Banking, Money and Taxes in Austria
Expats relocating to Austria can look forward to dealing with a banking system that is modern, efficient and user-friendly.
Opening a bank account is a fairly straightforward task and there are many different types of bank accounts on offer. Internet banking is a standard feature in Austria.
Money in Austria
Since 1999, the official currency used in Austria has been the Euro (EUR). One euro is subdivided into 100 cents.
Notes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 EUR
Coins: 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 cents, and 1 and 2 EUR
Banking in Austria
Austria's centralised, government-regulated banking system ensures that there is a myriad of reliable, high-quality banking institutions for expats to choose from.
The country's main central bank, the Austrian National Bank (Österreichische Nationalbank, or OeNB) is a corporation with capital shares (50 percent of which, by law, are owned by the government), and its chief function is to promote financial stability within the country.
The Austrian banking system also includes joint-stock banks, private banks, banking houses, postal savings banks, private savings banks, mortgage banks, building societies and specialised cooperative credit institutions. Some of the more established of these include Allgemeine Sparkasse Oberosterreich, Bankhaus Spaengler, Easybank, Erste Bank, Bank Austria Creditanstalt, and Österreichische Volksbanken AG.
Opening times vary between banks, but in Vienna they usually open from 8am to 3pm on all weekdays, except Thursdays (when they stay open until 5.30pm). It is not uncommon for banks, especially in more rural areas, to close over lunch (between 12.30 and 1.30pm).
Opening a bank account in Austria
Opening a bank account in Austria is, by all accounts, a straightforward and pain-free process. To open an account, expats need to appear in person at their bank of choice and present the following documents:
Proof of residence in Austria
Meldezettel (Residence Registration Form – not always required)
Expats will be required to fill out forms, which will be captured by a teller. When foreigners open an account they will then be provided with an information pack, detailing the bank's personal banking and financial services, and will be assigned a personal banker to help them with future transactions. New account details (kontonummer), and the bank's swift code (bankleitzahl) – both of which are essential for receiving payments and transferring funds – will be included in this information pack. The account's bank card will arrive in the post about three days later.
ATMs and credit cards in Austria
Almost all bank branches have ATMs that let people withdraw cash, get account statements and transfer money 24 hours a day.
The most common type of bank account in Austria is a girokonto, or current account. Upon opening one of these, expats will be issued with a bank card, which allows the holder to withdraw cash and make debit purchases at large retail outlets. Most banks in Austria will not issue a foreigner a credit card until they have been employed in Austria for three months.
Telephone, mobile and Internet banking are all popular in Austria and are offered as free services by the major banks.
It is also common practice in Austria to use a bank account to set up standing orders for fixed monthly expenses, such as rent, and direct debit authorisation, for variable monthly expenses, such as telephone and utility bills.
Taxes in Austria
All foreign nationals working in Austria for more than six months are defined, for taxation purposes, as residents in Austria, and are therefore liable for taxation on all the income they derive from Austrian sources. Personal income tax and social security contributions are deducted directly from an individual's salary, on a progressive tax scale.
Note that Austria has double taxation agreements in place with more than 40 countries. Expats who hail from a country with such an agreement will not have to pay tax on their Austrian-source income as well as any income they generate from within their country of origin.