Like all of the Benelux countries, life in Luxembourg is deceptively inexpensive. The country is a hot bed for tourism thanks to its captivating scenery and relatively low living costs. However, it all depends on the amount of money you’re willing to spend, and how much you’re used to shelling out at home. Expats and vacationers from London or New York, for example, may find Luxembourg to be a steal.
Luxembourg city is rich in innovation as well as industry. It comes with some banks and financial institutions, large factories, and a good tourism experience. Therefore, it’s crucial you understand how the currency behaves. This guide will help you if you’re planning to visit Luxembourg, as it digs deep into the banking sector to provide you with some lesser known finance tips.
The euro (€) is the official and legal currency in the Benelux countries of Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands.
|Characteristics of the euro|
|Names and Nicknames||Euro|
|Symbols & abbreviations||€|
|1 euro||One euro has 100 euro cents|
|Euro Coins||It has eight euro coins in circulation of 0.02, 0.05, 0.01, 0.20, 0.50. These are Euro cents of 1,2,5,10, 20, and 50 respectively|
|Euro banknotes||Euro bank notes are available in 5€, 10€, 20€, 50€, 100€, 200€, and lastly 500€.|
The last two banknotes listed above aren't used often. Fraudsters have used in them in money laundering and other harmful spending activities so many places steer clear of accepting them if they can.
While exchanging money in Luxembourg, you’ll notice that the process isn’t overly complicated, it’s pretty similar to exchanging currency anywhere else.
There are a number of currency exchange companies around Luxembourg, though not many of them offer fair rates for traveler’s checks and cash. That being said, you’ll typically find the best rates with Luxembourg’s banks. Despite the country’s small size, there are over 150 banks in Luxembourg, about 30% of which are branches of foreign banks. Luxembourg is also home to some of the world’s most renowned financial advisors and institutions, lending you a sense of comfort and security when handling currency and exchange in the country.
Although finding good exchange services isn’t always easy, the following are all worth checking out as you decide where to get cash:
As you exchange money, it’s essential to understand the real exchange rate so you can get an idea of any commission or fees being charged. You’ll find that some services show no charges, but make their money by inflating the exchange rate. Of course, this is harder to notice unless you do a search yourself.
Comparing the amount of the exchange service or bank to the mid-market rate you can find with a search on Google will often reveal a massive markup. A good method for avoiding being overcharged is using an online currency converter before choosing any service so you’re in-the-know about the fair exchange. In short, ensure you get a proper rate before proceeding with any transaction.
Most banks in Europe, Australia, and the US will help you take out euros before you take off. However, for several currencies, it’s easier and cheaper to use your bank card at an ATM once you’re in Luxembourg.
ATMs are widespread, and you can typically find one nearby regardless of whether you’re in a larger city or a small town. ATM exchange rates are usually pretty close to the mid-market rate, and as long as you choose to make the transaction in euros, you won’t overpay by much. Many ATMs do offer the option to make your transaction in your home currency, but this should be avoided, as there’s no regulation on the fee the ATM can take for making that conversion for you and that essentially gives the machine permission to inflate the exchange rate, costing you a lot more.
When you’re getting bills from an ATM or otherwise, it’s crucial to have euros that are in perfect condition. Several banks don’t accept damaged currency notes, and even slightly marred bills are likely to cause you some trouble. In this case, to avoid losses on their end, some dishonest currency exchange services may try to offer you these ‘valueless’ bank notes; make sure to check every bill carefully before accepting them.
The best way to get real rates is by withdrawing euros from a euro bank account. It’s best to have a relative or friend in Luxembourg who can help you transfer your money to their account if you know one. By using TransferWise, you can transfer money to their account at the real exchange rate, and with minimal transfer fees. From there, they can withdraw cash for you.
With the 24-hour ATM services, traveller’s checks aren’t advisable. When it comes to euro traveler’s checks, only use them in locations where the pound or dollar checks may not be found. All in all, they’re better to avoid - many businesses don’t accept them, and the exchange rates aren’t typically ideal.
VISA and MasterCard are commonly used in the Benelux territories. American Express is accepted mostly in the upper and middle brackets. However, Diners Club isn’t an acceptable form of American Express. When it comes to credit cards, they’re not so popular in Luxembourg, particularly compared to other European countries. Here, remember that the smaller the business, the less chance of it accepting credit cards.
Don’t allow the bank or exchange service to make up any exchange rate. You’ll find that ATM services and other points of sales often offer you the option of making transactions in your home currency. While this can seem helpful - you don’t have to calculate the conversion in your head - more often than not they’re using Dynamic Currency Conversion, a way for banks and exchange services to make up any exchange rate they want for your transaction.
To avoid having your credit or debit card stopped for fraudulent activity, it’s crucial to keep your home bank updated before traveling. Let them know how long you’ll be away, as well as your destination. Doing so will help you avoid any money complications, and if you do have a problem your bank will be more prepared to help.
As both a commercial and financial hub, banks in Luxembourg offer a multitude of locations and services, including exchange.
Keep in mind that even though the ATMs usually offer the most suitable exchange rates, constantly exchanging cash shouldn’t be a long-term solution to your finances in Luxembourg. If you’re moving there long term, it’s in your best interest to open a bank account of your own so you can manage your money in euros. If you’re still getting paid in your home currency, using TransferWise or a TransferWise borderless account can help cut down on the cost of conversions.
Whether you’re moving for a job, to invest, or just to enjoy life in the small country, you’ll find banking to be a breeze.
Here are some of the current retail banks you may look into while you’re there:
A private entity which deals with asset management
Provides personalized and independent advice and top-notch ranger services to all its international clients
Provides services such as investment banking, private banking, and asset management
Previously known as Banque Invik. This bank deals with wealth management, as well as corporate banking needs to all those living in Europe.
Handles business accounts and personal accounts
The following foreign banks are found in Luxembourg
All in all, getting cash and banking in Luxembourg is fairly easy. Armed with your cash card, the country is your oyster - enjoy all Luxembourg has to offer!
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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