How to open a bank account in Austria as an American

Gabriela Peratello

Austria is a wealthy EU nation known for its hospitality and multiculturalism - and a popular expat destination. Whether you’re headed to Vienna, Austria’s capital, or somewhere a little more off the beaten track, if you’re moving there one of the first things you’ll need when you arrive is an Austrian bank account.

This guide will help to get your Austrian finances all set up. Plus we’ll introduce Wise, a non-bank alternative with a multi-currency digital account you can open from the US, to receive, hold, send, spend and exchange EUR alongside USD and 40+ other currencies.


Can you open an Austrian bank account from abroad as a US citizen?

Some banks in Austria will allow you to open a bank account from abroad, but it's certainly not a guarantee. As a US citizen you may also face some extra hurdles with some banks, or when applying for specific account products.

This happens because usually banks have procedures in place to guarantee customer's safety.

Bank policies vary , but some banks make their account setup available online. If you're unclear on the bank’s policies, call the local branch. They’ll be able to clarify if there's anything you can do before entering the country.

In some cases, they may also begin preparing your papers to speed up the process. Sparkasse®, for example, does offer accounts to US citizens, but whether or not you’re able to apply online will depend on the specific account type.

Which documents do you need to open a bank account in Austria?

Opening a bank account in Austria is quite simple.

You’ll need:
  • Proof of identity (a passport is the norm)

  • Proof of residency (usually a Residency Registration form and utility bills)

  • Proof of employment

  • You’ll also usually need a local phone number for mobile banking

The bank’s welcome pack will provide terms and conditions for your account, so you’ll want to make sure to read through those. Your debit card, or bankomatkarte, normally arrives via mail within a few business days.

If you’re not a resident yet, you may have a bit more difficulty opening a bank account. Due to financial regulations, certain banks have policies that may require them to turn away non-resident customers. Some only offer in person account opening (rather than online services) for non-residents.

Double check all the terms and conditions for the specific bank and account you’ve picked before you start your application.

Which Austrian bank is best for expats?

As a matter of convenience, many expats use Bank Austria®, Erste Group Bank®, or Raiffeisen Zentralbank®. They are the largest and most prevalent banks in the country. However, if you decide to bank with another, most banks in Austria provide English assistance and expat-friendly services.

In addition to its own banks, Austria is home to a number of big name international banks. That may make it worth checking with your home bank if they have an Austrian bank partner - if they do, you might find it easier to apply for an account in advance of your move by choosing your current bank’s partner operation in Austria.

If this isn’t the case, you’ll probably want to look at one of these large banking groups with a presence throughout Austria and the broader region:

Bank Austria

Bank Austria¹ is part of the UniCredit Group, and has over 15 million customers worldwide, with a particular focus on operations in Italy, Germany, Central and eastern Europe.

A few of their basic account offerings:
  • Relax Account: A fixed price account with a 24-hour service line and standing order payments

  • Online-Only Account: For managing transactions online with mobile banking

  • GoGreen Account: Which offers no account management fee for the first year of opening

  • Student and youth accounts also available

Erste Bank / Sparkasse®

Erste Bank² is one of the largest Austrian banks with millions of global clients. You can open an account regardless of your nationality, as long as you’re a resident in Austria. Some products and services may have different features depending on where in Austria you’re resident.

Some of their basic features and products include:
  • Opening an account online

  • Classic bank card with contactless payment and multi-account functionality

  • Basic checking accounts and specialist products to suit different customer needs

  • S credit card offered with no annual fee in the first year

Raiffeisen Zentralbank

Raiffeisen³ has been around for over 30 years and has its headquarters in Vienna. It’s got branches throughout the region and a good ATM network.

They can offer you:
  • Salary Account: Offering online banking and contactless payments

  • Student Account: free account management and accident insurance

  • Youth Account: free account management, along with offers like discounts at clubs around Austria

  • Prepaid and bankomat cards

Try Wise, an alternative to banks

Opening an Austrian bank account before you arrive in Austria can be tricky. Choose Wise instead, for a flexible and convenient account you can open from the US before departure, and use to manage your money across EUR, USD and 40+ other currencies.

Simply use your local US ID and address documents⁴ to open your account online or with your phone, and order a Wise debit card for convenient spending in 150+ countries. You can then conveniently send payments to 160+ countries, and access the mid-market exchange rate with low fees from 0.43%⁵ every time you need to switch from one currency to another. You’ll also be able to access local bank details to have people send you USD, EUR and several other major global currencies conveniently, direct to your Wise account.

Wise isn’t a bank - but it’s a registered Money Service Business in the US and regulated wherever services are offered around the world. That means it’s safe to use, and could save you money too.

This way to easy
international payments

Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information

Austrian banks costs and fees

If you’re not opening a student or youth account, you'll probably be charged for your bank account every quarter. Fees vary widely - and some accounts may waive these charges for a short while for new customers to entice people through the doors.

There can also be charges for opening an account and applying for a credit card. And if you accidentally overdraw your account, you'll be paying high fees and interest charges.

Along with normal banking fees, if you send money abroad from Austria, or if you send money to Austria you’ll face more fees. While some transfers within the EU will only cost you a nominal fee, these can vary from bank to bank.

If you’re sending a cross currency payment you’ll usually also find an extra fee added to the exchange rate used to convert to the currency needed for deposit. You can check the mid-market exchange rate on Google® to make sure you’re not losing out when you’re making a transfer abroad.

Or, for transparent fees and the mid-market exchange rate, why not send money online with Wise. International money transfers with Wise can be delivered quickly, and deposited to accounts in 160+ countries, in 40+ different currencies.


Use this guide to decide which Austrian bank is best for your needs, and don’t forget to consider Wise instead for a euro account you can get set up without ongoing fees or charges - before you even arrive in Austria.


  1. Bank Austria
  2. Sparkasse
  3. Raiffeisen
  4. Wise may request additional documents to verify a customer's identity
  5. Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees and Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information

Sources checked on 09.12.2023

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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