Business Bank Account Germany

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Business Bank Account Germany

Last update: 3 August 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.

Top 3 German Business Bank Accounts

Penta
0 €per month (first month)
  • After first month 9 €/month
  • Banking available in English
  • All major legal forms accepted
  • Free debit card included
  • Google Pay supported
Commerzbank
0 €per month (first 6 months)
  • After 6 months 9.90 €/month
  • Banking available in English
  • All major legal forms accepted
  • Free debit card included
Kontist
0 €per month (permanently)
  • No monthly or annual fees
  • Banking available in English
  • Only available for freelancers
  • Free virtual debit card included

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 “Starter”

penta business bank account germany englishPenta 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: you can start with a free trial for one month and after that decide if you want to go for the monthly plan (9 EUR/month for the Starter plan, 19 EUR/month for the Comfort plan and 49 EUR/month for the Enterprise plan). You will get two free debit cards 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 your banking account will be ready in 48 hours.

   All major legal forms accepted (e.g. freelancers, GmbH, UG)
   For free in the first month, then starting from 9 EUR/month
   Free debit cards included
   Up to 100 free transactions included per month
   Google Pay supported

Open your Penta bank account now!


Commerzbank “KlassikGeschäftskonto”

open commerzbank business bank account englishThe 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 (79.90 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 (79.90 EUR/year)

[SPECIAL OFFER]: Currently you get a 100 EUR bonus when you sign up online for a Commerzbank business bank account

Open your Commerzbank bank account now!


Fyrst “Base”

business bank account germany fyrst postbankFyrst is a relatively new business bank that was 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 “Fyrst Base” bank account is for free if you are self-employed or a freelancer, for legal entities (e.g. GmbH, UG, GbR) the monthly fee is 6 EUR. You can also upgrade to the premium account “Fyrst Complete”, 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)
   No monthly annual fees for freelancers/self-employed (for legal entities 6 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

Open your Fyrst bank account now!


Holvi “Lite”

holvi german business bank accountHolvi 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 Holvi Lite account costs 6 EUR/month 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)
   6 EUR per month for Lite account (Pro account for 12 EUR/month)
   Free debit card included
   Unlimited free transactions
   Online banking available in English

Open your Holvi bank account now!


Detailed Overview – Best Business Bank Accounts for freelancers and self-employed 

Kontist “Free”

kontist bank account freelancers germanyKontist 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 this 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 free account you get a 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

Open your Kontist bank account now!


N26 “Business”

N26 freelancer bank account germanyN26 is one of the leading digital banks 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 virtual 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 virtual 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 opened if you haven’t got an N26 bank account yet

Open your N26 bank account now!


Why does a business account make sense?

A business account makes sense so that you can cleanly separate business and private expenses. Thus, the separate account is quite independent of company size or turnover. However, the more complex financial matters become, the more necessary a business account is.

If you as a founder start separating private and business matters at an early stage, you can avoid higher administrative expenses in the future. Because with increased payment transactions and the associated bookings, the overview can quickly be lost.

Another advantage of the business account is that the tax office only has an insight into business transactions via the account statements. Private expenditures are therefore excluded and cannot be viewed by the authority’s employees.

Fees? Not a must – but often unavoidable

How high the fees are for a business account depends on the associated services and the provider in question. If you only need the equivalent of a conventional checking account, you can quickly find offers at direct banks that do not charge any fees.

However, if the business account is to offer additional services, such as the ability to make regular cash deposits or open foreign currency accounts, fees will apply. The range for account management fees for business customers is generally between five and 30 euros per month.

However, business people often have to take a closer look at free account management offers. This is because fees are then usually charged for voucher-based postings. Additional fees may also be charged for additional EC cards or credit cards for business partners.

business account Germany
best business account Germany

What is the difference between a business account and a private checking account?

In principle, a business account does not differ in its functions from a conventional checking account. However, it is only used for business transactions and not for private finances.

Some business accounts have additional services, such as participation in direct debit or separate foreign currency accounts.

What are the advantages of a business account Germany?

The advantage of a business account is that private and business expenses and income are clearly separated. This is easier for the tax return, as well as for the overview of your finances.

In addition, authorities such as the tax office only have an insight into your company finances via the business account. Private expenses can thus not be viewed. Another advantage of business accounts is optional services that a private account cannot offer.

Can a private checking account be used for business purposes?

Sole proprietors or other companies that are not corporations can also use a private checking account for business. However, there are banks that have precisely defined in their terms and conditions when a private account must become a company account.

Is a business account required by law?

There is no legal requirement for companies to maintain a business account. However, corporations such as AGs or GmbHs are exempt. When they are entered in the commercial register, they must show share capital, which is transferred to a separate business account.

Is there a legal obligation to provide evidence for business accounts?

There is no obligation to provide evidence for business accounts, but for business payment transactions. For this reason, account statements with business transactions must be kept for up to ten years.

opening a business account in Germany

Summary – Best German Business Bank Account

how to choose the best business bank account in germany

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!


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I earn a commission if you use those links.

Information in regards to § 18 Abs. 6 Zahlungskontengesetz: This is not a complete market overview.

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