How to Open a Bank Account in Germany

Sep 17,2022 ByVanshika Sandooja

One of the first tasks you must complete if you wish to relocate to Germany is to open a bank accountAlthough the majority of individuals believe they can handle their accounts and take care of everything online even before arriving in Germany, that isn't always the case. That is why it is highly recommended to open a bank account in the EU country where you will be pursuing your studies. 

When traveling abroad, you should bank locally for several reasons:

 - You will have to pay high charges on every transaction for withdrawing money from the debit/ATM/credit card of your home country.

 - Money transfers between bank accounts in your home country and an EU member state will be simple and affordable.

 - You will require a local account for credit if you get scholarships, allowances, or any other payments from the university, the government, or other organizations/people. 

 - For transactions, you will require a local account if you wish to write a check or transfer money digitally for rent or any other living expenses.

 - As an international student studying in that EU nation, you need a local bank account to prove your credibility.

As an ex-pat in Germany, you have to set up a German bank account as you’ll need the account to apply for a flat, pay the rent, receive your salary, and much more. This blog will help you get familiar with the types of bank accounts in Germany, the documents you required to open an account, factors to consider, and the best banks. 

Like most ex-pats, you must have questions about the process of opening a German bank account or even how banking works in Germany. But don't worry, we got you. Below is everything you need to know about opening a German bank account and more.                                                                                                                                                      

Bank Account Types Available in Germany:

The most typical sorts of accounts are listed below for your knowledge before choosing to open one:

 1. Girokonto: Similar to regular checking accounts that can be found in most English-speaking nations, these accounts are designed for everyday usage and are used to execute cashless payments.

 2. Sparkonto:  A savings account that enables deposits but limits withdrawals and (historically) earns interest.

In addition to these, there are also more specialized types of bank accounts on offer at many German banks, although they're less frequently needed by the everyday customer.

Different Banks In Germany:

1. Sparkassen & Volksbanken (Savings and Cooperative Banks):

Local banks Sparkassen & Volksbanken focus on retaining long-term customers and serving smaller businesses. These banks have extensive branch networks that reach into both rural and urban suburbs, with a focus on regional economic development.

2. Nationwide Banks (Private Banks):

The major banks belonging to this category are Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, Hypo -Vereins Bank, and Postbank. These banks all belong to the Cash Group, which means that if you bank with them and use their ATMs, ATM withdrawals are free. In essence, these big banks work together under the Cash Group umbrella and permit free withdrawals from each other's ATMs. You can be charged up to 5€ every withdrawal at other ATMs.

3. Commerzbank:

The second-largest private bank in Germany, Commerzbank serves almost 19 million customers. It provides consumers with the three account packages listed below for regular use:

 Girokonto "Basic": A typical checking account that features a debit card. If less than €700.00 is deposited into the account each month, there is no monthly fee; otherwise, a cost of €9.90 is charged per month. After the first three months of continuous use, the account also has a €50.00 starting balance.

 Konto-Extra "Klassik": A regular Girokonto option that includes extras like transfers, direct debits, and checks. The account costs €6.90 per month.

 Konto-Extra "Premium": This premium account, designed for travelers, costs €12.90 and features two credit cards, free withdrawals and deposits, family health insurance, and access to airport lounges.

4. Deutsche Bank:

Three different kinds of bank account services are provided to German consumers by the enormous global bank, Deutsche Bank, which has 27 million customers worldwide:

- AktivKonto: A regular checking account with a Girocard debit card, as well as online and mobile banking features. The account costs €6.90 per month.

- Das Junge Konto: A prominent checking account choice geared toward college students. Although there are no monthly fees associated with the account, only EU students under the age of 30 may register.

- BestKonto: A premium account option that includes a special credit card and travel insurance. The account costs €13.90 per month.

5. Online and Mobile Banks:

Online and mobile banking in Germany is likewise growing more and more popular; examples are DKB Cash, 1822direkt, N26O2 Banking, and Santander, among others. The advantage of online banking is that it is frequently less expensive and offers better customer service than traditional banks. These kinds of banks typically collaborate with traditional banks so that consumers can use their cash machines to withdraw money. Furthermore, some online banks issue MasterCard or Visa, enabling customers to use any cash machine with the MasterCard or Visa logo.

Documents needed to open a bank account in Germany include:

In all EU nations, opening a new bank account is a reasonably simple procedure. Most universities typically have agreements with regional banks to open bank accounts for their international students. If your university does not have such a service, you might choose any local bank, ideally one that is close to your residence or campus. You should choose a bank that has been recommended by someone you know, has a good reputation in that country, and offers student-friendly facilities. 

A bank account opening application form must be completed, and copies of the following papers must be submitted: 

 - Passport with a student visa.

 - A letter from the university confirming your admission.

 - Local documents that act as your identity and address proof in the EU country. For instance, a lease agreement, utility bills, or a social security number for an individual.

 - Proof of identity and address from your home country.

Different banks and EU countries may have slightly different documentation requirements.

Factors Affecting Your Decision While Choosing a Bank:

With so many different banks in Germany, how can you be sure to select the finest bank for your needs in Germany? Several of the following elements ought to affect your choice:

 - Fees:  be sure to get all the information when asking about fees and make sure you compare them across different banks. Do your research before deciding because withdrawal and maintenance fees might be expensive.

 Customer services:  The easiest approach to determine whether a bank's customer service is dependable is to give them a call. You may also look at customer satisfaction ratings online or ask friends, coworkers, and other people you know. 

Banking services: the services and costs associated with them vary amongst banks. Make a list of the services you'll require beforehand, especially if you travel frequently. After that, give the bank a call and inquire about the costs of these services, whether they have partner banks in the nation you'll be visiting, the price of foreign transfers, etc.

 Languages: finding a bank with English-speaking employees is your best option if you're still learning German because it will make communication simpler.

 Online and mobile banking: You can save time and money by using this feature. In most circumstances, internet transactions are less expensive and quicker, therefore request information on the online services and costs from each bank on your list. Access and ATM network – Your experience will be made simpler the more extensive a bank's ATM network is.

Also, Read - Important Things To Do After Arriving In Germany