The Meldezettel and Bureaucratic Banking Idiosyncracies

The meldezettel is a document of residency you must get within three days of arriving at your location. My classmates and I filled up the application form for the meldezettel differently (below left). As a result, we received a different wording under "Wohnsitzqualitat" on the meldezettel (right). I got "Nebenwohnsitz", or secondary residence. They got "Hauptwohnsitz", or principal residence.

Application Form and Meldezettel Together

We then went to Bank Austria in Krems and found that this has consequences.

My classmates are above 26 and hence not considered "students" in Austria. Ordinarily, they would have had to pay for their bank accounts. But because they brought their enrolment letters plus their wohnsitzqualitat was reflected as hauptwohnsitz on their meldezettels, they did not have to pay any fees to open their accounts.

I, on the other hand, was told I had to pay €30. but I had to come back a couple of days later when the paperwork was more settled. When I came back two days later, the bank staff was not certain about the fees because, for whatever reason, they do not open accounts here in Krems and the practice is to get another branch to do it. The wording in the documents from that other branch was confusing and the fees could be €17.92 or €11.86 per month. A woman at the bank said it's about €10 per month. I couldn't wait so I went with it, but you should check out other banks.

So, you might want to fill in your addresses according to how my classmates did it. Mine was filled in for me by the staff at the Kolpinghaus student hostel, and they said they could not change it for me. Kolpinghaus was not to be a student's residence, I gather because as part of Erasmus Mundus, we wouldn't be here for more than a few months.

UPDATE 30 Dec 2015: Our programme talked to the Bank Austria and they gave us much cheaper rates. So, get your programme to negotiate with the banks! I'll tally the bank charges later, hopefully. You will see them in my expenditure spreadsheet.

UPDATE 21 Aug 2016: Bank Austria's charges may be cheaper but they can still be painful for penniless students. Some of us took Erste Bank instead and as far as we know, they don't charge anything. So, shop around, and don't settle for Bank Austria. I tallied some of the charges here.

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