How to open a bank account in Austria the easy way

Thinking about moving to Austria? You’re going to need a bank account. Here’s how you can get one.

6 min read

Hallo, Servus., Grüezi,Grüß Gott! Looking to open an Austrian checking account (Girokonto)? There’s good news—it’s even simpler than saying “hello.”Whether at a branch, online, or through an app, this guide tells you what you need and how to open a bank account in Austria. 

What do I get with an Austrian bank account?

First, a few basics. In Austria, a standard checking account is called a Girokonto. Every Austrian bank account has an International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and can make free transfers in the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA). 

These days, you can open a Girokonto without any fees or fuss. Gone are the days of fumbling through paperwork and paying for services you don’t use. And while some bank accounts come with a monthly “maintenance” fee, there’s no good reason to choose one. Look for a no-fee account that allows free ATM withdrawals and issues a widely accepted debit card like Mastercard or Visa. Apple Pay and Google Pay functionality are also handy.

Or, if you’re willing to pay a little bit more per month, look for an account that offers you a variety of other useful features to make managing your Austrian finances simple and easy. Budgeting tools, sub-accounts to set aside your savings, rewards for spending, and special insurance packages could all be worth the extra cost. 

Many modern bank accounts come with a full-service app that makes spending, saving, and keeping track of your money a breeze (online banking is a given). If you travel often, consider a bank account with travel insurance and 24-hour customer support. Sprechen Sie Deutsch? If your German’s still a work in progress, find a bank that’s happy to speak English. Or Italian, Spanish, or French. Finally, banking should be frictionless. Look for a bank that clearly communicates the steps of opening an account and what to expect once you’ve completed them. Because there should be no guessing games when it comes to your money.    

Am I eligible to open an Austrian bank account?

All residents of Austria are eligible to open a checking account so long as they aren’t a wanted terrorist or intending to launder money. Many banks also allow residents of other SEPA States to open an account. Some exceptions exist for non-SEPA residents.

Beyond that, banks like to see that you have an income. If you’re studying, you’ll be asked to prove your school enrollment. Internet access and a smartphone are all it takes to open an account with an online bank (plus the required documents). Or, do it the old fashioned way by bringing your paperwork to a human being at a traditional bank branch. 

What do I need to open a bank account in Austria?

As with many processes in Austria, you’ll need to get some papers in order. To open a bank account, you’ll be asked to verify three things:

  • Identity (passport or ID card)

  • Residence (usually your Meldezettel and a utility bill)*

  • Employment or school enrollment

All set? Bring your documents to a branch, upload them online, or show them via video chat depending on the identity verification method of your chosen bank. 

What’s the typical process? Can I open a bank account online?

Here’s the deal—You can open an Austrian bank account the easy way, or you can take a slightly more complicated route. The easy way is downloading an app and opening an account in less time than it takes to make a meal. That’s the beauty of online banks. The slightly more complicated way is going to a branch or wading through the online application of a traditional bank. It works, but it’s a little less pretty.

Opening an account with a traditional bank

In person:

  1. From the bank’s website, print and fill out the application form to open a bank account; alternatively, fill one out at the branch

  2. Bring the application form (if applicable), your documents, and ID to a local bank branch

  3. Answer some questions and verify your identity with the clerk

  4. Wait for your confirmation, card, card PIN, telephone banking PIN, and photoTAN to arrive by post in separate letters 

  5. Activate online banking by signing in with your pin and photoTAN

Online

  1. See if your bank allows you to open an account online

  2. Choose the type of account you want to open (Girokonto)

  3. Complete application form (some banks won’t allow you to proceed without an Austrian residence)

  4. Upload copies of your documents and ID; alternatively, the bank will initiate video verification, though this option is rare for traditional banks

  5. Wait for your confirmation, card, card PIN, telephone banking PIN, and photoTAN to arrive by post in separate letters

  6. Activate online banking by signing in with your pin and photoTAN

*Most traditional bank websites, application forms, and customer service are only available in German

Opening an account with an online bank

  1. Confirm your phone number or email

  2. Download your bank’s mobile app and select the type of account you want

  3. Finish the registration process

  4. Complete in-app ID verification 

  5. Create a PIN and wait for your card to arrive by mail (your account is immediately active) 

Only real banks have a banking license

Europe, and the EU, is booming with fintech companies, many of which offer banking services. Some even set you up with an IBAN and issue debit cards. But are they banks? There’s an easy way to tell—a bank can’t call itself a bank unless it has a banking license.

A banking license ensures a company plays by the regulatory rules set out by the European Central Bank (ECB) and, in Austria, the Financial Market Authority (FMA). It grants companies the power to offer all the services expected of a traditional bank. That includes everything from basics like deposits and withdrawals to more advanced benefits like overdraft and lending. Most importantly, it means your data and money are protected – up to €100,000 under the Austrian Deposit Guarantee Scheme.

With more than five million customers in 25 markets and growing fast, N26 is the first licensed bank in Europe built for the digital generation. It plays by the old rules so you can play by new ones.

How to open an account with N26

How to open a bank account online with N26

  1. Confirm your email, personal details, and shipping address, 

  2. Select the type of account you want—Standard (free) or a premium option like Smart, You, or Metal with benefits including Savings, Overdraft, and Travel Insurance.

  3. Prove your identity and connect your smartphone to your new account.

  4. As a new signup, you'll be able to top up your account via bank transfer or CASH26 deposit.

  5. After a few days, you’ll receive your N26 Mastercard by post.

Your money at N26 

With the N26 app, opening an Austrian bank account is as easy as email. Sign up in less than 8 minutes, and start making contactless payments from your electronic Mastercard right away. Plus, Apple Pay and Google Pay are part of the package. Being branchless means you can deposit cash at over 2,000 shops across Austria with CASH26. Jetsetters can upgrade to N26 You, Business You or N26 Metal and benefit from travel insurance for medical expenses, vehicle rentals, and protection for your mobile phone. Whether you’re home or abroad, you’ll never be left in the lurch—N26 customer support is available well beyond standard business hours (7:00 to 23:00 every day, including holidays). Say Servus to service.

By N26

The Mobile Bank

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