Opening a bank account in Luxembourg as an American

Gabriela Peratello

Luxembourg is a small, but perfectly positioned country, making it a strategic location for organizations, and a very popular new home for expats. You can enjoy the outdoor lifestyle, even in the city, and find a new country to explore within a half hour drive in any direction.

If you're moving to Luxembourg, then getting a local bank account should be a priority. This guide walks through how - plus we’ll introduce the Wise Account which you can open using your phone before you leave the US, to hold 40+ currencies including USD and EUR with low fees and mid-market exchange rates¹.

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Can Americans open a bank account in Luxembourg?

You can open an account in Luxembourg as a non-resident. Many people work in Luxembourg but live outside of the country’s border (or vice versa), so banks are used to dealing with non-resident applications.

In most cases, you simply need to prove your address for correspondence purposes, with a recent utility bill or rental contract, and provide an employment contract to show why you need the account.

Can you open a Luxembourgish bank account from abroad?

You can open a bank account online, meaning you can get the process started before you arrive in Luxembourg. You may still need to post documents to the bank, or present them upon arrival in order to collect your bank card.

The process to open your account can vary depending on whether you already have a banking relationship in Europe. ING® for example has simple ways to open an account online for customers who have an existing account at another bank in the EU, Iceland, Norway or Liechtenstein. If you don’t have this you’ll need to call to discuss your options before you can apply².

There are also many agencies offering to help expats set up bank accounts in Luxembourg, but these tend to be aimed at people looking to create confidential banking arrangements outside of their country of residence. If you’re going to live in Luxembourg and use an account for daily life, you shouldn’t need an agency’s help.

What documents do you need to open a bank account in Luxembourg?

Both residents and non-residents are entitled to open a bank account in Luxembourg. The process is usually fairly simple as long as you provide the relevant documents.

The exact paperwork needed depends on the bank you choose and the account type. However, in many cases you're likely to be asked for the following:

  • Proof of identity is usually requested such as a valid passport or national identity card.

  • Documents showing your address. Banks will have their own policy in this regard but a rental contract or utility bill issued within the last three months is usually acceptable.

  • Stay card in Luxembourg if you’re applying for a resident account.

  • Tax residency and ID information.

  • If relevant, a letter from your employer or recent payslip to show your current work situation. This might be requested to show your good credit status if you want to open an account with extra facilities such as an overdraft, or if you’re looking for a product designed for cross border commuters.

If you want to have a credit card linked to your Luxembourg account you’ll need to provide further documentation to prove your ability to pay the bills. Pay slips are usually accepted as proof of income, although bank policies will vary.

Some banks prefer to delay offering credit to new customers, so being able to establish your financial solvency might speed things up a little.

Make low cost international transfers with Wise

A smart option if you’re sending money overseas: meet Wise.

Register a Wise account online or in the Wise app, and send money to 70+ countries, with the mid-market exchange rate and low, transparent fees.

Wise always shows you the amount you’re paying and how much your recipient will get — and you can even compare against other providers on the Wise app or desktop site.

If another service is cheaper for your particular payment, you’ll be shown — so you can’t lose.

Get started with Wise

See how Wise compares with international bank transfers in our full guide

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

What are some of the best banks in Luxembourg?

Banking is Luxembourg’s largest economic sector - so you will have no difficulty in finding a financial services provider there. However, many of the banks operating in Luxembourg are aimed at administering the wealth of high net worth individuals, and cross-border investment funds.

If you want an everyday account, you can choose any of the large retail banks that operate in the country, or even open an account with the local Post Office. Here are a few options to consider:

BNP Paribas

BNP Paribas®³ is the largest bank operating in Luxembourg. They offer bank accounts for everyone - including student accounts and those specifically aimed at cross-border commuters. You can open a web-based account for free, but for more flexible services there’s a small monthly charge.

ING

Dutch bank ING⁴, operates in Luxembourg, and has products specialized for day-to-day banking, expat life, students and other specific customer needs. You can get a regular currency account, visa credit or debit card, and use online banking via web or an app.

ING allows you to open an account before moving to Luxembourg under some circumstances. This is easier if you already have a European bank account - if not, you’ll need to contact the bank directly to confirm your options.

Post

You might have never thought about opening a bank account with the Post Office, but with Luxembourg’s Post®⁵ you can do just that. There are various account and financial service options, some offered in partnership with other banks, including the Eboo accounts which have several different monthly fees depending on the services you need.

Luxembourg banks fees and charges

When you open a new bank account in Luxembourg, make sure you understand the banking fees and charges that apply. The small print might not be fascinating, but it can save you cash in the long run.

Look out for any regular charges levied to keep your account open or use a credit or debit card. Even if these costs seem small, the account handling fees you pay mount up quickly over time.

Other things to look out for include set fees for withdrawing cash from an ATM operated by a different bank. Some banks work in partnership with each other and offer free withdrawals - others will charge you for every transaction.

At some point or another, most expats find they need to move money between accounts which use different currencies. This can be another costly experience - so it pays to find the best deal.

Banks are often an expensive choice for international money transfers. As well as a charge for processing the transaction, the bank is likely to add a fee which is rolled into the exchange rate used to convert your payment.

Choosing a non-bank alternative like Wise can be a cheaper option. Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate with low transaction fees from 0.43%¹, and offers fast transfers to 160+ countries globally.


Use this guide to pick the Luxembourg bank that suits you best, and remember to check out Wise as well if you’re interested in comparing non-bank alternatives which can offer flexible and low cost ways to manage your money across currencies.


Sources:

  1. Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information
  2. ING - international clients
  3. BNP Paribas Luxembourg
  4. ING Luxembourg
  5. Luxembourg Post - Eboo

Sources checked on 02.02.2024


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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