Luxembourg is a well-known European financial center, which is confirmed by the leading international rating agencies: Fitch Group, Moody's, and Standard & Poor's. There are more than 122 banks clustered in the small state, including the oldest BCEE — the State Savings Bank of Luxembourg (Banque et Caisse d'Epargne de l'Etat). It's not easy to navigate among this variety. But there is a set of attributes that will help you choose the right bank for yourself.
Banks in Luxembourg: how to choose the best option among others
When it comes to selecting a bank in Luxembourg, there are several factors you should keep in mind to ensure that you are making the best decision for your financial needs.
Check reliability and safety
All major players in Luxembourg's financial sector are members of the ABBL — the Association of Banks and Bankers of Luxembourg. You can look for the bank in the ABBL directory in category A. You can also check the rating of a financial institution by Fitch Ratings.
You can also check the rating of a financial institution by Fitch Ratings.
In the Grand Duchy, the CSSF (Commission de surveillance du secteur financier) supervises all financial institutions. Check the CSSF website to find out more about the bank you are interested in.
It's important to choose a bank with a good reputation and a strong history. It’s also a good idea to research the bank's reputation online and read reviews from current and past clients to ensure that the bank is reliable and trustworthy.
But in any case, if the bank gets in trouble the FGDL (Luxembourg Deposit Guarantee Fund) protects depositors by guaranteeing deposits up to 100 000 euros, and in some cases, the guarantee may be even higher. If you don’t plan to save more than that, there is no need to worry at all.
Consider your banking needs
Before choosing a bank in Luxembourg, consider your banking needs.
Bank for commercial use
Additionally, if you come to Luxembourg to work, think also about the requirements of your employer. Perhaps he has a bank he works with, and that is where you will need to open an account. The same applies to your education.
Check customer service availability
Some banks in Luxembourg do not open accounts for third-country nationals, i.e. non residents of the Grand Duchy or European Union.
You can find this out by calling the bank or writing an e-mail. You can also choose national banks in Luxembourg like Spuerkeess, the national bank of Luxembourg.
Otherwise, choosing a bank, you may experience difficulties at the stage of application for opening an account.
According to the recent experience of our readers, given solely as advice, the following banks can be suitable to open an account for various situations.
|Account before the residence permit
|BGL BNP Paribas
|Banque Internationale a Luxembourg (BIL)
Check the network branches and ATMs
In case of need, there should be an easy option to withdraw money at an ATM without a fee. Finding an ATM is very easy but usually, when you withdraw money from an ATM that is not connected to your bank you have to pay a fee.
You can search the cash machines near you using the
Look at the fees and charges
Fees and charges can vary between banks, so it's important to compare them before choosing one. You should consider several points:
Opening and monthly costs
The types and cost of cards
Transaction and withdrawal fees
Cost of overdrafts
Check special offers
Some banks in Luxembourg may offer entry gifts or welcome bonuses to attract new customers to open an account.
Sometimes if you are referred by a friend, they will also give you both some gifts.
Usually, that is the case with online banking. By using the links of friends before creating an account you can benefit from some amounts of money.
However, even though entry gifts can be appealing, it's important to carefully review and compare the overall terms and fees associated with the account before deciding based solely on the entry gift.
Assess the level of customer service
Customer service is essential when it comes to banking. You want to choose a bank that provides excellent customer service and is easily accessible if you have any issues or questions. They will help you resolve all inconveniences and problems, so choose wisely.
Check the bank's opening hours and verify if it offers an online version, mobile application, and support services.
Most banks are open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lunch breaks are usually from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. But some branches work without breaks.
Also, check if you can count on an advisor to help you and in which language this help is available. Online banks like Revolut, Wise or N26 can be cheaper in service fees (sometimes even free), but as they are completely digital, you will not be able to meet an advisor in person. They provide online support of good quality, though.
But be prepared, that Luxembourgish banks, even ones that have managers that work with customers in person, are never in a hurry. Some resolutions can take up to a few weeks.
Where to open a bank account in Luxembourg
The list of banks in Luxembourg is pretty big so it's important to understand the banking landscape and compare the offerings of different banks. In this section, we'll provide an overview of five of the largest banks in Luxembourg, including their history, services, and reputation.
BGL BNP Paribas
This is one of the largest banks in Luxembourg, with a history dating back over a century, and has a reputation for strong financial performance and stability.
The bank offers a broad range of services, including personal and business banking, investment management, and insurance.
BGL BNP Paribas has an extensive network of branches and ATMs throughout Luxembourg, making it a convenient choice for those seeking a local banking partner. The bank provides its clients with a range of account types, including current accounts, savings accounts, and investment opportunities.
The bank is also known as Banque et Caisse d'Epargne de l'Etat.
It has a history dating back to the early 19th century and as it is a national bank, it holds the national savings of Luxembourg. That means that it is owned by the state, and its statutory missions are to promote savings, facilitate access to housing and support the development of the national economy.
The bank offers a wide range of banking services, including personal and business banking, mortgages, and insurance.
It also has digital banking services, online banking, and mobile banking apps. Its unique ownership structure and its digital banking offerings may make it an attractive option for individuals and businesses looking for safety and stability in combination with a wide range of products and services.
Spuerkeess is recognized throughout the world for its excellent financial health as well as that of its sole shareholder, the Luxembourg State. This has led the international rating agencies Standard & Poor's and Moody's to award it AA+/Aa2 ratings, the best in the Luxembourg financial market.
Banque Internationale à Luxembourg (BIL)
It’s majority-owned by Legend Holdings, a Chinese investment holding company. Legend Holdings acquired a 90% stake in BIL in 2018, with the remaining 10% of shares owned by the Luxembourg government.
BIL has a grey point in its reputation due to an incident in 2020 when the BIL was fined 4.6 million euros by Luxembourg’s Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) for violations related to its anti-money laundering (AML) procedures.
The bank acknowledged the deficiencies and stated that it had already taken steps to improve its AML procedures and was committed to ensuring full compliance with regulations. Despite the fine, BIL remains one of the largest and most reputable banks in Luxembourg with a variety of banking services for personal and business clients.
A subsidiary of ING Group, with over $1.1 trillion in assets ING Group it's one of the world's largest banks and a top European company in terms of revenue.
ING Luxembourg offers a wide range of financial services to individuals, businesses, and institutions, including current and savings accounts, mortgages, investments, and insurance products.
Banque de Luxembourg
This is a well-established bank in Luxembourg, founded in 1920.
It specializes in private banking and wealth management services, catering to high-net-worth individuals, families, and institutional investors.
The bank offers a range of investment solutions, including discretionary portfolio management, investment advice, and financial planning.
While Banque de Luxembourg may not be the best fit for those seeking more basic banking services, its expertise in wealth management and focus on personalized service may make it an attractive choice for individuals with substantial assets to manage.
What documents you need to open a bank account
As an expat, you will typically need to prepare a set of documents to open a bank account in Luxembourg.
These documents may include:
- A valid passport or identity card.
- Proof of address in Luxembourg or your home country if you are opening a non-resident account, this can be a certificate of residence or a utility bill.
- A residency permit (if applicable).
- Proof of employment or income could be asked if you want a credit card or other specific products or services.
- Other relevant information related to the type of account you are opening, for example, a proof of study, if you want to open a student account.
It is always best to check with the specific bank you plan to use to confirm requirements.
Sometimes you will need to visit the bank in person in order to establish the account. However, if you are a non-resident opening an account from overseas, you may have the option to open an account online, providing copies of the required documents by post, email, or through their platform.
A lot of banks in Luxembourg will also require a specific Luxtrust certificate, an electronic token, that allows you to use online banking. For example, this is the system used by BIL to secure payments and the usage of online accounts. You can order your token (in the format of a device or mobile application) on the official website of a company.
Banks in Luxembourg for non-residents
It can be overwhelming to choose the right bank to suit your individual needs as an expat, especially as a non-resident. Here you have some options to take a look at when planning to open an account in Luxembourg bank.
It may be helpful to inquire with your current bank if they have a branch in Luxembourg. Having a connection between the two establishments can simplify financial transactions between your country of origin and Luxembourg.
For example, National Bank of China or International Bank of Azerbaijan.
Online banks for non-residents
Revolut, N26 or Wise. These are mobile-based banks that offer a range of financial services and have gained popularity among expats due to their ease of use, low fees, and flexibility. You can open account there with providing your available documents and start receiving and spending money right away.
In case you will need a physical card — fees for its production up to 15 euros may apply. But overall online banks work free of charge for its customers.
They offer services such as everyday shopping transactions, foreign currency exchange, international money transfers, and fee-free ATM withdrawals.
However, it's important to note that these banks may not have the same level of regulatory protection as traditional banks in Luxembourg. Their services may not be as comprehensive as those offered by larger banks. If you are planning to use them, it's important to do your research and carefully consider your individual banking needs before deciding.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What are the best banks in Luxembourg for expats
What documents do I need to open a bank account in Luxembourg as an expat
Are there any fees associated with opening a bank account in Luxembourg
Can I open a bank account in Luxembourg without visiting a branch in person
Can I use my existing bank account from my home country in Luxembourg
We took photos from these sources: Agung Gumilang Adha for Unsplash, profile CardMapr.nl, Logo from site BGL BNP Paribas, Logo from site Spuerkeess, Logo from site BIL, Logo from site ING, Logo from site Banque de Luxembourg, Unsplash, Luxtrust website, profile Sophie Dupau