How to open a bank account in Germany? Best Banks in Germany

To open a bank account in Germany you will have to collect several documents and follow certain procedures.
The procedures and documents required to open a German account may vary to a certain degree among banks in Germany. However, there is a list of documents that are common for most banks.

How to open a bank account in Germany? 

The application for opening a German bank account can be made online or in person.
If you apply online you will have to follow the procedures explained below

  1. Open the bank’s website 
  2. Print out the application form
  3. Fill properly the application form to request the opening of your German bank account (Girokonto)
  4. Print out your “PostIdent” form and sign it
  5. Your passport or a legal ID
  6. A copy of your registered address in Germany (Meldebescheinigung)
  7. Get to the closest post branch and send your application to the address of your bank 
In order to open an online bank account in Germany, you must first verify your identity. To do so, you may need to use a webcam, send an email with a verification code, or use PostIdent, an approved substitute for identifying your identity that is paid for by the corresponding online bank.

List of Best Banks in Germany

N26 – Best Bank for English Speakers

N26 bank accountIt seems like banks in Germany are still stuck in the last millennium.

Believe it or not, but right now N26 is the only bank in Germany that lets you sign up for a bank account on an English website.

While at most other banks you still need to physically show up at an office to prove your identity, N26 lets you sign up completely online.

So setting up your German bank account has just become incredibly easy.

Overview:

✅ English signup process
✅ Free Maestro card and Mastercard credit card
✅ Free money withdrawal up to 5x per month from any ATM in Germany and worldwide with N26 Mastercard

✅ English signup process

As already mentioned N26 is the only German bank at the moment that offers an English banking interface and also an English signup process.

If you ever tried to learn German you can imagine how helpful this really is.

✅ Free Maestro card and Mastercard credit card

When you sign up for N26, you’ll receive a free Maestro card that you can use in stores and restaurants, as well as a free Mastercard credit card.

So, in addition to being extremely convenient, N26 is also completely free, which is unusual in today’s world of low-interest rates, where banks must make money by charging for their accounts.

✅ Free money withdrawal

You can withdraw cash for free up to 5 times per month from any ATM in Germany with your N26 account.

It gets even better if you travel a lot because you can withdraw cash for free from any ATM worldwide as often as you want.

Furthermore, there are approximately 7.000 retail stores in Germany where you can get free cash.

In conclusion, there is no reason why you should not join N26 right now.

The registration process is online and in English, the account is free, and you can withdraw cash for free at any ATM.

Continue here if you want to check out N26 and sign up with them.

DKB – The Best Direct Bank in Germany

dkb logo

DKB – Deutsche Kreditbank is a Berlin-based direct bank that has been named best direct bank for the sixth year in a row by Focus Money.

This is a feat that no other German direct bank has ever accomplished. That’s a good sign that DKB is a good bank to open a German bank account with.

Overview:

✅ Free unlimited money withdrawal from any ATM in Germany and worldwide with a DKB Visa card
✅ Very easy and clean online banking interfaceGreat customer service
✅ Ability to sign up without German address
? If you can’t provide a steady income application might get declined

✅ Free unlimited money withdrawal

Getting out cash without paying fees at any ATM is a big plus for signing up with DKB.

With traditional banks like Sparkasse or Hypovereinsbank, you can only withdraw money without a fee at ATMs of their branch.

However, finding an ATM in your branch, particularly in rural areas or in Berlin, is extremely difficult.

Even better, you can withdraw money for free from any ATM in the world with your free DKB visa card.

✅ Online banking interface

DKB’s online banking interface is cutting-edge, making online banking simple and enjoyable. Everything you used to have to do at your local bank can now be done online.

DKB, of course, provides a secure line (SSL), and funds can be transferred using the standard TAN system.

✅ Great customer service

DKB offers a local 24/7 service hotline concerning any problem that you might run into.

So whether your account got closed due to suspicious login attempts or you have some questions regarding your account there will always be a friendly DKB employee to help you with your problems.

✅ Ability to sign up from abroad

In the past (and still today with most other banks), you had to provide a German address in order to receive your final documents.

Things could get very complicated if you didn’t have an apartment (because you didn’t have a German bank account yet).

So, if you already know you’ll be moving to Germany, sign up with DKB from afar.

? Declined application

We have heard that DKB sometimes might decline applications without telling you a reason why.

We believe that in order to provide such excellent service and low rates, DKB makes every effort to avoid attracting “bad” customers who may not have sufficient funds in their bank account.

However, if you are accepted, which is usually the case, you can rest assured that you chose DKB wisely.

Summary:

DKB – Deutsche Kreditbank has been rated best bank in Germany in many leading consumer magazines from Focus Money to Handelsblatt.

This is unsurprising given DKB’s numerous advantages over traditional banks, including free international money withdrawals and 24-hour customer service hotlines.

DKB is the place to go if you’re looking for a bank account in Germany.

Foreigners will value the ability to sign up from anywhere in the world, as well as the customer service, which is typically in English.

Postbank – Best Traditional Bank in Germany

Postbank

Postbank, like DKB, has won several awards in the past, including Focus Money’s award for the safest online bank.

Isn’t it nice to have some peace of mind when you switch all of your banking to online banking?

Overview:

✅ Local branches throughout Germany
✅ Girokonto just 3,90€ per month
✅ Withdraw from 10.000 ATMs from Cash-Group in Germany without any charges
✅ Get Free Visa Credit Card for one year
? Only free cash withdrawal from cash group ATMs

✅ Local branches

If you do not feel comfortable yet opening up an online bank account then Postbank is your best choice.

Postbank is a traditional bank where you do all your banking in their local branches. But of course, if you want to do your banking online, Postbank also offers that option.

✅ Girokonto just 3,90€ per month

The good news is that Postbank is less picky when it comes to accepting applications. But this means that they will charge a little fee for the Girokonto plus.

✅ Withdrawal from cash group ATMs without any fee 

With your Girokonto you will automatically get an EC-card which will enable you to withdraw money from any Cash Group ATM free of charge and also pay in most supermarkets/restaurants/shops cashless and also free of charge.

In fact, Germans do love paying with their EC-card even for goods less than 5 Euros. So get prepared to always bring your EC-card wherever you go.

✅ Free Visa Credit Card for 1 year

Make sure to opt-in for a free-of-charge Visa Credit Card. This way you will be able to also withdraw money for free worldwide if you are frequently traveling.

Be aware that the Credit Card will cost 29€ per year from the second year onwards.

? Only free cash withdrawal Cash Group ATMs

Usually, Cash Group ATMs are everywhere to find, but sometimes, especially if you need to get out cash urgently, it might happen that you need to use a noncash group ATM. And this will cost you money.

Summary:

If you don’t feel comfortable with online banking yet then Postbank is a very good choice to open up your German bank account with.

The Girokonto will have a monthly fee, but at only 3,90€ per month, it is a good deal.

Oh, and their local branches are typically very modern, with excellent service. Postbank was voted “best Girokonto” in 2014 for good reason.


Source Movingto-Germany

The cover image is somewhere in Munich, Germany. Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash