Which German Business Bank Account is the best fit for you? Find out!
Last update: 25 January 2021
Are you a freelancer and are self-employed? Or do you own a business? Did you on top of that also just move to Germany recently and it is about time to open your bank account and to figure out all of your paperwork? That process might be very different here than it is in your home country, so you might be a little overwhelmed. But don’t worry, we are here to help you out and explain to you what kind of bank account could make sense for you. We are also going to compare a couple of different banks, so you are able to make the best decision for your circumstances!
It makes sense to separate your private from your business bank account, especially if you are working as a freelancer and are self-employed. That makes your life a hundred times easier as soon as it is time to get your taxes all figured out. There are some things that you should take into consideration before opening your business bank account and we have summed them up for you. For example, some of the banks accept all major legal forms of businesses for their business bank accounts, but some make exceptions.
But before you decide on a bank for your business account it makes sense to know what the general process of opening a business bank account in Germany looks like. Of course, the process can differ from bank to bank. But the good thing is: you can start up most of the bank accounts online because some of them even only work digitally! We will also guide you through the general process of opening a business bank account in the following article.
Okay, so let’s figure out which bank account might be the best choice for you and how you will be able to open that bank account.
Things to consider before opening your business bank account
One of the very basic questions you will definitely need to have an answer to is the following: What kind of legal form is your business? Are you a freelancer and therefore self-employed? Or do you own a company, like a GmbH or a UG? Those terms might be new to you and it is important that you are aware of your legal form of business.
You should also be aware of why it makes sense to open your business account next to your private one. The explanation is easy: it will make your liquidity management much easier. You can receive all of your payments from customers and you can pay all of your business-related items and services with that bank account and you will not mix up business with private things. If you have to pay your employees, you can do so from your business bank account. When it comes to handing in your taxes you will also be happy that you have made the decision to open up your business bank account.
Before you decide on the bank for your business bank account you should make sure that you know what kind of services are important to you. Do you want to have a local branch that you can go to if something comes up that you will need help with? Are you going to make many transactions with that account? Do you need a physical card with that account? If you are aware of your answers to those questions it will be easy for you to directly see which banks, are the ones to consider for you. Because if there is a bank that only allows you to make ten free transactions a month, but you are planning on having a lot of monthly transactions then it might make sense to look for a bank that allows you more or even unlimited free transactions.
The general process of opening a business bank account in Germany
When it is finally time to open your business bank account it can be good if you already have some knowledge about the upcoming process. Of course, that process can differ from bank to bank.
Some banks promise to manage to open your bank account for your business within five minutes and others make the statement that it takes up to 48 hours. It differs from bank to bank but generally it does work pretty fast at most banks. But no matter how fast the process is going to be, there are some important things you will definitely need to open your bank account. Those include: a paper of identification (which can be your ID or your passport), they will most likely check your credit rating with SCHUFA, they might also ask for a proof of income (which could be your last three pay slips), account statements from your private bank, your business registration and your tax identification number. In case you do not have the German citizenship yet there might be some other things that you will have to show the bank as well.
Detailed Overview – Best Business Bank Accounts for all legal forms of businesses
Penta is a bank that is focusing on business bank accounts. All the processes are completely online, so you don’t even have to leave your house to get a bank account with them. They have an app that is very user friendly. They also accept all major legal forms of businesses, so if you are a freelancer or if you are a business owner – you will be able to get a bank account with Penta. Another pro: the account is free for the first three months and after that they will charge you 9 Euro a month. You will get a free debit card and you will also be able to make up to 100 free transactions each month. They do support Google Pay and the online banking app is available in English! They also promise that the registration will not take any longer than 15 minutes.
All major legal forms accepted (e.g. freelancers, GmbH, UG) For free in the first three months, then starting from 9 EUR/month Free debit card included Up to 100 free transactions included per month Google Pay supported
The Commerzbank is a traditional and well-known bank in Germany. You will find many branches in nearly every German city. All of that contributes to a reliable and big network, so you will be able to get in person help whenever you need it. They also accept all major legal forms of businesses, which means it does not matter if you are a freelancer, self-employed or a business owner. At Commerzbank the first six months are free of charge, after that it will cost you 9.90 Euro per month. A free debit card is included and you get up to 10 free transactions each month. Every other transaction after that will cost you 15 cents and the credit card costs you extra as well (34.90 Euro each year). The online banking is included as well, and the app is available in English. You can create your account online and do not have to visit one of their branches to do so.
All major legal forms accepted (e.g. freelancers, GmbH, UG) For free in the first six months, then 9.90 EUR/month Free debit card included Up to 10 free transactions included per month Online banking available in English Credit card costs extra (34.90 EUR/year)
Fyrst is a brand new online business bank – but they were created by Deutsche Bank and Postbank. Those are two major banks in Germany with a lot of experience. Fyrst accepts all major legal forms. So you can get your very own business bank account in Germany, no matter if you want a freelancer bank account or a self-employed bank account. The general account is for free but for some extra options you can upgrade to the premium account, which costs 10 Euro a month. There is a free debit card included and you also get up to 50 free transactions per month. You can withdraw and deposit money at 10.000 ATMs all over Germany! Unfortunately, the online banking is only available in German, so some German skills would be good!
All major legal forms accepted (e.g. freelancers, GmbH, UG) Generally for free (+ there is a premium account for 10 EUR/month) Free debit card included Up to 50 free transactions included per month Cash withdrawals and deposits at 10.000 ATMs in Germany Online banking only available in German
Holvi is a bank that only works digitally. The company comes from Finland and is currently expanding into the German market. Holvi is for business bank accounts, so it might be exactly what you are looking for! Holvi also accepts all major legal forms of businesses, like freelancers, GmbH and UG. The account is for free but you do have the option to upgrade to a premium account for some extra options. This will cost you 12 Euro a month. Those extra options include three instead of one debit card and the ability to send an unlimited amount of bills through the account monthly. There is a free debit card included and one of the biggest pros is that you get unlimited free transactions! The online banking app is also available in English.
All major legal forms accepted (e.g. freelancers, GmbH, UG) Generally for free (+ there is a premium account for 12 EUR/month) Free debit card included Unlimited free transactions Online banking available in English
Kontist is a digital bank that puts their focus on freelancers and self-employed people. That excludes legal persons, like GmbH and UG owners. The account with that online bank is generally for free. However, there is a premium account that gets you some extra options and that will cost you 9 Euro per month, if you do decide to upgrade your account. The premium account includes a physical debit card. With the general account you get a free virtual debit card! Transactions with that are for free – on an unlimited basis! The online banking app is not only available in German but also in English.
Generally for free (+there is a premium account for 9 EUR/month) Free virtual debit card included Unlimited free transactions Online banking available in English Only available for freelancers/self-employed (no legal persons such as GmbH, UG, etc.) Physical debit card only included with premium account
N26 is actually the leading digital bank in Germany! You can have a normal bank account here, but they do also offer business bank accounts for freelancers and self-employed customers. The account is for free and you also get a free mastercard debit card. You are going to have an unlimited number of transactions for free every single month. N26 supports Apple Pay and Google Pay! The online banking is also available in many different languages, which includes English. You can only open your business bank account with them, if you do not already have a personal bank account with them.
Generally for free Free Mastercard debit card included Unlimited free transactions Apple Pay & Google Pay supported Online banking available in English, Spanish, French & Italian Only available for freelancers/self-employed (no legal persons such as GmbH, UG, etc.) Can only be openend if you haven’t got an N26 bank account yet
So, take the next step to your successful life as a freelancer or self-employed business owner!
Those are pretty much your options if you decide to create a business bank account in Germany. There are options for freelancer bank accounts, self-employed bank accounts and for GmbH and UG bank accounts. Depending on your needs you can pick the one that fits best. You can also check out this calculator for business bank accounts in Germany.
We are sure that there is the right bank for you, and we hope this summary of your options is helpful to you and you can get ready to take the next steps to your amazing career!
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Information in regards to § 18 Abs. 6 Zahlungskontengesetz: This is not a complete market overview.