Many fun, exciting things happen when you move to a new country. Opening a bank account is not one of them. Luckily, it is a pain-free process in general in Luxembourg. City Savvy’s relocation expert, Rute Vendeirinho, provides you with her practical guide to banking in Luxembourg.
Most banks offer similar quality of services and have established on-line banking to make life easier for customers. Banks may charge for the products and services that they offer and fees vary between banks. Personal accounts may be more expensive in Luxembourg than in other countries, for example the UK or USA, as banks charge separately for each service offered (such as debit and credit cards and Internet banking facilities), in addition to each transaction. Most banks offer a variety of packages for an annual fee, which include the fees for bank cards, Internet banking access, some transactions at ATMs and generally some form of account insurance.
Some of the largest banks in Luxembourg are the Banque et Caisse d’Epargne de l’Etat (BCEE), BGL BNP Paribas, ING and BIL.
Opening an account
In Luxembourg you need to have a bank account. Most importantly, you need one in order to receive your salary. Furthermore, you will need one to rent or buy accommodation, pay for gas and electricity, get a phone line, and many other necessities.
A current account (compte à vue) may be opened in Luxembourg by both residents and non-residents. In general, the only documents required are a valid passport or identity card and proof of address. However, in order to use all the facilities that the bank has to offer, for example debit or credit cards, proof of income will also be required. Newcomers to Luxembourg should also provide a work contract or letter from their employer.
Some banks allow customers to open an account on-line, but the relevant documents will need to be sent by post to the bank.
Products and Services
Most banks provide different products for children, students and job-seekers, which have lower, or no, banking fees. Savings accounts are offered by all banks. Interest rates vary from bank to bank. A tax, known as précompte mobilier, is paid on interest accumulated.
Travellers cheques are accepted widely. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take travellers cheques in Euros, Pounds Sterling or US Dollars.
MasterCard (the most popular), American Express and Visa are all widely accepted. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available.
Automatic Cash Dispenser
Most banks have automatic cash dispensers. You can obtain cash 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You need to have a bank account and a 4 digit confidential PIN-code. Money can be withdrawn from your bank ATM free of charge. Be aware that there is a maximum amount permitted per week, so please check it with your bank in advance.
As a employee in Luxembourg you should get the Luncheon vouchers as part of your company’s benefits. They are known as either “cheque repas” or “ticket restaurants” and they can be used to pay for meals in restaurants, cafés and even groceries in most supermarkets.
The banking hours are generally from Monday – Friday from 8.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Regional offices of banks, with less staff, may be closed at lunch time.
Photo: Tilemahos Efthimiadis/flickr (file)