Top 3 Bank Accounts for Expats in Germany
You’ve just arrived in Germany and want to open a German bank account?
You don’t speak German? Well you’re not the only one with this problem.
Here is a short guide on how to open a bank account in Germany – without speaking German.
Check out the accounts that have their services and online banking in English. This way you can make sure that your money does not get lost in translation…
You need to open a German bank account as quickly as possible? You need to provide a German bank account number for a job contract? Or you need to prove that you have sufficient funds for your visa application?
Get your German IBAN in 10 minutes.
Read on for more details!
What are our criteria?
So what is the best bank account in Germany? Of course there are only subjective answers to this question. It highly depends on what you’re looking for. Here are three factors that our users considered most important about having a bank account:
1. Monthly charges. It definitely plays an important role how much the bank account costs. In Germany, monthly bank fees for German bank accounts are very common. Only online banks are for free. Every ‘proper’ bank with branches charges its customers a few Euros each month. In return you have supportive customer service.
2. Language of communication. Another factor is which language the service is in. This is particularly important for newcomers in Germany. Finances are a delicate and highly personal issue. It’s important that the correspondence and online banking are in a language you can understand.
3. Support. Generally, you get extensive financial support when you pay a monthly fee and have a branch you can go to. If you want to talk about credit and mortgage options, you should definitely go for a proper account at an established bank like Deutsche Bank.
#1 Number26 – the full service in English, for free
Why do we list N26 here?
The reason is that it is the only bank account in Germany that offers its services in English:
– customer service in English
– online banking in English
– mobile app in English
English service is thus the main argument for why I consider it to be the best bank accounts for expats in Germany.
After all, handling your finances is a very important matter. So most expats in Germany prefer to do their banking in English. Further, none of our users has complained about the N26 account.
With Number26 you can open your account on the same day. Just fill out the online application and pop into a local branch with your application forms. Alternatively, go to a post office and get your personal ID verified.
At Deutsche Bank you can do more than simply have a ‘normal bank account’. Get advise on how to invest, get a private pension plan, get a mortgage for your German house,…
You can only open this bank account, if you already live in Germany. You must have a registration confirmation.
1. Monthly charges.
This account is for free.
2. Language of communication.
N26 offers its services in English to expats in Germany. Online banking and personal support are in English.
N26 offers great customer service for private and commercial customers.
#2 DKB – the free online account
DKB is short for Deutsche Kreditbank, i.e. German Credit Bank.
It is the online bank that is affiliated with Sparkasse.
It offers you a Girokonto for free. What is a Girokonto? It is a normal checked account.
It comes with an automatic 500 Euro overdraft. You also get an EC-Karte (debit card) and a VISA card.
I would recommend this account for students, au pairs, and those with little income in Germany.
If you do not want to spend money on a bank account, go for DKB.
Lots of Germans use this account as a second free account, with which they can get free cash withdrawals. They usually do not use it for things like mortgage, loans and investments, though.
Note that you must live in Germany to open this account.
You must provide a German registration confirmation to open an account at DKB.
You can open this account online. It takes about 5 days until all your documents arrive.
1. Monthly charges.
There are no monthly charges for the account. It is 100% free.
You get free cash with your VISA Card. Where? In Germany and world wide!
2. Language of communication.
At the moment, most of the DKB communication takes place in German. The video verification process can also take place in English though. And you can find English-speakers in their phone hotline.
There is a customer hotline, but no in-branch support.
#3 Onlinekonto.de – Open your account in 2 minutes
With Onlinekonto.de you can get your German IBAN and BIC number within 10 minutes.
If you need a German bank account number immediately, then I recommend this online account.
If you are in this situation, this online bank will help you.
But be careful. This bank is not suited for long term use.
If you make many cash withdrawals and bank transfers, it can become very expensive!
I recommend this bank account, if you need an account right here and right now.
Later on, you can always change to a free German bank account (see above).
Note that you cannot have more than 15.000 Euros in this account.
For whom is this German bank account good?
- you need to open a German bank account quickly
- you got rejected by other German banks
- you can provide a German address
- the account can be used privately
- the account can be used commercially by freelancers, German companies and businesses
The bank account activation fee is 39,00 Euros.
There is an additional activation fee of 99,00 Euros for commercial users.
The monthly account fee is 9,90 Euros.
The first monthly withdrawal by MasterCard is for free. After that it is 5,90 Euro per cash withdrawal.
You get a prepaid MasterCard with your account. The replacement for the MasterCard is free.
2. Language of communication.
At the moment, all communication is in German only. I recommend you installing the automatic Google Website translation tool, if you do not speak German. It automatically translate the website into English and helps you fill out the application form.
There is a customer hotline. There is no in-branch support. It is all online.
Short Guide – How to open a bank account in Germany?
#1 Register your residence
For most banks you must have a registration confirmation (Meldebescheinigung). This document confirms that you are registered in Germany. Without this document you cannot sign any contracts in Germany. Many expats do not realise how important it is to register. You must register in order to be able to sign contracts – such as bank accounts applications!
#2 Get your Documents together
To open a bank account in Germany you need
- your passport / European national ID card
- your registration confirmation
- visa / residence permit (if you have one)
- a pay statement from your employer (optional)
Can I open a German bank account online?
If you want to open a German bank account online, here are two options.
Firstly, you can open a bank account with Deutsche Bank in Germany. For this, you simply need to fill in the application form in your preferred language online. It takes about 2 minutes. Once you have filled in the application form, you then print the form and sign it. Afterwards you take it to a local post office to send it off. Alternatively, you can take it to a Deutsche Bank branch, if you want to open the account on the same day. You will receive your bank cards after approximately 5-7 working days.
A second option is to open an online account with DKB. Fill out the application form. You can then arrange a skype face-to-face interview in which you have to present your ID card. Alternatively, you go to a post office and verify your identity there. You must send your registration confirmation to DKB. Once the verification process is finished, you will get your bank cards within 5-7 working days.
How to make an APPOINTMENT to open a German bank account
Opening a bank account online is not everyone’s cup of tea. As such, you also have the possibility to make an online appointment at Berliner Bank.
Once you have booked the appointment online, you will then meet an employee of Berliner Bank personally. In this personal consultation you will get the chance to ask any question you may have. Note that the Berliner Bank is a premium branch of Deutsche Bank. It is definitely one of the best banks for expats in Germany. It offers you exclusive personal support, and many other additional services, ranging from premium home cash service for when you need cash in another currency; taxi vouchers; and even free travel health insurance – here you will feel well-taken care of.
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