How To Open A Bank Account In Germany [Complete Guide]

In order for you to open a bank account in Germany without an Anmeldung, you will have to make use of a direct bank a bank like online service
Ketcha Brandon
Open a Bank Account in Germany

Germany is a nation that is widely known for several reasons such as its Brandenburg Gates, beer culture and bratwurst.

This country has long be seen as an attractive destination to live in and work due to its high quality of life and  a large and diverse economic sector. Germany is also known to be attracted by many due to its blend of traditional and alternative lifestyles.

However, in case you are planning to arrive Germany or whether you have just arrived in the country, one of your first challenges as a non resident will be for you to open a bank account but the good news is that if you have an EU passport or have a residence permit lined up in Germany, then the process will be easy and straight forward to you and you will have many options at your disposal.

In this article, I am going to brief and show you everything that you need to know about opening a bank account in Germany for foreigners as well as the best options that you have as a non resident.

Brief look of Banking in Germany 

As Germany is a nation that is synonymous with banking, it should not be a huge surprise to hear that the German banking sector is large and competitive, offering its customers a lot of choices so as to help them ease the managing of their financial lives.

Widely talking, we can say that the banking services in Germany fall into 3 major categories. The first of them is the big name private and public sector banks that typically charge the highest fees and have the most account registration requirements while offering the biggest range of services.

After this, are the direct banks which are often affiliated with one of the high street banks. These banks are known to offer their clients with full banking services without any physical branches and their cost and barriers to entry tend to be lower as a result.

And finally there exist non bank Fintechs that provide their clients with easy to access flexible checking and spending services for very low cost. 

Do you need a Bank Account in Germany ?

If you live in Germany, you do not have to open an account with a German bank. To send and receive payments, you must have an account. This could be a German mobile bank or an international bank account (either with a German bank or one set up to carry out financial transactions for German-based customers).

You'll need a bank account that can accept regular payments, such as utility bills or German insurance premiums. To obtain a German mortgage, you must demonstrate that you have an active account in Germany.

Various Types of German Bank Accounts

Most of the people planning to move to Germany often do not know the different types of bank accounts that exist in the country. When someone is about to open a bank account in Germany, that means they are to open one or 2 of the following accounts;

Girokonto

Actually synonymous with standard checking accounts that is found in most English speaking countries and these accounts are often used to process cashless payments and are geared towards everyday use.

Sparkonto

Here is a Savings account that permits you to deposit your funds into it while restricting withdrawals and accruing interest.

Above are the 2 main types of bank accounts that you will find in Germany but aside from them, you will find more specialized types of bank accounts at many German banks even though they are not frequently needed by the everyday customer. Below are the other minor types of banks that you will find in Germany;

Festgeldkonto

This account is also known as Fixed deposit account  and it is a fixed term investment account that offers higher interest rates that most other types of accounts. You should note that, with this account, you are not able to withdraw the funds until the term has expired.

Tagesgeldkonto

This account is similar to money market accounts and overnight money accounts elsewhere.

As with many other countries, opening a German bank account almost always comes with an associated bank card- either debit card or credit card or both.

What Do I Need to Open a Bank Account in Germany?

It is of no doubt that the paper work and requirements can differ slightly from bank to bank but the requirements that you will find below are commonly find for most of the banks.

  • A valid passport
  • German residence visa
  • The completed account application form
  • An Anmelduing which is actually a proof of address
  • A proof of employment or income

Best Banks To Open a Bank Account in Germany

So now that we have already seen how the general banking system is in Germany, le t us take a look at how you can now open a bank account in Germany.

The first option that you  have to open a bank account in Germany is to make use of a traditional bank which is specifically among the four largest German private sector banks  which include Deutshe Bank, Commerzbank, HypoVereinsbank, or Postbank.

Together these banks make up s group of banks in Germany known as Cash group. This means that they can mutually waive withdrawal fees for customers across more than 7,000 ATM in Germany.

1. Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank is a high international bank  that has over 27 million customers around the world, this bank offers their clients with the following 3 types of bank account services to customers in Germany

  • AktivKonto-  This is a standard checking account that includes a Girocard debit card and online and mobile banking capabilities. This account cost 6.90 euro per month.
  • Das Junge Konto - This is another standard checking account that is aimed at serving students and the account has no monthly fees even though registrants must be students from the EU and should also be under 30 years of age.
  • BestKonto- This is a premium account option having a dedicated credit card and travel insurance. The account costs 13.90 euro per month.

2. Commerzbank

This banks serves around 19 million customers and is the largest private bank in Germany. Commerzbank offers their customers with the following packages for everyday use.

  • Gironko Basic - Gironko is a standard checking account that includes s debit card and the account does not levy any monthly fee so  long as less than 700 euro is deposited into it monthly, but if not the fee is 9.90 euro.  This account also comes with a starting balance of 50 Euro after the first 3 months of active use.
  • Konto- Extra "Klassik"- This is a standard Gironkonto option with some added features such as transfers, direct debits and checks. This bank account cost 6.9 Euro per month.
  • Konto- Extra "Premium"- This account is mostly geared towards travelers and this premium account cost 12.90 Euro and also includes 2 credit  cards, free withdrawals and deposits.

3. HypoVereinsbank

Also known as HVB this bank is actually the 5th largest bank in Germany with close to 8.5 million customers. HVB offers its clients with the following banking packages for daily use.

  • HVB AktivKonto- which is an everyday Goronkoto account that includes access to online and mobile banking and optional debit card
  • HVB Pluskonto- Which is a standard checking account that includes a debit card and a credit card built into the price and cost 9.90 Euro monthly
  • HVB ExklusivKonto - Which is actually a premium account option that offers free credit card ATM withdrawals and travel insurance.

4. N26

N26 is probably Germany's best known mobile- only bank and is a widely used bank with more than 7 million customers not only in Germany but across the EuroZone, the U.S and Brazil.

More to that N26 has also partnered with transfer service Wise thereby allowing in - app international money transfers at some of the best exchange rates that you can find on the market.

This bank demands an EU proof of residence (not necessarily a German one) to open a bank account and it provides the following services to their customers with the following 3 types of accounts in Germany

  • N26 Standard- This is a checking account that is available online and in the n26 app which permits mobile payments and also include a see through debit card for a 10 Euro delivery fee.
  • N26 Smart - This is an upgraded checking account that allows customers with one extra debit card, spending statistics and phone support. This accounts cost 4.9 Euro per month
  • N26 Metals - A premium tier account option that includes travel and lifestyle insurances, bespoke rewards and unlimited free ATM withdrawals.

5. DKB

This bank is owned by Bayerische Landesbank and this bank is actually the second largest German direct bank having around 4.5 million customers in the country.

This bank is not only available to residents in the country, but it is also available to neighboring nations such as Switzerland and Austria. The bank offers their customers with the following account packages

  • DKB- CASH- A checking account having both online and mobile capabilities with a Visa credit card. This account offers free or low cost ATM Withdrawals worldwide and this account does not have any monthly fee.

6. Bunq

This is a fast expanding European challenger bank that has become a popular alternative to high street and traditional German direct banks in recent years. This bank is popularly known for its slick user interface and flexible features that is geared towards young people, travelers and others frequently on the move.

Just like N26, all of Bunq's bank accounts are integrated with Wise thereby making international money transfers very cheap as compared to the others. Bunq bank offers its customers with the following 3 current accounts options across the EU.

  • Easy Bank - Which is actually a low cost current account that has a German IBAN and comes with a debit Mastercard and money transfer capabilities.
  • Easy Money- This is an account with added features and functionalities, including spending statistics, four free ATM withdrawals monthly.
  • Easy Green- A premium tier, Easy Green's unique feature allows users to track the progress of the reforestation initiative already linked to other tiers (i.e. a tree planted for every €100.00 spent).

How to Open a German Bank Account as an Expat

While EU nationals can open a simple bank account with a German bank, non-EU nationals must provide proof of registration in Germany as well as a German work permit. Banks are under no obligation to open an account for you.

If you cannot provide a financial history, you may face difficulties. The best way to open a German bank account is to go to the branch in person and present your documentation.

In order to open a bank account as an expat in Germany, you will need the following documents:

  • Your passport/photo ID with a valid visa or residence permit
  • Evidence of income/employment (required by many banks, depending on the account you want to open)
  • Proof of address
  • SCHUFA credit rating (may be required with some banks)
  • Proof that you are a student, if opening a student account

In addition, you must demonstrate your identity at a post office or online using the post-ident procedure. Accounts are typically opened within 2-3 business days.

Factors to Consider when opening a bank account in Germany

Before opening a bank account in Germany with any bank, there are several factors that you first of all take into consideration and these factors include:

Banking Services:

Ask questions and do your homework about the services a bank provides before deciding to create an account there. Although banks in Germany often offer a wide range of services, it is crucial to compile all available data in advance.

Online Services:

At the time of the internet, the online world has become super important and convenient. Banking services online are essential and save time.

Maintenance and Withdrawal Fee

Fees can mount up, making them a crucial factor to take into account when selecting a financial provider. Since certain ATMs can charge as much as 5€ in maintenance and withdrawal fees, be sure to inquire.

The Network of Branches and ATMs

The majority of banks in Germany have a wide network of branches and ATMs. Having access to your money, at any time and place, is invaluable.

Customer Support

When it comes to banking, Customer support is a key aspect especially when you do not understand the language of that country's bank. If you can’t speak German, you must register with a bank that has English-speaking customer support.

How to Open a Bank Account in Germany from Abroad

Some directbanks allow customers to open bank accounts from outside the country. These include bunq, DKB Bank, ComDirect, and N26, though access is restricted to EU residents in some cases.

Some banks allow you to submit your personal documentation online, whereas others, such as bunq, allow you to open an account in a matter of minutes using only your mobile phone.

If you want to open a bank account in Germany before you move there, you must first obtain a German visa and have a German address that you can use for the account. In general, opening a German bank account after you have relocated is easier.

How to Open a Business Bank Account in Germany

It is sense to open a separate business account if you are beginning a business or working as a freelancer in Germany in order to keep your finances separate. In fact, maintaining a separate account is a legal requirement if your business is a limited corporation.

Depending on the type of business model you use, there are different procedures for creating a business bank account in Germany. The documentation required of sole proprietors and independent contractors is typically the same as that of private individuals.

Partnerships must provide information and documentation for every partner, whereas limited companies must submit their articles of association, information about their business registration, a copy of their certificate of incorporation, a list of their shareholders, and, if necessary, trade licenses. In Germany, limited firms must open their business accounts in person with the CEO present.

How to Open a Bank Account in Germany for your Children

Many German banks offer current and savings accounts for children and young people. Products vary from bank to bank but most German banks allow residents to open accounts on behalf of their children if they are under 18. You will usually need to provide documentation such as a passport/ID for both yourself and your child. Some banks have a requirement that the parent needs to have an account with them too.

Final Thoughts On How to Open a Bank Account in Germany

All you need to know about opening a bank account in Germany, what documents are needed for residents and non-residents, and how to set up online banking is found in this article so hope you found this article helpful? let us know in the comment section.

Frequently Asked Questions?

Can I Open a Bank account in Germany without an Anmeldung?

In order for you to open a bank account in Germany without an Anmeldung, you will have to make use of a direct bank a bank like online service. It is often recommended that you make use of Wise multicurrency account that allows you to take advantage of dedicated set of EU bank details, multicurrency account and a debit Mastercard.

Can Foreigners open a bank account in Germany?

Yes, as a foreigner, you are able to open a bank account in Germany but the options that you will have may differ depending on your country of origin.

How do I open a Bank account online in Germany?

In order to open a bank account online in Germany, you will generally always need to submit a valid German residence visa, a passport, an Anmeldung (proof of address), and other documents, including proof of employment or income and a completed application form. For some banks or bank-like services, such as Monese and Wise, you won't need to provide an Anmeldung, with only valid proof of identity being necessary.

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