Find the Best German Bank Account for English Speakers – Comparison
Last update: 28 February 2023
You just arrived in Germany and need to open a bank account? This german banks comparison will help you to find the best German bank account. Most of them are completely free of charge. For some of them you need a minimum incoming payment of a certain amount per month. And the best thing is that most of the bank accounts presented in this article come with online banking also in English which makes them ideal for expats or students who have just arrived to Germany.
Below you can find a summary of Top 3 best German bank accounts, followed by a detailed overview of the best German bank account with English online banking and bank accounts with online banking in German only. If you need help opening a bank account just leave a comment or send us a message via the contact form.
N26 is a modern bank targeted at the tech-addicts among us. It offers an app-based bank account that comes with a lot of nice features. The N26 Standard bank account is completely free of charge and comes with a virtual Mastercard debit card (you can order a physical Mastercard for a one-off fee of 10 EUR). You can withdraw cash at any ATM in the Eurozone free of charge up to three times per month (any further withdrawals cost 2 EUR/withdrawal). Cash withdrawals outside of the Eurozone cost 1.7%. Furthermore you can easily withdraw and deposit cash with more than 10,000 retail partners across Germany (e.g. Rewe, Penny or dm).
The highlight is definitely the app that is available in German, English, Spanish, French & Italian and has very useful features. For example you get push notifications on your smartphone for all transactions on your bank account. Furthermore the app automatically categorizes your transactions so that you can easily keep track of your financials. N26 is therefore the best German bank account for many foreigners living in Germany!
Banking app and support in English, German, Spanish, French & Italian Completely free of charge (no monthly fees) Free virtual Mastercard debit card Up to three free cash withdrawals per month within the Eurozone Open your account easily from your smartphone via VideoChat Apple Pay & Google Pay supported Easy to open for most nationalities (list of accepted ID documents) Cash withdrawals outside of the Eurozone cost 1.7%
Unlike neobanks like N26, Commerzbank is a traditional bank with a lot of branch offices throughout Germany. The Commerzbank “Girokonto Basic” is free of charge if you receive monthly incoming payments of at least 700 EUR, otherwise a monthly fee of 9.90 EUR applies. The Commerzbank account comes with a debit card with which you can withdraw money free of charge at CashGroup ATMs (Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, HypoVereinsbank & Postbank). For cash withdrawals at non-CashGroup ATMs and ATMs outside of Germany a fee applies. A virtual debit card is also part of the Commerzbank bank account package and the online banking portal is available in English. A big advantage compared to pure online banks is fact that they have branch offices with staff that often speaks English. Maybe the best Girokonto Germany for expats who like it more traditional. The main features:
Online banking portal in English & German Free of charge if you receive at least 700 EUR/month Free debit card (Girocard) and virtual debit card Branch offices with personal advice (often in English) Open your account easily from your smartphone via VideoChat Apple Pay & Google Pay supported Free cash withdrawals only at CashGroup ATMs
Like Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank is also a traditional bank with a large network of branch offices in Germany. The Deutsche Bank “Das Junge Konto” is a bank account specifically for younger people as it is completely free of charge if you are a student and 30 years or younger. If you are not a student or older than 30 years the bank account costs 6.90 EUR/month (this account is called “AktivKonto”). The bank account comes with a free debit card and you can withdraw cash free of charge in over 60 countries worldwide (internationally at partner banks such as Bank of America, Barclays or BNP Paribas and in Germany at CashGroup ATMs from Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, HypoVereinsbank & Postbank). Furthermore Deutsche Bank has partner banks in more than 60 countries worldwide where you can also withdraw cash free of charge, which makes it one of the best bank accounts in Germany. Their online banking is also available in English and they often have English-speaking staff in their branch offices (especially in bigger cities). Here is a quick summary for the Deutsche Bank account:
Online banking portal in English Free of charge if you are a student and 30 or younger (otherwise 6.90 EUR/month) Free debit card with cash withdrawals free of charge in 60 countries worldwide Branch offices with personal advice (often in English) Open your account easily from your smartphone via VideoChat Apple Pay supported No credit card included (can be requested separately)
bunq is a mobile bank from the Netherlands that was founded back in 2012 by Ali Niknam, whose goal was to simplify banking and give customers the greatest possible freedom. They offer various plans starting at 2.99 EUR/month for the “Easy Bank” account. The “Easy Bank” account comes with a Mastercard debit card that supports both Apple Pay and Google Pay. Cash withdrawals cost 0.99 EUR for up to five withdrawals per month (additional withdrawals cost 2.99 EUR). If you are residing in Germany the bank account comes with a German IBAN and the app and web interface support a variety of languages (English, German, Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish, Ukrainian and Russian). You can easily open your account within five minutes via your smartphone
Banking in English, German, Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish, Ukrainian & Russian German IBAN Physical Mastercard debit card included Apple Pay & Google Pay supported Monthly account fee of 2.99 EUR No free cash withdrawals (up to five withdrawals for 0.99 EUR each, after that 2.99 EUR)
Revolut is a relative newcomer to the banking scene, but it’s already making waves with its innovative approach to banking. Their Standard account is a no-fee, international bank account. The account is free of charge (i.e. no monthly or annual fees) and comes with a free virtual Visa card. A physical card can be ordered optionally for a 5.99 one-off delivery fee. You can make up to five free cash withdrawals per month (max 200 EUR/month), and there are no foreign transaction fees for up to 1,000 EUR/month. Plus, the multicurrency account lets you hold money in 30+ currencies, and both Apple Pay and Google Pay are supported. The only minor drawback is the fact that you won’t have a German IBAN with the Revolut bank account. Revolut is registered in Lithuania, hence you will have an LT-IBAN. However as Lithuania is part of the European Union, you’re covered by the deposit guarantee of the European Union which protects deposits up to 100,000 EUR.
Completely free of charge (no monthly fees) Free virtual Visa card (5.99 EUR delivery fee for physical card) Up to five free cash withdrawals per month (max. 200 EUR/month) No foreign transaction fee (for up to 1,000 EUR/month) Multicurrency account – hold money in 30+ currencies Apple Pay & Google Pay supported No German IBAN (Lithuanian LT-IBAN)
Tomorrow Bank is a new player on the market with a business model that is quite different to the one of traditional banks, as sustainability is their core value. Tomorrow Bank uses customer deposits to finance sustainable projects (e.g. microcredits) and every time you use your Tomorrow credit card, a portion of the so-called merchant fee (the fee that the merchant pays to the bank) is put into international climate protection projects by Tomorrow Bank. The “Now” account costs 3 EUR/month and comes with a free Visa debit card. Cash withdrawals at ATMs cost 2 EUR/withdrawal and there are no foreign exchange fees (e.g. if you pay in USD). Another great aspect of one of the best German bank accounts is the simple and intuitive banking app that is available in both German and English. Here is a short summary:
Banking app available in German and English Free Visa debit card No foreign transaction fees – pay in any currency without paying fees Up to three free cash withdrawals per month Easy to open for most nationalities (list of accepted ID documents) Monthly account fee of 3 EUR
The DKB bank account is one of the most popular online bank accounts in Germany. This best German bank account is free of charge if you receive monthly incoming payments of at least 700 EUR (otherwise a fee of 4.50 EUR/month applies). It comes with a Visa debit card that you can use within the Eurozone for withdrawing cash free of charge at ATMs and to make payments without any additional fees (outside the Eurozone a fee of 2.20% for cash withdrawals and payments applies). And the bank account is even better when you are a so-called “active customer”. Active customers are customers that receive payments of at least 700 EUR per month onto their account. If you meet this requirement you can withdraw cash from any ATM worldwide free of charge and there are no foreign exchange fees (e.g. if you pay in dollars). Additionally you can order a girocard debit card card for 0.99 EUR/month and a Visa credit card for 2.49 EUR/month. DKB supports both Apple Pay and Google Pay and you can open your bank account easily from your smartphone within a few minutes. You can find the main features of one of best banks in Germany for expats in a nutshell below:
Free of charge if you receive at least 700 EUR/month (otherwise 4.50 EUR/month) Free Visa debit card with contactless payment Free cash withdrawals worldwide (for “passive customers” only within the eurozone, otherwise fee of 2.20%) No foreign transaction fee (for “passive customers” 2.20%) Open your account easily from your smartphone via VideoChat Apple Pay & Google Pay supported Mobile banking app available in English Online banking via browser only in German
As many banks, comdirect has also changed their pricing model recently. One of the best German bank accounts is now free of charge if you are younger than 28 years or if you receive a monthly payment of at least 700 EUR. Furthermore there are no monthly fees if you have at least three monthly transactions via Apple Pay or Google Pay or if you are using the comdirect broker account for at least one trade per month (this includes savings plans). If you do not fulfill at least one of these conditions you’ll have to pay a monthly fee of 4.90 EUR. The comdirect bank account comes with a girocard debit card and a Visa debit card. Cash withdrawals are worldwide free of charge, but it’s a bit trickier: With your girocard you can withdraw cash free of charge at Cash Group ATMs (Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, HypoVereinsbank & Postbank). With your Visa debit card you can withdraw cash free of charge up to three times per month at any ATM worldwide (including Germany). For any further withdrawal with your Visa debit card, a transaction fee of 4.90 EUR/withdrawal applies. Optionally you can order a “real” Visa credit card for 1.90 EUR/month. A very useful feature is the so-called “Finanzmanager”. This tool within the online banking portal automatically categorizes your transactions so that you can easily keep track of your financials. Here’s a summary:
Free of charge if you are younger than 28 years or if you receive at least 700 EUR/month Free debit cards included (girocard & Visa card) Free cash withdrawals worldwide (3x per month) Personal Finance manager – automatically categorizes your transactions Open your account easily from your smartphone via VideoChat Apple Pay & Google Pay supported Foreign transaction fee of 1.75% applies for payments in foreign currencies Online banking only in German
ING Germany, which is a subsidiary of the Dutch ING Groep is one of the biggest and most popular direct banks in Germany. Their bank account is free of charge if you are younger than 28 years or if you receive a monthly payment of at least 700 EUR (for example your salary). Otherwise a monthly fee of 4.90 EUR applies. The bank account comes with a free Visa debit card and optionally a girocard debit card for 0.99 EUR/month. With the Visa debit card you can withdraw cash free of charge from any ATM within the Eurozone (minimum withdrawal 50 EUR). Outside of the Eurozone a fee of 1.99% applies. The “Girokonto” from ING comes with a very functional and clear online banking portal. In addition to that they have a very good banking app so that you can easily manage your account on your smartphone. Here are the main features of this best German bank account:
Free of charge if you are younger than 28 years or if you receive at least 700 EUR/month Free Visa debit card with contactless payment Free cash withdrawals in the eurozone Easy-to-use banking portal and app Open your account easily from your smartphone via VideoChat Apple Pay & Google Pay supported Foreign transaction fee and cash withdrawals outside of the Eurozone: 1.99% Online banking only in German
Everyone’s needs are different, but expats generally need a banking experience that is quick, easy, and doesn’t require too much paperwork. Based on this assumption, a digital bank is probably best for expats who are new to Germany.
This is because digital banks are app-based and almost always offer a free rate tier. Also, some digital banks, such as Berlin-based N26, allow you to open an account with just a passport before you arrive in Germany – no registration is required! They also usually offer support in multiple languages, both within the app and for customer service. If you need to open a business account in Germany, there are some other banks we recommend.
How can I open a German bank account?
As a private individual, you need the documents required by law, which the account holder must use to prove his or her identity to the bank holding the account. At the house bank, the presentation of an identity card is therefore sufficient. Persons with a foreign passport also need a residence permit.
Business customers, on the other hand, must present more extensive documents. The type and scope of these documents vary depending on the legal form of the company. The banks also require one or more current salary statements.
To open an online Giro account, with your preferred best German bank account, the printed Giro account application documents and the identity card or passport with registration certificate are required. Together with these documents, applicants must identify themselves at a post office using the PostIdent procedure or carry out the paperless VideoIdent procedure on a smartphone or computer, which almost all banks now offer.
You need these documents to open your chosen best German bank account:
The application form (filled in with full accuracy).
Valid passport, current German residence permit or visa.
Proof of registration / registration certificate.
Proof of status (whether you are employed or a student).
Initial deposit (depending on the minimum amount required by the bank).
SCHUFA credit rating (optional depending on the chosen bank).
Most popular bank accounts in Germany
According to survey results, Sparkasse remains the most popular bank among Germans. Nevertheless, in recent years, it has lost considerable ground in terms of customer numbers for salary and current accounts.
The statistics portal Statista surveyed the most popular banks in Germany. Here are the results. The survey specifically referred to the most popular banks for maintaining a checking account or salary account in the years 2014 to 2018. But for expats or foreigners, the best German bank accounts we listed above are much more preferable.
Sparkasse: 32,62 million customers
Volksbank/Raiffeisenbank: 13,85 million customers
ING-DiBa: 8,75 million customers
Postbank: 7,07 million customers
Deutsche Bank: 4,77 million customers
Commerzbank: 4,46 million customers
DKB: 4,07 million customers
comdirect: 2,41 million customers
Why do you need a German bank account?
Here are 10 benefits of the best bank accounts in Germany:
1. Efficient banks
Germany is the economic core of Europe. Diligence, efficiency, and constant development characterize the German economy. This is especially true of the financial economy, as online bank accounts are often free of charge (see point 2).
2. Free bank account
One of the best things is, a German bank account (as we recommend) is free of charge for the customer! The online branches of German banks are so efficient that there are usually no account maintenance or transfer fees. Also, many other fees that exist in other countries have already been abolished in Germany.
3. Service around the clock
You can access a German bank account at any time via internet banking, telephone or mail. The top recommendations on this portal can be reached by phone 24 hours a day from Monday to Sunday – free of charge, apart from the normal telephone charges of your telephone provider. If you wish, the German bank will also call you back. Many banks are available around the clock!
4. Interest on your balance and still available at any time (no notice periods)
You can dispose of deposits on your current account or savings account (Comdirect: Tagesgeld; DKB Visa Sparen) at any time. You start a transfer back to your bank account or withdraw your money at an ATM, no matter where you are (see points 5. and 6.)
5. Free Visa Card or Mastercard
With your best German bank account, you will receive a Visa Card or Mastercard. This is free of charge in any case. There is neither an issuing fee nor an annual fee.
6. Withdraw cash worldwide free of charge
With the Visa Card or Mastercard you can withdraw cash free of charge at any ATM worldwide (Comdirect: within Germany please use Girocard).
If the ATM charges a local fee, which is a regular occurrence in the USA, Canada, Mexico and Thailand, this will be reimbursed by some German banks upon request. Cash withdrawals in countries with a currency other than Euro are no problem, the exchange rates of the German banks are first class and fair worldwide!
7. Transfers in other currencies possible, fair exchange rates
The bank account is kept in Euro. Money receipts with other currencies are converted at very fair exchange rates. Foreign transfers are possible in other currencies, such as US dollars or Swiss francs. Here, too, the exchange rates are very fair.
8. Super fast transfers
Transfers in the SEPA area are posted from one account to the other on the same day, at the latest the next day. A transfer from Berlin to Madrid is just as fast as a transfer from Barcelona to Madrid. At the German bank, the execution costs nothing.
9. Use as a house bank in the Eurozone possible thanks to IBAN
Thanks to the Single European Payments Area, all citizens in the Eurozone can use their best German bank account as a house bank account or salary account. Since 2014, all SEPA countries work with the IBAN. Depending on the country of origin, you can save over 200 euros in bank fees if you use a German account.
10. Account balance is safe in Germany
Money in German banks is safe. In Germany, there is a statutory deposit guarantee of 100,000 euros per person per account.
Some banks we reported on here have an additional voluntary deposit guarantee that protects sums in the hundreds of millions (Comdirect Bank) or even unlimited amounts (DKB).
DKB is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bayerische Landesbank and thus belongs to the German state of Bavaria. Bavaria is the most financially successful state in Germany and this Bavarian state stands behind the bank and its customer deposits.
What are possible fees with a German bank account?
Your checking account fees can become real cost traps. It’s not easy to keep track of all the different costs that come with account usage. We show you the most common account management fees.
Cost trap 1 – Hidden account fees in the fine print: The small print often contains the annual account fees, e.g. the amount of the overdraft interest as well as the costs for an overdraft facility.
Cost trap 2 – Overdraft interest and overdraft facility: Overdraft interest is what bank customers pay when they overdraw their checking accounts.
Cost trap 3 – Fees for cash deposits or withdrawals: Cash deposits, as well as withdrawals to one’s account, may be subject to an account fee.
Cost trap 4 – Account fees for account statements: A bank is required by law to inform the account holder once a month about the payment transactions on his account. But with our listed best German bank accounts, these traps are unlikely to occur.
Summary – Best German Bank Account
We hope that this bank comparison Germany will help you to find the best German bank account or the best free bank account Germany. As mentioned above, please feel free to post a comment to this post or send a message via the contact form if you need further help. Please note that most of the above banks are charging a deposit fee of 0.5% p.a. for balances exceeding 50,000 EUR or 100,000 EUR (check the conditions of the respective banks).
If you are having trouble opening a regular bank account in Germany, check out this article on how to open a basic payment account. Everyone legally residing in the European Union is entitled to have such an account.
Can i make transferences using the app if Im in other country ( for example, beeing in Portugal and I want to make a transference using the app to a Portugues IBAN. I Will making this in Portugal)? And Im speaking about a ING account . On the site it says that -Online banking only in German ( wath does ir mean)?
perhaps the wording is a bit misleading… “Online banking only in German” refers to the language of the online banking interface of ING (e.g. the website and the app).
Of course you can use the ING banking app wherever you are.
My husband and I are retired and live in Israel. My husband has a German citizenship . I have an Israeli one. We would like to open a joint bank account in a German bank and deposit a sum , close it for a certain period and get a good rate . Which bank do you suggest ?
I’m afraid that it will be difficult to find a bank in Germany for this scenario. Most German banks only accept customers who live in Germany (i.e. have a residency in Germany).
I think there is a mistake in the description of DKB bank. In the text you wrote “Additionally you can order a girocard debit card card for 0.99 EUR/month”, and later in the summary you say that debit card is for free.
So which one is correct?
DKB offers two debit cards:
I arrived on 01/12 with my boyfriend in Germany. My boyfriend already has a job and I will go looking for one now. We are EU citizens, I am Portuguese and he is Polish. I wanted to ask a question regarding banks: we wanted to open a bank account in Germany without maintenance costs, with two debit cards with the possibility of payments/withdrawals abroad without commissions. We would like, if possible, to be able to withdraw money commission free at all ATMs, not only at the ATMs belonging to the account bank. We will domiciliate our salary in this account.
if I understand you correctly, you want to open a joint account with your boyfriend. If this is the case, my recommendation would be DKB. DKB has the following advantages:
– No monthly fees if you receive at least 700 EUR/month
– Free Visa debit card included
– Free cash withdrawals worldwide and no foreign exchange fees (if you receive at least 700 EUR/month – otherwise free withdrawals are limited to the Eurozone and foreign exchange fees apply)
You can open your DKB bank account here.
I would like to open a joint account with my wife: she has a German passport but I have an Israeli passport. which bank will accept us ?
both, you and your wife will have to go through the ID verification process. The required/accepted documents are defined by the bank (e.g. here are the accepted ID documents for N26). I would therefore choose a bank and check with them the requirements regarding ID verification.
I’m an EU citizen lives in Germany needs to have a german iban.
Most online free fees banks (n26, vivid, klarna) don’t accept me because they refuse proof of german residence if it’s not written also on my identity document.
This’s a shame!
How can i solve it?
My necessity is:
Online German iban bank, free fees and with no possibility to overdraft (I don’t what pay charges within my agreement).
Thanks for help you can offer 🙏
you could give it a try with bunq. They offer bank accounts with NL, DE, ES, FR or IE IBANs. However the bank account is not free of charge and monthly rates are starting at 2.99 EUR.
Hola, Mi nombre es Tania, llegue a Alemania el 1 de noviembre para trabajar como enfermera en proceso de homologación, intente abrir una cuenta con N26 pero me dijeron que la información suministrada no era válida para que ellos puedan darme un a cuenta bancaria, use esta opción porque hablan también en español y lamerán mayoría he visto que te exigen buen nivel de inglés o alemán y lamentablemente no lo tengo, podrías darme algunas pautas para realizar una nueva solicitud y que sea efectiva por favor o recomendarme algún banco que no me genere tanto problema por el idioma y demás, me ayudarías mucho! Quedo atenta y muchas gracias
has preguntado a N26 qué datos no eran válidos durante el registro? Te sugiero que te pongas en contacto con el servicio de atención al cliente de N26 para aclararlo.
Vivid es otro banco que ofrece servicios bancarios en español. Por qué no pruebas este banco?
I’m serching for a German bank that also offers broker services, preferably with a good bank application.
Do you have anything in mind?
both Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank offer a brokerage account in addition to the bank account. The main advantage of these two providers is that their online banking interface is available in English.
Another option could be ING where trading fees are usually a bit lower. However their banking interface is only available in German.
very good and clearly laid out description. Thank You.
Just about N26 is not true, it is not easy to open an account. They not accept some EU countries ID/ passports. And no matter what living in Germany for many years.
thank you for sharing your experience with N26. A list of accepted IDs can be found here.
Hi can you tell about the Sparda Bank
I have been recommended this bank but there is no mention in your article
Sparda is not in this comparison article as there are different Sparda banks throughout Germany (e.g. Sparda Bank Berlin, Sparda Bank Hessen etc.). These banks have varying conditions, which makes it hard to compare them… For this article we have therefore focused on banks that are operating nationwide.
je suis arrivée en Allemagne en tant que volontaire il y a 4 mois.Et j’aimerais ouvrir un compte courant à Volksbank. Y a-t-il des frais de tenue compte, frais des cartes Girocard et MasterCard ?
les frais de tenue de compte dépendent de la banque populaire auprès de laquelle tu ouvres un compte. Il y a plus de 700 Volksbanken et Raiffeisenbanken en Allemagne. Le mieux est de te renseigner auprès de la Volksbank la plus proche de chez toi. Tu trouveras toutes les succursales en Allemagne en cliquant sur le lien suivant : https://www.vr.de/privatkunden/filialsuche.html
shortly about my situation: I am EU citizen, I lived in Germany for five years, had a PostBank account there. Worst bank and service ever! Anyway, I moved to Austria and have Meldebescheinigung/residence here, and have no longer residence or bank account in Germany. I would like to open an account in an online/mobile bank. I don`t have a bank account in Austria yet, if that matters. My dilemma is between DKB and N26. I am not working at the moment, and have no income yet (will be employed in Austria in October probably), but want to open an account in the next few months, before I start working.
Would like to ask for your oppinion and advice, to have a well informed desicion on which one should I go for.
1. I will mostly use the account for online/offline payments in EU and UK, preferably free of charge.
2. Though it must be easy to deposit some cash in the bank account, if possible free of charge, and this to be possible from Austria.
3. To withdraw money in the EU zone and/or worldwide, sometimes in currencies other than Euro, if possible free of charge.
4. To have no money-transfer fee if, for example, I decide to transfer money to my parents, who have Bulgarian bank account (Bulgaria is in EU since 2007, if somebody reading this wonders, since i always get this questioned 🙂 ).
And the most important question is: Do I have a chance to be approved for such a bank account, if I am not living in Germany?
P.S. I am fluent in German, so it doesn`t matter which language does the online banking of either bank support.
I hope you can give me some advice on the mentioned toppics, even though the questions are not in generally for opening/using the account in Germany.
Thank you in advance.
here’s my view on your requirements:
1. Both DKB & N26 come with a card that you can use for online and offline payments
2. N26 offers the possibility to deposit cash at more than 2,000 shops in Austria (e.g. Billa, Penny or DM). This is a functionality called CASH26 that also offers the possibility to withdraw cash in the before mentioned shops. Cash withdrawals are free of charge and for cash deposits a fee of 1.5% applies. DKB offers a similar functionality (called Barzahlen), however to my knowledge this is limited to Germany.
3. For N26 customers in Austria cash withdrawals within the Eurozone are free of charge (outside of the Eurozone a fee of 1.7% applies). With DKB you can also withdraw cash free of charge within the Eurozone. Outside of the Eurozone a fee of 2.20% applies, unless you are “active customer”, i.e. you receive payments of at least 700 EUR per month. Then cash withdrawals are free of charge worldwide with DKB.
4. Money transfers within the European Economic Area (which Bulgaria is also part of) are in general free of charge.
From my experience chances are probably higher that you’ll be accepted by N26. DKB is in general a bit more “picky”…
Hope this helps!
Thank you very much for your answer, Dominik! The information was very detailed and helpful!
I will try my chances with DKB first.
If this can be helpful to someone else, i read in the recent days on the web page of DKB, that during the first six months all new customers of the bank will be considered as “active member/customer” regardless of their income. (Not sure though how long will this offer be available.)
Thank you Magdalena! By the way… DKB has just launched a specific landing page for their bank account in Austria
Hi: to be considered an active custumer on DBK bank i must receive a salary or a movement is enough (for example moving money from another account holding just for some days )?
it does not necessarily have to be a salary payment. Any incoming payment higher than 700 EUR is fine according to the “Aktivstatus” requirements of DKB. The monthly incoming payment(s) of 700 EUR can also be made up of several payments. The important thing is that the sum of the receipts in the month totals at least 700 EUR. Hope this helps!
Thanks for the great overview
Which bank do you recommended for a currently non eu resident student blocked account necessary for a student visa ?
Fintiba offers a blocked account that you can open completely online in only a few minutes. And it’s of course approved by the German Federal Foreign Office.
Hi Dear Dominik,
Thanks for the valuable information. I just had a question on how can I have a dollar saving or other possible type of account in Germany? like most of banks offer only opening euro accounts please guide me with this.
I would also appreciate your information on how can a student have access to exchange markets like selling buying foreign exchanges?
the free standard Vivid bank account offers a multi-currency account for more than 40 currencies, including US-dollars. In the prime plan even 105 foreign currencies are supported.
Within the account you can easily exchange between the different currencies.
Hello Dominik and thanks for the very insightful article.
I have a question regarding the foreign ATM fees sometime charged by the ATMs owners when withdrawing cash outside of Germany (eg: Spain, but also US, Canada, etc).
You mention somewhere in the article that some German banks reimburse them upon request, similarly to what Charles Schwab does in the US https://www.schwab.com/checking.
Can you please list these German banks that refund the International ATM fees?
that’s a very good question! Until a few years ago there were some banks in Germany that reimbursed the ATM fees upon request (e.g. DKB, comdirect or Santander).
However they all discontinued this service and – to my knowledge – there’s currently no bank in Germany that reimburses ATM fees.
I am still confused a lot with the selection of bank, just moved to Germany and basically want a bank to deposit my salary and then to make some investments with my savings. Also thinking about the future I want a bank which can see my history and offer me loans for buying house/apartment. In these cases can you recommend a bank?
Thanks for helping me out here!!
if you’re looking for a current account, you’re absolutely right on this page! Most of the banks presented in this article also offer savings accounts. Furthermore you can check this article for more details on savings accounts in Germany. However interest rates are currently quite low in Germany. Therefore a brokerage account might also be of interest to you.
When it comes to loans/mortgages for buying a house/apartment, also some banks presented in this article here offer mortgages (e.g. DKB or Commerzbank). However it always makes sense to compare the providers. In this article we’re giving an overview on mortgages in Germany.
Hope this helps!
Hi, Im new to germany, unable to create accounts with N26, Vivid or Commdirect (No response after postID) other are requesting for a RP. How will i get RP as soon as i enter? Is there another way?
How is PostBank?
in most cases your ID or passport are sufficient for opening a bank account in Germany. However for some nationalities further documents such as a resident permit are required. Please check with the respective banks which documents they require from you in order to open a bank account.
Thanks for this thorough comparison.
If I will need to do frequent oversees transfers (International transfer), which bank would the most cost effective in that case ?
most banks in Germany charge pretty hefty fines for international money transfers. My recommendation would therefore be to use a money transfer service such as Wise (formerly Transferwise) or CurrencyFair.
This in combination with a German bank account is the most cost efficient way to transfer money internationally.
I have been reading all comments till begin pf last year…my question is : is any updates about currently which bank is running well and with free of charge Monthly? I am a customer of |Commerzbank which still satisfied but since i received the envelope that i will be charged I don’t want to be their customer anymore, any suggestion ? I see for N26 Bank and Tomorrow , never heard them before while i am almost 10 months moved in Germany, is those banks are safe? I am in Pfalz Palatine but never seen one of those banks here in Landau.
if you are looking for a bank account that is completely free of charge – i.e. no monthly fees, regardless of how much money you receive each month – I can recommend the following banks:
All above banks operate under a German banking license and hence fall under the EU-wide statutory deposit guarantee of 100,000 EUR per person per account.
By the way… Even with the new pricing policy the Commerzbank account will remain free of charge. If you are an existing Commerzbank customer with a “PlusKonto” or “Vorteilskonto” you will be charged a monthly fee of 4.90 EUR from July 1st onwards. However you can opt out and go for the so-called “Basic” bank account which will remain free of charge if you receive monthly incoming payments of at least 700 EUR.
As there’s quite some confusion around the new pricing policy of Commerzbank, I will soon publish an article explaining what exactly will happen. So stay tuned!
Hi Dominik, thank you for taking the time to give us this info and new answers.
I have never heard before about Sub-accounts. What’s the benefit of having a sub-account?
If someone has more than 50,000 Euro in the same bank but split into different accounts (main account and sub-account) -so, in the end, less than 50k per account-, will be he/she charged, in any case, a deposit fee of 0.5% p.a. for balances exceeding 50,000 EUR?
Is the N26 basic bank account still free if no salary is being received in this account, but I put money there from my main account? My boyfriend and I are thinking of opening a new bank account together and moving some money into this new one to be able to pay more easily our shared expenses.
if the 50k EUR limit counts against the account(s) or customer depends on the conditions of the bank. For N26 for example the 50k EUR limit counts towards the customer, i.e. if you have an amount higher then 50k EUR split across several sub-accounts, the deposit fee would apply.
The N26 “Standard” bank account is still free of charge and there is no minimum monthly income. On this occasion I would also recommend having a look at the Tomorrow bank account. It’s also completely free of charge and even comes with a physical free Visa debit card. Or Vivid could also be an alternative…
Hope this helps!
One of the issues is on line banking where a person must deposit cash to a standard bank and then make a transfer to the on-line bank.
Currently with Commerz bank but effective July 1, 2021, Commerz bank is raising their maintenance fee to 4,90 EUR per month.
Thus, what is the best method to send money to an on-line account or which bank has Zero fees if the only purpose is a very low account
balance and make transfers to the on-line account?
Thanks for the answer
you are right, Commerzbank is changing its pricing setup on July 1st 2021. If you are an existing Commerzbank customer with a “PlusKonto” or “Vorteilskonto” you will be charged a monthly fee of 4.90 EUR from July 1st onwards. However you can opt out and go for the so-called “Basic” bank account which will remain free of charge if you receive monthly incoming payments of at least 700 EUR.
Other options that are generally free of charge are for example Tomorrow, Vivid or N26 .
Hope this helps!
Does the government offer any sort of protection on the money you keep in a German bank account? Assuming there was an economic crisis and the bank went under? Is the protection offered per bank account, per bank or on a total maximum? I have been resident in Germany for 5 years now. Thank you.
there is a general deposit insurance within the European Union that protects private deposits up until 100,000 EUR per customer and bank. This means if you have multiple bank accounts at the same bank your coverage would be 100,000 EUR in total. If you have bank accounts at different banks you would have a coverage of 100,000 EUR at each bank.
In addition some private & public banks (e.g. Deutsche Bank, Sparkasse, Commerzbank) run voluntary additional guarantee schemes, which go beyond the European minimum of EUR 100,000. For more information check for example this guide https://bankenverband.de/media/publikationen/13012016_Kurzinfo_ELS_engl_web.pdf
My husband and I are expats living in Germany. He has been here since August 2018 and I moved here in August 2019. He opened a Commerzbank account and the monthly deposit is well over 700 Euro per month. It has been great until recently. They sent us a notice that because there is a foreign connection (born in the US) that they can no longer offer the free account and we have to have an international account that will cost us $30 Euro per month! Do you know anything about this kind of account? We thought it was a scam but the bank has told us it is legit. We have a German address, so I just don’t understand!
I’ve heard of this fee for customers at Commerzbank who are US citizens. Strangely this fee is not always charged, which means some people have to pay it and others not. Unfortunately I do not know the criteria for this additional fee… If you do not want to pay it, I recommend to open an account with another bank (e.g. N26 or Deutsche Bank who are both offering banking in English).
Can I withdraw cash from cash desk in Volksbank branch without having a physical card?
I have an online banking account at Volksbank but I quit the card renewal since they imposed 12,00 € annual fee starting February 2021 and therefore I’d like to know how much is fee per withdrawal and if there’s a minimum or a maximum limit, thank you!
usually that’s possible wiht most banks. However if you do not have a card anymore you need to prove your identity with your passport or ID card. Furthermore most banks are charging a fine for withdrawing cash at the counter.
Hello, can I open a bank account without address of residence in Germany?
you won’t be able to open a regular bank account, however you are entitled to get a so-called basic payment account (Basiskonto) as long as you are legally residing in the European Union.
You can find more details about the basic payment bank account here: https://www.bafin.de/EN/Verbraucher/Bank/Produkte/Basiskonto/basiskonto_node_en.html
A bank offering a free basic bank account is for example DKB. You can find more details about the DKB basic payment account here: https://www.dkb.de/info/basiskonto/
Hope this helps!
Is it possible to open a bank account in Germany without having a permanent resident address/valid registration certificate? Yes!
As this question was asked a lot, a new article about the basic payment account (Basiskonto) has just been published: https://www.germanymore.de/how-to-open-a-basic-payment-account-basiskonto-in-germany/
Hello Dominik, great article! Lots of useful information.
I was comparing N26 with the “DKB-Cash” account and find out that when you make a deposit on the N26, the charge you will a small fee. I tried to search for the same info on the “DKB Cash” account but could not find it. Do you know if they charge you too whenever you make a deposit on your account?
Thanks a lot in advance.
yes, for DKB there is also a fee for depositing cash using the “Cash im Shop” feature (i.e. depositing cash in a partner shop). You can deposit up to 999 EUR/day and the fee for depositing cash is 1.5% of the amount you’re depositing.
Good day ,I live in Germany and want to open an account with DKB( online Bank) .Where can I make cash deposit please.
with DKB you have two options to make cash deposits:
1. You go to a DKB branch office to deposit cash on your bank account. Unfortunately DKB has only a few branch offices in the Eastern part of Germany.
2. Another option is to use the “Cash im Shop” feature of your DKB bank account. You can deposit up to 999 EUR/day in more than 12.000 partner shops of DKB (e.g. REWE, Penny, dm). All you need to do is to generate a barcode in the DKB banking app with the amount you want to deposit and then go to a partner shop. The fee for depositing cash is 1.5% of the amount you’re depositing. By the way… Like this you can also withdraw cash (up to 300 EUR/day) and this is actually free of charge.
Hope this helps!
Halo Dominic., The article is really helpful.,I have a question..I am from India working here since 2016 and I have an account in Deutsche Bank.,which is the best bank for home loans if I buy a house here. Thanks in advance
if you have already an account at Deutsche Bank it definitely makes sense to check their loan offerings.
Apart from that there are several portals comparing mortgages. Check out for example Hypofriend. They compare mortgage offers of hundreds of banks in Germany and offer their service also in English.
That’s a great article! Thanks for that. Wanted to ask about the monthly income (e.g. N26 €700/mth; DKB 1000/mth) – Is it calculated as an average of total earnings over a year or does it have to be a monthly earning? Context: I work as a freelancer – doing mostly consultancies that pay me against deliverables and there is no “monthly” fixed income. Am considering DKB but could you let me know which services are not included if the 1000/mth income is not maintained?
Thank you for your time.
just a minor correction… It’s the other way round: 1,000 EUR/month for N26 and 700 EUR/month for DKB.
To my knowledge for both N26 and DKB this is calculated on a monthly basis. N26 checks this every two months and DKB every three months. So for example for DKB, if you receive at least 700 EUR/month in three consecutive months you will be classified as an active customer for the next three months.
At N26 being an active customer means that you can withdraw cash free of charge in Germany five times/month (instead of only three times/month).
At DKB there are some more benefits such as worldwide cash withdrawals free of charge, no foreign exchange fees for non-Euro payments, up to 20% cashback in selected online shops, an emergency package in case you lose your card etc.
Hope this helps!
That was immensely helpful and thanks a lot. FYI: I applied to DKB and they rejected me, and of course you can’t email or anything to enquire for reasons! Would you know any other way to convey to them that their assessment may be incorrect? Thanks a lot again and wish you are keeping safe!
sorry to hear that you didn’t have luck with DKB… Have you already tried to call them?
Another option would be to apply for a so-called basic payment account (in German Basiskonto) at DKB. They have to give you this type of bank account by law (if you do not have an account at another bank yet).
It has less functionalities than the normal DKB account (e.g. no overdraft) but it’s a good option to start your way into DKB. You can find more details here.
Stay tuned, I will soon publish an article about basic payment accounts in Germany here on germanymore.de
I have started working in Germany a few months ago, and I finally got my ID tax number. I opened a N26 bank account meanwhile, but now I was looking into traditional banks about current accounts that gives you benefits if you link your salary to it. I know that in Spain and UK, the bank offers you different discounts and offers depending in which is your salary range. But I can’t find anything like that in the first quick online research I have done. Do you know anything of this?
Thank you for your help in advance and for the helpful article.
there are some local banks such as Sparkasse or Volksbank that offer something similar (e.g. discount on local shops/restaurants).
But that is usually only the case for bank accounts with a monthly fee and the discounts given do not correlate with your salary.
Have you maybe found something in the meantime?
Hi Dominik please l will like to ask this question l have lived in Germany for the past 6 years now but for the 2 years am not working now I get my money from the government that’s jobcentre
Isn’t possible if request a loan 0f 3.000 for a business l want to start am in commerzbank for the past 6 years now can they offer me a loan while for now am not working but l get my income from jobcentre it going to be possible?
when you are unemployed it’s usually quite difficult to get a loan from banks… However if you are already a customer with a certain bank since quite some time, chances might be better to get a loan for starting your business.
And there is another option: The ‘Bundesagentur für Arbeit’ also supports you in starting a business. Under certain prerequisites they give you financial support for founding your own business. Find out more in this article.
which bank will you recommend for employees ? I currently have deutsche bank and sparkasse. I want to have a bank where the money is safe for long term. For example, when you sign up in sparkasse – they tell you that your money is insured and if something happens to the bank, your money is safe. I have not experienced other banks saying that. Deutsche bank and commerz bank were both in crisis from what i read. Commerzbank seemed to offer free accounts after that. Can you tell me banks like sparkasse which are controlled by the german government ? Or which are the banks from which there is a probability of getting a good loan with low interest ? Also do you know about a bank which allows a nominee ? Since my family has never been to Germany, i wanted to make sure the money will go to them in case something happens to me
don’t worry, there is a general deposit insurance within the European Union that protects private deposits up until 100,000 EUR. In addition some private & public banks (e.g. Deutsche Bank, Sparkasse, Commerzbank) run voluntary additional guarantee schemes, which go beyond the European minimum of EUR 100,000. For more information check for example this guide https://bankenverband.de/media/publikationen/13012016_Kurzinfo_ELS_engl_web.pdf (You’ll see that Commerzbank is for example also included there).
Regarding your question about nominees, this is something you would have to check with your bank how they handle this.
Hello! Thanks for great article!
My husband and I have moved to Germany from India as freelance dance artists. We are looking to open a bank account. Will we need separate accounts for our personal and professional banking? Also would you know if we can open a joint account for getting paid as we work together?
first of all: Welcome to Germany and all the best for your business!
Well, it really depends on the legal form of your business. If you run the business self-employed/as a sole proprietor you do not need a separate bank account necessarily. However I would recommend to separate your business finances from your private finances.
If you run your business in a legal entity (e.g. GmbH or UG) you definitely need a business bank account.
Check out this comparison of business bank accounts (both for self-employed/sole proprietors and legal entities).
Could you please enrich this article with more information on which banks offer free sub accounts alongside the main account?
I had a terrible experience with the Commerzbank after having switched to them from the deutsche bank because of their free current account offer; to find them completely unaware of such a service that I already enjoyed for years in the deutsche bank of 3 additional free sub accounts.
Thanks very much.
thanks for your question. This is definitely an interesting topic and I will soon post a dedicated article about bank accounts with sub-accounts.
There are two types of sub-accounts:
1. Sub-accounts with an own IBAN
You can use these sub-accounts like a normal bank account (e.g. direct debits, transfers to other bank accounts, etc.). This kind of sub-account is for example offered by Deutsche Bank or also Commerzbank.
2. Sub-accounts without an own IBAN
These are sub-accounts that you can only use within your main bank account (e.g. transfer money between your bank accounts). This is what N26 calls “spaces” or Tomorrow “pockets”.
Hope this helps! Stay tuned for the article on sub-accounts!
Very interesting post. Let me kindly ask you a question. Would there be any shared account (2 holders) including 2 debit or credit card free of charge? If not, which brand would be the best option to do so? Thank you.
there are plenty of banks in Germany offering joint accounts. In my view DKB offers one of the best packages when it comes to joint accounts.
The bank account is free of charge and both account holders get a debit and credit card free of charge. Check it out on the DKB website.
I am from India, and I have Deutsche bank account in India. Is it transferable? Please let me know.
no, it’s not possible to transfer your Indian Deutsche Bank account to Germany. However it might be easier for you to open a new account at Deutsche Bank in Germany, as they already know you as a customer.
how good and secure is Tomorrow Bank? can i bank with peace of mind with them,since they don’t have physical presence or branches
Tomorrow Bank is more a banking brand than a real bank. Their banking infrastructure is run by solaris Bank, a well-know and established bank based in Berlin.
This bank is officially registered in Germany and under supervision of the German financial regulatory authority (BaFin). Private deposits up until 100,000 EUR are for example protected by a deposit insurance.
Therefore Tomorrow Bank is definitely a good and secure choice when it comes to banking in Germany.
Dear @Ebrahim Altajer
No disrespect to Dominik, but it is not true his answer is inaccurate, or at least incomplete. In my experience it does very much matter if you have a syrian passport if you want to open your account in a private bank such as DB, Commerzbank, n26 online bank…
However, state banks will usually open an account for you such as Spaarkasse of any given state or BW bank in the state of Baden-wuerttemberg.
I have not only live here for more than 4.5 years, I have visited and spoken to multiple of those banks, and they respond with varying levels of honesty, from claiming they dont open accounts for temporary residents which my colleagues and friends proved is not true, or by sending a rejection letter that your account type is not in the interest of their business at the time being.
Please do not spend your time with private banks – the only online bank I know to have a reasonable criteria of accepting valid residents of EU and european economic zone is Revolut, but I have not tried it so I cannot recommend it.
Sadly, I had to find this out after wasting my time, and eventually finding similar experiences on blogs. I hope this will save you some trouble and time, and certainly frustration.
wishing you the best of luck
thanks for sharing your experience on opening a bank account in Germany. This is very valuable input for the readers of this article!
I’m really sorry to hear that you have made bad experiences with opening a bank account in Germany, especially given the fact that everybody in Germany is entitled to have a basic bank account. But stay tuned, an article about how to open a basic bank account will be published soon!
Thank you so much for such a great article. I find it very helpful and beneficial.
I had a Basiskonto in Hypovereinsbank since August 2016, at that time I was just a tourist holding a Schengen Visa with no need for Meldebescheinigung. I used this bank account for 2 years then I moved to Germany for Master studies then I registered my address in September 2018. After my registration I was able to open a bank account with N26. Since then I’ve been using both accounts and have a good history in both
banks with absolutely Positive Schufa report.
I finished my Master studies, got an employment contract in Germany, applied for a blue card and I’m working since 01.April.2020
Since I’m completely not satisfied with the poor customer service of Hypovereinsbank, I’m willing to switch to another bank.
Now since you have my bank accounts history as well as my Residence Permit status in Germany, I’m looking forward to your answer to a couple questions.
1- What bank is the best when it comes to Car loans and Private loans as well? I need both loans (at least car loan is a must-take for me).
2- Which banks (apart from Hypovereinsbank) are also offering Basisaccounts with NO NEED for meldebescheinigung? A friend who comes regularly to Germany as a tourist and holds a 3-year schengen Visa needs such account to save his money and facilitate his shopping across EU.
Looking forward to your answers.
thanks for your comment. Just to clarify as you mentioned…
…germanymore.de is a portal giving advise to foreigners living in Germany in regards to bank accounts, credit cards etc. So we do not have insight into your financial history.
In order to check your credit worthiness in Germany I strongly recommend to get a Schufa report. It’s completely free and gives you a good overview of your current rating. Read this article to find out how to get your Schufa report.
Regarding your questions:
1. Car loan – given the sheer amount of car loan providers on the market, it’s difficult to judge which one is THE best one. Here is for example a comparison calculator for car loans
2. Basiskonte (Basic payment account) – According to the German banking/finance regulator “BaFin” you can open a basic payment account, when you qualify for one of the below requirements:
You can find more infos regarding this topic on the BaFin website.
Hope this helps!
This is such a wonderful article also the Q&A section. I have a student account in Deutsche bank right now and i will be starting full time employment from May onwards. I wanted to open an account in commerce bank just to save monthly fees which in case of DB i had to pay.
I am not EU resident so I showed my resident permit and passport etc while opening an account at commerze bank. The worst part was after confirmation email they called me and said they cannot open my account as my resident permit is limited. It is valid till end November and after that we non EU residents always renew it. I visited them against and explained this scenario of my student status and then future job etc but the accountant was reluctant to hear stuff and directly said it won’t change anything as for some nationalities it works like that. I asked them that they should have mentioned it somewhere minimum limit of residence permit so to save our time.
That’s all i wanted to share that it may vary for individuals.
Now i am not sure either i keep deutsche bank or opt some other bank in order to save additional fees and costs.
thanks for sharing your experience with Commerzbank. It’s a pity, that they do not accept your limited resident permit.
I would give it a try with N26 as they are usually a bit more flexible than the traditional banks.
Thank you for the article. I have two questions:
1. Is there an obligation for a person/a bank to close a bank account if a person leaves Germany or could be kept open?
2. In N26 paid plans there is an option for 10 sub-accounts (they call them “spaces”). I wonder if other banks (e.g DKB, Santander etc.) have the options of sub-accounts?
Re. 1: To my knowledge there is no general obligation to close your bank account when you leave the country. However most banks will close your account if you don’t use it for a longer time or if you do not respond to their letters (which will be sent to your German address that most likely doesn’t exist anymore…)
Re. 2: Yes, a good alternative to N26 in regards to spaces is Tomorrow Bank. The free bank account of Tomorrow bank comes with two so-called “pockets” (same concept as N26 spaces), the paid plan comes with an unlimited amount of pockets. By the way… I will shortly publish an article about Tomorrow Bank, explaining the bank accounts in more detail. So stay tuned!
The “traditional” banks like DKB or ING don’t really offer something similar. In most cases you can just open one additional savings account within your bank account.
Hi I am from syria and i will come to germany next month which of those banks can i open an account especially my Nationality is syrian?
Thank in advance
your nationality doesn’t really matter when you want to open a bank account in Germany. The important thing is that you have a valid registration certificate (Meldebescheinigung) because you need to be a legal resident in Germany in order to be able to open a bank account. Once you have that you should be able to open a bank account at any bank.
We should submit only city registration certificate or we can use tax number certificate for opening bank account?
Because I got my tax number certificate but still haven’t recieved city registration certificate.
in the current situation with a lot of public authorities being closed I would talk to the bank and check with them if they also accept the tax number certificate.
Hi, what type of bank account do you recommend for children with the intent of saving for the future?
most of the bank accounts presented in this article include a savings account (in German a so-called “Tagesgeldkonto”). For example:
But of course there are also banks that offer a savings account without the need to open a bank account, such as 1822direkt or RaboDirect.
Hope this helps!
Information was so useful.I opened a n26 account standard and install the app but for the video ident the operator asked me the resident permit (aufenthalt) and I didnt have it because im newly hear and told me to contact support for post ident .what other bank do you suggest that doesnt need aufenthalt at first ?and with the post ident of n26 is it possible to activate the account without aufenthalt?
depending on your nationality/employment status, banks in Germany might require your residency permit for authentication purposes. N26 has for example published this list, where you can see what documents are required to open an N26 bank account, depending on your nationality.
For other banks you would have to check individually. But I would recommend to give it a try with N26 and Commerzbank.
Hope this helps! If there’s anything else I can help with, please let me know.
Hi, I am Lebanese and had the same issue, IT DOES MATTER what nationality you are. Commerz bank for example will only open a bank account for me if I have Permanent residency. I also only managed to open an account with N26 bank only 4 months after I arrived when I got the EU Blue Card. The best thing I ever did was get a TransferWise Borderless account (EU IBAN) just by using my Passport + Creditcard. It was literally a life saver.
Thank you so much for this article
I have a question, I am 33 y old, man from North Africa, right now am student (studying at privet sprachschule) I have a blocked account at Fintiba, ans I ant to open an account to start transfer money to my new account from Fintiba.
What is the most good option for me? I mean I want a bank free of charges, have a debt card and VISA or MasterCard, and can withdraw money easily from ATM’s
If you are looking for a bank account without fees, free cash withdrawals and including a credit card my recommendation would be either N26 or DKB as they both fulfill your requirements. You can find more information about these bank accounts in the above article.
Thanks a lot Dominik, this is really very helpful. I’m planning to shift my account from a Sparkasse to N26 soon and your detailed article helped me a tremendously.
All the best
I find this article very insightful and helpful.
I recently moved to Germany for postdoc and I have been actively seeking to open an account. I had in the past used Deutsche Bank during my PhD years ago. After leaving Germany I wrote the bank that I would no longer be in need of the account. Do you think it is advisable to go to the same back to open an account or you have another bank to recommend. Thanks.
I would check with Deutsche Bank if your account is still active or if they can reactivate it (depending on how long ago you have used it the last time…).
Just go to a Deutsche Bank branch office close to you and ask them.
However I would recommend to check also other alternatives, as the Deutsche Bank account is only free of charge if you are a student and 30 years or younger (otherwise 5.90 EUR/month). There are plenty of alternative accounts that offer the same or an even better range of services for free or a lower price than Deutsche Bank.
Good alternatives are for example N26, Commerzbank (both with online banking in English) or DKB.
If there’s anything else I can help you with, please let me know!
I live in germany since one month, i study here and i also started to work. my salary is being paid cash so i was wondering which german bank is the best one for depositing cash regularly. because i heard that its not free of charge with every bank for example with n26 and its not possible with dkb in every city – i live in hamburg and they dont have atm machines here etc.
yes, you are absolutely right, most banks in Germany do not offer free cash deposits.
N26 for example offers free cash deposits up to 100 EUR/month. You can deposit cash via “CASH26” at retail partner locations across Germany (e.g. REWE, Penny, Real and dm). If you want to deposit an amount higher than 100 EUR a fee of 1.5% applies.
DKB offers the same option for depositing cash. However you’ll always have to pay a fee of 1.5% for every cash deposit.
Commerzbank charges per cash deposit a fee of 1.50 EUR.
Another option would be to check with one of your regional banks such as Sparkasse or Volksbank. Some of them still might offer free cash deposits.
Hope this helps!
Thank you man very useful and nice ,
Dear Mr. Dominik,
Thank you for this amazing article. I have a question if you do not mind answering. I am a Lebanese Citizen, who is currently enrolled at a German University. I have not yet received the Residence Permit and I require a bank account before the end of the month of October. Initially, I checked N26 but they require that I provide the passport and residence permit for verification. Because the residence permit would take decent time before I receive it, I decided to look at other online banks and I was thinking of ING Student/Basic but I have not gained any information regarding the requirements for legitimisation. Is it possible to state whether they require the residence permit or is the registration certificate enough? Also, what other documents are required for legitimisation? Furthermore, could you provide the difference between ING Basic and ING Student? Thanks a lot!
I’m happy to hear that you liket this article 🙂 In your special situation with not having the residence permit yet it’s nearly impossible to open an account remotely with the usual ID verification methods such as VideoIdent or PostIdent. This also includes ING.
I would therefore recommend to go to an office of a local bank (e.g. Sparkasse, Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, etc.) and try to open an account there. If they refuse to accept you as a customer, simply ask for a “Basiskonto”. By law you have the right to get such a bank account since a new law has been introduced in 2016. Some of these basic accounts are for free, others cost you a monthly fee. Just give it a try with some banks close to you.
Regarding your question in regards to the difference between the normal ING bank account and the student account: there is no difference. They have both exactly the same conditions is just a matter of marketing.
Hi – thank you for the article!
I recently opened an account with ING and I wondered if you could go into more detail about the cards you Get. In other words, which is best to be used where (travelling, shopping online/in store, dash withdrawals e.t.c)
yes of course! You get two cards with the ING bank account: a VISA credit card and a girocard (debit card). I would recommend to use the VISA card for cash withdrawals as there are no fees if you withdraw cash within the Eurozone. Cash withdrawals with the girocard are only free of charge at ING ATMs in Germany and they are very rare… (approx. 1,200 ING ATMs compared to a total of approx. 60,000 ATMs in Germany). You can furthermore use the VISA card for online and offline shopping.
The girocard I would mainly use for offline shopping in Germany as there are still a lot of shops/restaurants that dont’t accept credit cards.
Does that help?
I visited Deutsche Bank literally less than thirty minutes ago. They no longer offer free accounts for students. Students also have to pay the monthly fee of €5,90 or yearly fee of €70,80
thanks for the information. Then most likely the Deutsche Bank service agent was not informed correctly… Because Deutsche Bank is still offering actively the “Das Junge Konto” on their website. If you are a student and 30 years or younger you qualify for a free bank account at Deutsche Bank. My suggestion would be to open the bank account easily online.
Hello , thank you for the article very helpfull . Please , i wanted to know what do you suggest for a 25 years old student in berlin who have a scholarship and a blocked account , means gets around 1000 per month . I want a bank easy to handle , fast openning account , english speaking with online service in english and no fees , i don’t know also if commerzbank allow you to withdraw money free of charge outside germany ? Please what do you recommend and what about sparkasse?
in that case I would recommend an N26 bank account for the following reasons:
– You can open the bank account easily from your smartphone
– Their app/online banking and customer service is available in English
– You can withdraw cash free of charge at ATMs in Germany five times per month if you receive payments of at least 1,000 EUR/month or if you are younger than 26 years (otherwise still three free cash withdrawals/month). Cash withdrawals within the Eurozone are always free of charge. Only cash withdrawals in other currencies than Euro cost 1.7%.
For the Commerzbank account cash withdrawals are only free of charge in Germany at CashGroup ATMs. For cash withdrawals outside of Germany fees apply.
In most cases Sparkasse bank accounts cost a monthly fee, therefore I would not recommend it.
Hope this helps!
What does it mean a passive customer? For example at DKB bank foreign transaction fee is payable for passive customers.
DKB defines an active customer as a customer who receives monthly payments of at least 700 EUR. The main benefits of being an active customer are:
– no foreign transaction fees (as a passive customer you pay a 1.75% fee on payments in a currency other than Euro)
– free cash withdrawals worldwide (as a passive customer you pay a 1.75% fee on cash withdrawals outside of the Eurozone)
The bank account itself is still free of charge for passive customers. The only difference is that you will have to pay the above mentioned fees in case of payments/cash withdrawals abroad as a passive customer. By the way, in the first year after opening your account you are considered as an active customer by DKB which means you can enjoy the benefits of an active customer without having to receive monthly payments of 700 EUR.
I am self-employed. I am registered in Germany , but work across EU. Now the question is if I will be able to open a bank account in Germany. Any thoughts?
yes, of course. If you are registered in Germany and have a “Meldebescheinigung” you can easily open a bank account.
If you are looking for a bank account for your personal use, I would recommend to go for one of the providers presented above.
However if you intend to use your bank account for business purposes (e.g. you’re an entrepreneur or freelancer) I would recommend a business bank account.
Good options are for example Penta or Holvi.
Is there anything else I can help you with?
Hello, I need your best recommendation for a bank account for a fresh student 18 years old. He has already a blocked account. He still has a 6 months student visa & will have a stable address in the ten days time. What are the needed papers in this case.
my recommendation in this case would be an N26 bank account as it is usually quite easy to open a bank account with them.
The required papers for opening the bank account with N26 depend on your nationality. E.g. if you are a EU citizen your ID card is in most cases sufficient. For other countries, e.g. if you are from Brazil you need to provide your passport and your German resident permit. This overview will help you to identify which documents you will need to provide.
The account opening itself is really easy with N26 as you can do it completely online with your smartphone, and your bank account is activated within minutes.
Hope this helps! If there’s anything else I can help you with, please let me know.
I’d like to open a bank account for my 15 years old daughter but, since my ex and me are separated and we have 50% rights on our kids, I cannot open a bank account for my kid without the signature of my ex wife.
How can I do? Is there a bank that has accounts for kids?
Thanks in advance.
yes there are lots of banks offering bank accounts for minors (i.e. under 18). From the banks presented in this article the following banks are offering a bank account for minors:
– Commerzbank (StartKonto)
– DKB (DKB-Cash u18)
– comdirect (JuniorGiro)
However as you have shared custody for your daughter, both parents will have to sign the banking agreement.
Hope this helps!
Is it possible to open an account in Commerzbank today if my job starts only on 02.09.2019?
I tried to do it in DKB and they said the start date of job is too far in the future.
I would give it a try… If they come back to you, just let them know that you’ll start with your new job soon.
Some banks are bit picky, but a job is usually not necessarily required for opening a bank account.
I really confuse right now, as the banks here in germany dont really give much info for some special cases. My qst is:
What s the best bank account for student above 30 years old in germany?
I want to know also how much u pay monthly in this case?
And in case u r working also as student and hav monthly income between 400 and 700 euro? Any benifit in this case? With some banks of corse.
as a student above 30 you usually do not qualify for a free student bank account with most banks. I would therefore recommend to go for a normal bank account that is free of charge. There are plenty of banks on the market that offer bank accounts free of charge. For example all the bank accounts presented in this article are free of charge. For some accounts such as DKB you don’t get all benefits (e.g. no unlimited free cash withdrawals) if you do not get a monthly payment of e.g. 1,000 EUR, however the bank account itself is still free of charge without any monthly charges.
Hey, I would like to ask you about which bank is currently stable in Germany. I already maintain my account in the Deutsche Bank but there are a lot of News that it might bankrupted. Therefore, I am thinking right now to switch to ING or maybe you can suggest me which other bank could be absolutely the right option? Thanks in Advance!
well… Deutsche Bank is at the moment definitely not in the best shape but in my eyes far away from bankrupting. In general there is a deposit insurance within the European Uniont that protects private deposits up until 100,000 EUR. In addition some private & public banks (e.g. Deutsche Bank, Sparkassse) run voluntary additional guarantee schemes, which go beyond the European minimum of EUR 100,000. For more information check for example this guide https://bankenverband.de/media/publikationen/13012016_Kurzinfo_ELS_engl_web.pdf (You’ll see that Deutsche Bank is for exampler also included there).
Of course nobody knows what will actually happen with these guarantees in a worst case scenario (e.g. severe financial crisis/bank run), but that’s a different story…
Hope this helps!
Hello. I’m really curious about which bank account I should open, but I heard some friends who recommended Deutsche Bank for me. I’m a student and I’m only 23 years old, but I don’t know if I can be eligible for the Das Junge Konto cuz I’m not a German citizen. Is Das Junge Konto available even for non-German citizens and is also free of charge??
Thanks in Advance.
yes, Deutsche Bank is also a good option. The “Das Junge Konto” is free of charge if you meet all of the below conditions:
– You’re not older than 30 years
– You are a student or apprentice (“Azubi”)
– You’re citizen of a member state of the European Union
If you meet these requirements you can open your Deutsche Bank account here.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Many thanks for the detailed explaination and more then that all the replies to the different questions in this article. Really appreciate your effort. Learnt more about how banks work here. Thanks☺️.
Now coming to my question (could not find exact scenario like what i am looking for in the above thread, so posting it. Sorry in case I missed your reply to same question).
I am currently staying in Germany and after few years plan to return to my home country (outside EU). I would want to start investments in ETF and keep this investment active even after I return. As I understand, when I sell my investments I would need a bank account where I can get the money back.
1. Are there bank accounts which I can keep open even after I return? Especially that I would no longer have any German address.
2. Which bank account would you recommend for this scenario?
3. My requirement is that I use this account only for investment and then transfer the money to my home country using 3rd party applications like Transferwise. Do you see if such thing is possible?
One additional background for this question, I believe that investments in ETFs need a long term horizons and I don’t want to sell them when I return in couple of years. So imagining how can I make it work.
Thanks in advance for your reply.
this is actually a very good question 🙂
So you want to invest money and keep your money invested after you have moved away from Germany.
In the first place you need a brokerage account for that as a normal bank account won’t do the job. There are plenty of providers on the market and I will actually publish a comparison of brokerage accounts soon. My recommendations for a brokerage account would be either ING (traditional bank with good online banking) or Trade Republic (fintech bank with easy to use app and low fees).
You can then transfer money from your bank account to your brokerage account and vice versa.
Regarding your question if you can keep your account in case you move away from Germany, it really depends on the bank… I have heard from banks that do not have a problem with this and others that have terminated the contract with their customers. So you would really have to check with your bank…
Hope this helps!
Thanks for all your efforts giving us all possible information necessary.
Could you please advise my about Deutsche Bank account? Why is this not a possibility on your article?
Thank you so much for your time
the reason why I haven’t included Deutsche Bank in this comparison is because they currently don’t offer a bank account that is generally free of charge. Only their “Young Account” (“Junges Konto”) for students up to 30 years is free of charge. The other two bank account models offered by Deutsche Bank cost 5.90 EUR/month (AktivKonto) or 11.90 EUR/month (BestKonto).
However if you are a student, the Deutsche Bank account is of course a good option. You can open it here: https://www.germanymore.de/out/deutsche-bank-young-account
Please could you advise me on my best options for a German Bank to join. I have a large sum of US dollars in cash and I wish to open a account and find the best exchange rate etc.. I am a English speaker and learning German but wish to either manage my account on line or visit a English speaking branch to further develop my banking in Germany..
I will be receiving a monthly pay amount and plan so for the foreseeable future.
first of all, sorry for the delayed response to your comment…
In that case my recommendation would be Commerzbank. They have a lot of branch offices in Germany and often with English-speaking staff. Furthermore their online banking is available in English.
You can open your Commerzbank account here: https://www.germanymore.de/out/open-commerzbank-account
Here is a manual on how to open the Commmerzbank account: https://www.germanymore.de/how-to-open-commerzbank-account/
Thanks a lot, this article saved a lot of time for me! ?
Thank you for your effort. we have one question please. My wife and I have arrived recently in Germany to visit a language course. We have have blocked accounts and did not open a current account (Girokonto) yet because we have to wait for the (Steuernummer). I wonder what is best banking option for us? knowing that we are not working here and with no monthly salaries.
We would be grateful for a reply.
thank you for your message. As long as you are a resident in Germany you can open a bank account. I suggest you give it a try with N26, as they offer their services also in English (https://www.germanymore.de/out/open-n26-account).
If you do not get a bank account at N26 just go to a local bank (e.g. Sparkasse, Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank) and ask for a “Basiskonto”. By law you have the right to get such a bank account since a new law has been introduced in 2016.
Please get in touch with me, in case you have further questions.
I found this reply very helpful. Make me ask a question I have in my mind. I have an account here in Germany but I would like to change my bank. I have no job but I received regularly cash money. And this cash I putting in my account regularly but for me my bank is to complicated to used specially my German is not that good. They take monthly charge. The Visa debit card I using is complicated too. I muss always make a call to the Visa hotline to say to take money in my account and transfer it to the visa. I’m looking for the best bank that I can use Visa base on my regular account money and that I don’t need to call. Will you help or give me some advice Mr. Dominik?
Thank you very much,
in that case my recommendation would be to open a bank account at a traditional bank with local branch offices. This makes it easier for you to deposit your cash money on your bank account. Commerzbank is such a bank and they often have English-speaking staff and offer their online banking also in English. After opening a Commerzbank you can also apply for a free Mastercard. You can open your bank account here: https://www.germanymore.de/out/open-commerzbank-account
Another option would be N26 which is an app-based bank that offers their services also in English. Although they don’t have local branch offices you can still deposit cash money on your bank account as N26 have partnered up with a company called “Barzahlen”. Like this you can deposit cash with the N26 app in a lot of supermarkets (e.g. Rewe, Penny, dm, etc.). Depositing up to 100 EUR is free of charge, for deposits greater than 100 EUR a fee of 1.5% applies. You can open an N26 account here: https://www.germanymore.de/out/open-n26-account
Both banks are a good option. And don’t worry about changing your bank account… Both, Commerzbank and N26 offer a free bank account switching service.
Hope this helps! Should you have any further questions, please feel free to ask.