Deposit Insurance – how is your money in a bank protected?

In the event of your bank falling into difficulties, your immediate instinct might be to try to get your money out of the bank as quickly as possible. This instinct might actually destablise the situation (in a similar way to the recent fuel supply shortages in the UK have resulted in people queueing to fill up their cars with fuel, in the case of a bank being in difficulties a bank run could occur). After all the cash supply does not cover all deposits held at banks. Fortunately, under many circumstances your deposits and savings accounts are protected up to a certain amount.

Up to what amount are my/our deposits covered?

Under ESAEG, which is the Austrian law that transposes the EU’s Deposit Guarantee Scheme Directive, deposits are normally covered upto the amount of EUR 100,000 per account holder per bank. So, for example under normal circumstances if all your current and savings accounts held at a specific bank total EUR 120,000, in the event of the bank failing, you would only be entitled as a single customer to EUR 100,000 back. The remaining balance might require a class action to recover some or all of it.

In the case of joint accounts held by two persons being involved, the covered amount is up to EUR 200,000 (i.e. EUR 100,000 per accountholder) subject to both holders having signatory rights on the account. It is nevertheless worth checking whether your bank has special rules that apply when there is a pay-out event (i.e. in the event that the bank is required to pay-out its depositors).

There is also a special “temporary high balance” coverage amount of upto EUR 500,000, which is intended to cover certain life events (e.g. sale of private residential property, marriage, divorce, retirement, dismissal, redundancy, invalidity or death or under some circumstances insurance benefits or compensation for criminal injuries or wrongful commitments).

If you hold multiple banking products at a bank, it is advisable to check which accounts are covered and which not. In the event that you hold more than the amount that would be covered, it may be worth considering diversifying where the money is held to other banks.

How long would it take to get my money back if a bank fails?

Banks are currently required to make a deposit guarantee pay-out within 20 working days on eligible balances. By mid-2024 this will be required to take place within 7 working days. This is a requirement of the DGSD (transposed into Austrian law by ESAEG).

How are bank accounts held in other Members States offered to customers in Austria covered by Deposit Insurance?

All banks holding banking licences in an EU Member State are required to be a member of a deposit guarantee scheme. Some countries have one such scheme, others have separate ones for different banking sectors (e.g. savings banks, cooperative banks). It is worth checking when you open the account about which deposit guarantee scheme your bank uses.

Some institutions that appear like banks, and which specialise in commission-free or low-commission currency transfers, actually operate as electronic money institutions. Such institutions might have a licence from another EU Member State and offer e-money services in Austria, but are not the same as an actual bank account. They may be protected in that they in turn store customer deposits at other institutions, which may complicate how you get your money back.


Are foreigners also covered by deposit insurance?

Yes. Austrian citizens and foreigners holding accounts with a bank are treated in the same way.

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We hold a joint account. How is this covered by deposit insurance?

The basic rule is a maximum coverage € 100,000 per customer at a bank. If you hold a joint account, you are considered as two customers and therefore the limit would be 2 x € 100,000. Banks may introduce terms about to whom the money is attributed to in the case of a pay-out event (so if you held € 200,000 in a joint account with your spouse, but € 150,000 is attributable to one partner and € 50,000 to the other, the bank might be able to say that only € 150,000 in total might by eligible for pay-out). It should be remembered that banks will also take into consideration individually held savings accounts by a single customer in addition to joint accounts.

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I/We have accounts at banks in the UK. What is the situation there?

For information about the UK, see:

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Is money that I hold with providers like Revolut, N26 or Wise covered?

It will depend on which product you hold with which provider as to whether it is covered or not. If you are using such services (e.g. to transfer money between the UK and Austria) that are operated by them as an electronic money institution, then your money will not be covered if left in the “account”. However, if you are using their banking services (i.e. where the “account” is a fully-fledged current account or savings account) you would be covered – we would always advise people to check that they are covered before using such providers to deposit their money on a more permanent basis rather than to move money from UK to Austria or vice versa.

In case you are wondering what licences (including passported licences from other EU Member States) your provider holds, check out the FMA’s Company Database, which covers all entities that it supervises.

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Useful Links

Legal Basis

Deposit Guarantee Schemes Directive

Deposit Guarantee Schemes and Investor Compensation Act (ESAEG; Einlagensicherungs- und Anlegerentschädigungsgesetz)

This Financial Bootcamp page was originally inspired by an article that appeared in The Guardian on 4 September 2021. It is part of British in Austria’s “The Guide – Financial Bootcamp”, a series of pages intended to provide information about financial housekeeping. If you have enjoyed it, or wish to comment on it, please use our “Financial Bootcamp” forum.

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