up to €1,000 against theft and damages if the event and phone are eligible.
N26 Metal expands on the previous offers and discounts with their partners to bring Metal customers “access benefits and bespoke rewards” to complement your everyday, “from hard-to-find tickets, VIP passes to private events, unique workshops and memorable days out”.
You’re also given a dedicated priority phone line so you can call them to sort out any questions you have immediately.
Whilst some people might think N26 Metal is a bit ‘extra’ for most normal people above the N26 You, given the relatively cheap price tag versus the benefits, its actually a very attractive bank account tier to go for.
Of course, which one of the 3 tiers of accounts best fits you personally is up to you decide.
If you want the most basic version there is, the standard N26 account works best.
For more dedicated features, offers and support for those who might like to travel with extra perks and benefits, N26 You and N26 Metal are definitely the best for you.
N26 Bottom line:
N26 is definitely the best digital bank to use for foreigners and people who aren’t super comfortable with German.
It’s very simple to use and has the best digital app interface there is. And with the higher tiers, it can offer some of the best packages of perks and services that you would want.
The only possible downside is that since it is fully online and there aren’t any physical branches you can visit in Austria, you don’t have anyone you can talk to face-to-face to help sort out any questions you might have.
But since they always have an online chat support and even a dedicated phone line for Metal customers, you should have no real problems getting your questions sorted out. They are well known for their high customer satisfaction and service.
Our Rating: 9.1/10
Best Online Bank for German speakers
✔️ One of the best combos of overdraft rates and services
✔️ Support only in German
✔️ Huge range of Cashback programs
✔️ Awarded “Best Direkt Bank”
Similar N26, DKB is a completely online digital bank and is one of the most popular and established online banks in Austria.
If you’ve got some basic German skills or you’re comfortable with using a bit of google translate to help you, then this might be the best bank account there is in Austria.
Setting up an account is completely free and simple to do, but, the entire process form and interface is in German and you need to have residency in either Austria, Germany or Switzerland. However, you can open a current account from any location in the world (except Iran and North Korea).
On top of the online interface and fantastic smartphone application to manage your transactions, the account comes along with a free Visa Credit and Debit cards.
Which is pretty huge since it guarantees you the ability to pay everywhere. Also, DKB gives you free ATM cash withdrawals anywhere and from any ATM.
DKB probably offers the best complete package with overdraft rates and services such as cashback programs, in comparison most to other providers. Unlike N26, DKB gives you the option to open a couples account, in which both account holders will each receive free debit and credit cards.
DKB Bottom Line:
DKB is likely the best bank overall for people who can speak German. It gives you one of the best guarantees of payment acceptance and cash withdrawal across Austria, with a fantastic combo of rates and services.
Though it is worth noting the downside that the interface and support are in German only. Also, to make sure your withdrawals and services remain free, make sure your account has a monthly intake of at least €700.
Our Rating: 8.9/10
Best Online Bank for Easy Bank Account Switching
✔️ Excellent Cashback programs
✔️ Great customer service
✔️ Super simple switching service
✔️ Great mobile app
✔️ Easy and convenient overdraft ability
ING Austria Review
ING Direct is a famous Dutch online bank with an excellent reputation and is a good contender for being your online bank in Austria if you are a resident.
An ING bank account gives you a free maestro debit card, granting you an excellent ability to pay across Austria as well as free ATM withdrawals inside and outside of Austria as long as you are in the Eurozone.
What makes ING interesting is that its account can be totally free if you ensure that your monthly income into the account is above €300. If it is below that amount you get charged the normal monthly fee of €5.
Alternatively, if you are under the age of 28, the monthly fee of €4.28 is automatically waived.
ING also has an interesting “UPS!” overdraft feature which lets you overdraft your account to up to 250 euros for free. Which is really convenient if you encounter short-term problems with money coming in and you suddenly have expenses you need to pay off.
But do make sure you pay them off as soon as you can to avoid later fees.
ING’s mobile app interface is also very well-designed allowing you to access your banking easily via your phone with some nice features to help you manage your money and save via budgeting.
The bank also prides itself on its “Kontowechsel” service which allows you to switch bank accounts from your old bank account to your new ING bank accounts super easily without having to deal with any bureaucratic paperwork and letters.
Also, ING has an excellent array of cashback programs so if you make purchases with any of their partners, so you’ll definitely be saving quite a lot of money.
ING Bottom Line:
Overall ING is another excellent option as an online bank choice, however it is usually only available to Austrian residents. It has a good combo of rates and services at a very low cost (if any), but make sure to read and meet their requirements.
The only possible downside could be that since it is a purely online bank, you won’t find physical branches in order to get help in person and everything has to be done online or over a call.
Our Rating: 8.8/10
Best Traditional Bank in Austria
✔️ Huge ATM and physical branch network
✔️ Great English support and open to foreigners and non-residents
✔️ Super low in fees and free for under people under 27
✔️ Access to more financial services
Erste Bank Review
Erste Bank is one of the largest traditional banks in Austria with a massive network of physical branches for people who like to be able to visit them in person to have the comfort of a face-to-face conversation to sort out their needs.
But don’t be fooled, they are as modernized as a traditional bank can be. They have an extremely slick mobile banking app called George that makes handling your banking at your fingertips as smooth and as simple as it can be.
Which is great, because it Erste Bank gives you all the reassuring services of having physical branches and ATMs everywhere, without you needing to physically go to them to sort out your issues.
In many ways, Erste Bank provides you a blend of the best from both worlds.
With Erste Bank, you will also be receiving a Mastercard Debit card giving you an excellent ability to pay basically everywhere as well as withdraw cash for free from any Erste Bank and Sparkasse ATM.
It is especially great for young people up to their 27th birthday in which having a current account (Girokonto) becomes completely free.
Even if you are a person who doesn’t fit the criteria and would still have to pay the fees, Erste Bank has a unique system where you can bring down your monthly fee by separate sets of 10%-20%. You can do this simply by using their services like withdrawing cash from their ATMs or using mobile pay functionality from your phone.
Remember it’s always best to read exactly what their conditions are on their website to make sure you’re reducing your price as much as possible and avoiding unnecessary fees.
They are also very friendly to foreigners and non-residents. They, even have their website available in English and are easy to make appointments with to help you set up an account.
Erste Bank Bottom Line:
Overall, Erste Bank is a fantastic option for a traditional bank in Austria and it is especially friendly to foreigners and non-residents.
It has a great combination of both access to a massive network of physical branches and ATMs but also is super modernized with seamless online mobile banking. Even if you don’t qualify for their free accounts, it is still super low in fees and provides great services in exchange.
Also, since it is a traditional bank, unlike all the online banks on this list, you will have access to more complex financial services like savings accounts, loans, mortgages, insurance, etc. Making it a great candidate as a bank that has everything you would ever need.
In terms of downsides, this bank barely has any. But if there is anything to criticize, it is that their sign-up process could maybe be a little faster, and that versus some of the online banks like N26, it doesn’t offer free accounts if you’re below the age of 27.
Things to know about Austrian bank accounts
Just a quick 2 min read about the most common issues we see with our readers:
What is a “Meldezettel” and do I need it?
A “Meldezettel” is basically a document that you need to register for at the local registration authority (“Meldebehörde”) that establishes your residency in Austria if you are planning to live here and are not just visiting.
It is very important that you register yourself within a deadline of 3 days once you establish a principal residence or else you can get a fine of up to 726 euros.
Also, once you are a resident, more bank accounts become available as options in Austria.
Remember to also deregister once you’ve left Austria permanently to avoid fines.
How do I open a checking account at these banks or any other bank in Austria?
Opening a checking account with a bank in Austria is relatively simple to do and can be done relatively quickly (in 30 minutes or so) if you do their sign-up process in person and even shorter if done online.
Digital Banks like N26 or DKB offer sign-up processes that are usually much shorter. And they can be done from the comfort of your phone or laptop where you can scan your documents using your webcam or phone camera.
But, usually there are some information or document requirements that may vary from bank to bank. If you follow this list, you should be pretty safe.
Usual requirements for opening checking accounts in Austria:
- Completed application form with Name, Address, Nationality, Income, etc
- Valid Passport or ID (if you are opening a joint account with another person, make sure they have their documents too)
- Proof of address or registration (like a recent utility bill or “Meldezettel”)
- Initial Deposit (depends on your bank how much they will require as a minimum)
- Proof of income or employment (usually only required by more strict banks like DKB)
Whether you are an Austrian resident or not will also affect what type of current account you can have (“resident” or “non-resident” account) and which banks you can sign up with.
It’s best to check out their websites or speak with them directly to find out. They’re usually very helpful in giving you the information you need.
International online banks like DKB or N26 usually tend to be the easiest and most open to non-residents, but it’s also worth checking out traditional ones like Erste Bank.
How to close or change bank accounts in Austria
Closing or switching bank accounts is pretty simple to do in Austria as long as you don’t owe the bank any money.
Usually, there tends to be a “closing account order” application or letter you need to complete and sign. Or, you can either visit a physical branch or call them and they’re usually very friendly in helping you out in closing your account.
Make sure to ask that you’re following all the correct requirements and don’t have any fees that you have not paid off yet.
Things you have to make sure to do are:
- Make sure you don’t get charged any penalty fees for closing the account before a specified “minimum” time has elapsed since you opened the account.
- Get written confirmation in the form of a letter or email that the account has officially been closed
- If you’re switching over to a new account, transfer over all future incoming and outgoing payments such as direct debits, salaries, or standing orders. Usually, either the old bank or the new bank that your switching to will take care of this if you ask.
- Make sure you’ve transferred all your money out of the old account and into the new account.
- Let your employer and, others who would transfer money to you, know that your old account will no longer work.
So overall you can see, choosing a bank account can be hard at first, but becomes easier if you know what exactly that you want. So try to make a list of the things that are important to you such as language or having physical branches, etc.
Then, try visiting their websites or even physical branches if they have any, to check out the different accounts (if they have more than one) and other products that they offer. You should be able to get a feeling for the banks pretty quickly and which one suits you.
If you feel comfortable with these banks you may even want to get more products from them like a savings account to earn interest on your money.
Once you’ve developed a relationship with your bank, later on, you might even get a business account, loan or mortgage from them once you develop a bit of credit history that they can evaluate you on.
But don’t worry too much about it if you end up opening an account with a bank which you don’t end up liking later. Banks in Austria allow you to close an account and switch over to another pretty easily and without a hassle.
Keep in mind though that I personally find it very useful to have two checking accounts instead of just one. So that in case there is ever an issue with one, you can still access your money in the other, so you’re not left stranded with no money.
Personally, I’ve become a fan of the online digital banks because of how simple and easy it is to do everything with banks like N26 or DKB from the comfort of my phone or laptop. But of course, you should only do so if you’re comfortable with doing all your banking online.
On the other hand, online banks tend to not offer more complex financial management services like loans, health insurance or mortgages that you would find at a traditional bank. So if you want some of those more complex products, you might need to look at more traditional banks like Erste Bank.
But don’t worry. You can easily have a checking account at an online bank and still have other more complex products from other banks.
If you’re arriving in Austria soon, make sure to sort out your bank account sooner rather than later in case there are any delays, depending on the bank you sign up with. Life will be a lot more difficult if you don’t have one.
In the end, it is up to you and what you need that will decide which is the best bank for you. Hopefully this article will have helped you with it.
Good luck with opening a bank account in Austria. If you have any questions or want us to write another post on something else too, let us know here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a foreigner or non-resident open a bank account in Austria?
A person of any nationality can open a bank account in Austria, but some banks might require at least a residence in Austria or in the EU/EFTA region depending on the accounts available.
If you are a non-resident, you will only be able to open a non-resident account and you might be subject to higher interest rates and might be limited in some services at Austrian banks.
Traditional Banks sometimes have a dedicated department for setting up non-resident/international accounts.
Usually, it tends to be the online banks that are the most open with residence requirements and some even allow residence from pretty much anywhere in the world.
But it is important to check with a bank yourself if they accept your country of residence. You can usually do so on the website or during the sign-up process.
Can I have two bank accounts in Austria?
Yes, you can have as many bank accounts as you like in Austria. Just be aware of the extra hassle and possibly extra cost if you go for accounts that charge monthly fees.
Even if you go with a “free” account as the extra one, check that you keep meeting the minimum flow of income if it is required to keep them from charging you a fee. Some banks like ING tend to do this, so check in case.
Can I keep my Austrian bank accounts even after I leave Austria?
Yes, you can keep your Austrian bank accounts even after you leave Austria. But be aware of some changes that might happen with how you handle your account.
Some banks might charge you fees if you have a resident account but are no longer a resident in Austria. At some point, they might start asking you for your “Meldezettel” to check if you’re still a resident.
Also, your tax status may change, or some banks may not be able to send you important notifications and PIN numbers if you change to a foreign number.
But these things vary a lot from bank to bank and its best to ask them and they should be happy to help. Overall it is usually very helpful to keep your account since it might come in handy later.
If it’s a resident account at a traditional bank that charges a lot of fees if you are no longer a resident, then it might be better to close the account. In this respect, N26 is known to be very friendly since they don’t require an Austrian residency and the Meldezettel.
How long do applications for bank accounts in Austria take?
Once you’ve booked and arrived at the appointment made at the physical branch, standard traditional banks usually take a day, or a few days at most, to approve and open a new bank account.
They usually tend to take longer than digital banks since they sometimes need to send you documents to your address.
Online digital banks instead usually approve and open your bank account for you within 24 hours if not immediately.
How can I set up an overdraft?
The process to set up an overdraft will depend on the bank itself and will often have very different policies and requirements. Usually, you have to complete an overdraft application form in order to set up the facility for an overdraft in case you might need it.
Digital banks tend to reply and approve/reject your application within a few days or even within the same day.
On the other end, traditional banks can sometimes take weeks to process your application. Be aware that some banks tend to be quite strict with their overdrafts and may require months of credit history before accepting an application.
Banks will also differ in the amount they allow for you to have on your overdraft. Some will allow a fixed amount (such as up to €10,000 for an N26 overdraft) or an amount relative to your average net monthly income (like with ING).
But be careful with your overdraft and make sure to pay it off as quickly as possible to avoid the interest charges (which vary from bank to bank).
What is the minimum age to open a bank account in Austria?
Usually, banks require a minimum age of 18 in order to open your own bank account, but this can vary from bank to bank in their process and requirements, especially for digital banks.
Normally, banks tend to allow parents or legal guardians to open bank accounts for their children if they are under the age of 18.
Can I open a bank account for my children?
Yes, you can open a bank account for your child if they are under the age of 18. Not all banks offer this service but some like Austria Bank are known to offer current accounts to those children aged 10 upwards.
Remember that you will need to provide the ID or Passport for both you and your child. Some banks might require that the parent needs to already have an account with the same bank too.