Find the Best German Bank Account for English Speakers – Comparison
Last update: 26 October 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.
When it comes to modern banking, the options are vast. However, one standout choice for many is the C24 Smart bank account. As a subsidiary of Check24, C24 has made significant strides in the banking world, and their Smart account is a testament to their dedication to customer-centric services.One of the most attractive features of the C24 Smart bank account is the absence of monthly fees.With the C24 Smart account, you receive a Mastercard Debit without any additional charges. This card is not only suitable for in-store purchases but also for online shopping. Plus, it supports contactless payments and Apple Pay & Google Pay, making transactions swift and hassle-free. Every time you use your Mastercard Debit, you earn up to 2.5% cashback. You can use the Mastercard Debit at any ATM with the Mastercard logo to withdraw cash. Up to four withdrawals/month in EUR are free of charge. For those who love organizing their finances, the C24 Smart account offers up to 4 free sub-accounts, known as “Pockets”. Furthermore the C24 Smart bank account offers an impressive annual interest rate of 2% on your bank account and even 4% on your Tagesgeld pocket (savings account). With all these great features, it’s no wonder it’s becoming a popular choice among many.
Completely free of charge (no monthly fees) Free Mastercard Debit included Up to four cash withdrawals/month free of charge Up to 4% interest on your savings Four sub-accounts (pockets) included Open your account easily from your smartphone via VideoChat Apple Pay & Google Pay supported App & online banking portal online available in German
Unlike neobanks like C24 or 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 both app and the online banking portal are 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:
App & 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. The Deutsche Bank app and the online banking poartal are 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:
App & 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.