Bank Accounts in Portugal • Which One is best?

Finding yourself a bank account in Portugal can be challenging since it depends on what your exact needs are.

But don’t worry.

This is why we’ve done some research and put together the best bank accounts for each situation and need you might want, to make your life easier.

Quick Result: Our personal favorite Bank Account in Portugal is with N26. Open an account with them here!

If you are planning to come to or have already arrived in Portugal, you will need a Portuguese bank account to do things like pay rent, register for a phone or internet plan, and most other things in Portugal.

Though if you already have an EU bank account, businesses should recognize it when you want to register for things. But it’s always a huge hassle because you don’t fit the “standard” case. So, you’ll definitely prefer to have a Portuguese bank account.

You’ll also want to have a Portuguese bank account so that you can withdraw cash from local ATMs without paying fees.

So, in short, depending on your profile, these are the 3 best bank accounts in Portugal:

  • N26: Best Online Bank for non-Portuguese speakers
  • Bunq: Best Online Bank  for sustainable investing
  • Millennium BCP: Best Traditional Bank
  • ActivoBank: Best Online Bank backed by a Traditional Bank

For a longer explanation of why we think these are the best bank accounts and what they offer, read below.

But first, its important to understand some terms found in Portugal that you might not understand.

If you want to skip ahead to the comparison, click here

What is a NIF and do I need it?

The NIF (Número de Identificação Fiscal) is the tax identification number used in Portugal and is needed for any transactions and most legal matters in Portugal such as buying a property, opening a bank account, registering for a gym, utilities, etc.

How do I apply for an NIF?

To apply for a NIF (Número de Identificação Fiscal), locate and register for an NIF at the nearest Finanças (government tax office). Make sure you bring your passport and proof of address.

The whole process should take around 20 minutes once you’re in the doors and there isn’t a large queue. To help avoid problems, try arriving 15 minutes early before opening time so that you can skip having to deal with a queue.

Now, moving on the best bank accounts in Portugal.

Overview & Comparison: Best Bank accounts in the Netherlands


N26: Best mobile digital bank for non-Portuguese speakers

  • Best mobile app interface
  • Multi-lingual support
  • Excellent free base account
  • Zero fee transactions
  • Excellent benefits for higher-tier accounts

About N26: Why we like it

One of the real upcoming giants in the digital world of banking is N26. Launched in 2015, it now has a full European Banking license, operating in 25 markets worldwide with over 5 million customers.

Your money is safe as can be in this digital bank since it is supervised by the Financial Markets Regulator. This means that clients’ funds are guaranteed up to €100,000 by the Deposit Protection Fund.

What does N26 offer and how do its different tiers work?

N26 offers “zero exchange fees on card payments in any currency” which is really useful for any of you who like to travel.

Since the bank account comes along with a free Mastercard Debit card (and an optional Maestro Card), your ability to pay should be accepted pretty much everywhere.

The sign-up process is short and can be easily be done completely in English, as well as French, German, Italian and Spanish. Which is a huge bonus over other banks if you struggle with Portuguese.

It is important to note though, that you will need some form of EU/EFTA residence to open an account.

To give you a quick rundown on the 3 tiers N26 offers, here it goes.

The Basic N26 Bank account

The standard N26 bank account, with all its basic functions, is free and doesn’t charge any opening or maintenance fees at all.

 With it, you can gain access to its online and mobile banking with a super easy-to-use app. And make unlimited payments in any currency anywhere in the world with your card or phone. Also, you can withdraw cash for free from ATMs up to 3 times per month.

 The interface is honestly great, along with fantastic customer support to help you with everything.

You can even set up 2 sub-accounts with features to help you budget and manage your money to meet your financial goals.

It also uses artificial intelligence to “automatically categorize your spending”. So you can see the total amount you’re spending in each category. You can even create your own #tags categories – “#gifts # friends #eatingout, you name it.”

N26 also makes it pretty simple and easy to use in exporting your transaction information and downloading it as a CSV or PDF file to make your tax returns and invoicing easier.

N26 You

For higher levels of features, you can upgrade to a N26 You account for €9.90 per month.

This increases your free cash withdrawals in the Eurozone to 5 times per month. Also, you now can have unlimited free ATM cash withdrawals worldwide in any currency outside the Eurozone. You also get some extra-poppy debit card colours to choose from.

N26 You gives you a whole travel insurance package to protect you with Medical insurance, Trip insurance, Flight insurance and Luggage coverage.

This definitely helps for people who like to travel by giving you peace of mind that you’re covered against any unpleasant surprises.

If you thought you weren’t insured enough, it also provides mobility insurance for shared vehicles, covering you for damages of up to €20,000. There’s also Winter sport insurance in case of accidents on trips to mountains.

N26 You also increases the number of sub-accounts you can create. From the basic 2, to up to 10 sub-accounts so that you can better organise your money and save for different goals and projects.

Finally, N26 You grants you premium partner offers and discounts with world-class brands. Which is a huge bonus for those who like to buy things from those partners anyways.

You might even end up saving more through the discounts than what you actually pay in the monthly fee. So, this is definitely a great option to consider.

N26 Metal

 Then, if you want to upgrade to the highest level of N26 Metal for €16,90 per month, you get to choose from 3 metallic shades to get a stainless-steel debit card. 

Now on top of the N26 You benefits, your Eurozone withdrawals increase to 8 per month.  Also, you’re given Car rental insurance for your rental care hires away from home of up to €20,000 as well as Phone insurance of up to €1,000 against theft and damages if the event and phone are eligible.

N26 Metal expands on the previous offers and discounts with their partners to bring Metal customers “access benefits and bespoke rewards” to complement your everyday, “from hard-to-find tickets, VIP passes to private events, unique workshops and memorable days out”.

You’re also given a dedicated priority phone line so you can call them to sort out any questions you have immediately.

Whilst some people might think N26 Metal is a bit ‘extra’ for most normal people above the N26 You, given the relatively cheap price tag versus the benefits, its actually a very attractive bank account tier to go for.

Of course, which one of the 3 tiers of accounts best fits you personally is up to you decide.

If you want the most basic version there is, the standard N26 account works best.

For more dedicated features, offers and support for those who might like to travel with extra perks and benefits, N26 You and N26 Metal are definitely the best for you.

N26 Bottom line:

N26 is definitely the best digital bank to use for travellers and people who aren’t super comfortable with Portuguese.

It’s very simple to use and has the best digital app interface there is. And with the higher tiers, it can offer some of the best packages of perks and services that you would want.

The only possible downside is that since it is fully online and there aren’t any physical branches you can visit in Portugal, you don’t have anyone you can talk to face-to-face to help sort out any questions you might have.

But since they always have an online chat support and even a dedicated phone line for Metal customers, you should have no real problems getting your questions sorted out. They are well known for their high customer satisfaction and service.


Bunq: Best for sustainable investing

  • Great for choosing how your money is invested
  • Very advanced money management features
  • In English
  • Only worth it with higher tiers that cost a monthly fee

About Bunq: Why we like it

Bunq is another one of the up-and-coming digital banks. Founded in 2015, this Dutch Bank is similar to N26 with its 3 tiers of accounts (Travel, Premium, and SuperGreen) and helpful interface and support.

Besides the online banking, it has extra unique features in creating sub-accounts and budgeting.

It automates a lot of things like its auto-save feature that rounds up payments to the nearest euro and deposits that money into specific sub-accounts. Or other things like automatic payment of invoices via scanning, making life a lot easier for you.

You also have the choice of having up to 3 cards of Maestro and Mastercard Debit cards, as well as a Mastercard credit card.

But what really sets apart from the rest is the “Freedom of Choice” in allowing you to choose if and how your money is invested.

Unlike other traditional big banks that might invest in funds and industries that might conduct unsustainable practices, with Bunq you can have more say in where your money is invested.

If you go for the highest tier of the SuperGreen card, on top of its advanced money management features, you also make the world greener by planting a tree every time you spend €100.

Bunq Bottom Line:

Bunq is a great option for those who want advanced features in the management of your money and how it is used sustainably. It also has some of the best ratings in customer service and satisfaction.

It is worth noting the downside that if you use the most basic free Travel Card plan, the number of features you have access to is really restricted. There are even fees for services such as a €0.99 fee for ATM withdrawals using the basic Travel Card plan.

So to really bring out the best of Bunq and its free great features, you will need to upgrade to one of the higher tiers and have to pay a monthly fee.

Also, Bunq will generally provide you with a Dutch IBAN which may cause some issues when signing up to register for certain things like a phone or internet plan.

But, the law states that Portuguese businesses must accept any valid IBANs from an EU country. So if you encounter any problems or issues inputting your IBAN in an online form, a quick call or email will usually solve your problems.


Millennium BCP: Best Traditional Bank

  • Massive Network of ATMs and physical branches
  • Wide offerings of accounts available, easy to find one suited to you
  • Access to more complex financial services for your needs
  • Very low fees, great for foreigners and young adults

About Millennium BCP: Why we like it

For those of you who don’t want to handle all of your banking and finances online on your laptop or phone, then Millennium BCP is one of the best choices for you.

As the largest bank in Portugal, they have one of the best reputations in the country. Their ATM and physical branch network is absolutely massive, making sure you’ll never have any issues finding them and accessing their services in any urban center in the country.

They also have many different types and tiers of accounts available, making it easy to find one that best fits you and your needs.

Their offerings are especially friendly to younger adults and students, often giving you access to their whole range of benefits of a current account for no cost at all.

As expected with a traditional bank, unlike the previous banks on this list, with Millennium BCP you’ll also be able to access more complex financial services such as savings accounts, mortgages, loans, etc.

Making it a great candidate if you want all your financial needs to be serviced by one bank. So that you don’t have the headache of dealing with multiple banks.

Also, as part of their expanded list of offerings, they’re extremely open to non-residents as well, with great English support and benefits for expats that make it an attractive place to bank with at a very low cost.

Millennium BCP Bottom Line:

Millennium BCP ends up being a great choice overall as a bank in Portugal, with all the warm physical services you would expect to find at a traditional bank.

Their massive ATM and branch network grants you the best access to cash and support for anything you might need versus all the other traditional banks in Portugal.

Combine this with a stellar reputation and great customer satisfaction, this is definitely a hard bank to beat in the traditional banking landscape.

The only real downside could be that even though the accounts offered come at a very low cost, given it still maintains physical branches, their accounts don’t come completely free of maintenance costs.

On this note, it might definitely be worth checking out their subsidiary bank ActivoBank, which is actually the next recommended bank on this list.


ActivoBank: Best Online Bank backed by a Traditional Bank

  • Access to massive Millenium BCP ATM network and financial services
  • Great customer service
  • Free to use
  • Great App interface with English support

About ActivoBank: Why we like it

Acting as the online-only version of Millennium BCP, ActivoBank gives you access to a current account with all its benefits for free.

The mobile app has a very nice design and usability, with nice features to help you manage your transactions and help you automatically save money when you make or receive payments.

Since it is part of Millennium BCP you also gain access to free cash withdrawals from any of the huge network of Millennium BCP ATMs. Which means you’ll never have any issues getting cash if you need to.

The sign-up process for it is super simple and verification takes place via video, allowing you to be able to set up an account in 10 minutes or so.

Even though it offers its online banking in both English and Portuguese, the sign-up steps themselves are in Portuguese only. So you’ll need to use google translate or have a Portuguese speaking friend with you when you want to sign up.

They’re also known for having great customer support due to their traditional parent bank roots, with dedicated managers you can speak to online or via a call.

Another great thing about being backed by a traditional bank is that you will also have access to the more complex financial services such as insurances, mortgages, personal loans and investments.

This connection to the traditional banking world really helps set ActivoBank apart from the others and gives you the best from both worlds.

ActivoBank Bottom Line:

Overall, AcitvoBank is definitely a great choice of a bank to have and gives you great access to a lots of services and benefits with no monthly maintenance costs at all.

It benefits greatly from its parent bank Millennium BCP, giving it access to its huge ATM network, complex financial services and investments, as well as dedicated banking advisors for a great customer experience.

On top, it’s the only purely-online bank on this list that gives you a Portuguese IBAN, meaning that you’ll definitely never encounter any problems setting up payments when registering for things versus other banks that might give you a non-Portuguese IBAN.

The only potential downside is that its sign-up process is only in Portuguese, making it a little harder for people who aren’t fully comfortable with the local language.

But, once you get past that, the English access is great and the support you get is fantastic.


Things to know about Portuguese Bank accounts

Just a quick 2 min read about the most common issues we see with our readers:

How do I open a checking account at these banks or any other bank in Portugal?

Opening a checking account with a bank in Portugal is relatively simple to do and can be done relatively quickly (in 30 minutes or so) if you do their sign-up process in person and even shorter if done online.

Digital Banks like N26 or ActivoBank offer sign-up processes that are usually much shorter. And they can be done from the comfort of your phone or laptop where you can scan your documents using your webcam or phone camera.

But usually there are some information or document requirements which may vary from bank to bank. If you follow this list, you should be pretty safe.

Usual requirements for opening checking accounts in Portugal:

  • Completed application form with Name, Address, Nationality, Income, etc
  • Valid Passport or ID (if you are opening a joint account with another person, make sure they have their documents too)
  • Proof of address or registration (like a recent utility bill or “Burgerservicenummer”)
  • Initial Deposit (depends on your bank how much they will require as a minimum)
  • Proof of income, employment or enrolment at a Portuguese educational institution
  • Tax Identification number (Número de Identificação Fiscal) that you can obtain from a Finanças

Whether you are a resident or not will also affect what type of current account you can have (“resident” or “non-resident” account) and which banks you can sign up with.

Its best to check out their websites or speak with them directly to find out. They’re usually very helpful in giving you the information you need.

International online banks like Bunq or N26 usually tend to be the easiest and most open to non-residents, but it’s also worth checking out traditional ones like Millennium BCP.

How to close or change bank accounts in Portugal

Closing or switching bank accounts is pretty simple to do in Portugal as long as you don’t owe the bank any money.

Usually there tends to be a “closing account order” application or letter you need to complete and sign. Or, you can either visit a physical branch or call them and they’re usually very friendly in helping you out in closing your account.

Make sure to ask that you’re following all the correct requirements and don’t have any fees that you have not paid off yet.

Things you have to make sure to do are:

  • Make sure you don’t get charged any penalty fees for closing the account before a specified “minimum” time has elapsed since you opened the account.
  • Get written confirmation in the form of a letter or email that the account has officially been closed
  • If you’re switching over to a new account, transfer over all future incoming and outgoing payments such as direct debits, salaries, or standing orders. Usually either the old bank or the new bank that your switching to will take care of this if you ask.
  • Make sure you’ve transferred all your money out of the old account and into the new account.
  • Let your employer and, others who would transfer money to you, know that your old account will no longer work.

Wrapping up

So overall you can see, choosing a bank account can be hard at first, but becomes easier if you know what exactly that you want. So, try to make a list of the things that are important to you such as language or having physical branches, etc.

Then, try visiting their websites or even physical branches if they have any, to check out the different accounts (if they have more than one) and other products that they offer. You should be able to get a feeling for the banks pretty quickly and which one suits you.

If you feel comfortable with these banks you may even want to get more products from them like a savings accounts to earn interest on your money.

Once you’ve developed a relationship with your bank, later on you might even get a business account, loan or mortgage from them once you develop a bit of credit history that they can evaluate you on.

But don’t worry too much about it if you end up opening an account with a bank which you don’t end up liking later. Banks in Portugal allow you to close an account and switch over to another pretty easily and without a hassle.

Keep in mind though that I personally find it very useful to have two checking accounts instead of just one. So that in case there is ever an issue with one, you can still access your money in the other, so you’re not left stranded with no money.

Personally, I’ve become a fan of the online digital banks because of how simple and easy it is to do everything with banks like N26 or Bunq from the comfort of my phone or laptop. But of course, you should only do so if you’re comfortable with doing all your banking online.

On the other hand though, online banks tend to not offer more complex financial management services like loans, health insurance or mortgages that you would find at a traditional bank. So, if you want some of those more complex products, you might need to look at more traditional banks like Millennium BCP.

But don’t worry. You can easily have a checking account at an online bank and still have other more complex products from other banks.

If you’re arriving in Portugal soon, make sure to sort out your bank account sooner rather than later in case there are any delays, depending on the bank you sign up with. Life will be a lot more difficult if you don’t have one.

In the end, it is up to you and what you need that will decide which is the best bank for you. Hopefully this article will have helped you with it.

Good luck with opening a bank account in Portugal. If you have any questions or want us to write another post on something else too, let us know here.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can a foreigner or non-resident open a bank account in Portugal?

A person of any nationality can open a bank account in Portugal, but some banks might require at least a residence in Portugal or in the EU/EFTA region depending on the accounts available.

If you are a non-resident, you will only be able to open a non-resident account and you might be subject to higher interest rates and might be limited in some services at Portuguese banks. Traditional banks sometimes have a dedicated department for setting up non-resident/international accounts.

Usually, it tends to be the online banks that are the most open with residence requirements and some even allow residence from pretty much anywhere in the world.

But it is important to check with a bank yourself if they accept your country of residence. You can usually do so on the website or during the sign-up process.

Can I have two bank accounts in Portugal?

Yes, you can have as many bank accounts as you like in Portugal. Just be aware of the extra hassle and possibly extra cost if you go for accounts that charge monthly fees.

Even if you go with a “free” account as the extra one, check that you keep meeting the minimum flow of income if it is required to keep them from charging you a fee. Some banks tend to do this, so check in case.

Can I keep my Portuguese bank accounts even after I leave Portugal?

Yes, you can keep your Portuguese bank accounts even after you leave Portugal. But be aware of some changes that might happen with how you handle your account.

Some banks might charge you fees if you have a resident account but are no longer a resident in Portugal.

Also, your tax status may change, or some banks may not be able to send you important notifications and PIN numbers if you change to a foreign number.

But these things vary a lot from bank to bank and its best to ask them and they should be happy to help. Overall, it is usually very helpful to keep your account since it might come in handy later.

If it’s a resident account at a traditional bank that charges a lot of fees if you are no longer a resident, then it might be better to close the account. In this sense, N26 is known to be very friendly since they don’t require Portuguese residency and the NIF.

How long do applications for bank accounts in Portugal take?

Once you’ve booked and arrived at the appointment made at the physical branch, standard traditional banks usually take a half an hour to a few days to open your account.

They usually tend to take longer than digital banks since they sometimes need to send you documents or debit cards to your address.

Online digital banks instead usually approve and open your bank account for you within 24 hours if not immediately.

How can I set up an overdraft?

The process to set up an overdraft will depend on the bank itself and will often have very different policies and requirements. Usually, you have to complete an overdraft application form in order to set up the facility for an overdraft in case you might need it.

Digital banks tend to reply and approve/reject your application within a few days or even within the same day.
On the other end, traditional banks can sometimes take weeks to process your application.

Be aware that some banks tend to be quite strict with their overdrafts and may require months of credit history before accepting an application.

Banks will also differ in the amount they allow for you to have on your overdraft. Some will allow a fixed amount (such as up to €10,000 for an N26 overdraft) or an amount relative to your average net monthly income.

But be careful with your overdraft and make sure to pay it off as quickly as possible to avoid the interest charges (which vary from bank to bank).

What is the minimum age to open a bank account in Portugal?

Usually, banks require a minimum age of 18 in order to open your own bank account, but this can vary from bank to bank in their process and requirements, especially for digital banks.

Normally, banks tend to allow parents or legal guardians to open bank accounts for their children if they are under the age of 18.

Can I open a bank account for my children?

Yes, you can open a bank account for your child if they are under the age of 18.

Remember that you will need to provide the ID or Passport for both you and your child. Some banks might require that the parent needs to already have an account with the same bank too.

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Bank Accounts in Belgium • Which One is best?

Finding the best bank account in Belgium can be challenging since it depends on what your exact needs are.

But don’t worry.

This is why we’ve done some research and put together the best bank accounts for each situation and need you might want, to make your life easier.

Quick Result: Our personal favorite Bank Account in Belgium is with N26. Open an account with them here!

If you are planning to come to or have already arrived in Belgium, you will need a Belgian bank account to do things like pay rent, register for a phone or internet plan, and most other things in Belgium.

Though if you already have an EU bank account, businesses should recognize it when you want to register for things. But it’s always a huge hassle because you don’t fit the “standard” case. So, you’ll definitely prefer to have a Belgian bank account.

You’ll also want to have a Belgian bank account so that you can withdraw cash from local ATMs without paying fees.

So, in short, depending on your profile, these are the 3 best bank accounts in Belgium:

  • N26: Best Online Bank for non-Dutch/French speakers
  • Bunq: Best Online Bank for sustainable investing
  • BNP Paribas Fortis: Best Traditional Bank

For a longer explanation of why we think these are the best bank accounts and what they offer, read below.

But first, its important to understand some terms found in Belgium that you might not understand.

If you want to skip ahead to the comparison, click here

What are “Bancontact” or “Mister Cash” cards?

If you’ve arrived in Belgium, then you’ve likely come across someone asking for your “Bancontact” or “Mister Cash” when you want to pay with a card. Most people who come to Belgium get confused by this.

Basically, Mister Cash is the predecessor to the Bancontact card, and it is the most used debit card in Belgium with over 15 million cards in circulation. Yet many still commonly refer to Bancontact as Mister Cash.

There is no real difference between them so don’t be alarmed. They are both referring to the most used Belgian debit card system, where payments or cash withdrawals are directly linked to your current/checking account.

Now, moving on to the best bank accounts in Belgium.

Overview & Comparison: Best Bank accounts in Belgium


N26: Best mobile digital bank for non-Dutch/French speakers

  • Best mobile app interface
  • Multi-lingual support
  • Excellent free base account
  • Zero fee transactions
  • Excellent benefits for higher-tier accounts

About N26: Why we like it

One of the real upcoming giants in the digital world of banking is N26. Launched in 2015, it now has a full European Banking license, operating in 25 markets worldwide with over 5 million customers.

Your money is safe as can be in this digital bank since it is supervised by the Financial Markets Regulator. This means that clients’ funds are guaranteed up to €100,000 by the Deposit Protection Fund.

What does N26 offer and how do its different tiers work?

N26 offers “zero exchange fees on card payments in any currency” which is really useful for any of you who like to travel.

Since the bank account comes along with a free Mastercard Debit card (and an optional Maestro Card), your ability to pay should be accepted pretty much everywhere.

The sign-up process is short and can be easily be done completely in English, as well as French, German, Italian and Spanish. Which is a huge bonus over other banks if you struggle with the local languages in Belgium.

It is important to note though, that you will need some form of EU/EFTA residence to open an account.

To give you a quick rundown on the 3 tiers N26 offers, here it goes.

The Basic N26 Bank account

The standard N26 bank account, with all its basic functions, is free and doesn’t charge any opening or maintenance fees at all.

With it, you can gain access to its online and mobile banking with a super easy-to-use app. And make unlimited payments in any currency anywhere in the world with your card or phone. Also, you can withdraw cash for free from ATMs up to 3 times per month.

 The interface is honestly great, along with fantastic customer support to help you with everything.

You can even set up 2 sub-accounts with features to help you budget and manage your money to meet your financial goals.

It also uses artificial intelligence to “automatically categorize your spending”. So you can see the total amount you’re spending in each category. You can even create your own #tags categories – “#gifts # friends #eatingout, you name it.”

N26 also makes it pretty simple and easy to use in exporting your transaction information and downloading it as a CSV or PDF file to make your tax returns and invoicing easier.

N26 You

For higher levels of features, you can upgrade to a N26 You account for €9.90 per month.

This increases your free cash withdrawals in the Eurozone to 5 times per month. Also, you now can have unlimited free ATM cash withdrawals worldwide in any currency outside the Eurozone. You also get some extra-poppy debit card colours to choose from.

N26 You gives you a whole travel insurance package to protect you with Medical insurance, Trip insurance, Flight insurance and Luggage coverage.

This definitely helps for people who like to travel by giving you peace of mind that you’re covered against any unpleasant surprises.

If you thought you weren’t insured enough, it also provides Mobility insurance for shared vehicles, covering you for damages of up to €20,000. There’s also Winter sport insurance in case of accidents on trips to mountains.

N26 You also increases the number of sub-accounts you can create. From the basic 2, to up to 10 sub-accounts so that you can better organise your money and save for different goals and projects.

Finally, N26 You grants you premium partner offers and discounts with world-class brands. Which is a huge bonus for those who like to buy things from those partners anyways.

You might even end up saving more through the discounts than what you actually pay in the monthly fee. So, this is definitely a great option to consider.

N26 Metal

 Then, if you want to upgrade to the highest level of N26 Metal for €16,90 per month, you get to choose from 3 metallic shades to get a stainless-steel Debit card. 

Now on top of the N26 You benefits, your Eurozone withdrawals increase to 8 per month.  Also, you’re given Car rental insurance for your rental care hires away from home of up to €20,000 as well as Phone insurance of up to €1,000 against theft and damages if the event and phone are eligible.

N26 Metal expands on the previous offers and discounts with their partners to bring Metal customers “access benefits and bespoke rewards” to complement your everyday, “from hard-to-find tickets, VIP passes to private events, unique workshops and memorable days out”.

You’re also given a dedicated priority phone line so you can call them to sort out any questions you have immediately.

Whilst some people might think N26 Metal is a bit ‘extra’ for most normal people above the N26 You, given the relatively cheap price tag versus the benefits, its actually a very attractive bank account tier to go for.

Of course, which one of the 3 tiers of accounts best fits you personally is up to you decide.

If you want the most basic version there is, the standard N26 account works best.

For more dedicated features, offers and support for those who might like to travel with extra perks and benefits, N26 You and N26 Metal are definitely the best for you.

N26 Bottom line:

N26 is definitely the best digital bank to use for foreigners and people who aren’t super comfortable with the local languages.

It’s very simple to use and has the best digital app interface there is. And with the higher tiers, it can offer some of the best packages of perks and services that you would want.

The only possible downside is that since it is fully online and there aren’t any physical branches you can visit in Belgium, you don’t have anyone you can talk to face-to-face to help sort out any questions you might have.

But since they always have an online chat support and even a dedicated phone line for Metal customers, you should have no real problems getting your questions sorted out. They are well known for their high customer satisfaction and service.


Bunq: Best for sustainable investing

  • Great for choosing how your money is invested
  • Very advanced money management features
  • In English
  • Only worth it with higher tiers that cost a monthly fee

About Bunq: Why we like it

Bunq is another one of the up-and-coming digital banks. Founded in 2015, this Dutch Bank is similar to N26 with its 3 tiers of accounts (Travel, Premium, and SuperGreen) and helpful interface and support.

Besides the online banking, it has extra unique features in creating sub-accounts and budgeting.

It automates a lot of things like its auto-save feature that rounds up payments to the nearest euro and deposits that money into specific sub-accounts. Or other things like automatic payment of invoices via scanning, making life a lot easier for you.

You also have the choice of having up to 3 cards of Maestro and Mastercard Debit cards, as well as a Mastercard credit card.

But what really sets apart from the rest is the “Freedom of Choice” in allowing you to choose if and how your money is invested.

Unlike other traditional big banks that might invest in funds and industries that might conduct unsustainable practices, with Bunq you can have more say in where your money is invested.

If you go for the highest tier of the SuperGreen card, on top of its advanced money management features, you also make the world greener by planting a tree every time you spend €100.

Bunq Bottom Line:

Bunq is a great option for those who want advanced features in the management of your money and how it is used sustainably. It also has some of the best ratings in customer service and satisfaction.

It is worth noting the downside that if you use the most basic free Travel Card plan, the number of features you have access to is really restricted. There are even fees for services such as a €0.99 fee for ATM withdrawals using the basic Travel Card plan.

So to really bring out the best of Bunq and its free great features, you will need to upgrade to one of the higher tiers and have to pay a monthly fee.


BNP Paribas Fortis

  • Massive ATM and physical branch network
  • Great Customer Service
  • Free accounts for those aged 18 to 28
  • “Premium Bonus” scheme allows you to keep the premium account free even after the first year.
  • Very attractive offers for expats

About BNP Paribas Fortis: Why we like it

If you’re not totally comfortable with handling all your banking online and would prefer to have access to a physical branch for face-to-face contact, then BNP Paribas Fortis is the best choice.

With a massive network of over 700 branches and 3,700 ATMs in Belgium, finding this bank will be pretty easy for you.

What makes BNP Paribas Fortis interesting are the various different accounts and offers they have. One example is that their premium account is free for the first year. The premium account includes having up to 3 accounts that you can have your spouse and child use alongside other benefits.

You can even hold up to 3 different currencies in the current account. Which is very useful for those who like to travel a lot or receive and send payments in different currencies. Their Mastercard debit 

They even have a “Premium Bonus” scheme where even after the first year, you can keep your account free from monthly maintenance fees if you meet certain loyalty requirements.

If you’re between the ages of 18 and 28, then BNP Paribas Fortis has an amazing “Hello4You” package which gives you both a completely free current account and savings account.

Overall, they offer great introductory packages and services for new customers, especially if you’re an expat. Their customer support and banking advisors offer their services in many languages. Which is great if you’re not too comfortable with the local languages.

Their mobile app is also pretty simple to use and allows you to manage all your finances from your phone. So you’re not forced to have to go to a physical branch every time you want to manage your transactions.

Also, since it is a traditional bank, you’ll have access to all the more complex financial services that the mobile banks can’t offer such as savings accounts, loans, mortgages, etc. So if you’re looking for an all-in-one bank for all your financial needs, then BNP Paribas Fortis is a great candidate.

BNP Paribas Fortis Bottom Line:

BNP Paribas Fortis is a fantastic option for a traditional bank in Belgium and it is especially friendly to foreigners and non-residents.

It provides a great combination of rates and services that can even come completely free if you meet certain requirements. And even if you don’t fit the criteria, the fees are extremely low given the services and benefits offered.

Since it is a traditional bank, you also have the option of handling all your financial needs in one bank. Which saves you the headache of dealing with multiple banks.

The only downside could be that if you’re above the age of 28, then the current accounts usually aren’t free unless you meet the “Premium Bonus” requirements. Which, its best to read on the website exactly what it entails but the requirements are quite extensive.

But if you’re above the age of 28 and can easily fit the requirements, then there is no real downside at all.


Things to know about Belgian bank accounts

Just a quick 2 min read about the most common issues we see with our readers:

How do I open a checking account at these banks or any other bank in Belgium?

Opening a checking account with a bank in Belgium is relatively simple to do and can be done relatively quickly (in 30 minutes or so) if you do their sign-up process in person and even shorter if done online.

Digital Banks like N26 or Bunq offer sign-up processes that are usually much shorter. And they can be done from the comfort of your phone or laptop where you can scan your documents using your webcam or phone camera.

But usually there are some information or document requirements which may vary from bank to bank. If you follow this list, you should be pretty safe.

Usual requirements for opening checking accounts in Belgium:

  • Completed application form with Name, Address, Nationality, Income, etc
  • Valid Passport or ID (if you are opening a joint account with another person, make sure they have their documents too)
  • Proof of address or registration (like a recent utility bill, but not all banks need this)
  • Initial Deposit (depends on your bank how much they will require as a minimum)
  • Proof of income or employment (usually only required by more strict banks)

Whether you are a Belgian resident or not will also affect what type of current account you can have (“resident” or “non-resident” account) and which banks you can sign up with.

Its best to check out their websites or speak with them directly to find out. They’re usually very helpful in giving you the information you need.

International online banks like N26 or Bunq usually tend to be the easiest and most open to non-residents, but it’s also worth checking out traditional ones like BNP Paribas Fortis.

How to close or change bank accounts in Belgium

Closing or switching bank accounts is pretty simple to do in Belgium as long as you don’t owe the bank any money.

Usually there tends to be a “closing account order” application or letter you need to complete and sign. Or, you can either visit a physical branch or call them and they’re usually very friendly in helping you out in closing your account.

Make sure to ask that you’re following all the correct requirements and don’t have any fees that you have not paid off yet.

Things you have to make sure to do are:

  • Make sure you don’t get charged any penalty fees for closing the account before a specified “minimum” time has elapsed since you opened the account.
  • Get written confirmation in the form of a letter or email that the account has officially been closed
  • If you’re switching over to a new account, transfer over all future incoming and outgoing payments such as direct debits, salaries, or standing orders. Usually either the old bank or the new bank that your switching to will take care of this if you ask.
  • Make sure you’ve transferred all your money out of the old account and into the new account.
  • Let your employer and, others who would transfer money to you, know that your old account will no longer work.

Wrapping up

So overall you can see, choosing a bank account can be hard at first, but becomes easier if you know what exactly that you want. So try to make a list of the things that are important to you such as language or having physical branches, etc.

Then, try visiting their websites or even physical branches if they have any, to check out the different accounts (if they have more than one) and other products that they offer. You should be able to get a feeling for the banks pretty quickly and which one suits you.

If you feel comfortable with these banks you may even want to get more products from them like a savings accounts to earn interest on your money.

Once you’ve developed a relationship with your bank, later on you might even get a business account, loan or mortgage from them once you develop a bit of credit history that they can evaluate you on.

But don’t worry too much about it if you end up opening an account with a bank which you don’t end up liking later. Banks in Belgium allow you to close an account and switch over to another pretty easily and without a hassle.

Keep in mind though that I personally find it very useful to have two checking accounts instead of just one. So that in case there is ever an issue with one, you can still access your money in the other, so you’re not left stranded with no money.

Personally, I’ve become a fan of the online digital banks because of how simple and easy it is to do everything with banks like N26 or Bunq from the comfort of my phone or laptop. But of course, you should only do so if you’re comfortable with doing all your banking online.

On the other hand though, online banks tend to not offer more complex financial management services like loans, health insurance or mortgages that would find at a traditional bank. So if you want some of those more complex products, you might need to look at more traditional banks like BNP Paribas Fortis.

But don’t worry. You can easily have a checking account at an online bank and still have other more complex products from other banks.

If you’re arriving in Belgium soon, make sure to sort out your bank account sooner rather than later in case there are any delays, depending on the bank you sign up with. Life will be a lot more difficult if you don’t have one.

In the end, it is up to you and what you need that will decide which is the best bank for you. Hopefully this article will have helped you with it.

Good luck with opening a bank account in Belgium. If you have any questions or want us to write another post on something else too, let us know here.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can a foreigner or non-resident open a bank account in Belgium?

A person of any nationality can open a bank account in Belgium, but some banks might require at least a residence in Belgium or in the EU/EFTA region depending on the accounts available.

If you are a non-resident, you will only be able to open a non-resident account and you might be subject to higher interest rates and might be limited in some services at Belgian banks. Traditional banks usually have a dedicated department for setting up non-resident/international accounts.

Usually it tends to be the online banks that are the most open with residence requirements and some even allow residence from pretty much anywhere in the world.

But it is important to check with a bank yourself if they accept your country of residence. You can usually do so on the website or during the sign-up process.

Can I have two bank accounts in Belgium?

Yes, you can have as many bank accounts as you like in Belgium. Just be aware of the extra hassle and possibly extra cost if you go for accounts that charge monthly fees.

Even if you go with a “free” account as the extra one, check that you keep meeting the minimum flow of income if it is required to keep them from charging you a fee. Some banks tend to do this, so check in case.

Can I keep my Belgian bank accounts even after I leave Belgium?

Yes, you can keep your Belgian bank accounts even after you leave Belgium. But be aware of some changes that might happen with how you handle your account.

Some banks might charge you fees if you have a resident account but are no longer a resident in Belgium.

Also, your tax status may change, or some banks may not be able to send you important notifications and PIN numbers if you change to a foreign number.

But these things vary a lot from bank to bank and its best to ask them and they should be happy to help. Overall, it is usually very helpful to keep your account since it might come in handy later.

If it’s a resident account at a traditional bank that charges a lot of fees if you are no longer a resident, then it might be better to close the account. In this sense, N26 or Bunq are known to be very friendly since they don’t require Belgian residency.

How long do applications for bank accounts in Belgium take?

Once you’ve booked and arrived at the appointment made at the physical branch, standard traditional banks usually take a day, or a few days at most, to approve and open a new bank account.

They usually tend to take longer than digital banks since they sometimes need to send you documents to your address.

Online digital banks instead usually approve and open your bank account for you within 24 hours if not immediately.

How can I set up an overdraft?

The process to set up an overdraft will depend on the bank itself and will often have very different policies and requirements. Usually, you have to complete an overdraft application form in order to set up the facility for an overdraft in case you might need it.

Digital banks tend to reply and approve/reject your application within a few days or even within the same day. On the other end, traditional banks can sometimes take weeks to process your application.

Be aware that some banks tend to be quite strict with their overdrafts and may require months of credit history before accepting an application.

Banks will also differ in the amount they allow for you to have on your overdraft. Some will allow a fixed amount (such as up to €10,000 for an N26 overdraft) or an amount relative to your average net monthly income.

But be careful with your overdraft and make sure to pay it off as quickly as possible to avoid the interest charges (which vary from bank to bank).

What is the minimum age to open a bank account in Belgium?

Usually, banks require a minimum age of 18 in order to open your own bank account, but this can vary from bank to bank in their process and requirements, especially for digital banks.

Normally, banks tend to allow parents or legal guardians to open bank accounts for their children if they are under the age of 18.

Can I open a bank account for my children?

Yes, you can open a bank account for your child if they are under the age of 18.

Remember that you will need to provide the ID or Passport for both you and your child. Some banks might require that the parent needs to already have an account with the same bank too.

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Bank Accounts in the Netherlands • Which One is best?

Finding the best bank account in the Netherlands can be challenging since it depends on what your exact needs are.

But don’t worry.

This is why we’ve done some research and put together the best bank accounts for each situation and need you might want, to make your life easier.

Quick Result: Our personal favorite Bank Account in the Netherlands is with N26. Open an account with them here!

If you are planning to come to or have already arrived in the Netherlands, you will need a Dutch bank account to do things like pay rent, register for a phone or internet plan, and most other things in the Netherlands.

Though if you already have an EU bank account, businesses should recognize it when you want to register for things. But it’s always a huge hassle because you don’t fit the “standard” case. So, you’ll definitely prefer to have a Dutch Bank account.

You’ll also want to have a Dutch bank account so that you can withdraw cash from local ATMs without paying fees.

So, in short, depending on your profile, these are the 3 best bank accounts in the Netherlands:

  • N26: Best Online Bank for non-Dutch speakers
  • Bunq: Best Online Bank  for sustainable investing
  • ING: Best Traditional Bank

For a longer explanation of why we think these are the best bank accounts and what they offer, read below.

But first, its important to understand some terms found in the Netherlands that you might not understand.

If you want to skip ahead to the comparison, click here

What is a “Burgerservicenummer” and do I need it?

A Burgerservicenummer (BSN) is the citizen service number which is a unique registration number for everyone that lives in the Netherlands.

You will need it as part of your identification for a number of things in the Netherlands such as opening a bank account, registering for utilities, gym membership, internet plan, healthcare and much more.

So it is something that everyone living in the Netherlands will need and it is crucial that you get yours as soon as possible.

How do you apply for the Burgerservicenummer?

You can apply to receive a Burgerservicenummber (BSN) from the town hall of your local municipality.

If you plan to stay in the Netherlands for longer than 4 months, then applying for a BSN becomes mandatory and you should make sure to apply for it within 5 days after you arrived and established an accommodation.

If you don’t register within five days or forget to deregister after permanently leaving the Netherlands, you could land yourself with an administrative fine. So make sure to handle it as soon as you can.

Now, moving on to the best bank accounts in the Netherlands.

Overview & Comparison: Best Bank accounts in the Netherlands


N26: Best mobile digital bank for non-Dutch speakers

  • Best mobile app interface
  • Multi-lingual support
  • Excellent free base account
  • Zero fee transactions
  • Excellent benefits for higher-tier accounts

About N26: Why we like it

One of the real upcoming giants in the digital world of banking is N26. Launched in 2015, it now has a full European Banking license, operating in 25 markets worldwide with over 5 million customers.

Your money is safe as can be in this digital bank since it is supervised by the Financial Markets Regulator. This means that clients’ funds are guaranteed up to €100,000 by the Deposit Protection Fund.

What does N26 offer and how do its different tiers work?

N26 offers “zero exchange fees on card payments in any currency” which is really useful for any of you who like to travel.

Since the bank account comes along with a free Mastercard Debit card (and an optional Maestro Card), your ability to pay should be accepted pretty much everywhere.

The sign-up process is short and can be easily be done completely in English, as well as French, German, Italian and Spanish. Which is a huge bonus over other banks if you struggle with Dutch.

It is important to note though, that you will need some form of EU/EFTA residence to open an account.

To give you a quick rundown on the 3 tiers N26 offers, here it goes.

The Basic N26 Bank account

The standard N26 bank account, with all its basic functions, is free and doesn’t charge any opening or maintenance fees at all.

 With it, you can gain access to its online and mobile banking with a super easy-to-use app. And make unlimited payments in any currency anywhere in the world with your card or phone. Also, you can withdraw cash for free from ATMs up to 3 times per month.

 The interface is honestly great, along with fantastic customer support to help you with everything.

You can even set up 2 sub-accounts with features to help you budget and manage your money to meet your financial goals.

It also uses artificial intelligence to “automatically categorize your spending”. So you can see the total amount you’re spending in each category. You can even create your own #tags categories – “#gifts # friends #eatingout, you name it.”

N26 also makes it pretty simple and easy to use in exporting your transaction information and downloading it as a CSV or PDF file to make your tax returns and invoicing easier.

N26 You

For higher levels of features, you can upgrade to a N26 You account for €9.90 per month.

This increases your free cash withdrawals in the Eurozone to 5 times per month. Also, you now can have unlimited free ATM cash withdrawals worldwide in any currency outside the Eurozone. You also get some extra-poppy debit card colours to choose from.

N26 You gives you a whole travel insurance package to protect you with Medical insurance, Trip insurance, Flight insurance and Luggage coverage.

This definitely helps for people who like to travel by giving you peace of mind that you’re covered against any unpleasant surprises.

If you thought you weren’t insured enough, it also provides Mobility insurance for shared vehicles, covering you for damages of up to €20,000. There’s also Winter sport insurance in case of accidents on trips to mountains.

N26 You also increases the number of sub-accounts you can create. From the basic 2, to up to 10 sub-accounts so that you can better organise your money and save for different goals and projects.

Finally, N26 You grants you premium partner offers and discounts with world-class brands. Which is a huge bonus for those who like to buy things from those partners anyways.

You might even end up saving more through the discounts than what you actually pay in the monthly fee. So, this is definitely a great option to consider.

N26 Metal

 Then, if you want to upgrade to the highest level of N26 Metal for €16,90 per month, you get to choose from 3 metallic shades to get a stainless-steel Debit card. 

Now on top of the N26 You benefits, your Eurozone withdrawals increase to 8 per month.  Also, you’re given Car rental insurance for your rental care hires away from home of up to €20,000 as well as Phone insurance of up to €1,000 against theft and damages if the event and phone are eligible.

N26 Metal expands on the previous offers and discounts with their partners to bring Metal customers “access benefits and bespoke rewards” to complement your everyday, “from hard-to-find tickets, VIP passes to private events, unique workshops and memorable days out”.

You’re also given a dedicated priority phone line so you can call them to sort out any questions you have immediately.

Whilst some people might think N26 Metal is a bit ‘extra’ for most normal people above the N26 You, given the relatively cheap price tag versus the benefits, its actually a very attractive bank account tier to go for.

Of course, which one of the 3 tiers of accounts best fits you personally is up to you decide.

If you want the most basic version there is, the standard N26 account works best.

For more dedicated features, offers and support for those who might like to travel with extra perks and benefits, N26 You and N26 Metal are definitely the best for you.

N26 Bottom line:

N26 is definitely the best digital bank to use for foreigners and people who aren’t super comfortable with Dutch.

It’s very simple to use and has the best digital app interface there is. And with the higher tiers, it can offer some of the best packages of perks and services that you would want.

The only possible downside is that since it is fully online and there aren’t any physical branches you can visit in the Netherlands, you don’t have anyone you can talk to face-to-face to help sort out any questions you might have.

But since they always have an online chat support and even a dedicated phone line for Metal customers, you should have no real problems getting your questions sorted out. They are well known for their high customer satisfaction and service.


Bunq: Best for sustainable investing

  • Great for choosing how your money is invested
  • Very advanced money management features
  • In English
  • Only worth it with higher tiers that cost a monthly fee

About Bunq: Why we like it

Bunq is another one of the up-and-coming digital banks. Founded in 2015, this Dutch Bank is similar to N26 with its 3 tiers of accounts (Travel, Premium, and SuperGreen) and helpful interface and support.

Besides the online banking, it has extra unique features in creating sub-accounts and budgeting.

It automates a lot of things like its auto-save feature that rounds up payments to the nearest euro and deposits that money into specific sub-accounts. Or other things like automatic payment of invoices via scanning, making life a lot easier for you.

You also have the choice of having up to 3 cards of Maestro and Mastercard Debit cards, as well as a Mastercard credit card.

But what really sets apart from the rest is the “Freedom of Choice” in allowing you to choose if and how your money is invested.

Unlike other traditional big banks that might invest in funds and industries that might conduct unsustainable practices, with Bunq you can have more say in where your money is invested.

If you go for the highest tier of the SuperGreen card, on top of its advanced money management features, you also make the world greener by planting a tree every time you spend €100.

Bunq Bottom Line:

Bunq is a great option for those who want advanced features in the management of your money and how it is used sustainably. It also has some of the best ratings in customer service and satisfaction.

Also, you get a Dutch IBAN, which means means you should never have any problems with payments anywhere in the Netherlands

It is worth noting the downside that if you use the most basic free Travel Card plan, the number of features you have access to is really restricted. There are even fees for services such as a €0.99 fee for ATM withdrawals using the basic Travel Card plan.

So to really bring out the best of Bunq and its free great features, you will need to upgrade to one of the higher tiers and have to pay a monthly fee.


ING – Best Traditional Bank

  • Biggest Branch Network in the Netherlands
  • Excellent Cashback programs
  • Great customer service
  • Super simple switching service
  • Great mobile app
  • Easy and convenient overdraft ability

About ING: Why we like it

If you’re not so comfortable with doing all your banking online, then look no further than ING.

ING is a famous Dutch bank with an excellent reputation and has become the largest retail bank in the Netherlands after taking over the post office bank.

An ING bank account gives you a free Maestro or Visa debit card, granting you an excellent ability to pay across the Netherlands as well as free ATM cash withdrawals from their network of ATMs and service points inside and outside of the Netherlands as long as you are in the Eurozone.

What makes ING interesting is that even with its whole inclusion of physical services, it charges super low monthly fees of €1,70.

Alternatively, if you are a young person or student, the monthly fee is automatically waived.

ING also has an interesting “UPS!” overdraft feature which lets you overdraft your account to up to 250 euros for free. Which is really convenient if you encounter short-term problems with money coming in and you suddenly have expenses you need to pay off.

But do make sure you pay them off as soon as you can to avoid later fees.

ING’s mobile app interface is also very well-designed allowing you to access your banking easily via your phone with some nice features to help you manage your money and save via budgeting.

The bank also prides itself on its service which allows you to switch bank accounts from your old bank account to your new ING bank accounts super easily without having to deal with any bureaucratic paperwork and letters.

Also, ING has an excellent array of cashback programs so if you make purchases with any of their partners, so you’ll definitely be saving quite a lot of money.

Finally, since it is a traditional bank in the Netherlands, you’ll have access to all its more complex financial services such as savings accounts, loans, mortgages, etc. Making it a great candidate if you want all your banking services done at the same bank.

ING Bottom Line:

Overall ING is another excellent option as a bank, however it is usually only available to Dutch residents. It has a good combo of rates and services at a very low cost (if any), but make sure to read and meet their requirements.

With their massive network and presence in the Netherlands, you shouldn’t have any difficulty finding them if you ever need help.

The only possible downside could be that since it is a traditional bank that charges fees, even though they’re very low, they aren’t completely free like other online banks like N26 or Revolut.


Things to know about Dutch bank accounts

Just a quick 2 min read about the most common issues we see with our readers:

How do I open a checking account at these banks or any other bank in the Netherlands?

Opening a checking account with a bank in the Netherlands is relatively simple to do and can be done relatively quickly (in 30 minutes or so) if you do their sign-up process in person and even shorter if done online.

Digital Banks like N26 or Bunq offer sign-up processes that are usually much shorter. And they can be done from the comfort of your phone or laptop where you can scan your documents using your webcam or phone camera.

But usually there are some information or document requirements which may vary from bank to bank. If you follow this list, you should be pretty safe.

Usual requirements for opening checking accounts in the Netherlands:

  • Completed application form with Name, Address, Nationality, Income, etc
  • Valid Passport or ID (if you are opening a joint account with another person, make sure they have their documents too)
  • Proof of address or registration (like a recent utility bill or “Burgerservicenummer”)
  • Initial Deposit (depends on your bank how much they will require as a minimum)
  • Proof of income, employment or enrolment at a Dutch educational institution

Whether you are a Dutch resident or not will also affect what type of current account you can have (“resident” or “non-resident” account) and which banks you can sign up with.

Its best to check out their websites or speak with them directly to find out. They’re usually very helpful in giving you the information you need.

International online banks like Bunq or N26 usually tend to be the easiest and most open to non-residents, but it’s also worth checking out traditional ones like ING.

How to close or change bank accounts in the Netherlands

Closing or switching bank accounts is pretty simple to do in the Netherlands as long as you don’t owe the bank any money.

Usually there tends to be a “closing account order” application or letter you need to complete and sign. Or, you can either visit a physical branch or call them and they’re usually very friendly in helping you out in closing your account.

Make sure to ask that you’re following all the correct requirements and don’t have any fees that you have not paid off yet.

Things you have to make sure to do are:

  • Make sure you don’t get charged any penalty fees for closing the account before a specified “minimum” time has elapsed since you opened the account.
  • Get written confirmation in the form of a letter or email that the account has officially been closed
  • If you’re switching over to a new account, transfer over all future incoming and outgoing payments such as direct debits, salaries, or standing orders. Usually either the old bank or the new bank that your switching to will take care of this if you ask.
  • Make sure you’ve transferred all your money out of the old account and into the new account.
  • Let your employer and, others who would transfer money to you, know that your old account will no longer work.

Wrapping up

So overall you can see, choosing a bank account can be hard at first, but becomes easier if you know what exactly that you want. So, try to make a list of the things that are important to you such as language or having physical branches, etc.

Then, try visiting their websites or even physical branches if they have any, to check out the different accounts (if they have more than one) and other products that they offer. You should be able to get a feeling for the banks pretty quickly and which one suits you.

If you feel comfortable with these banks you may even want to get more products from them like a savings accounts to earn interest on your money.

Once you’ve developed a relationship with your bank, later on you might even get a business account, loan or mortgage from them once you develop a bit of credit history that they can evaluate you on.

But don’t worry too much about it if you end up opening an account with a bank which you don’t end up liking later. Banks in the Netherlands allow you to close an account and switch over to another pretty easily and without a hassle.

Keep in mind though that I personally find it very useful to have two checking accounts instead of just one. So that in case there is ever an issue with one, you can still access your money in the other, so you’re not left stranded with no money.

Personally, I’ve become a fan of the online digital banks because of how simple and easy it is to do everything with banks like N26 or Bunq from the comfort of my phone or laptop. But of course, you should only do so if you’re comfortable with doing all your banking online.

On the other hand though, online banks tend to not offer more complex financial management services like loans, health insurance or mortgages that you would find at a traditional bank. So, if you want some of those more complex products, you might need to look at more traditional banks like ING.

But don’t worry. You can easily have a checking account at an online bank and still have other more complex products from other banks.

If you’re arriving in the Netherlands soon, make sure to sort out your bank account sooner rather than later in case there are any delays, depending on the bank you sign up with. Life will be a lot more difficult if you don’t have one.

In the end, it is up to you and what you need that will decide which is the best bank for you. Hopefully this article will have helped you with it.

Good luck with opening a bank account in the Netherlands. If you have any questions or want us to write another post on something else too, let us know here.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can a foreigner or non-resident open a bank account in the Netherlands?

A person of any nationality can open a bank account in the Netherlands, but some banks might require at least a residence in the Netherlands or in the EU/EFTA region depending on the accounts available.

If you are a non-resident, you will only be able to open a non-resident account and you might be subject to higher interest rates and might be limited in some services at Dutch banks. Traditional banks sometimes have a dedicated department for setting up non-resident/international accounts.

Usually it tends to be the online banks that are the most open with residence requirements and some even allow residence from pretty much anywhere in the world.

But it is important to check with a bank yourself if they accept your country of residence. You can usually do so on the website or during the sign-up process.

Can I have two bank accounts in the Netherlands?

Yes, you can have as many bank accounts as you like in the Netherlands. Just be aware of the extra hassle and possibly extra cost if you go for accounts that charge monthly fees.

Even if you go with a “free” account as the extra one, check that you keep meeting the minimum flow of income if it is required to keep them from charging you a fee. Some banks like ING tend to do this, so check in case.

Can I keep my Dutch bank accounts even after I leave the Netherlands?

Yes, you can keep your Dutch bank accounts even after you leave the Netherlands. But be aware of some changes that might happen with how you handle your account.

Some banks might charge you fees if you have a resident account but are no longer a resident in the Netherlands.

Also, your tax status may change, or some banks may not be able to send you important notifications and PIN numbers if you change to a foreign number.

But these things vary a lot from bank to bank and its best to ask them and they should be happy to help. Overall, it is usually very helpful to keep your account since it might come in handy later.

If it’s a resident account at a traditional bank that charges a lot of fees if you are no longer a resident, then it might be better to close the account. In this sense, N26 is known to be very friendly since they don’t require Dutch residency and the Burgerservicenummer.

How long do applications for bank accounts in the Netherlands take?

Once you’ve booked and arrived at the appointment made at the physical branch, standard traditional banks usually take a few hours, or a few days at most, to approve and open a new bank account.

They usually tend to take longer than digital banks since they sometimes need to send you documents to your address.

Online digital banks instead usually approve and open your bank account for you within 24 hours if not immediately.

How can I set up an overdraft?

The process to set up an overdraft will depend on the bank itself and will often have very different policies and requirements. Usually, you have to complete an overdraft application form in order to set up the facility for an overdraft in case you might need it.

Digital banks tend to reply and approve/reject your application within a few days or even within the same day.

On the other end, traditional banks can sometimes take weeks to process your application.

Be aware that some banks tend to be quite strict with their overdrafts and may require months of credit history before accepting an application.

Banks will also differ in the amount they allow for you to have on your overdraft. Some will allow a fixed amount (such as up to €10,000 for an N26 overdraft) or an amount relative to your average net monthly income (like with ING).

But be careful with your overdraft and make sure to pay it off as quickly as possible to avoid the interest charges (which vary from bank to bank).

What is the minimum age to open a bank account in the Netherlands?

Usually, banks require a minimum age of 18 in order to open your own bank account, but this can vary from bank to bank in their process and requirements, especially for digital banks.

Normally, banks tend to allow parents or legal guardians to open bank accounts for their children if they are under the age of 18.

Can I open a bank account for my children?

Yes, you can open a bank account for your child if they are under the age of 18.

Remember that you will need to provide the ID or Passport for both you and your child. Some banks might require that the parent needs to already have an account with the same bank too.

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Bank Accounts in Switzerland • Which One is best?

Finding the best bank account in Switzerland can be challenging since it depends on what your exact needs are.

But don’t worry.

This is why we’ve done some research and put together the best bank accounts for each situation and need you might want, to make your life easier.

Quick Result: Our personal favorite Bank Account in Switzerland is with N26. Open an account with them here!

If you are planning to come to or have already arrived in Switzerland, you will likely need a Austrian bank account to do things like pay rent, register for a phone or internet plan, and most other things in Austria.

You’ll also want to have a Swiss bank account so that you can withdraw cash from local ATMs without paying fees.

So, in short, depending on your profile, these are the 3 best bank accounts in Switzerland:

  • N26: Best Mobile Bank for non-German speakers
  • Neon: Best Mobile Bank for Swiss residents
  • UBS: Best Traditional Bank

For a longer explanation of why we think these are the best bank accounts and what they offer, read below.

But first, it’s important to understand some things found in Switzerland that you might not understand.

If you want to skip ahead to the comparison, click here

What is the Swiss “withholding tax”?

When you keep money in your swiss bank account, you can earn a bit of interest on it, but you will have to pay a tax on that interest earned called the Swiss withholding tax if it is in Swiss Francs (CHF).

Therefore, people who do not live in Switzerland or make payments in CHF choose to have their account in other currencies offered like the Euro, US Dollar, or Pound Sterling. Those currencies can be placed in a money market fund to earn interest for you there which will not have to pay the Swiss withholding tax.

Now, moving on to the best banks for current accounts.

Overview & Comparison: Best Bank accounts in Switzerland


N26: Best Mobile bank for non-German speakers

  • Best mobile app interface
  • Multi-lingual support
  • Excellent free base account
  • Zero fee transactions
  • Only offers euro-denominated account

About N26: Why we like it

One of the real upcoming giants in the digital world of banking is N26. Launched in 2015, it now has a full European Banking license, operating in 25 markets worldwide with over 5 million customers.

Your money is safe as can be in this digital bank since it is supervised by the Financial Markets Regulator. This means that clients’ funds are guaranteed up to €100,000 by the Deposit Protection Fund.

N26 offers “zero exchange fees on card payments in any currency” which is really useful for any of you who like to travel.

The bank account comes along with a free Mastercard Debit card (and an optional Maestro Card), your ability to pay should be accepted pretty much everywhere.

The sign-up process is short and can be easily be done completely in English, as well as French, Italian and Spanish. Which is a huge bonus over other banks if you struggle with German.

It is important to note though, that N26 will only offer a euro-denominated account so you can’t maintain a swiss franc balance.

But you can still make card payments in Swiss francs, it will just be taken from your euro account and be converted at the interbank exchange rate with promised “no hidden fees”.

Since the account is in euros, its very handy for people who like to travel around the Eurozone and make payments in euros since many non-swiss cities are in commuting distance.

The standard N26 bank account, with all its basic functions, is free and doesn’t charge any opening or maintenance fees at all.

With it, you can gain access to its online and mobile banking with a super easy-to-use app. And make unlimited payments in any currency anywhere in the world with your card or phone. Also, you can withdraw euro cash for free from ATMs up to 3 times per month.

The interface is honestly great, along with fantastic customer support to help you with everything.

You can even set up 2 sub-accounts with features to help you budget and manage your money to meet your financial goals.

It also uses artificial intelligence to “automatically categorize your spending”. So you can see the total amount you’re spending in each category. You can even create your own #tags categories – “#gifts # friends #eatingout, you name it.”

N26 also makes it pretty simple and easy to use in exporting your transaction information and downloading it as a CSV or PDF file to make your tax returns and invoicing easier.

N26 Bottom line:

N26 is definitely one of the best digital banks to use for foreigners and people who aren’t super comfortable with German.

It’s very simple to use and has the best digital app interface there is. And with the higher tiers, it can offer some of the best packages of perks and services that you would want.

The only downside is that since it is a German account with a German IBAN that is euro-denominated and not swiss denominated, it might not be accepted for regular payments like rent and other things.

But since they always have an online chat support and even a dedicated phone line for Metal customers, you should have no real problems getting your questions sorted out. They are well known for their high customer satisfaction and service.


Neon: Best Mobile Bank for Swiss residents

  • Offers account in CHF with a Swiss IBAN
  • Great app interface with nice features
  • Requires Swiss residency
  • Free to open and maintain an account
  • Great Customer support

Neon is the first big Swiss challenger neobank in Switzerland challenging the traditional banks. It offers a great package for those wanting an app similar to N26 or Revolut, but with a swiss IBAN and an account balance with swiss francs (CHF).

Insured by the Swiss authorities, all who have a bank account at Neon are guaranteed up to 100,000 CHF if anything happens to the bank themselves. This means that your money is as safe as it can be with this bank.

The best thing with this bank is that it is almost completely free to open and maintain.

This definitely puts it ahead of all the other swiss banks which are known to charge fees for maintenance and usage of the account. So, going with Neon will save you money.

With the account you’ll gain access to their simple app and interface, allowing you to manage your transactions and finances all from your phone.

It comes along with all the fancy features you could want such as automatic categorisation of your spending so you can easily see what you’re spending your money. This makes things a lot easier for spotting where and how you can start saving.

To make your life even easier, you can now also scan your bills and invoices to automatically make payments for you without having to input every single detail.

All payments can be done in CHF for free and you’ll sign free Mastercard debit card from which you’ll be able to pay for pretty much everything you could need to in Switzerland.

You’ll also have access to free ATM withdrawals twice a month from any ATM in Switzerland. Meaning you’ll even have cash needs covered with this bank.

Also, the sign-up process is very short and available in English as well as German, Italian and French, making it very friendly to foreigners who have become residents in Switzerland.

Neon Bottom Line:

Neon is a great bank to choose and is probably the best digital bank that is free from heavy fees that you could have in Switzerland. It’s very easy to use and has great customer service and generally makes your banking a lot easier in comparison to the other traditional Swiss banks.

If you want to have all your payments in Switzerland covered, then Neon is your best choice. You can even get a bonus of 10CHF for signing up with them with a referral code.

The only potential downside is that since its an online bank, you won’t find any physical branches anywhere to go and have your questions answered in person. But they have great customer support so you shouldn’t really have any issues at all that can’t be solved by them.


UBS: Best Traditional Bank

  • Huge Physical Branch and ATM Network
  • Access to all the complex financial services you could ever need
  • Very open and helpful to foreigners and non-residents
  • Relatively low fees but not totally free
  • Offers account that can hold CHF and other currencies like Euros.

If you aren’t comfortable with doing all of your banking online and would prefer having a physical branch available for you to visit, then UBS is definitely the best choice.

Having a reputation built upon being oldest and biggest wealth manager in the world, UBS offers probably one of the largest, if not the largest, networks of physical branches in Switzerland.

So it’s pretty easy to find them and ask any questions you might have. Usually all of their branches will have staff that speak English, so they’re very welcoming to foreigners who might not speak French or German.

UBS gives you the choice to hold your account balance in CHF or Euros. Which is great for those who might receive income and/or spend in both currencies.

With their account you are given the choice of receiving either a V-pay or Maestro debit card, both of which are great and can be used for cash withdrawals and payments across all of Switzerland.

Also, since it is a traditional bank well as give you access to more complex financial services such as savings accounts, business accounts, loans, mortgages, etc.

So it is great candidate for an all-in-one bank if you want all of your services at the same bank and don’t want to have the hassle of multiple banks.

UBS Bottom Line:

UBS is a great traditional bank with all the physical and complex financial services you could ever want, with a great reputation to stand on. If you’re not too comfortable with a fully online banking life, then UBS is probably the best choice.

They’re easy to find since they’re everywhere in Switzerland and you should never have any problems with them at all.

The only downside is that since they’re a traditional bank, they do charge more heavy fees for their services like account maintenance and aren’t very great with international transfers and exchange rates. To reduce your monthly maintenance fees, you also need to make sure your account balance is above 10,000 CHF. 

So if you have an account with a bank like UBS or any other traditional bank, expect to pay much larger fees than with the virtually free accounts at the online banks.


Things to know about Swiss bank accounts

Just a quick 2 min read about the most common issues we see with our readers:

How do I open a checking account at these banks or any other bank in Switzerland?

Opening a checking account with a bank in Austria is relatively simple to do and can be done relatively quickly (in 30 minutes or so) if you do their sign-up process in person and even shorter if done online.

Digital Banks like N26 or DKB offer sign-up processes that are usually much shorter. And they can be done from the comfort of your phone or laptop where you can scan your documents using your webcam or phone camera.

But usually there are some information or document requirements which may vary from bank to bank. If you follow this list, you should be pretty safe.

Usual requirements for opening checking accounts in Austria:

  • Completed application form with Name, Address, Nationality, Income, etc
  • Valid Passport or ID (if you are opening a joint account with another person, make sure they have their documents too)
  • Proof of address or registration (like a recent utility bill or “Meldezettel”)
  • Initial Deposit (depends on your bank how much they will require as a minimum)
  • Proof of income or employment (some banks may want to check the origin of the funds)

Whether you are a Swiss resident or not will also affect what type of current account you can have (“resident” or “non-resident” account) and which banks you can sign up with.

Its best to check out their websites or speak with them directly to find out. They’re usually very helpful in giving you the information you need.

International online banks like N26 usually tend to be the easiest and most open to non-residents, but it’s also worth checking out traditional ones like UBS.

How to close or change bank accounts in Switzerland

Closing or switching bank accounts is pretty simple to do in Switzerland as long as you don’t owe the bank any money.

Usually there tends to be a “closing account order” application or letter you need to complete and sign. Alternatively, you can either visit a physical branch or call them and they’re usually very friendly in helping you out in closing your account.

Make sure to ask that you’re following all the correct requirements and don’t have any fees that you have not paid off yet.

Things you have to make sure to do are:

  • Make sure you don’t get charged any penalty fees for closing the account before a specified “minimum” time has elapsed since you opened the account.
  • Get written confirmation in the form of a letter or email that the account has officially been closed
  • If you’re switching over to a new account, transfer over all future incoming and outgoing payments such as direct debits, salaries, or standing orders. Usually either the old bank or the new bank that your switching to will take care of this if you ask.
  • Make sure you’ve transferred all your money out of the old account and into the new account.
  • Let your employer and, others who would transfer money to you, know that your old account will no longer work.

Wrapping up

So overall you can see, choosing a bank account can be hard at first, but becomes easier if you know what exactly that you want. So try to make a list of the things that are important to you such as language or having physical branches, etc.

Then, try visiting their websites or even physical branches if they have any, to check out the different accounts (if they have more than one) and other products that they offer. You should be able to get a feeling for the banks pretty quickly and which one suits you.

If you feel comfortable with these banks you may even want to get more products from them like a savings accounts to earn interest on your money.

Once you’ve developed a relationship with your bank, later on you might even get a business account, loan or mortgage from them once you develop a bit of credit history that they can evaluate you on.

But don’t worry too much about it if you end up opening an account with a bank which you don’t end up liking later. Banks in Switzerland allow you to close an account and switch over to another pretty easily and without a hassle.

Keep in mind though that I personally find it very useful to have two checking accounts instead of just one. So that in case there is ever an issue with one, you can still access your money in the other, so you’re not left stranded with no money.

Personally, I’ve become a fan of the online digital banks because of how simple and easy it is to do everything with banks like N26 or Neon from the comfort of my phone or laptop. But of course, you should only do so if you’re comfortable with doing all your banking online.

On the other hand though, online banks tend to not offer more complex financial management services like loans, health insurance or mortgages that you would find at a traditional bank. So if you want some of those more complex products, you might need to look at more traditional banks like UBS.

But don’t worry. You can easily have a checking account at an online bank and still have other more complex products from other banks.

If you’re arriving in Switzerland soon, make sure to sort out your bank account sooner rather than later in case there are any delays, depending on the bank you sign up with. Life will be a lot more difficult if you don’t have one.

In the end, it is up to you and what you need that will decide which is the best bank for you. Hopefully this article will have helped you with it.

Good luck with opening a bank account in Switzerland. If you have any questions or want us to write another post on something else too, let us know here.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can a foreigner or non-resident open a bank account in Switzerland?

A person of any nationality can open a bank account in Austria, but some banks might require at least a residence in Austria or in the EU/EFTA region depending on the accounts available.

If you are a non-resident, you will only be able to open a non-resident account and you might be subject to higher deposit minimums and might be charged much higher fees at Swiss banks. Traditional Banks usually have a dedicated department for setting up non-resident/international accounts.

Usually it tends to be the online banks that are the most open with residence requirements and some even allow residence from pretty much anywhere in the world.

But it is important to check with a bank yourself if they accept your country of residence. You can usually do so on the website or during the sign-up process.

Can I have two bank accounts in Switzerland?

Yes, you can have as many bank accounts as you like in Switzerland. Just be aware of the extra hassle and possibly extra cost if you go for accounts that charge monthly fees.

Even if you go with a “free” account as the extra one, check that you keep meeting the minimum flow of income if it is required to keep them from charging you a fee. Some banks like to do this, so check in case.

Can I keep my Swiss bank accounts even after I leave Switzerland?

It depends entirely on your bank and account whether or not you can keep your Swiss bank accounts even after you leave Switzerland.

Some banks might charge you fees if you have a resident account but are no longer a resident in Switzerland. Or, if you no longer live in Switzerland, they might ask you to close your account and transfer your funds elsewhere.

Also, your tax status may change, or some banks may not be able to send you important notifications and PIN numbers if you change to a foreign number.

But these things vary a lot from bank to bank and its best to ask them and they should be happy to help. Overall, it is usually very helpful to keep your account since it might come in handy later.

If it’s a resident account at a traditional bank that charges a lot of fees if you are no longer a resident, then it might be better to close the account. In this sense, N26 is known to be very friendly since they don’t require Swiss residency.

How long do applications for bank accounts in Switzerland take?

Once you’ve booked and arrived at the appointment made at the physical branch, standard traditional banks usually take from a week up to a month, to approve and open a new bank account.

The reason for why it takes so long is usually for them to examine the origin of your income so you aren’t laundering money.

They also usually tend to take longer than digital banks since they sometimes need to send you documents to your address.

Online digital banks instead usually approve and open your bank account for you within 24 hours if not immediately.

How can I set up an overdraft?

The process to set up an overdraft will depend on the bank itself and will often have very different policies and requirements. Usually, you have to complete an overdraft application form in order to set up the facility for an overdraft in case you might need it.

Digital banks tend to reply and approve/reject your application within a few days or even within the same day. On the other end, traditional banks can sometimes take weeks to process your application.

Be aware that some banks tend to be quite strict with their overdrafts and may require months of credit history before accepting an application.

Banks will also differ in the amount they allow for you to have on your overdraft. Some will allow a fixed amount (such as up to €10,000 for an N26 overdraft) or an amount relative to your average net monthly income.

But be careful with your overdraft and make sure to pay it off as quickly as possible to avoid the interest charges (which vary from bank to bank).

What is the minimum age to open a bank account in Switzerland?

Usually, banks require a minimum age of 18 in order to open your own bank account, but this can vary from bank to bank in their process and requirements, especially for digital banks.

Normally, banks tend to allow parents or legal guardians to open bank accounts for their children if they are under the age of 18.

Can I open a bank account for my children?

Yes, you can open a bank account for your child if they are under the age of 18.

Remember that you will need to provide the ID or Passport for both you and your child. Some banks might require that the parent needs to already have an account with the same bank too.

It is best to check and call the bank to see whether they have accounts available for those under the age of 18.

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Bank Accounts in Austria • Which One is best?

Finding the best bank account in Austria can be challenging since it depends on what your exact needs are.

But don’t worry.

This is why we’ve done some research and put together the best bank accounts for each situation and need you might want, to make your life easier.

Quick Result: Our personal favorite Bank Account in Austria is with N26. Open an account with them here!

If you are planning to come to or have already arrived in Austria, you will likely need a Austrian bank account to do things like pay rent, register for a phone or internet plan, and most other things in Austria.

Though if you already have an EU bank account, businesses should recognize it when you want to register for things. But it’s always a huge hassle because you don’t fit the “standard” case. So, you’ll definitely prefer to have an Austrian Bank account.

You’ll also want to have a Austrian bank account so that you can withdraw cash from local ATMs without paying fees.

So, in short, depending on your profile, these are the best 4 bank accounts in France:

  • N26: Best Mobile Bank for non-German speakers
  • DKB: Best Online Bank for German speakers
  • ING: Best Online Bank for easy bank account switching
  • Erste Bank: Best Traditional Bank in Austria

For a longer explanation of why we think these are the best bank accounts and what they offer, read below.

But first, it’s important to understand some things found in Austria that you might not understand.

If you want to skip ahead to the comparison, click here

What is a “Meldezettel” and do I need it?

A “Meldezettel” is basically a document that you need to register for at the local registration authority (“Meldebehörde”) that establishes your residency in Austria if you are planning to live here and are not just visiting.

It is very important that you register yourself within a deadline of 3 days once you establish a principal residence or else you can get a fine of up to 726 euros.

Also, once you are a resident, more bank accounts become available as options in Austria.

Remember to also deregister once you’ve left Austria permanently to avoid fines.

Now, moving on to the best banks for current accounts.

Overview & Comparison: Best Bank accounts in Austria


N26: Best Mobile bank for non-German speakers

  • Best mobile app interface
  • Multi-lingual support
  • Excellent free base account
  • Zero fee transactions
  • Excellent benefits for higher-tier accounts

About N26: Why we like it

One of the real upcoming giants in the digital world of banking is N26. Launched in 2015, it now has a full European Banking license, operating in 25 markets worldwide with over 5 million customers.

Your money is safe as can be in this digital bank since it is supervised by the Financial Markets Regulator. This means that clients’ funds are guaranteed up to €100,000 by the Deposit Protection Fund.

What does N26 offer and how do its different tiers work?

N26 offers “zero exchange fees on card payments in any currency” which is really useful for any of you who like to travel.

Since the bank account comes along with a free Mastercard Debit card (and an optional Maestro Card), your ability to pay should be accepted pretty much everywhere.

The sign-up process is short and can be easily be done completely in English, as well as French, Italian and Spanish. Which is a huge bonus over other banks if you struggle with German.

Its important to note though, that you will need some form of EU/EFTA residence to open an account.

To give you a quick rundown on the 3 tiers N26 offers, here it goes.

The Basic N26 Bank account

The standard N26 bank account, with all its basic functions, is free and doesn’t charge any opening or maintenance fees at all.

 With it, you can gain access to its online and mobile banking with a super easy-to-use app. And make unlimited payments in any currency anywhere in the world with your card or phone. Also, you can withdraw cash for free from ATMs up to 3 times per month.

 The interface is honestly great, along with fantastic customer support to help you with everything.

You can even set up 2 sub-accounts with features to help you budget and manage your money to meet your financial goals.

It also uses artificial intelligence to “automatically categorize your spending”. So you can see the total amount you’re spending in each category. You can even create your own #tags categories – “#gifts # friends #eatingout, you name it.”

N26 also makes it pretty simple and easy to use in exporting your transaction information and downloading it as a CSV or PDF file to make your tax returns and invoicing easier.

N26 You

For higher levels of features, you can upgrade to a N26 You account for €9.90 per month.

This increases your free cash withdrawals in the Eurozone to 5 times per month. Also, you now can have unlimited free ATM cash withdrawals worldwide in any currency outside the Eurozone. You also get some extra-poppy debit card colours to choose from.

N26 You gives you a whole travel insurance package to protect you with Medical insurance, Trip insurance, Flight insurance and Luggage coverage.

This definitely helps for people who like to travel by giving you peace of mind that you’re covered against any unpleasant surprises.

If you thought you weren’t insured enough, it also provides Mobility insurance for shared vehicles, covering you for damages of up to €20,000. There’s also Winter sport insurance in case of accidents on trips to mountains.

N26 You also increases the number of sub-accounts you can create. From the basic 2, to up to 10 sub-accounts so that you can better organise your money and save for different goals and projects.

Finally, N26 You grants you premium partner offers and discounts with world-class brands. Which is a huge bonus for those who like to buy things from those partners anyways.

You might even end up saving more through the discounts than what you actually pay in the monthly fee. So, this is definitely a great option to consider.

N26 Metal

 Then, if you want to upgrade to the highest level of N26 Metal for €16,90 per month, you get to choose from 3 metallic shades to get a stainless steel Debit card. 

Now on top of the N26 You benefits, your Eurozone withdrawals increase to 8 per month.  Also, you’re given Car rental insurance for your rental care hires away from home of up to €20,000 as well as Phone insurance of up to €1,000 against theft and damages if the event and phone are eligible.

N26 Metal expands on the previous offers and discounts with their partners to bring Metal customers “access benefits and bespoke rewards” to complement your everyday, “from hard-to-find tickets, VIP passes to private events, unique workshops and memorable days out”.

You’re also given a dedicated priority phone line so you can call them to sort out any questions you have immediately.

Whilst some people might think N26 Metal is a bit ‘extra’ for most normal people above the N26 You, given the relatively cheap price tag versus the benefits, its actually a very attractive bank account tier to go for.

Of course, which one of the 3 tiers of accounts best fits you personally is up to you decide.

If you want the most basic version there is, the standard N26 account works best.

For more dedicated features, offers and support for those who might like to travel with extra perks and benefits, N26 You and N26 Metal are definitely the best for you.

N26 Bottom line:

N26 is definitely the best digital bank to use for foreigners and people who aren’t super comfortable with German.

It’s very simple to use and has the best digital app interface there is. And with the higher tiers, it can offer some of the best packages of perks and services that you would want.

The only possible downside is that since it is fully online and there aren’t any physical branches you can visit in Austria, you don’t have anyone you can talk to face-to-face to help sort out any questions you might have.

But since they always have an online chat support and even a dedicated phone line for Metal customers, you should have no real problems getting your questions sorted out. They are well known for their high customer satisfaction and service.


DKB – Deutsche Kredit Bank: Best Online Bank for German speakers

  • One of the best combos of overdraft rates and services
  • Support only in German
  • Huge range of Cashback programs
  • Awarded “Best Direkt Bank”

About DKB: Why we like it

Similar N26, DKB is a completely online digital bank and is one of the most popular and established online banks in Austria.

If you’ve got some basic German skills or you’re comfortable with using a bit of google translate to help you, then this might be the best bank account there is in Austria.

Setting up an account is completely free and simple to do, but, the entire process form and interface is in German and you need to have residency in either Austria, Germany or Switzerland. However, you can open a current account from any location in the world (except Iran and North Korea).

On top of the online interface and fantastic smartphone application to manage your transactions, the account comes along with a free Visa Credit and Debit cards.

Which is pretty huge since it guarantees you the ability to pay everywhere. Also, DKB gives you free ATM cash withdrawals anywhere and from any ATM.

DKB probably offers the best complete package with overdraft rates and services such as cashback programs, in comparison most to other providers. Unlike N26, DKB gives you the option to open a couples account, in which both account holders will each receive free debit and credit cards.

DKB Bottom Line:

DKB is likely the best bank overall for people who can speak German. It gives you one of the best guarantees of payment acceptance and cash withdrawal across Austria, with a fantastic combo of rates and services.

Though it is worth noting the downside that the interface and support are in German only. Also, to make sure your withdrawals and services remain free, make sure your account has a monthly intake of at least €700.


ING – Best Online Bank for easy bank account switching

  • Excellent Cashback programs
  • Great customer service
  • Super simple switching service
  • Great mobile app
  • Easy and convenient overdraft ability

About ING: Why we like it

ING Direct is a famous Dutch online bank with an excellent reputation and is a good contender for being your online bank in Austria if you are a resident.

An ING bank account gives you a free maestro debit card, granting you an excellent ability to pay across Austria as well as free ATM withdrawals inside and outside of Austria as long as you are in the Eurozone.

What makes ING interesting is that its account can be totally free if you ensure that your monthly income into the account is above €300. If it is below that amount you get charged the normal monthly fee of €5.

Alternatively, if you are under the age of 28, the monthly fee of €4.28 is automatically waived.

ING also has an interesting “UPS!” overdraft feature which lets you overdraft your account to up to 250 euros for free. Which is really convenient if you encounter short-term problems with money coming in and you suddenly have expenses you need to pay off.

But do make sure you pay them off as soon as you can to avoid later fees.

ING’s mobile app interface is also very well-designed allowing you to access your banking easily via your phone with some nice features to help you manage your money and save via budgeting.

The bank also prides itself on its “Kontowechsel” service which allows you to switch bank accounts from your old bank account to your new ING bank accounts super easily without having to deal with any bureaucratic paperwork and letters.

Also, ING has an excellent array of cashback programs so if you make purchases with any of their partners, so you’ll definitely be saving quite a lot of money.

ING Bottom Line:

Overall ING is another excellent option as an online bank choice, however it is usually only available to Austrian residents. It has a good combo of rates and services at a very low cost (if any), but make sure to read and meet their requirements.

The only possible downside could be that since it is a purely online bank, you won’t find physical branches in order to get help in person and everything has to be done online or over a call.


Erste Bank – Best Traditional Bank in Austria

  • Huge ATM and physical branch network
  • Great English support and open to foreigners and non-residents
  • Super low in fees and free for under people under 27
  • Access to more financial services

About Erste Bank: Why we like it

Erste Bank is one of the largest traditional banks in Austria with a massive network of physical branches for people who like to be able to visit them in person to have the comfort of a face-to-face conversation to sort out their needs.

But don’t be fooled, they are as modernised as a traditional bank can be. They have an extremely slick mobile banking app called George that makes handling your banking at your fingertips as smooth and as simple as it can be.

Which is great, because it Erste Bank gives you all the reassuring services of having physical branches and ATMs everywhere, without you needing to physically go to them to sort out your issues.

In many ways Erste Bank provides you a blend of the best from both worlds.

With Erste Bank you will also be receiving a Mastercard Debit card giving you an excellent ability to pay basically everywhere as well as withdraw cash for free from any Erste Bank and Sparkasse ATM.

It is especially great for young people up to their 27th birthday in which having a current account (Girokonto) becomes completely free.

Even if you are a person who doesn’t fit the criteria and would still have to pay the fees, Erste Bank has a unique system where you can bring down your monthly fee by separate sets of 10%-20%. You can do this simply by using their services like withdrawing cash from their ATMs or using a mobile pay functionality from your phone.

Remember it’s always best to read exactly what their conditions are on their website to make sure you’re reducing your price as much as possible and avoiding unnecessary fees.

They are also very friendly to foreigners and non-residents. They, even have their website available in English and are easy to make appointments with to help you set up an account.

Erste Bank Bottom Line:

Overall, Erste Bank is a fantastic option for a traditional bank in Austria and it is especially friendly to foreigners and non-residents.

It has a great combination of both access to a massive network of physical branches and ATMs, but also is super modernised with seamless online mobile banking. Even if you don’t qualify for their free accounts, it is still super low in fees and provides great services in exchange.

Also, since it is a traditional bank, unlike all the online banks on this list, you will have access to more complex financial services like savings accounts, loans, mortgages, insurance, etc. Making it a great candidate as a bank that has everything you would ever need.

In terms of downsides, this bank barely has any. But if there is anything to criticise, it is that their sign-up process could maybe be a little faster, and that versus some of the online banks like N26, it doesn’t offer free accounts if you’re below the age of 27.


Things to know about Austrian bank accounts

Just a quick 2 min read about the most common issues we see with our readers:

How do I open a checking account at these banks or any other bank in Austria?

Opening a checking account with a bank in Austria is relatively simple to do and can be done relatively quickly (in 30 minutes or so) if you do their sign-up process in person and even shorter if done online.

Digital Banks like N26 or DKB offer sign-up processes that are usually much shorter. And they can be done from the comfort of your phone or laptop where you can scan your documents using your webcam or phone camera.

But usually there are some information or document requirements which may vary from bank to bank. If you follow this list, you should be pretty safe.

Usual requirements for opening checking accounts in Austria:

  • Completed application form with Name, Address, Nationality, Income, etc
  • Valid Passport or ID (if you are opening a joint account with another person, make sure they have their documents too)
  • Proof of address or registration (like a recent utility bill or “Meldezettel”)
  • Initial Deposit (depends on your bank how much they will require as a minimum)
  • Proof of income or employment (usually only required by more strict banks like DKB)

Whether you are an Austrian resident or not will also affect what type of current account you can have (“resident” or “non-resident” account) and which banks you can sign up with.

Its best to check out their websites or speak with them directly to find out. They’re usually very helpful in giving you the information you need.

International online banks like DKB or N26 usually tend to be the easiest and most open to non-residents, but it’s also worth checking out traditional ones like Erste Bank.

How to close or change bank accounts in Austria

Closing or switching bank accounts is pretty simple to do in Austria as long as you don’t owe the bank any money.

Usually there tends to be a “closing account order” application or letter you need to complete and sign. Or, you can either visit a physical branch or call them and they’re usually very friendly in helping you out in closing your account.

Make sure to ask that you’re following all the correct requirements and don’t have any fees that you have not paid off yet.

Things you have to make sure to do are:

  • Make sure you don’t get charged any penalty fees for closing the account before a specified “minimum” time has elapsed since you opened the account.
  • Get written confirmation in the form of a letter or email that the account has officially been closed
  • If you’re switching over to a new account, transfer over all future incoming and outgoing payments such as direct debits, salaries, or standing orders. Usually either the old bank or the new bank that your switching to will take care of this if you ask.
  • Make sure you’ve transferred all your money out of the old account and into the new account.
  • Let your employer and, others who would transfer money to you, know that your old account will no longer work.

Wrapping up

So overall you can see, choosing a bank account can be hard at first, but becomes easier if you know what exactly that you want. So try to make a list of the things that are important to you such as language or having physical branches, etc.

Then, try visiting their websites or even physical branches if they have any, to check out the different accounts (if they have more than one) and other products that they offer. You should be able to get a feeling for the banks pretty quickly and which one suits you.

If you feel comfortable with these banks you may even want to get more products from them like a savings accounts to earn interest on your money.

Once you’ve developed a relationship with your bank, later on you might even get a business account, loan or mortgage from them once you develop a bit of credit history that they can evaluate you on.

But don’t worry too much about it if you end up opening an account with a bank which you don’t end up liking later. Banks in Austria allow you to close an account and switch over to another pretty easily and without a hassle.

Keep in mind though that I personally find it very useful to have two checking accounts instead of just one. So that in case there is ever an issue with one, you can still access your money in the other, so you’re not left stranded with no money.

Personally, I’ve become a fan of the online digital banks because of how simple and easy it is to do everything with banks like N26 or DKB from the comfort of my phone or laptop. But of course, you should only do so if you’re comfortable with doing all your banking online.

On the other hand though, online banks tend to not offer more complex financial management services like loans, health insurance or mortgages that you would find at a traditional bank. So if you want some of those more complex products, you might need to look at more traditional banks like Erste Bank.

But don’t worry. You can easily have a checking account at an online bank and still have other more complex products from other banks.

If you’re arriving in Austria soon, make sure to sort out your bank account sooner rather than later in case there are any delays, depending on the bank you sign up with. Life will be a lot more difficult if you don’t have one.

In the end, it is up to you and what you need that will decide which is the best bank for you. Hopefully this article will have helped you with it.

Good luck with opening a bank account in Austria. If you have any questions or want us to write another post on something else too, let us know here.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can a foreigner or non-resident open a bank account in Austria?

A person of any nationality can open a bank account in Austria, but some banks might require at least a residence in Austria or in the EU/EFTA region depending on the accounts available.

If you are a non-resident, you will only be able to open a non-resident account and you might be subject to higher interest rates and might be limited in some services at Austrian banks.

Traditional Banks sometimes have a dedicated department for setting up non-resident/international accounts.

Usually it tends to be the online banks that are the most open with residence requirements and some even allow residence from pretty much anywhere in the world.

But it is important to check with a bank yourself if they accept your country of residence. You can usually do so on the website or during the sign-up process.

Can I have two bank accounts in Austria?

Yes, you can have as many bank accounts as you like in Austria. Just be aware of the extra hassle and possibly extra cost if you go for accounts that charge monthly fees.

Even if you go with a “free” account as the extra one, check that you keep meeting the minimum flow of income if it is required to keep them from charging you a fee. Some banks like ING tend to do this, so check in case.

Can I keep my Austrian bank accounts even after I leave Austria?

Yes, you can keep your Austrian bank accounts even after you leave Austria. But be aware of some changes that might happen with how you handle your account.

Some banks might charge you fees if you have a resident account but are no longer a resident in Austria. At some point, they might start asking you for your “Meldezettel” to check if you’re still a resident.

Also, your tax status may change, or some banks may not be able to send you important notifications and PIN numbers if you change to a foreign number.

But these things vary a lot from bank to bank and its best to ask them and they should be happy to help. Overall it is usually very helpful to keep your account since it might come in handy later.

If it’s a resident account at a traditional bank that charges a lot of fees if you are no longer a resident, then it might be better to close the account. In this respect, N26 is known to be very friendly since they don’t require an Austrian residency and the Meldezettel.

How long do applications for bank accounts in Austria take?

Once you’ve booked and arrived at the appointment made at the physical branch, standard traditional banks usually take a day, or a few days at most, to approve and open a new bank account.

They usually tend to take longer than digital banks since they sometimes need to send you documents to your address.

Online digital banks instead usually approve and open your bank account for you within 24 hours if not immediately.

How can I set up an overdraft?

The process to set up an overdraft will depend on the bank itself and will often have very different policies and requirements. Usually, you have to complete an overdraft application form in order to set up the facility for an overdraft in case you might need it.

Digital banks tend to reply and approve/reject your application within a few days or even within the same day.

On the other end, traditional banks can sometimes take weeks to process your application. Be aware that some banks tend to be quite strict with their overdrafts and may require months of credit history before accepting an application.

Banks will also differ in the amount they allow for you to have on your overdraft. Some will allow a fixed amount (such as up to €10,000 for an N26 overdraft) or an amount relative to your average net monthly income (like with ING).

But be careful with your overdraft and make sure to pay it off as quickly as possible to avoid the interest charges (which vary from bank to bank).

What is the minimum age to open a bank account in Austria?

Usually, banks require a minimum age of 18 in order to open your own bank account, but this can vary from bank to bank in their process and requirements, especially for digital banks.

Normally, banks tend to allow parents or legal guardians to open bank accounts for their children if they are under the age of 18.

Can I open a bank account for my children?

Yes, you can open a bank account for your child if they are under the age of 18. Not all banks offer this service but some like Austria Bank are known to offer current accounts to those children aged 10 upwards.

Remember that you will need to provide the ID or Passport for both you and your child. Some banks might require that the parent needs to already have an account with the same bank too.

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Bank Accounts in France • Which One is best?

Finding the best bank account in France can be challenging since it depends on what your exact needs are.

But don’t worry.

This is why we’ve done some research and put together the best bank accounts for each situation and need you might want, to make your life easier.

Quick Result: Our personal favorite Bank Account in France is with Bunq. Open an account with them here!

If you are planning to come to or have already arrived in France, you will likely need a French bank account to do things like pay rent, register for a phone or internet plan, and most other things in France.

Though if you already have an EU bank account, businesses should recognize it when you want to register for things. But it’s always a huge hassle because you don’t fit the “standard” case. So, you’ll definitely prefer to have a French Bank account.

You’ll also want to have a French bank account so that you can withdraw cash from local ATMs without paying fees.

So, in short, depending on your profile, these are the best 5 bank accounts in France:

  • Bunq: Best digital bank for non-French speakers and sustainable investing
  • HSBC:  Best Traditional bank for expats and non-residents
  • Qonto: Best digital bank for freelancers, startups and small businesses
  • N26: Best free digital bank for non-French speakers
  • ING: Best online bank for French speakers and residents

For a longer explanation of why we think these are the best bank accounts and what they offer, read below.

But first, it’s important to understand some things found in France that you might not understand.

If you want to skip ahead to the comparison, click here

What is a “Carte Bancaire” and do I need it?

If you’ve arrived in France, then you’ve likely come across someone asking for your “Carte Baincaire” or “Carte Bleue” when you want to pay with a card. Most people who come to France get confused by this.

Basically, Carte Bleue is the predecessor to the Carte Bancaire (the current debit payment system in France) yet many may still commonly refer to Carte Bancaire as Carte Bleue.

There is no real difference between them so don’t be alarmed. They are both essentially the most popular French card system.

Is having an Carte Bleue or Carte Bancaire important in France?

Overall it is not super important as most places accept mastercard or visa, but some small shops and businesses still work exclusively with the Carte Bancaire system and may ask you for a “Carte Bleue”.

So whilst not completely necessary, it could save you some trouble by having one rather than not having one.

However, most banks will provide you with debit cards that have both Carte Bancaire and Mastercard/Visa functionality so you can make payments both in and outside of France.

Now, moving on to the best banks for current accounts.

Overview & Comparison: Best Bank accounts in France


Bunq: Best digital bank for non-French speakers and sustainable investing

  • Great for choosing how your money is invested
  • Very advanced money management features
  • In English
  • Only worth it with higher tiers that cost a monthly fee

About Bunq: Why we like it

Bunq is another one of the up-and-coming digital banks. Founded in 2015, this Dutch Bank is similar to N26 with its 3 tiers of accounts (Travel, Premium, and SuperGreen) and helpful English interface and support.

Besides the online banking, it has extra unique features in creating sub-accounts and budgeting.

It automates a lot of things like its auto-save feature that rounds up payments to the nearest euro and deposits that money into specific sub-accounts. Or other things like automatic payment of invoices via scanning, making life a lot easier for you.

You also have the choice of having up to 3 cards of Maestro and Mastercard Debit cards, as well as a Mastercard credit card.

But what really sets apart from the rest is the “Freedom of Choice” in allowing you to choose if and how your money is invested.

Unlike other traditional big banks that might invest in funds and industries that might conduct unsustainable practices, with Bunq you can have more say in where your money is invested.

If you go for the highest tier of the SuperGreen card, on top of its advanced money management features, you also make the world greener by planting a tree every time you spend €100.

Bunq Bottom Line:

Bunq is a great option for those who want advanced features in the management of your money and how it is used sustainably. It also has some of the best ratings in customer service and satisfaction.

It is worth noting the downside that if you use the most basic free Travel Card plan, the number of features you have access to is really restricted. There are even fees for services such as a €0.99 fee for ATM withdrawals using the basic Travel Card plan.

So, to really bring out the best of Bunq and its free great features, you will need to upgrade to one of the higher tiers and have to pay a monthly fee.

Also, Bunq will generally provide you with a Dutch IBAN which may cause some issues when signing up to register for certain things like a phone or internet plan.

But, the law states that French businesses must accept any valid IBANs from an EU country. So if you encounter any problems or issues inputting your IBAN in an online form, a quick call or email will usually solve your problems.


HSBC – Best Traditional bank for expats and non-residents

  • Super friendly to non-residents and English speakers
  • Access to complex financial services
  • Cheap offerings of accounts with great services

About HSBC: Why we like it

One of the largest banks in the world, HSBC has an excellent offering of bank account services in France, open to both residents and non-residents.

With an HSBC account, for very low fees, you can gain access to either a Visa or Mastercard debit card depending on the package you choose, guaranteeing you the ability to pay pretty much everywhere in France.

Using their card, you gain access to free ATM cash withdrawals from HSBC ATMs around the whole world. Making things super convenient for you to pick up cash, especially if you like to travel since they are a global bank.

What makes them super attractive for expats is that their support centres in France are also available in English with specialist banking advisors available to help guide you through the whole process of creating a bank account and even settling into France.

They even provide free services of “instant, free French-English translations of key documents from Lingua Custodia” for 3 months which really helps if you’re not super comfortable with French yet.

On top of this, their HSBC mobile banking app is very simple to use and allows you to manage your banking affairs from your phone, keeping you on top of your finances at all times.

HSBC also provides more complex financial services such as business accounts, loans, mortgages, etc. So if you’re looking for a Bank that can also provide you those services so that you have everything in at one bank, then HSBC is a great option.

HSBC Bottom Line:

HSBC is overall a fantastic option for expats and non-residents that want a more traditional bank where you can have access to physical branches, complex financial services, great mobile app, and specialist advice in English.

They’ve won multiple awards for their banking and are known for their great customer support so you shouldn’t ever really come across any problems. They even sometimes offer an €80 bonus for signing up to them.

The only possible downside could be that their bank account, even though is extremely cheap given the service you get, isn’t completely free.


Qonto – Best digital bank for freelancers, startups and small businesses

  • Huge offering of services to ensure all your business payment needs are met
  • Low cost
  • Can integrate seamlessly with accounting software

About Qonto: Why we like it

Qonto is a digital neobank specialised in offering business accounts ideal for self-employed freelancers and small businesses so that they can manage their transactions and expenses with a modern simplified interface with minimal costs.

The account itself comes along with a massive range of functionalities where you can manage multiple user accounts and customize permission levels for your partners and employees.

It offers various method for you to handle your customer and supplier payments, ensuring your business activities are not slowed down in any way.

Also, it integrates seamlessly with various accounting softwares, making bookkeeping and tax reconciliation super simplified.

Qonto makes this all easy to set up, with a sign up process that is super short and simplified, making it one of the best business bank accounts for freelancers and small businesses.

Qonto Bottom Line:

Given its comprehensive list of features to service all your needs, in combination with its reputation for great customer service, Qonto is definitely by far the best choice in France for anyone who wants to set up an account for their activities so that their business transactions and management flow with simple ease and convenience.  


N26: Best free digital bank for non-French speakers

  • Best mobile app interface
  • Multi-lingual support
  • Excellent free base account
  • Zero fee transactions
  • Excellent benefits for higher-tier accounts

About N26: Why we like it

One of the real upcoming giants in the digital world of banking is N26. Launched in 2015, it now has a full European Banking license, operating in 25 markets worldwide with over 5 million customers.

Your money is safe as can be in this digital bank since it is supervised by the Financial Markets Regulator. This means that clients’ funds are guaranteed up to €100,000 by the Deposit Protection Fund.

What does N26 offer and how do its different tiers work?

N26 offers “zero exchange fees on card payments in any currency” which is really useful for any of you who like to travel.

Since the bank account comes along with a free Mastercard Debit card (and an optional Maestro Card), your ability to pay should be accepted pretty much everywhere.

The sign-up process is short and can be easily be done completely in English, as well as French, Italian, German and Spanish. Which is a huge bonus over other banks if you struggle with Italian.

Its important to note though, that you will need some form of EU/EFTA residence to open an account.

To give you a quick rundown on the 3 tiers N26 offers, here it goes.

The Basic N26 Bank account

The standard N26 bank account, with all its basic functions, is free and doesn’t charge any opening or maintenance fees at all.

With it, you can gain access to an French IBAN and its online mobile banking with a super easy-to-use app. And make unlimited payments in any currency anywhere in the world with your card or phone. Also, you can withdraw cash for free from ATMs up to 3 times per month.

The interface is honestly great, along with fantastic customer support to help you with everything.

You can even set up 2 sub-accounts with features to help you budget and manage your money to meet your financial goals.

It also uses artificial intelligence to “automatically categorize your spending”. So you can see the total amount you’re spending in each category. You can even create your own #tags categories – “#gifts # friends #eatingout, you name it.”

N26 also makes it pretty simple and easy to use in exporting your transaction information and downloading it as a CSV or PDF file to make your tax returns and invoicing easier.

N26 You

For higher levels of features, you can upgrade to a N26 You account for €9.90 per month.

This increases your free cash withdrawals in the Eurozone to 5 times per month. Also, you now can have unlimited free ATM cash withdrawals worldwide in any currency outside the Eurozone. You also get some extra-poppy debit card colours to choose from.

N26 You gives you a whole travel insurance package to protect you with Medical insurance, Trip insurance, Flight insurance and Luggage coverage.

This definitely helps for people who like to travel by giving you peace of mind that you’re covered against any unpleasant surprises.

If you thought you weren’t insured enough, it also provides Mobility insurance for shared vehicles, covering you for damages of up to €20,000. There’s also Winter sport insurance in case of accidents on trips to mountains.

N26 You also increases the number of sub-accounts you can create. From the basic 2, to up to 10 sub-accounts so that you can better organise your money and save for different goals and projects.

Finally, N26 You grants you premium partner offers and discounts with world-class brands. Which is a huge bonus for those who like to buy things from those partners anyways.

You might even end up saving more through the discounts than what you actually pay in the monthly fee. So, this is definitely a great option to consider.

N26 Metal

Then, if you want to upgrade to the highest level of N26 Metal for €16,90 per month, you get to choose from 3 metallic shades to get a stainless steel Debit card.

Now on top of the N26 You benefits, your Eurozone withdrawals increase to 8 per month. Also, you’re given Car rental insurance for your rental care hires away from home of up to €20,000 as well as Phone insurance of up to €1,000 against theft and damages if the event and phone are eligible.

N26 Metal expands on the previous offers and discounts with their partners to bring Metal customers “access benefits and bespoke rewards” to complement your everyday, “from hard-to-find tickets, VIP passes to private events, unique workshops and memorable days out”.

You’re also given a dedicated priority phone line so you can call them to sort out any questions you have immediately.

Whilst some people might think N26 Metal is a bit ‘extra’ for most normal people above the N26 You, given the relatively cheap price tag versus the benefits, its actually a very attractive bank account tier to go for.

Of course, which one of the 3 tiers of accounts best fits you personally is up to you decide.

If you want the most basic version there is, the standard N26 account works best.

For more dedicated features, offers and support for those who might like to travel with extra perks and benefits, N26 You and N26 Metal are definitely the best for you.

N26 Bottom line:

N26 is definitely one the best digital banks to use for foreigners and people who aren’t super comfortable with French.

It’s very simple to use and has the best digital app interface there is. And with the higher tiers, it can offer some of the best packages of perks and services that you would want.

The only possible downside is that since it is fully online and there aren’t any physical branches you can visit in France, you don’t have anyone you can talk to face-to-face to help sort out any questions you might have.

But since they always have an online chat support and even a dedicated phone line for Metal customers, you should have no real problems getting your questions sorted out. They are well known for their high customer satisfaction and service.


ING – Best online bank for French speakers and residents

  • Excellent Cashback programs
  • Great customer service
  • Premium Account you can even get for free
  • Only for French residents

About ING: Why we like it

ING Direct is a famous Dutch online bank with an excellent reputation and is a good contender for being your online bank in France if you are a resident.

An ING bank account gives you a free Mastercard debit granting you an excellent ability to pay across France as well as 5 free ATM withdrawals a month with the base free account.

What makes ING interesting is that its premium account can also be free too if you ensure that your monthly income into the account is above €1,200. If it is below that amount you get charged the normal monthly fee of €5.

So if you meet those requirements, you can essentially get all the benefits of the premium account including unlimited free ATM withdrawals, increased limits on purchases and withdrawals and more.

ING’s mobile app interface is also very well-designed allowing you to access your banking easily via your phone with some nice features to help you manage your money and save via budgeting.

Also, ING has an excellent array of cashback programs so if you make purchases with any of their partners, you’ll definitely be saving quite a lot of money.

ING Bottom Line:

Overall ING is another excellent option as an online bank choice, however it is only available to French residents. It has a good combo of rates and services at a very low cost (if any), but make sure to read and meet their requirements.

The only possible downside could be that since it is a purely online bank, you won’t find physical branches in order to get help in person and everything has to be done online or over a call.


Things to know about French bank accounts

Just a quick 2 min read about the most common issues we see with our readers:

How do I open a checking account at these banks or any other bank in France?

Opening a checking account with a bank in France is relatively simple to do and can be done relatively quickly (in 30 minutes or so) if you do their sign-up process in person and even shorter if done online.

Digital Banks like Bunq or N26 offer sign-up processes that are usually much shorter. And they can be done from the comfort of your phone or laptop where you can scan your documents using your webcam or phone camera.

But usually there are some information or document requirements which may vary from bank to bank. If you follow this list, you should be pretty safe.

Usual requirements for opening checking accounts in France:

  • Completed application form with Name, Address, Nationality, Income, etc
  • Valid Passport, ID or Visa (if you are opening a joint account with another person, make sure they have their documents too)
  • Proof of address or registration (like a utility bill not older than 3 months)
  • Initial Deposit (depends on your bank how much they will require as a minimum)
  • Proof of income, employment, or enrolment at a French educational institution

Whether you are a French resident or not will also affect what type of current account you can have (“resident” or “non-resident” account) and which banks you can sign up with.

Its best to check out their websites or speak with them directly to find out. They’re usually very helpful in giving you the information you need.

International online banks like Bunq or N26 usually tend to be the easiest and most open to non-residents, but it’s also worth checking out traditional ones like HSBC.

How to close or change bank accounts in France

Closing or switching bank accounts is pretty simple to do in France as long as you don’t owe the bank any money.

For a traditional bank you normally have to send a registered termination letter containing your signature to the bank branch of the bank where you have your account based in.

If you have a joint account, make sure the names and signatures of all the account holders are contained within the letter.

Or, you can either visit a physical branch or call them and they’re usually very friendly in helping you out in closing your account.

If you want to start a switching procedure, then it is best to contact the new bank you are switching to and they should handle your switching for you.

Make sure to ask that you’re following all the correct requirements and don’t have any fees that you have not paid off yet. But remember that it is illegal for French banks to charge you for the act of closing or switching bank accounts.

Things you have to make sure to do are:

  • Get written confirmation in the form of a letter or email that the account has officially been closed
  • If you’re switching over to a new account, transfer over all future incoming and outgoing payments such as direct debits, salaries, or standing orders. Usually either the new bank that you’re switching to will take care of this if you ask.
  • Make sure you’ve transferred all your money out of the old account and into the new account.
  • Let your employer and others who would transfer money to you, know that your old account will no longer work.

Wrapping up

So overall you can see, choosing a bank account can be hard at first, but becomes easier if you know what exactly that you want. So try to make a list of the things that are important to you such as language or having physical branches, etc.

Then, try visiting their websites or even physical branches if they have any, to check out the different accounts (if they have more than one) and other products that they offer. You should be able to get a feeling for the banks pretty quickly and which one suits you.

If you feel comfortable with these banks you may even want to get more products from them like savings accounts to earn interest on your money.

Once you’ve developed a relationship with your bank, later on you might even get a business account, loan or mortgage from them once you develop a bit of credit history that they can evaluate you on.

But don’t worry too much about it if you end up opening an account with a bank which you don’t end up liking later. Banks in France allow you to close an account and switch over to another pretty easily and without a hassle.

Keep in mind though that I personally find it very useful to have two checking accounts instead of just one. So that in case there is ever an issue with one, you can still access your money in the other, so you’re not left stranded with no money.

Personally, I’ve become a fan of the online digital banks because of how simple and easy it is to do everything with banks like N26 or Bunq from the comfort of my phone or laptop. But of course, you should only do so if you’re comfortable with doing all your banking online.

On the other hand though, online banks tend to not offer more complex financial management services like loans, health insurance or mortgages that you would find at a traditional bank. So if you want some of those more complex products, you might need to look at more traditional banks like HSBC.

But don’t worry. You can easily have a checking account at an online bank and still have other more complex products from other banks.

If you’re arriving in France soon, make sure to sort out your bank account sooner rather than later in case there are any delays, depending on the bank you sign up with. Life will be a lot more difficult if you don’t have one.

In the end, it is up to you and what you need that will decide which is the best bank for you. Hopefully this article will have helped you with it.

Good luck with opening a bank account in France. If you have any questions or want us to write another post on something else too, let us know here.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can a foreigner or non-resident open a bank account in France?

A person of any nationality can open a bank account in France, but some banks might require at least a residence in France or in the EU/EFTA region depending on the accounts available.

If you are a non-resident, you will only be able to open a non-resident account and you will be usually subject to higher interest rates and might be limited in some services at French banks.

Usually it tends to be the online banks that are the most open with residence requirements and some even allow residence from pretty much anywhere in the world.

But it is important to check with a bank yourself if they accept your country of residence. You can usually do so on the website or during the sign-up process.

Can I have two bank accounts in France?

Yes, you can have as many bank accounts as you like in France. Just be aware of the extra hassle and possibly extra cost if you go for accounts that charge monthly fees.

Even if you go with a “free” account as the extra one, check that you keep meeting the minimum flow of income if it is required to keep them from charging you a fee. Some banks like ING’s premium account tend to do this, so check in case.

Can I keep my France bank accounts even after I leave France?

Yes, you can keep your French bank accounts even after you leave France but be aware of some changes that might happen with how you handle your account.

Your tax status may change, or some banks may not be able to send you important notifications and PIN numbers if you change to a foreign number.

But these things vary a lot from bank to bank and its best to ask them and they should be happy to help. Overall its usually very helpful to keep your account since it might come in handy later.

How long do applications for bank accounts in France take?

Once you’ve booked and arrived at the appointment made at the physical branch, standard traditional banks usually take a day, or a few days at most, to approve and open a new bank account.

They usually tend to take longer than digital banks since they sometimes need to send you documents to your address.

Online digital banks instead usually approve and open your bank account for you within 24 hours if not immediately.

How can I set up an overdraft?

The process to set up an overdraft will depend on the bank itself and will often have very different policies and requirements. Usually you have to complete an overdraft application form in order to set up the facility for an overdraft in case you might need it.

Digital banks tend to reply and approve/reject your application within a few days or even within the same day.

On the other end, traditional banks can sometimes take weeks to process your application. Be aware that some banks tend to be quite strict with their overdrafts and may require months of credit history before accepting an application.

Banks will also differ in the amount they allow for you to have on your overdraft. Some will allow a fixed amount (such as up to €10,000 for an N26 overdraft) or an amount relative to your average net monthly income (like with ING).

But be careful with your overdraft and make sure to pay it off as quickly as possible to avoid the interest charges (which vary from bank to bank).

What is the minimum age to open a bank account in France?

Usually, banks require a minimum age of 18 in order to open your own bank account, but this can vary from bank to bank in their process and requirements, especially for digital banks.

Normally, banks tend to allow parents or legal guardians to open bank accounts for their children if they are under the age of 18.

Can I open a bank account for my children?

Yes, you can open a bank account for your child if he/she is under the age of 18. Remember that you will need to provide the ID or Passport for both you and your child.

Some banks might require that the parent needs to already have an account with the same bank too.

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Bank Accounts in Italy • Which One is Best?

Finding the best bank accounts in Italy can be challenging since it depends on what your exact needs are.

But don’t worry.

This is why we’ve done some research and put together the best bank accounts for each situation and need you might want, to make your life easier.

Quick Result: Our personal favorite Bank Account in Italy is with Bunq. Open an account with them here!

If you are planning to come to or have already arrived in Italy, you will need likely bank account to do things like pay rent, register for a phone or internet plan, and most other things in Italy.

Bank accounts are notoriously fee-heavy in Italy and often aren’t very modernised versus banks in other countries.

You’ll often end up paying maintenance fees for most accounts, with the free ones either being very limited or super fee-heavy when making international transfers or for every time you withdraw cash from local ATMs.

So, in short, depending on your profile, these are the best 6 bank accounts in Italy:

  • Bunq: Best Digital Bank for non-Italian speakers and sustainable investing
  • N26: Best Free Digital Bank for non-Italian speakers
  • HYPE with Banca Sella: Best Italian Digital Bank
  • Fineco: Best Bank with Investment and Trading services
  • Intesa SanPaolo: Best Traditional Bank open to foreigners
  • UniCredit: Best Traditional Bank for Italians overall

For a longer explanation of why we think these are the best bank accounts and what they offer, read below.

But first, it is important to understand some things found in Italy that you might not understand.

If you want to skip ahead to the comparison, click here

What is a “Code Fiscale” and do I need it?

The “Code Fiscale” is also known as the Italian Tax code and it is required alongside its certificate (“Certificato di Attribuzione del Codice Fiscale”) in order to open a bank account as well as for other legal activities in Italy.

So it is extremely important that you get yourself one.

You can apply for your Italian Code Fiscale through any Italian tax office or though an Italian consular office or Embassy.

If you are a EU citizen or any other country that doesn’t require a visa  for a short-term visit to Italy then then you only need your passport in order to apply for a Code Fiscale.

If you are from a country that needs a visa in order to visit then what you need is your visa to apply for a Code Fiscale.

Once you have your Code Fiscale and the supporting certificate, make sure to check it for any typos or incorrect information since it can sometimes happen. If it does, make sure to contact the office again so they can correct it.

Usually applications for the tax code takes just 1 working day but can sometimes take longer. To be on the safe side as with many things in life, try to apply for it sooner rather than later since you will definitely need it.

Overview & Comparison: Best Bank accounts in Italy


Bunq: Best Digital Bank for non-Italian speakers and sustainable investing

  • Great for choosing how your money is invested
  • Very advanced money management features
  • In English
  • Only worth it with higher tiers that cost a monthly fee

About Bunq: Why we like it

Bunq is another one of the up-and-coming digital banks. Founded in 2015, this Dutch Bank is similar to N26 with its 3 tiers of accounts (Travel, Premium, and SuperGreen) and helpful English interface and support.

Besides the online banking, it has extra unique features in creating sub-accounts and budgeting.

It automates a lot of things like its auto-save feature that rounds up payments to the nearest euro and deposits that money into specific sub-accounts. Or other things like automatic payment of invoices via scanning, making life a lot easier for you.

You also have the choice of having up to 3 cards of Maestro and Mastercard Debit cards, as well as a Mastercard credit card.

But what really sets apart from the rest is the “Freedom of Choice” in allowing you to choose if and how your money is invested.

Unlike other traditional big banks that might invest in funds and industries that might conduct unsustainable practices, with Bunq you can have more say in where your money is invested.

If you go for the highest tier of the SuperGreen card, on top of its advanced money management features, you also make the world greener by planting a tree every time you spend €100.

Bunq Bottom Line:

Bunq is a great option for those who want advanced features in the management of your money and how it is used sustainably. It also has some of the best ratings in customer service and satisfaction

It is worth noting the downside that if you use the most basic free Travel Card plan, the number of features you have access to is really restricted. There are even fees for services such as a €0.99 fee for ATM withdrawals using the basic Travel Card plan.

So to really bring out the best of Bunq and its free great features, you will need to upgrade to one of the higher tiers and have to pay a monthly fee.


N26: Best free digital bank for non-Italian speakers

  • Best mobile app interface
  • Multi-lingual support
  • Excellent free base account
  • Zero fee transactions
  • Excellent benefits for higher-tier accounts

About N26: Why we like it

One of the real upcoming giants in the digital world of banking is N26. Launched in 2015, it now has a full European Banking license, operating in 25 markets worldwide with over 5 million customers.

Your money is safe as can be in this digital bank since it is supervised by the Financial Markets Regulator. This means that clients’ funds are guaranteed up to €100,000 by the Deposit Protection Fund.

What does N26 offer and how do its different tiers work?

N26 offers “zero exchange fees on card payments in any currency” which is really useful for any of you who like to travel.

Since the bank account comes along with a free Mastercard Debit card (and an optional Maestro Card), your ability to pay should be accepted pretty much everywhere.

The sign-up process is short and can be easily be done completely in English, as well as French, Italian, German and Spanish. Which is a huge bonus over other banks if you struggle with Italian.

Its important to note though, that you will need some form of EU/EFTA residence to open an account.

To give you a quick rundown on the 3 tiers N26 offers, here it goes.

The Basic N26 Bank account

The standard N26 bank account, with all its basic functions, is free and doesn’t charge any opening or maintenance fees at all.

With it, you can gain access to an Italian IBAN and its online mobile banking with a super easy-to-use app. And make unlimited payments in any currency anywhere in the world with your card or phone. Also, you can withdraw cash for free from ATMs up to 3 times per month.

The interface is honestly great, along with fantastic customer support to help you with everything.

You can even set up 2 sub-accounts with features to help you budget and manage your money to meet your financial goals.

It also uses artificial intelligence to “automatically categorize your spending”. So you can see the total amount you’re spending in each category. You can even create your own #tags categories – “#gifts # friends #eatingout, you name it.”

N26 also makes it pretty simple and easy to use in exporting your transaction information and downloading it as a CSV or PDF file to make your tax returns and invoicing easier.

N26 You

For higher levels of features, you can upgrade to a N26 You account for €9.90 per month.

This increases your free cash withdrawals in the Eurozone to 5 times per month. Also, you now can have unlimited free ATM cash withdrawals worldwide in any currency outside the Eurozone. You also get some extra-poppy debit card colours to choose from.

N26 You gives you a whole travel insurance package to protect you with Medical insurance, Trip insurance, Flight insurance and Luggage coverage.

This definitely helps for people who like to travel by giving you peace of mind that you’re covered against any unpleasant surprises.

If you thought you weren’t insured enough, it also provides Mobility insurance for shared vehicles, covering you for damages of up to €20,000. There’s also Winter sport insurance in case of accidents on trips to mountains.

N26 You also increases the number of sub-accounts you can create. From the basic 2, to up to 10 sub-accounts so that you can better organise your money and save for different goals and projects.

Finally, N26 You grants you premium partner offers and discounts with world-class brands. Which is a huge bonus for those who like to buy things from those partners anyways.

You might even end up saving more through the discounts than what you actually pay in the monthly fee. So, this is definitely a great option to consider.

N26 Metal

Then, if you want to upgrade to the highest level of N26 Metal for €16,90 per month, you get to choose from 3 metallic shades to get a stainless steel Debit card.

Now on top of the N26 You benefits, your Eurozone withdrawals increase to 8 per month. Also, you’re given Car rental insurance for your rental care hires away from home of up to €20,000 as well as Phone insurance of up to €1,000 against theft and damages if the event and phone are eligible.

N26 Metal expands on the previous offers and discounts with their partners to bring Metal customers “access benefits and bespoke rewards” to complement your everyday, “from hard-to-find tickets, VIP passes to private events, unique workshops and memorable days out”.

You’re also given a dedicated priority phone line so you can call them to sort out any questions you have immediately.

Whilst some people might think N26 Metal is a bit ‘extra’ for most normal people above the N26 You, given the relatively cheap price tag versus the benefits, its actually a very attractive bank account tier to go for.

Of course, which one of the 3 tiers of accounts best fits you personally is up to you decide.

If you want the most basic version there is, the standard N26 account works best.

For more dedicated features, offers and support for those who might like to travel with extra perks and benefits, N26 You and N26 Metal are definitely the best for you.

N26 Bottom line:

N26 is definitely the best digital bank to use for foreigners and people who aren’t super comfortable with Italian.

It’s very simple to use and has the best digital app interface there is. And with the higher tiers, it can offer some of the best packages of perks and services that you would want.

The only possible downside is that since it is fully online and there aren’t any physical branches you can visit in Italy, you don’t have anyone you can talk to face-to-face to help sort out any questions you might have.

But since they always have an online chat support and even a dedicated phone line for Metal customers, you should have no real problems getting your questions sorted out. They are well known for their high customer satisfaction and service


HYPE with Banca Sella – Best Italian Digital Bank:

  • Excellent combo of rates and services
  • Support only in Italian and requires Italian residency
  • Huge range of Cashback programs

About HYPE: Why we like it

HYPE is the online mobile banking division of Banco Sella and one of the first challenger banks on the Italian landscape. Launched by Banca Sella in 2015, HYPE has grown to become one of the most popular challenger banks amongst Italians and foreigners.

With HYPE you gain access to a fully online banking service with a fantastic smartphone application to manage your money from. Also, you get an Italian IBAN and either a free prepaid card that you can top up, or a mastercard debit card.

This gives you access to free ATM withdrawals and payments in Euros. Withdrawals and payments in other currencies even become free when you upgrade to the premium version. Payments can also be made with Apple Pay or Google pay.

The sign-up process is pretty simple in comparison to the other Italian banks. It can all be done from the comfort of your laptop or smartphone.

All you need to have on hand is a form of identification like a passport or identity card, as well as standard info like your fiscal tax code.

Then you can submit the info by typing it in and uploading photos of your documents and you’re good to go.

HYPE’s sign-up is definitely much less hassle than having to book an appointment online with a traditional bank and having to go to the physical branch and take at least 30 minutes to set up an account.

HYPE also has a fantastic range of cashback programs that will help you save money on purchases from a whole range of brands. Often you might actually save more money on your purchases with those brands than what it costs monthly to even have the premium version of HYPE.

HYPE also is able to offer liquidity if you need it, by being able to request a €2000 loan instantly if you pass their credit check.

Some of the advanced features HYPE offers include being able to buy and sell various Bitcoin currencies as well as categorisation of spending, automatic budgeting and hashtags similar to that offered by competitors such as N26.

You should note that while the free version offers a basic account with a prepaid card that you top up, it won’t necessarily be accepted everywhere.

Also, the free account has a maximum annual intake of €2500. Which is low, but ideal for someone who wants to try out the bank before committing to it.

One great thing with HYPE is that it allows a current account to be opened for your child if they are above the age of 12. It comes along with all the benefits of a free account and card, with none of the fees for any of its services.

As a parent you can also monitor their transactions to keep an overview of their spending habits. Which is a great way to introduce your child to bank account services and the responsibility of money management.

The Premium version costs a relatively low monthly fee of 9.9, but comes alongwith massive benefits. It includes features like travel insurance in all forms (medical, baggage, flight), cashback programs with major brands, and an unlimited ability to top up your account and make transactions and withdrawals in other currencies.

HYPE Bottom Line:

HYPE is a great Italian online bank that comes along with great transaction services and money management, making it very popular.

It is one of the few banking alternatives in Italy that don’t make it a huge hassle to set up an account with or fix issues by having to go to a physical branch.

The only real downside could be the low maximum amount of €2500 that you can have in the free account.

Realistically though, even with the premium version that costs a monthly fee, you’re getting a much better deal at a low cost in comparison to all the other fee-heavy Italian banks.

Also be aware, HYPE is only in Italian and requires Italian residency for their main products.


Fineco Best Bank with Investment and Trading services:

  • Access to massive UniCredit ATM network
  • Access to trading and investment services
  • Low fees and charges
  • Great money management functions

About Fineco: Why we like it

Fineco is another fully online bank with over a million customers that is unique with its offering investment services such as trading, that other banks don’t offer.

The account itself is free to open and is usually free to maintain for the first year and for those under 28 years old. After this period it then costs  €3.95 a month. Which is generally seen as quite cheap in comparison to many other Italian banks.

With the current account you receive a free Visa Debit card. This means your payments should be accepted pretty much everywhere in Italy with no problems.

With Fineco’s Debit card, you have access to free Italy and EU withdrawals of up to  €3000 from any UniCredit advanced ATM. As long as you withdraw above the  €99 minimum.

Since UniCredit is the largest and most repsected traditional bank in Italy. You shouldn’t really have any problems finding their ATMs from their massive network.

A great thing with Fineco is that you don’t even need to use your card and can instead just use the Fineco app on your phone to withdraw cash. Which really helps if you ever lose your card or don’t have one yet.

Instant payments can even be done with Apple Pay, Google Pay and even Fitbit Pay. So you don’t even have to go through the hassle of taking out your wallet.

Fineco also has a “MoneyMap” function that automatically groups your spending into different categories. This helps you see where your money goes into and how to automatically create a personalised budget to help you save money and get a better control over your finances.

You can also even see on Google maps where you’ve been spending money and with which brands.

Fineco also provides extra functionalities to make your life easier like paying your bills and invoices instantly from the app via scanning them with your phone camera.

But, even though they provide great advertised services, their customer service doesn’t have the best reputation and there have been complaints about how they handle their customers.

Fineco Bottom Line:

Overall Fineco is a good alternative online bank you can go for with its unique access to investment services like trading. Also, it has a decent payment ability and access to ATMs and money management features.

The downside to be aware of is that it is known to not have the best customer satisfaction and you should make sure you have all your documents such as fiscal tax code and residency papers sorted out beforehand.

For a more positive customer experience, I would probably recommend you look at some of the other banks on this list.


Intesa Sanpaolo – Best Traditional Bank open to foreigners

  • Great multi-lingual support
  • Excellent access to more financial products
  • Great combo of rates and services, especially for younger people

About Intesa Sanpaolo: Why we like it

If you’re not so comfortable with handling all your banking online and prefer face-to-face, then Intesa Sanpaolo is a great option for you.

Intesa Sanpaolo is another one of the largest and most respected Italian banks with branches everywhere, so they are easy to find.

With the current account you gain access to online banking services to manage your money and make payments with a Mastercard Debit card. So your payments should be accepted pretty much everywhere.

Intesa Sanpaolo also has a very large ATM network for you to have free cash withdrawals from so you shouldn’t ever really run into any problems.

A great benefit with Intesa Sanpaolo is that it offers support to non-Italian speakers with a multi-lingual contact centre to help with any questions you have. It also has a website that is also available in English.

Overall, they are quite open and helpful to non-Italians, and their account is relatively cheap and even completely free to have for young people between the ages of 18 to 26 years old.

In combination with their favourable rates and services, Intesa Sanpaola ends up being a very attractive bank to have an account with.

Unlike the online neobanks on this list, they also offer a whole range of financial services like savings account, loans, mortgage, insurance, etc.

So, after you’ve built up a good relationship and trust with them, you can go to them for more advanced products if you want to.

Intesa Sanpaolo Bottom Line:

Intesa Sanpaola is a great option for those who don’t want to handle all their banking online and would prefer a more traditional bank that is open to foreigners. It also has a great combo of rates and services in comparison to the other Italian banks.

Only possible downside could be that since it is a traditional bank, you will have to deal with the typical bureaucracy of booking an appointment with them and showing up in person to open up an account and/or deal with issues you might have.


UniCredit – Best Overall Traditional Bank for Italians

  • Biggest branch and ATM network in Italy
  • Most respected and easiest to get help with
  • Great All-in-One bank if you want all financial services in the same bank

About UniCredit: Why we like it

If you want to have the security of being with the largest and possibly the most respected bank in Italy, then look no further than UniCredit.

UniCredit has the largest network of branches and ATMs across Italy. So if you want to be with a bank that you’ll have no trouble picking up cash from or asking questions to at all, then UniCredit is the safest bet.

UniCredit offers a current account with a good combination of rates and services that comes along with a Visa debit card. This allows you to have no issues making payments all across Italy and the Eurozone. Also, you’ll have free ATM cash withdrawals from any of their giant UniCredit ATM network.

You should be aware though that UniCredit does charge fees to maintain the account. You should make sure to thoroughly read their terms and conditions to avoid as many fees as possible and even get their offered €150 bonus for setting up an account with them.

They are known for having good customer satisfaction, but their sign-up process and support is only in Italian. Also, you might not find all staff in their branches being able to speak fluent English.

So do try to have some basic Italian or be comfortable working with google translate before signing up with this bank.

Also, since this is a gigantic traditional bank, they also have offer more complex financial products like savings accounts, personal/business loans, mortgages, insurance, etc.

So, if you want all possible services available in one single bank, then UniCredit is one of the best choices for you.

UniCredit Bottom Line:

Unicredit is a great traditional banks that has the advantage of being the largest with their branch and ATM network. So it is one of the easiest traditonal banks to work with. Also, since it is a traditional bank, you’ll have easy access to more financial products and services. Making it a great candidate as an all-in-one bank for you.


Things to know about Italian Bank Accounts

Just a quick 2 min read about the most common issues we see with our readers:

How do I open a checking account at these banks or any other bank in Italy?

Opening a checking account with a bank in Italy differs a lot in difficulty between banks. If you open with one of the traditional banks, you will have to book an appointment with one of their branches online.

Once that is done, the actual appointment itself will take 30 minutes. The bank account can then open either within a few days or longer depending on the bank you sign up with.

Even if you try to set things up online with these banks (if they offer it), usually you will end up having to go to a local branch anyways to verify your identity before you can actually use the account.

Digital Banks like N26 or HYPE offer sign-up processes that are usually much shorter. And they can be done from the comfort of your phone or laptop where you can scan your documents using your webcam or phone camera.

But usually there are some information or document requirements which may vary from bank to bank. If you follow this list, you should be pretty safe.

Usual requirements for opening checking accounts in Italy:

  • Completed application form with Name, Address, Nationality, Income, etc
  • Valid Passport, ID or Visa (if you are opening a joint account with another person, make sure they have their documents too)
  • Proof of address or registration (like a recent utility bill)
  • Initial Deposit (depends on your bank how much they will require as a minimum)
  • Proof of income, employment, or enrolment at an Italian educational institution
  • Code Fiscale: Italian Tax Code (very important)
  • Certificato di Attribuzione del Codice Fiscale: the supporting document associated with your tax code

Whether you are an Italian resident or not will also affect what type of current account you can have (“resident” or “non-resident” account) and which banks you can sign up with.

Its best to check out their websites or speak with them directly to find out. They’re usually very helpful in giving you the information you need.

International online banks like N26 usually tend to be the easiest and most open to non-residents, but it’s also worth checking out local ones like Intesa Sanpaolo or UniCredit.

How to close or change bank accounts in Italy

Closing or switching bank accounts is pretty simple to do in Italy as long as you don’t owe the bank any money.

For a traditional bank you normally have to send a registered termination letter containing your signature to the bank branch of the bank where you have your account based in.

If you have a joint account, make sure the names and signatures of all the account holders are contained within the letter.

Or, you can either visit a physical branch or call them and they’re usually very friendly in helping you out in closing your account.

If you want to start a switching procedure then it is best to call or visit the branch in person to make sure you start the procedure properly with all the documents you need.

Make sure to ask that you’re following all the correct requirements and don’t have any fees that you have not paid off yet.

Things you have to make sure to do are:

  • Make sure you don’t get charged any penalty fees for closing the account before a specified “minimum” time has elapsed since you opened the account.
  • Get written confirmation in the form of a letter or email that the account has officially been closed
  • If you’re switching over to a new account, transfer over all future incoming and outgoing payments such as direct debits, salaries, or standing orders. Usually, either the old bank or the new bank that you are switching to will take care of this if you ask.
  • Make sure you’ve transferred all your money out of the old account and into the new account.
  • Let your employer and others who would transfer money to you, know that your old account will no longer work.

Wrapping up

So overall you can see, choosing a bank account can be hard at first, but becomes easier if you know what exactly that you want. So try to make a list of the things that are important to you such as language or having physical branches, etc.

Then, try visiting their websites or even physical branches if they have any, to check out the different accounts (if they have more than one) and other products that they offer. You should be able to get a feeling for the banks pretty quickly and which one suits you.

If you feel comfortable with these banks you may even want to get more products from them like savings accounts to earn interest on your money.

Once you’ve developed a relationship with your bank, later on you might even get a business account, loan, or mortgage from them once you develop a bit of credit history that they can evaluate you on.

But don’t worry too much about it if you end up opening an account with a bank which you don’t end up liking later. Banks in Italy allow you to close an account and switch over to another pretty easily and without a hassle.

Keep in mind though that I personally find it very useful to have two checking accounts instead of just one. So that in case there is ever an issue with one, you can still access your money in the other, so you’re not left stranded with no money.

Personally, I’ve become a fan of the online digital banks because of how simple and easy it is to do everything with banks like Bunq, N26, or HYPE from the comfort of my phone or laptop. But of course, you should only do so if you’re comfortable with doing all your banking online.

On the other hand though, online banks tend to not offer more complex financial management services like loans, health insurance or mortgages that you would find at a traditional bank. So if you want some of those more complex products, you might need to look at more traditional banks like Intesa Sanpaola or Unicredit.

But don’t worry. You can easily have a checking account at an online bank and still have other more complex products from other banks.

If you’re arriving in Italy soon, make sure to sort out your bank account sooner rather than later in case there are any delays, depending on the bank you sign up with. Life will be a lot more difficult if you don’t have one.

In the end, it is up to you and what you need that will decide which is the best bank for you. Hopefully this article will have helped you with it.

Good luck with opening a bank account in Italy. If you have any questions or want us to write another post on something else too, let us know here.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can a foreigner or non-resident open a bank account in Italy?

A person of any nationality can open a bank account in Italy, but some banks might require at least a residence in Italy or in the EU/EFTA region depending on the accounts available.

If you are a non-resident, you will only being able to open a “conto corrente non resident” (non-resident current account) and you will be usually subject to higher interest rates and might be limited in some services at traditional Italian banks.

Usually it tends to be the online banks that are the most open with residence requirements and some even allow residence from pretty much anywhere in the world.

But, it is important to check with a bank yourself if they accept your country of residence. You can usually do so on the website or during the sign-up process.

Can I have two bank accounts in Italy?

Yes, you can have as many bank accounts as you like in Italy. Just be aware of the extra hassle and possibly extra cost if you go for accounts that charge monthly fees.

Even if you go with a “free” account as the extra one, check that you keep meeting the minimum flow of income if it is required to keep them from charging you a fee. Some banks like UniCredit tend to do this so check in case.

Can I keep my Italy bank account even after I leave Italy?

Yes, you can keep your Italian bank accounts even after you leave Italy, but be aware of some changes that might happen with how you handle your account.

Your tax status may change, or some banks may not be able to send you important notifications and PIN numbers if you change to a foreign number. But these things vary a lot from bank to bank and its best to ask them and they should be happy to help. Overall its usually very helpful to keep your account since it might come in handy later.

How long do applications for bank accounts in Italy take?

Once you’ve booked and arrived at the appointment made at the physical branch, traditional banks usually take anywhere from 2 days to even a week to approve and open a new bank account.

They usually tend to take longer than digital banks since they sometimes need to send you documents to your address.

Online digital banks instead usually approve and open your bank account for you within 24 hours.

How can I set up an overdraft?

The process to set up an overdraft will depend on the bank itself and will often have very different policies and requirements. Usually you have to complete an overdraft application form in order to set up the facility for an overdraft in case you might need it.

Digital banks tend to reply and approve/reject your application within a few days or even within the same day. On the other end, traditional banks can sometimes take weeks to process your application.

Be aware that some banks tend to be quite strict with their overdrafts and may require months of credit history before accepting an application.

Banks will also differ in the amount they allow for you to have on your overdraft. Some will allow a fixed amount (such as up to €10,000 for an N26 overdraft) or an amount relative to your average net monthly income.

But be careful with your overdraft and make sure to pay it off as quickly as possible to avoid the interest charges (which vary from bank to bank).

What is the minimum age to open a bank account in Italy?

Usually, banks require a minimum age of 18 in order to open your own bank account, but this can vary from bank to bank, especially for digital banks.

Normally, banks tend to allow parents or legal guardians to open bank accounts for their children if they are under the age of 18.

An example of this would be HYPE with Banca Sella that allows s parent to open a free account for their child if they are above the age of 12.

Can I open a bank account for my children?

Yes, you can open a bank account for your child if he/she is under the age of 18. Remember that you will need to provide the ID or Passport for both you and your child. Some banks might require that the parent needs to already have an account with the same bank too.

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Bank Accounts in Germany • Which One is Best?

Finding the best bank account in Germany can be challenging since it depends on your exact needs.

But don’t worry.

This is why we’ve done in-depth research and put together a definitive list of the best bank accounts for each situation and need you might have, to make your life easier.

Quick Result: The Best All-Purpose Bank Account in Germany is with N26. Open an account with them here!

If you are planning to come to or have already arrived in Germany, you will need a German bank account to do things like pay rent, register for a phone or internet plan, and most other things in Germany.

Though if you already have an EU bank account, businesses should recognize it when you want to register for things. But it’s always a huge hassle because you don’t fit the “standard” case. So you’ll definitely prefer to have a German Bank account.

You’ll also want to have a German bank account so that you can withdraw cash from local ATMs without paying fees.

So, in short, depending on your profile, these are the 5 best bank accounts in Germany:

  • N26: Best Online Bank for non-German speakers
  • DKB: Best Overall Bank for Germans
  • Bunq: Best for Sustainable Investing
  • Commerzbank: Best Traditional Bank
  • Comdirect: Best Online Bank back by a Traditional Bank

For a longer explanation of why we think these are the best bank accounts and what they offer, read below.

But first, its important to understand some terms found in Germany that you might not understand.

If you want to skip ahead to the comparison, click here

What do “EC-Karte” or “Girocard” mean?

If you’ve arrived in Germany, then you’ve likely come across someone asking for your “Girocard” or “EC-Karte” when you want to pay with a card. Most people who come to Germany get confused by this.

Basically, EC-Karte is the predecessor to the Girocard (the current debit payment system in Germany) yet many may still commonly refer to Girocard as EC-Karte.

There is no real difference between them so don’t be alarmed. They are both essentially the German debit card system, where payments or cash withdrawals are directly linked to your current/checking account.

Is having an EC-Karte or Girocard important in germany?

Overall it is not super important as most places accept mastercard or visa, but some small shops and businesses still work exclusively with the Girocard system and will often ask you for an “EC-Karte”.

So whilst not completely necessary, it could save you some trouble by having one rather than not having one.

However, most banks will provide you with debit cards that have both Girocard and Mastercard/Visa functionality so you can make payments both in and outside of Germany.

Overview & Comparison: Best Bank accounts in Germany


N26: Best Online Bank for non-German speakers

  • Best mobile app interface
  • Multi-lingual support
  • Excellent free base account
  • Zero fee transactions
  • Excellent benefits for higher-tier accounts

About N26: Why we like it

One of the real upcoming giants in the digital world of banking is N26. Launched in 2015, it now has a full European Banking license, operating in 25 markets worldwide with over 5 million customers.

Your money is safe as can be in this digital bank since it is supervised by the Financial Markets Regulator. This means that clients’ funds are guaranteed up to €100,000 by the Deposit Protection Fund.

What does N26 offer and how do its different tiers work?

N26 offers “zero exchange fees on card payments in any currency” which is really useful for any of you who like to travel.

Since the bank account comes along with a free Mastercard Debit card (and an optional Maestro Card), your ability to pay should be accepted pretty much everywhere.

The sign-up process is short and can be easily be done completely in English, as well as French, Italian and Spanish. Which is a huge bonus over other banks if you struggle with German.

Its important to note though, that you will need some form of EU/EFTA residence to open an account.

To give you a quick rundown on the 3 tiers N26 offers, here it goes.

The Basic N26 Bank account

The standard N26 bank account, with all its basic functions, is free and doesn’t charge any opening or maintenance fees at all.

 With it, you can gain access to its online and mobile banking with a super easy-to-use app. And make unlimited payments in any currency anywhere in the world with your card or phone. Also, you can withdraw cash for free from ATMs up to 3 times per month.

 The interface is honestly great, along with fantastic customer support to help you with everything.

You can even set up 2 sub-accounts with features to help you budget and manage your money to meet your financial goals.

It also uses artificial intelligence to “automatically categorize your spending”. So you can see the total amount you’re spending in each category. You can even create your own #tags categories – “#gifts # friends #eatingout, you name it.”

N26 also makes it pretty simple and easy to use in exporting your transaction information and downloading it as a CSV or PDF file to make your tax returns and invoicing easier.

N26 You

For higher levels of features, you can upgrade to a N26 You account for €9.90 per month.

This increases your free cash withdrawals in the Eurozone to 5 times per month. Also, you now can have unlimited free ATM cash withdrawals worldwide in any currency outside the Eurozone. You also get some extra-poppy debit card colours to choose from.

N26 You gives you a whole travel insurance package to protect you with Medical insurance, Trip insurance, Flight insurance and Luggage coverage.

This definitely helps for people who like to travel by giving you peace of mind that you’re covered against any unpleasant surprises.

If you thought you weren’t insured enough, it also provides Mobility insurance for shared vehicles, covering you for damages of up to €20,000. There’s also Winter sport insurance in case of accidents on trips to mountains.

N26 You also increases the number of sub-accounts you can create. From the basic 2, to up to 10 sub-accounts so that you can better organise your money and save for different goals and projects.

Finally, N26 You grants you premium partner offers and discounts with world-class brands. Which is a huge bonus for those who like to buy things from those partners anyways.

You might even end up saving more through the discounts than what you actually pay in the monthly fee. So, this is definitely a great option to consider.

N26 Metal

 Then, if you want to upgrade to the highest level of N26 Metal for €16,90 per month, you get to choose from 3 metallic shades to get a stainless steel Debit card. 

Now on top of the N26 You benefits, your Eurozone withdrawals increase to 8 per month.  Also, you’re given Car rental insurance for your rental care hires away from home of up to €20,000 as well as Phone insurance of up to €1,000 against theft and damages if the event and phone are eligible.

N26 Metal expands on the previous offers and discounts with their partners to bring Metal customers “access benefits and bespoke rewards” to complement your everyday, “from hard-to-find tickets, VIP passes to private events, unique workshops and memorable days out”.

You’re also given a dedicated priority phone line so you can call them to sort out any questions you have immediately.

Whilst some people might think N26 Metal is a bit ‘extra’ for most normal people above the N26 You, given the relatively cheap price tag versus the benefits, its actually a very attractive bank account tier to go for.

Of course, which one of the 3 tiers of accounts best fits you personally is up to you decide.

If you want the most basic version there is, the standard N26 account works best.

For more dedicated features, offers and support for those who might like to travel with extra perks and benefits, N26 You and N26 Metal are definitely the best for you.

N26 Bottom line:

N26 is definitely the best digital bank to use for foreigners and people who aren’t super comfortable with German.

It’s very simple to use and has the best digital app interface there is. And with the higher tiers, it can offer some of the best packages of perks and services that you would want.

The only possible downside is that its Mastercard Debit card does not have the Girocard functionality, meaning you won’t always be 100% sure that your card will be accepted at some of the local shops in Germany.

But, since you can withdraw cash from ATMs for free, you can easily work around this minor problem.


DKB – Deutsche Kredit Bank: Best German Bank

  • One of the best combos of overdraft rates and services
  • Support only in German
  • Huge range of Cashback programs
  • Awarded “Best Direkt Bank” in Germany

About DKB: Why we like it

Similar N26, DKB is a completely online digital bank and is probably the most popular and established online bank in Germany.

If you’ve got some basic German skills or you’re comfortable with using a bit of google translate to help you, then this might be the best bank account there is in Germany.

Setting up an account is completely free and simple to do, but, the entire process form and interface is in German so be aware of that. However, you can open a current account from any location in the world (except Iran and North Korea).

On top of the online interface and fantastic smartphone application to manage your transactions, the account comes along with a free Visa Credit card and Girocard with VPay functionality.

Which is pretty huge since it guarantees you the ability to pay everywhere. Also, DKB gives you free ATM cash withdrawals anywhere and from any ATM.

DKB probably offers the best complete package with overdraft rates and services such as cashback programs, in comparison most to other providers. Unlike N26, DKB gives you the option to open a couples account, in which both account holders will each receive free debit and credit cards.

DKB Bottom Line:

DKB is likely the best bank overall for people who can speak German. It gives you the best guarantee of payment acceptance and cash withdrawal across Germany, with a fantastic combo of rates and services.

Though it is worth noting the downside that the interface and support are in German only. Also, to make sure your withdrawals and services remain free, make sure your account has a monthly intake of at least €700.


Bunq: Best for sustainable investing

  • Great for choosing how your money is invested
  • Very advanced money management features
  • In English
  • Only worth it with higher tiers that cost a monthly fee

About Bunq: Why we like it

Bunq is another one of the up-and-coming digital banks. Founded in 2015, this Dutch Bank is similar to N26 with its 3 tiers of accounts (Travel, Premium, and SuperGreen) and helpful English interface and support.

Besides the online banking, it has extra unique features in creating sub-accounts and budgeting.

It automates a lot of things like its auto-save feature that rounds up payments to the nearest euro and deposits that money into specific sub-accounts. Or other things like automatic payment of invoices via scanning, making life a lot easier for you.

You also have the choice of having up to 3 cards of Maestro and Mastercard Debit cards, as well as a Mastercard credit card.

But what really sets apart from the rest is the “Freedom of Choice” in allowing you to choose if and how your money is invested.

Unlike other traditional big banks that might invest in funds and industries that might conduct unsustainable practices, with Bunq you can have more say in where your money is invested.

If you go for the highest tier of the SuperGreen card, on top of its advanced money management features, you also make the world greener by planting a tree every time you spend €100.

Bunq Bottom Line:

Bunq is a great option for those who want advanced features in the management of your money and how it is used sustainably. It also has some of the best ratings in customer service and satisfaction.

It is worth noting the downside that if you use the most basic free Travel Card plan, the number of features you have access to is really restricted. There are even fees for services such as a €0.99 fee for ATM withdrawals using the basic Travel Card plan.

So to really bring out the best of Bunq and its free great features, you will need to upgrade to one of the higher tiers and have to pay a monthly fee.


Commerzbank- Best Traditional Bank

  • Massive Physical Branch Network
  • Great selection of complex products like loans, mortgages, etc
  • Sign-up in German, but English suport available.

About Commerzbank: Why we like it

If you’re not too comfortable with handling all your banking and money management online and prefer having physical branches where you can talk face-to-face, then say hello to Commerzbank.

Whilst still having online banking and great smartphone capabilities that are available in English, the sign-up process is still in German.

But, they have physical branches pretty much everywhere in Germany. So help from them in-person can easily found.

They are one of the largest and most respected banks in Germany and are known for their great service. They often even offer you €50-€100 rewards as a sign-up bonus as well as compensation for any time you feel dissatisfied with their service.

With their current account, you will receive as Mastercard credit and Girocard. This gives you pretty much one of the best guarantees that you will be able to make card payments all across Germany.

Like DKB, you are able to register joint accounts for two people so that you and your partner can access the same account, each with your own cards.

But, it is important to note that German residence and address is required to open up an account, so you likely cannot open an account from abroad.

Also, you will also be charged fees for when you make cash withdrawals from abroad.

Commerzbank Bottom Line:

Commerzbank is a great bank for people who think its important to be able to visit a physical branch for help in sorting out any of their questions in person.

Also, it is one of the best banks to have in Germany for access to free withdrawals from their massive network of Cashgroup ATMs. Plus, you have the ability to pay pretty much always with the Girocard and Mastercard credit card.

But, since the sign-up process is only in German, and German residence is required, it is not the most open to foreigners.

If you add on top that cash withdrawals outside of Germany charge a fee, it’s also not the best option for those who like to travel abroad.

If you fall into one of those cases, then it’s probably better to look at some of the others on this list. But if not, then Commerzbank is a great choice.


Comdirect: Best Online Bank backed by a Traditional Bank

  • Huge network of Cashgroup ATMs
  • Free unlimited ATM withdrawals in and outside of Germany
  • Very high customer ratings

About Comdirect: Why we like it

Comdirect is one of the most popular online banks in Germany, with a slight difference in comparison to the others on this list.

The difference being is that it is actually a subsidiary of Commerzbank. Since it is fully online, there are no physical branches to go to but that is not a problem at all. Backed by Commerzbank, it has the same level of excellent service but more modernized and open to non-Germans.

Unlike Commerzbank, accounts can be opened from any country of residence. So you’re not forced to already have German residency beforehand.

The sign-up process, website, and customer support are all in German, but the smartphone app is available in English. Making it a lot more approachable for non-German speakers.

Also, the free Visa Credit Card and Girocard give you the same free unlimited access to the massive pool Cashgroup ATMs that Commerzbank already offered.

But now, it also offers free unlimited cash withdrawals from ATMs from outside of Germany in the Eurozone too.

So this really puts it ahead in being a great choice for foreigners and those who like to travel across Europe without worrying about fees.

Comdirect is also known for being a little less restrictive and more accommodating in profile and credit requirements than more strict banks like DKB. So its slightly easier to open up a bank account.

Comdirect Bottom Line:

Comdirect is a great choice for an online bank with all the access and services you would be offered by a huge traditional Commerzbank.

Such as free access to the massive Cashgroup ATM network inside Germany, as well as have free ATM withdrawal capability in the rest of the Eurozone.

Overall, it’s very open and friendly to non-Germans and provides great services with some of the highest customer satisfaction seen across all the banks in Germany.

The only potential downside is the sign-up and customer support being fully in German.


Things to know about German Bank Accounts

Just a quick 2 min read about the most common issues we see with our readers:

How do I open a checking account at these banks or any other bank in Germany?

Opening a checking account with a bank in Germany is relatively simple to do, and can be done especially quickly (under 15 minutes for some banks) if you do it with one of the online banks.

But, usually there are some information or document requirements which may vary from bank to bank but if you follow this list, you should be pretty safe.

Usual requirements for opening checking accounts in Germany:

  • Completed application form with Name, Address, Nationality, Income, etc
  • Valid Passport or ID (if you are opening a joint account with another person, make sure they have their documents too)
  • Proof of address or registration (like a recent utility bill)
  • Initial Deposit (depends on your bank how much they will require as a minimum)
  • Proof of income or employment (usually only required by more strict banks like DKB)
  • SCHUFA credit rating (few banks require this, but if you open with a local bank not on this list, they might ask for this)

If you open things up with a bank that has physical branches, you might have to actually visit them to open up an account.

But, if you open with an online bank, you can do so from the comfort of your laptop or phone. Be prepared though to have a scanner (your phone is usually good enough) and/or webcam to verify your identity online.

How to close or change bank accounts in Germany

Closing or switching bank accounts is pretty simple to do in Germany as long as you don’t owe the bank any money.

Usually there tends to be a “closing account order” application you need to complete and sign. Or, you can either visit a physical branch or call them and they’re usually very friendly in helping you out in closing your account.

Make sure to ask that you’re following all the correct requirements and don’t have any fees that you have not paid off yet. Things you have to make sure to do are:

  • Make sure you don’t get charged any penalty fees for closing the account before a specified “minimum” time has elapsed since you opened the account.
  • Get written confirmation in the form of a letter or email that the account has officially been closed
  • If you’re switching over to a new account, transfer over all future incoming and outgoing payments such as direct debits, salaries, or standing orders. Usually, either the old bank or the new bank that you’re switching to will take care of this if you ask.
  • Make sure you’ve transferred all your money out of the old account and into the new account.
  • Let your employer and others who would transfer money to you, know that your old account will no longer work.

Wrapping up

So overall you can see, choosing a bank account can be hard at first, but becomes easier if you know what exactly that you want. So try to make a list of the things that are important to you such as language or having physical branches, etc.

Then, try visiting their websites or even physical branches if they have any, to check out the different accounts (if they have more than one) and other products that they offer. You should be able to get a feeling for the banks pretty quickly and which one suits you.

If you feel comfortable with these banks you may even want to get more products from them like a savings accounts to earn interest on your money.

Once you’ve developed a relationship with your bank, later on, you might even get a business account, loan, or mortgage from them once you develop a bit of credit history that they can evaluate you on.

But don’t worry too much about it if you end up opening an account with a bank which you don’t end up liking later. Banks in Germany allow you to close an account and switch over to another pretty easily and without a hassle.

Keep in mind though that I personally find it very useful to have two checking accounts instead of just one. So that in case there is ever an issue with one, you can still access your money in the other, so you’re not left stranded with no money.

Personally, I’ve become a fan of the online digital banks because of how simple and easy it is to do everything with banks like N26 or DKB from the comfort of my phone or laptop. But of course, you should only do so if you’re comfortable with doing all your banking online.

On the other hand though, online banks tend to not offer more complex financial management services like loans, health insurance or mortgages that you would find at a traditional bank. So if you want some of those more complex products, you might need to look at more traditional banks like Commerzbank.

But don’t worry you can easily have a checking account at an online bank and still have other more complex products from other banks.

If you’re arriving in Germany soon, make sure to sort out your bank account sooner rather than later in case there are any delays, depending on the bank you sign up with. Life will be a lot more difficult if you don’t have one.

In the end, it is up to you and what you need that will decide which is the best bank for you. Hopefully this article will have helped you with it.

Good luck with opening a bank account in Germany. If you have any questions or want us to write another post on something else too, let us know here.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can a foreigner or non-resident open a bank account in Germany?

A person of any nationality can open a bank account in Germany, but some banks might require at least a residence in Germany or in the EU/EFTA region. Usually it tends to be the online banks that are the most open with residence requirements and some even allow residence from pretty much anywhere in the world.

But, its important to check with a bank yourself if they accept your country of residence. You can usually do so on the website or during the sign-up process.

Can I have two bank accounts in Germany?

Yes, you can have as many bank accounts as you like in Germany. Just be aware of the extra hassle and possibly extra cost if you go for accounts that charge monthly fees.

Even if you go with a “free” account as the extra one, check that you keep meeting the minimum flow of income if it is required to keep them from charging you a fee. Some banks like DKB tend to do this so check in case.

Can I keep my German bank account even after I leave Germany?

Yes, you can keep your German bank accounts even after you leave Germany, but be aware of some changes that might happen with how you handle your account.

Your tax status may change or some banks may not be able to send you important notifications and PIN numbers if you change to a foreign number. But these things vary a lot from bank to bank and its best to ask them and they should be happy to help. Overall its usually very helpful to keep your account since it might come in handy later.

How long do applications for bank accounts in Germany take?

Standard traditional banks usually take anywhere from 2-5 days to approve and open a new bank account. Usually tends to take longer than digital banks since they sometimes need to send you documents to your address.

Online digital banks instead usually approve and open your bank account for you within 24 hours.

How can I set up an overdraft?

The process to set up an overdraft will depend on the bank itself and will often have very different policies and requirements. Usually you have to complete an overdraft application form in order to set up the facility for an overdraft in case you might need it.

Digital banks tend to reply and approve/reject your application within a few days or even within the same day. On the other end, traditional banks can sometimes take weeks to process your application. Be aware that banks like DKB tend to be quite strict with their overdrafts and may require months of credit history before accepting an application.

Banks will also differ in the amount they allow for you to have on your overdraft. Some will allow a fixed amount (such as up to €10,000 for an N26 overdraft) or an amount relative to your average net monthly income.

But be careful with your overdraft and make sure to pay it off as quickly as possible to avoid the interest charges (which vary from bank to bank).

What is the minimum age to open a bank account in Germany?

Usually, banks require a minimum age of 18 in order to open your own bank account, but this can vary from bank to bank, especially for digital banks.

Normally, banks tend to allow parents or legal guardians to open bank accounts for their children if they are under the age of 18.

Can I open a bank account for my children?

Yes you can open a bank account for your child if he/she is under the age of 18. Remember that you will need to provide the ID or Passport for both you and your child. Some banks might require that the parent needs to already have an account with the same bank too.

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