Open your german bank account

To open a German bank account can quickly become overwhelming, especially if you need some service fast. I took time to explore the options when signing up for my first account, here are my findings. 🙂

Open a bank account in Germany

A quick overview of the best bank accounts in Germany

For people that are in a hurry, this table sums it up and compare features nicely. There is more information waiting under the table too.

Best value

Open your German bank account : your choice will make a difference

Like in many countries, there are only  few banks splitting the market between them. The most common brick & mortar banks you can find in Berlin and in the rest of Germany are:

The 3 lasts are organized into what is called the “cash group“. Any customer of a cash group bank with a German bank account can withdraw money at any ATM within the group for free. Otherwise, there is a 5€ to 8€ fee to withdraw in any other bank’s ATM.

All in all, they are banks and they more or less offer the same services within similar price range.

However, opening a bank account in Germany with one of those big banks usually requires to go in an agency and talk to a reluctant employee because they don’t want to/are not allowed to speak English. It is stressful and sometimes, you just don’t have time when you need to figure out accommodation or a job at the same time.

Sooner or later, you need to pay your rent and put your wage money somewhere (Ka-ching!), so you have to make a choice. What you need is a “Girokonto”, a transactional account where your expenses and earnings go into. That’s the standard account.

The most relevant option for your German bank account : N26

Although it is lesser known than the ones above, my recommendation for your German bank account would be to apply for one at N26 for the following reasons :

  • It offers the Girokonto with no fees attached which not all banks do. Not with N26: that is free.
  • Interface and customer support available in English and you don’t need to be a German resident.
  • No need to have a Meldebescheinigung to open a bank account.
  • You can withdraw money for free everywhere in the world with the free Mastercard they offer. Not all banks give credit cards for free.
  • It also comes with free online banking and free international money transfer which is not the case for all banks.
  • Everything is manageable from your phone and online, starting with opening the account. You don’t need to go talk to someone in an agency, which is a relief when you don’t speak so much German. No pressure to sign a document if you are not sure either.
  • You can open the account online in a few minutes with a webcam.
  • No hidden fees, easy to close the account.

Pretty much how they looked at me at bank branch when trying to open an account there for the first time. None of that for online banks. A relief! 🙂

This is how you open your bank account in Germany online

  • Click here, and then click on “Open bank account”.
  • Enter your email adress
  • You just need your passport and a smartphone
  • Go through the ID check with the customer support (Alternatively, you can also simply visit a post office for the ID check.)
  • Receive your cards within 2-3 days

You can even your identity online with a webcam directly with them. That’s faster.

I’ve personally been very satisfied with their services so far and i think a few of my expats friends would agree with me. I also read on forums and Facebook groups that it’s a very recommended choice as far German bank account for expats goes.

An alternative choice for an online German bank account: DKB

If for some reason you are looking for another online bank option, a great runner-up is DKB. It offers the same advantages as DKB and the same easy process to open the account online. However, they do not not support English as a communication language. More info this way.

An alternative if you are looking for more service and physical branches: Postbank

Not everyone is looking for the same things when looking for a banking service. For some, it’s about paying just a little bit more to obtain more service and more flexibility in return. If this sounds more suitable to you and you speak a little bit of German, Postbank is a good choice for the following reasons:

  • The bank has agencies everywhere in Germany, even in the smallest cities, which can become handy in case you need services on holidays or if you move outside of Berlin.
  • Their Girokonto plus is for free if you are still student, otherwise it costs 3,90€ per month, which stay relatively cheap.
  • Visa cards comes for free the first year, then 29€ per year.

Transferring some of my savings to my new account (e.g: for visas, deposits)?

We all have been there; we sometimes need to pay something big like a deposit on a flat or your simply need to prove you have the means to stay in Germany to obtain your visa. Since there isn’t much money yet on the new bank account, you might want to transfer some of your savings there to pay for those things. Depending on your bank at home, they might charge you up to 5% of the said amount to make that transfer from another currency. So e.g, on a $3000 transfer, you might pay up to $150 just to move money around!

If that’s true for you, you might want to use services TransferWise which thanks to its unique system, allows you to transfer money in other currencies with a very reduced fee. It has no hidden fees like most of banks have!

About ATM fees

In Germany

Banks in Germany are not really playing fair between them and won’t let customers from others banks withdraw cash without a fee. This fee can be anywhere between 3€ to 5€. Sparkasse is usually considered to have the best network of ATMs that are well distributed through out Germany’s cities. The other network is called the cash-group, as mentioned in the beginning of this article. Opening a bank account a Germany will also let you use smaller “independent” ATMs outside of bank branches. These are placed where banks are not good at placing cash points. Fees can reach 8€ euros however, so beware. Owning a credit card can solve that trouble for you, especially if you go with online banks, which have agreements to waive the fee.

A lesser know cash point solution too: supermarkets. Some supermarkets like Penny or Rewe will also let you withdraw money for free on top of your normal groceries’ bill.


German banks are usually reasonable on fees when withdrawing money abroad but they might charge a high conversion rate to compensate. Staying in the E.U zone also limits fees. Banks like DKB or N26 don’t charge anything at all when using credit cards at cash points.

German bank account for freelancers and self-employed

If you are currently self-employed and you are looking for a separate bank account to manage all your business related expenses and income, you might be surprised by how costly it is to manage and extra bank account for this. Some banks make you pay a premium or will bill you depending on the movements on the said account. Some banks are also simply refusing to open another account for you because your income is too low, or your SCHUFA score doesn’t fit. N26 steps in here nicely again and offers a business German bank account for self-employed people. You might want to check it out.

Common banking fees across German banks

Comparing banking fees are a good way to make a decision beyond the simple flagship offer they might display everywhere. Banking fees are usually called “Kontoführungsgebühren” (Account management fee) and look like this for most banks:

  • Grundpreis – basic fee: Monthly fee for having a bank account in the first place. Yes, this still exists in a fully automated 21st century bank.
  • Dispokredit – Overdraft: that’s when you withdraw more money than you have, up to certain contractual limit. It’s usually costing 7% to 11%.
  • Uberziehung – also overdraft but not limited by any conditions.
    Here is a quick table to for a quick overview.
  • Bareinzahlung – cash deposit: that’s when you want to deposit cash into your account.
  • Kontoauszüge: German banks are legally required to send you a monthly account statement, giving you an overview of movements on the account. Also it’s mostly free if you decide to receive in a digital format, most banks will bill you the luxury of receiving by post.

Other kinds of bank accounts in Germany & key terms :

  • Sparbuchkonto : Savings accounts. This is money you lock away for a long time in exchange for interesting rates.
  • Sperrkonto : Locked account. Typically used to allow foreigners to acquire visas. This is to prove they have sufficient means to stay in Germany.
  • Mietkautionskonto – Mietkaution Sparkonto: Deposit for your apartment. In case you can’t give your landlord the full amount, the bank provides deposit money that you repay with an interest. It can be relevant for international students.
  • Disposition Kredit (DispoKredit) : The overdraft limit you are allowed. As with any banks, this comes at a cost, generally depending on your monthly earnings.
  • Zinsen : Interest rates
  • Überweisung : Money transfer
  • Bargeld : cash

Don’t hesitate to leave your questions in the comment! 🙂


  • Reply imran raza khan 10/04/2018 at 12:05

    I just started my job and living in hotel. can i start account in N26 and mention my Office address(which i can change after registration)?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 12/04/2018 at 08:45

      Hi Imran. I think it’s possible. As long as you can receive the documents that they will send you by post.

  • Reply Jan 04/04/2018 at 16:41

    I planning to do some business in Germany and need some customer company insurance. Which would guarantee that I get paid for my invoice. Which Bank can help me with this?


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 12/04/2018 at 08:57

      Hi Jan. Sorry, i can’t help you about corporate accounts.

  • Reply Freda 30/03/2018 at 17:04

    Hi! Your blog is super detailed and easy to read. Thank you for your effort 🙂

    I am moving to Berlin in 2 months and I am shopping around for the best bank account. N26 looks very attractive but my only concern is that they charge for direct deposit (my salary) after the first month. Is this true or am I reading their fee price wrong?


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 04/04/2018 at 15:16

      Hi Freda. This seems to be wrong. Where did you read this?

  • Reply Thomas 26/02/2018 at 04:06

    I am dual citizen of Germany and the United States. My wife (who is a US citizen) and I are moving to Germany for a few years for grad school. At this point we do not know which city or school we are going to, or if we are accepted. That’s no worry. That will be an adventure. Here is the trouble: We want to rent an apartment ( I know it’s difficult), but to do that we need a bank account for the SCHUFA. To get this bank account we need a German address. To get this German address, we need a bank account. We can’t get this bank account without an address. ETC… How do I get a bank account to start the SCHUFA from the states, or when I get there without an address, so when we land we are ready to apply for apartments? We have an Airbnb in Berlin, but we will not sign for our Anmeldung since he just did that for a friend.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/02/2018 at 08:41

      Hi Thomas. Please read this post.

  • Reply Eiling Hi-Fong 19/02/2018 at 13:52

    Hi! Great article!.
    I’m from Ecuador, and I’ve just moved to Berlin. I tried to open an account in N26, and I couldn’t complete the process because they can’t verify my passport.
    They told me that they are looking for the technology, but they don’t know when they will have it. So… Which bank would you recommend me… I speak NO German 🙁

  • Reply Anne Jensen 16/02/2018 at 10:19

    Thanks for your great advice!

    I recently moved to Hamburg and took your advice to open an account at N26, and it works fine. Only thing is that I can only have 1 account there – the one where I receive my salary. Do you have any recommendations when I want to also have a “budget account” and a “savings account”? It shouldn’t be special types of account; just something for me to keep a structure on my financials.


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 17/02/2018 at 11:01

      Hi Anne. There is savings or invest service in the app i believe.

      • Reply Anne Jensen 20/02/2018 at 10:18

        Hi again – yes, there is, but I don’t wish to invest at this point; just to have my own money structured on more accounts. I guess it is possible in the more traditional banks? Do you have any knowledge on that?

        All the best

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 21/02/2018 at 16:51

          I don’t understand what you need then. For me a savings account is helping you to make that money grow while you don’t use it…

  • Reply Muhammad muaz 25/01/2018 at 17:17

    Hey! I’m from Pakistan. I opened my close account in Germany in a dustche bank with a closing amount of 8400 euros. I want to withdraw that money as i dont proceed my visa case.
    Can u please guide me that how it is possible for me to take my money out from german bank.
    If u will help me it will b an honour for me.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 27/01/2018 at 09:54

      Hi Muhammad. Simply make a transfer to your domestic bank account i suppose.

  • Reply derya derya 17/01/2018 at 18:02

    I just moved in Frankfurt yesterday and I need to solve this bank account issue as soon as possible. N26 sounds great but when I read the pricing list, I see that a free is charged (1.5%) on deposits after the first 100 eur/month. So I need to pay a fee to put money that is exceeding 100 eur into the account?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 18/01/2018 at 19:47

      Hi Derya. I believe it’s for cash deposits that they charge fees after 100€ per month.

  • Reply Kai 06/11/2017 at 23:57

    Hi, thanks for the great information. I’ve been with DB for some years now (started with the Sperrkonto for the visa). Now I have a research job with the university and would like to seitch banks – perhaps to Ing-DiBa or DKB, but since I have an income now (from the job + some freelance copy-editing job), I am wondering if I should get a Tagesgeldkonto to earn a little interest or continue to have a Girokonto. Do you have advice for this? And which bank would you recommend for the Tagesgeldkonto? Thanks very much in advance!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/11/2017 at 18:02

      Hi Kai. No particular advice on the Tagesgeld konto; only it’s terrible interest rates.

  • Reply paul 01/11/2017 at 07:44

    Hey there, great article! I live in Berlin with my husband and I’m paid bi-monthly VIA direct deposit from my company in the USA–do German banks charge fees for international direct deposit of wages?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 03/11/2017 at 09:39

      In general, there are no fees if the transfer comes from the EU. Outside the EU, you will need to check bank by bank as they have different policies.

  • Reply Guillermo kesselbrenner 31/10/2017 at 13:15

    I want to open a bank account, I have a German passport and I want to transfer over 2 milion dollar from my account in NYC.
    Do I need to frovide declaration for the origin of the money?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 03/11/2017 at 09:37

      Hi Guillermo, in this case, you will probably need to declare this extraordinary transfer either when opening the account or during your Steuererklärung the year after. Maybe it’d be wise to ask an asset manager how to do that best.

  • Reply Kyriakos 13/08/2017 at 17:30

    Hello Bastien, I have a question about N26 account! If I open a bank account with them, can I put some money through an ATM to my account in order to pay my radio, TV taxes online? Thanks in advance!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/08/2017 at 11:30

      Hi Kyriakos, it’s possible to deposit cash money into your account via the app by going through one of their partners (a lot of supermarkets and other local branches).

  • Reply Larisa fica 02/08/2017 at 16:01

    Hi, amazing article, very helpful! I just moved to Berlin and I want to open a bank account – I have my rent in cash and I have to send it via bank transfer, I read that at N26 you cant make cash deposits. Is that correct? Thank you in advance 🙂

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 06/08/2017 at 22:47

      No that is not correct. You can make cash desposit via the app and a barcode system at Supermarkets like Rewe, Real or Penny or any Mobilcom Debitel branch.

  • Reply David Bado 28/07/2017 at 10:18


    I am moving to Berlin in october and I need a german bank account for work, housing …
    So I started to read a little bit about N26 and it’s a little bit confusing with the cards. If you open an acount you will get Maestro card (debit card). How is this card different to EC card (e.g. from DKB) ? Is there a problem with acceptance of Maestro? I am EU citizen and I always had Visa credit card and Maestro debit card and never had a problem to pay anywhere in Europe (always at least on of them was accepted). Am I missing something?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 28/07/2017 at 11:50

      Hi David. Just like Maestro is a pretty standard debit card in the UK, EC Karte is pretty standard here too. In terms of acceptance, pretty much anywhere will accept both.

  • Reply Thomas 27/06/2017 at 09:31

    I am a US resident/citizen, although I own an apartment in Germany. Would I need a German resident card to open an N26 account, or could I just use my apartment’s address in Germany and my US passport?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 27/06/2017 at 10:15

      Hi Thomas, i think you need to be resident in Germany (with a Meldebescheinigung) to be able to open a bank account with them.

      • Reply David Bado 02/08/2017 at 08:16

        Do you really the german address/anmeldung for the N26 account? Because in article is stated: “Interface and customer support available in English and you don’t need to be a German resident.”

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 02/08/2017 at 12:36

          Hi David. You can also sign-up for an account there if you are resident in a bunch of other EU countries. They have a list there.

  • Reply Jeehoon Choo 06/06/2017 at 23:25


    i just arrived at here 10 days ago.

    I wondering if i only have sublease contract, can i open bank account ?

    i have a working – holidays VISA.

    I heard about that only way what can open bank account is to register address.(Anmeldung).

    I need bank account for start working.

    Any help or advice would be appreciated.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 07/06/2017 at 09:34

      Hi Jeehoon. Yes in your case, since you are on a visa here, you would need to register before opening a bank account. This might be quite hard as your visa is probably valid only for a very limited time, which most banks don’t like.

  • Reply Francesca 29/05/2017 at 11:55

    Hi there,
    I am trying to understand how to start building a Schufa record asap, in order to find a flat, and I was considering opening an online account with N26 to start paying phone bills etc. But looking on the web, I read this: “Since Number26 account does not make a record on the credit history, it does not affect your score”. Does that mean that opening an account with N26 does not affect the Schufa record? Then, would it be better to open a bank accound with DKB or Deutsche Bank (I need English support) ? Thank you again so much!!!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 29/05/2017 at 16:20

      To be clear, you will be able to create a SCHUFA record with an account with N26. The website you linked to just specifies that opening an account won’t impact your score negatively.

  • Reply Gav 12/05/2017 at 14:27

    N26 does not apply to Britian I just tried and they said they will NOT open an account from Britian. I would need a Germany address.

    • Reply Martina 17/05/2017 at 16:44

      Hello Gav, you need to have an address in a country with the Euro to be able to sign up for an N26 account!

      Cheers from N26

  • Reply Sudeshna 06/04/2017 at 13:57

    Hello! I needed some advice. I recently moved to Berlin after my wedding (my husband is a German). I have now got my Residence permit for 3 years (which allows me to work as well) and the job hunt is on. I am looking to open a bank account now (DKB seems a good option from what I read above) after which I would need to transfer some money from my Indian savings account to the German account. So, my query is, one – can I do this kind of transaction with the German banks here? Second, I was wondering if I need to pay taxes in Germany if I do this kind of money transfer from my Indian savings account to the German account. Any help?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/04/2017 at 13:47

      Hi Sudeshna. You can use Transferwise as mentioned in the article, to transfer your saving from India once you have your German bank account. It works from all countries to all countries. Regarding taxes: I’d recommend you to do research if there is a bilateral agreement between India and Germany on this matter. It’S different for each country.

  • Reply Payman 31/03/2017 at 13:17

    DKB is the most racist bank I have ever seen. I got this when I applied>

    As already stated in our previous correspondence we are not
    in a position to process your query as all of our communication
    is held in German.

    However, submitting your query in German will enable us to deal
    with it as quickly as possible.

    • Reply RG 06/04/2017 at 15:45

      What’s racist about expecting that people speak German if they want to do business in Germany?

  • Reply Alex 28/03/2017 at 08:20

    Thanks for having this blog.
    There is no bank that accepts opening a bank account for a person without a German address? I will start work on the 3rd of April, in Berlin, but I do not have yet a permanent place to stay. I’ve booked a temporary one, on the internet, until I find a flat. If I can not find a flat in time and therefore not be able to open a bank account, then the company can not pay me? Or companies here can transfer money to an international bank account within the EU? Thank you very much and have a nice week,

  • Reply Jo 13/03/2017 at 10:59

    Hi! I’m filling in paper for a job. One of the things I have to fill in is IBAN and BIC. I haven’t opened a German bank account yet but I’m wondering if it could work with my foreign one? Could I just write the IBAN and BIC for my foreign one?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 13/03/2017 at 12:33

      Hi Johanna. Yes for now. It will do. You can change details as soon as you have a bank account.

  • Reply Brigitte 10/03/2017 at 12:58

    Hello, fantastic website!
    I have just moved to Berlin, done the Anmeldung but no job yet. Living on my savings from Australia.
    I tried to open an account with DKB but been rejected.Probably because I specified I was without a job and no earning?
    Can I estimate my earning as a freelance – I’m a finance professional? Would they check it?


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 11/03/2017 at 12:49

      Hi Brigitte. Yes, you should give an estimate for your future income. Only time will let them check how much it will be in reality.

  • Reply Madhu 13/02/2017 at 13:39

    I am from India and and I have been in Berlin since a week and I am here on a language course visa for 5 months. I have a Mietvertrag from my landlord but I am yet to register my address at Bürgeramt. I have to open a bank account to transfer my money from India for my expenses here. I cannot use my credit card of my bank in India since it is not international. I will register at Bürgeramt soon. After that will I be able to open a bank account? I heard that Sparkasse bank will not open my account because my visa is only for 5 months. But I want to stay here only for five months. Will any other bank open an account for me? What about DKB ?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 13/02/2017 at 18:39

      Hey Madhu. Visa-related issues have often case-by-case answers so it’s quite hard for me to tell you what will happen for sure. DKB is asking to see your visa for sure but i don’t know if the amount of time matters. Good luck anyway.

      • Reply Madhu 12/04/2017 at 10:26

        Hallo Bastien,

        Although it’s pretty late, i just wanted to leave an update since it might help someone later. Sparkasse did not open an account for me stating that they require a 1 year visa validity. I finally opened an account with Deutsche Bank. Did not have any issues at all. I did submit copies of my passport and address registaration document. Everything went smooth !

  • Reply Brian Alhwayek 07/02/2017 at 12:45


    With regards to opening an account with DKB, do you know if I need a visa or residence permit in order to open the account?
    The problem is that in order to get my residence permit I need to show a bank statement, which I don’t have because I was forced to close my previous bank account when I left my previous job (Lebanon is a little complicated). So now all my money is in cash and I can’t open a bank account without a residence permit and can’t get a residence permit without a bank account.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 07/02/2017 at 14:35

      Hi Brian. You are in a difficult situation indeed. With any bank you need to show a Meldebescheinigung. With the DKB, it seems they will ask you for your visa yes (Aufenthaltstitel). Maybe try Comdirect or go in an office to explain your situation (Sparkasse for example).

      • Reply Brian 20/03/2017 at 19:58

        I’ve decided to go with Comdirect and have recently done the PostIdent procedure. I just wanted to know if there was a way to track my progress? For example if there’s something wrong with my application do you know if I would be contacted or if my application would be thrown out altogether?

        Thanks again (:

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 21/03/2017 at 10:28

          Hi Brian. You will be let known of the outcome of the process, negative or positive.

  • Reply Ron 01/02/2017 at 12:21

    DKB process is not so easy. I applied online, went through the webcam verification and then received this:

    “wir freuen uns, dass Sie sich für das DKB-Cash entschieden haben.
    Um Ihre Anfrage schnell bearbeiten und entscheiden zu können, benötigen wir von Ihnen noch weitere Informationen und Dokumente:
    eine Kopie des aktuellen Aufenthaltstitels von Herrn Ronald Rodgers,
    eine Kopie Ihrer Strom-, Gas- oder Wasserrechnung, einen Kontoauszug Ihrer Bank oder eine Meldebescheinigung (maximal 12 Monate alt), aus der/dem die aktuelle Anschrift/Meldeanschrift von Herrn Ronald Rodgers hervorgeht”

    I did my Anmeldung already. But my lease is WARM so all utilities are included. My current banks are foreign so they do not have my German address and I am not sure what is meant by Meldebescheinigung. Do they simply want a copy of my lease showing it as all inclusive? A copy of my foreign bank account with my foreign address or should I go online and switch it to my German, print it out and then switch it back? What is the Meldebescheinigung though?

    I wrote to DKB at first in English and received this reply, ironically in English:

    “Dear Mr Rodgers,
    Thank you for your enquiry.
    Communication with our organisation is limited to the German language.
    It would be appreciated if you could send us your request or enquiries in
    German to allow us to process it as efficiently as possible. 
    We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and thank
    you for your assistance.

    Kind regards
    Ihre DKB”

    While it is a GERMAN bank, I thought I left this narrow-mindedness behind in Spain where even ING Direct refuses to serve you in any other language but Spanish since it is a “Spanish” bank (even though its parent is Dutch!) So I simply used Translator and sent them the new German version along with the original English.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 01/02/2017 at 12:35

      Hi Ron. If you did the Anmeldung already, it will be easy. Just send them a copy of the document you obtained then. This is the Meldebescheinigung they need. They also need a copy of your visa or residence permit. You did everything right so far, they just need those 2 documents and you will be good to go. 🙂

    • Reply Arun 04/02/2017 at 17:14

      Hi everyone

      I just got rejected by DKB and they weren’t even able to tell me why. I provided a copy of my Meldbescheinigung, a copy of my signed work contract which included my gross salary, and a copy of my previous salary slip (as I’ve only just started my new job, and haven’t got a pay slip with a net salary amount yet.

      As experienced by Ron in the above comment, no one except the ID guy spoke any English, and at no stage was any corrective advice given. I was just told to seek another bank.

      Not sure who to go with now, as pretty much everyone in Germany recommended I go with DKB.

      • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 06/02/2017 at 11:47

        Hi Arun, sometimes this can happen yes. Have you considered comdirect? It has the same conditions as DKB. Maybe give it a shot there?

        • Reply Arun 30/03/2017 at 22:29

          Hi Bastien

          I got an account with ING Diba in the end. I actually found the process a lot easier and was approved straightaway. They even opened a savings account for free on top. The only drawback was that the web application couldn’t accept my UK address when it asked for previous addresses. However they were able to provide a paper application form via post, and it was alright in the end.

          I would definitely recommend ING-Diba

  • Reply rolando 25/01/2017 at 16:17

    “However, opening a bank account in Germany with one of those big banks usually requires to go in an agency and talk to a reluctant employee because they don’t want to / not allowed to speak German.” – You mean English, right?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/01/2017 at 17:37

      Hi Rolando. Yes of course; typo fixed thanks. 🙂

  • Reply Natalia 12/01/2017 at 10:18

    Can you tell what is the next step after the Webcam identification? I just had one and they did not say anything about what to do next, I mean if the decision is positive and if so how to proceed.
    I would appreciate your reply.
    And your blog is so helpful, thank you for sharing your experience 🙂

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 13/01/2017 at 10:05

      Hello Natalia, i’m glad it could help. After the Video Ident Step, you should receive a confirmation from DKB the next day that everything went well. After another two or three business days, you should receive your documents at home. Good luck.

    • Reply Ranjith 17/01/2017 at 11:23

      hi, did you get any update from DKB. I have also done the same and waiting for their update. 🙂

  • Reply Bryce 03/01/2017 at 11:25

    Hi there! Love your site and have been following it to a T since I moved to Berlin! 🙂

    I applied to DKB, went through the process over webcam, and received a letter in the mail very vaguely stating that based on the data they had, they could not open an account for me. There really aren’t specifics, and I am wondering if they may have raised the standards of acceptance?

    DKB is surely the best bank option, and I’d definitely be inclined to apply again. I’m a freelance web designer and just moved from the US – estimated income at 2000 euros per month. Just confused as to what the hold up may have been, for instance if it may have been in regards to “Bitte ergänzen Sie eine Voranschrift in den letzten 3 Jahren.” — my previous US address, my stated ‘Nationality’, my TIN (which I originally input as my US Social Security number), estimating too low of a monthly income, or exactly what would have disqualified me…

    Many thanks for any insight you have on this!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 03/01/2017 at 11:55

      Hi Bryce. I’m glad the blog is helping. It’s hard to tell the reason why they refuse people. If if the absence of SCHUFA record is not the issue, it often has to do with the figure you put in as your monthly income. I always recommend to put a high enough number like 2500€ for example.

      • Reply Bryce Willem 03/01/2017 at 21:40

        Awesome, will give another go. Thanks much 🙂

      • Reply Bryce 04/01/2017 at 15:52

        Sorry if this is double posting (don’t think it sent properly when I last replied). I realized and wanted to follow up because I realized I don’t currently have a SCHUFA yet. I think I might have just mixed up my order of operations here. Would you advise that I go get my phone plan set up so that that SCHUFA is automatically created, and then go to re-apply here with DKB?

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 05/01/2017 at 10:03

          Yes, this could be a viable strategy.It depends on if the provider accepts foreign bank accounts though.

  • Reply Francisco 31/10/2016 at 08:33


    pretty good article, it is really helpful! I am went to DKB page and I saw that one of the benefits is the follow “DKB-VISA-Card und Girokarte, jeweils plus Partnerkarte” that means that for each card they give to you an extension? I am asking that due to my wife and I recently moved to Germany and I want to do a extension for her.


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 31/10/2016 at 09:28

      Hi there. You are signing up for a joint account, which means that both of you will get their own set of cards.

  • Reply Sarah 05/10/2016 at 20:27

    Hi, amazing website! I’ve just arrived in Berlin, it’s the first time I will be living in Germany and I’m from Belgium.
    I did my Anmeldung and I am wondering if I can get a SCHUFA with my Belgian bank account or if I first need to open a German bank account?
    Best wishes

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 06/10/2016 at 09:34

      Hi there Sarah. That case never came up. Maybe ask them yourself and come back to let us know what the answer was?

      • Reply Sarah 11/10/2016 at 16:53

        Hi, so unfortunately it turns out I will need a German bank account after all!

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 11/10/2016 at 18:57

          Cool. Thanks for letting us know.

          • Alex 01/12/2016 at 11:24

            Hey! I just moved from Belgium too. Started a new job here, but trying to work out the banking / accommodation! What did you choose in the end Sarah?

  • Reply Maria 27/09/2016 at 12:42

    Quick question about filling in the form for DKB. They ask for the net income which I am not sure how much it issince I recently started to work as a freelancer. Can an estimate work for them?


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 27/09/2016 at 13:56

      Hi Maria. Yes that’d be enough for them.

  • Reply Nazira 09/09/2016 at 16:58

    Hi,i try to identify my self online by DKB but identification centre is told me that my country is not allowed to be identify by online, so i send my passport copy and registration and the EU visa by post to DKB, i am not sure if i will get an bank account,,, and how long in takes,,,can anyone suggest me is need to wait for reply or open in another bank an account.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 12/09/2016 at 09:40

      If you want through the Post-Ident process, it should work out without a problem. You should have your bank account within a few days now.

  • Reply Ahmed 04/09/2016 at 02:09

    I come to berlin for studying so i need to open an german bank account and I found your informations great but when i tried to open an account through DBK , they asked me if i “steuerlich ansässig” and then asked for tax residence and it’s number !! I tried to search for it but i couldn’t find anything

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 04/09/2016 at 15:59

      They are asking you where you’re tax residence is at the moment. You can enter your information from back home as well. Does that work for you?

  • Reply Sarah 29/07/2016 at 10:52

    How many days it takes to have a bank account number if I apply to DKB today?
    I need to send a bank account number to my company ASAP, but with all this proceedings it seems to me that it can take longer than other banks, which can give me the number in a few minutes.
    Thanks 🙂

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 29/07/2016 at 15:47

      It takes only a few days when using the option of proving your identity with the Webcam.

      • Reply Milo 12/08/2016 at 14:14

        I’m wondering this as well! I have an appointment at the Ausländerbehörde in Stuttgart in 5 days time and only verified my ID via webcam today (Fri). Also have to wait for the SWIFT transfer of AUD to the DKB account. How else can I prove my finances for the Student Aufenthaltserlaubnis if it doesn’t work in time?

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 12/08/2016 at 14:36

          I suppose you can always bring a confirmation that you made the transfer to you german account from you Australian one if you are tight on time. As with anything regarding visa situations, i guess it will depend on the agent in front to you if they want to be a bit more lenient for you. Otherwise, you might have to make another appointment.

          • Milo 12/08/2016 at 17:24

            Thanks for the reply – hope it comes through I time. I just went to Postbank to ask if I could open account there (the one I’m waiting on is DKB) but they said I can’t open a postbank account until I have a >6 month visa.

  • Reply Gil 28/07/2016 at 16:20


    Thanks for the super useful information. I need an EC Kart, should I ask precisely for one or is something automatic? (I have an account with Number 26 and they don’t have an EC Kart and I need one).

    Thank You!

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 28/07/2016 at 18:22

      The standard card that you get in Germany when opening an account is an EC Karte, which is a debit card. The credit card is sometimes added on top, either only after sometime or with an additional fee. Free credit cards are actually not that common in Germany and that’s how Number26 tries to sets itself apart from the competition. DKB does provide both.

  • Reply Dana White 17/07/2016 at 18:56


    I am an international student (from the US) and I tried to open a DKB account online. I was rejected. Do you think it was because I do not have an address in Germany yet?

  • Reply mohammad 09/07/2016 at 11:12

    My visa has been issued for 6 months and I have to pay for health insurance. It is necessary to open a bank account or it can be pay in cash every month?

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 10/07/2016 at 11:33

      I dont think it is possible to pay cash but it’s possible to transfer the money from your home account. I guess it’s preferable to open a german bank account to pay those sort of things and others but there aren’t any fees with your domestic bank, it might not be necessary. You can also call and ask your krankenkasse for confirmation.

  • Reply Josefina 23/06/2016 at 15:40

    How does it work the dkb with the atm?, how much is the fee per withdrawl?, does it belong to a cash group with other banks?

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 24/06/2016 at 14:45

      It doesn’t belong to the cash group but there are no fees withdrawing from ATMs in banks from the cash group or Sparkasse, or most other banks abroad. There might be fees when withdrawing from those non-affiliated ATMs in Spätis or train stations though.

  • Reply Rajesh 06/06/2016 at 09:51

    One of my clients wants to do business in London and berlin .
    He needs a bank account at both the places / or a single bank with presence at both the places .

    His status and available documents is as under….

    [1] Indian citizenship – Indian passport
    [2] Personal bank account statement -Indian banks
    [3] Tax payer registration and returns filed with the income tax department of India.
    [4] UK based private limited company – incorporated recently – single director / shareholder.
    [5] Source of Funds available in bank accounts / tax papers – clearences also


    [1] bank account in a bank having branches at London and berlin
    [2] wants to open online if possible
    [3] if mandatory—may come to London / berlin and visit bank
    [4] wants to complete all documentary compliance in advance , before he comes there so that he is not required to stay long for opening bank account .
    [5] may be able to do transactions online / via debit / credit card once a/c is opened

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 06/06/2016 at 20:21

      Well i guess big international banks like HSBC would do.

  • Reply William Kavanagh 17/05/2016 at 12:45


    I am moving to Berlin in two weeks and this site has been my bible. Thank you for putting together such a useful tool! I have made an appointment for my Anmeldung a few days after I arrive, however I am keen to open an account right away. Are there any banks that will let me do this without my Anmeldung? Is it enough to take proof of an appointment? I was under the impression that Sparkasse would allow me to this?



    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 17/05/2016 at 18:04

      In my knowledge, this has proven to be difficult because a passport alone is not enough. However, you can always try and let us know if that worked. 🙂

    • Reply Nicolas Bouliane 18/05/2016 at 15:44

      I managed to do it with Commerzbank as a Canadian resident. They needed a couple of papers for proof, but it worked out alright.

  • Reply Laura 10/05/2016 at 22:07


    I’ve just tried to open a DKB account online but it wont let me complete the process, saying it can only open accounts for people in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Has anyone else come across this problem and can anyone suggest a solution? Is it because I’m entering a UK address? Do I have to wait until I have a German address and then apply from there?


    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 11/05/2016 at 09:34

      Yes, you have to enter a German address to open a bank account with DKB. Wait a little bit until you have one.

  • Reply Skalka 28/04/2016 at 20:40


    Is it necessary to have a job already to open a GiroKonto in DKB bank? Or can i open one before i found a job?
    I opened an account in sparkasse today, and they made it a hard time for me in the beginning because i don’t have a job yet, but in the end they agreed. The thing is that i need to pay 6.95 euro a month for the account. So maybe i should switch to DKB?


    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 28/04/2016 at 22:56

      Yes, many banks in Germany charge you when you don’t have a certain income per month going into the account. It’s called “Kontoführung Gebühren”. The DKB doesn’t have that. It’s really non-sense that this is still happening these days, when everything is going through computers.

  • Reply Jason Hyndman 20/04/2016 at 02:56

    Have you heard of NUMBER26? What are your thoughts on them?

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 20/04/2016 at 09:37

      I have heard good things about them so far but i want to wait a little while more before recommending it here, to make sure that the experience is as good as i have heard.

      • Reply Jason Hyndman 13/05/2016 at 16:00

        That’s okay then, I’m thinking on going with them except the give a credit card which is not accepted everywhere. Is DKB the same? Can they provide debit cards or credit cards only?

        • Reply settle_in_Berlin 14/05/2016 at 10:47

          DKB provides a VISA card for free that you can use worldwide without any fees when withdrawing money or when paying with it. It also provides the standard EC Karte (debit card) for Germany.

  • Reply New Berliner 31/03/2016 at 12:42

    Thanks for the help!!

  • Reply yael weiss gadish 23/01/2016 at 16:06

    Hollo, as an international company located in Israel, can we open bank account in Berlin or do we need a companey registrated in Germany for that?

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 24/01/2016 at 12:09

      I must say i don’t know i haven’t never opened an account while not being in Germany. The DKB seems to allow to open from outside the country but you need an extra ID check via a local partner branch in your home country or something. You can have a look on their website.

  • Reply Aileen 21/12/2015 at 15:15

    Do you know what the best way is to open a Sperrkonto? I went to the branch in Deutch Bank, but they told me I had to register online, and activate it at the branch in person. I tried finding the application form online, but I can’t find it anywhere

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 21/12/2015 at 16:47

      A sparkonto ? Are you sure you need a savings account ? Correct me if i’m wrong but you need maybe more a GiroKonto ? Let me know if that’s the case. You can find application form for such a bank account therethere for Postbank, there for Commerzbank, and there for Consorsbank.

      • Reply Peter 04/01/2016 at 00:31

        A Sperrkonto is not the same as a Sparkonto. It is a type of account from which only a limited amount can be withdrawn per month. The owner is “blocked” from withdrawing more, so to speak. Such an account is often needed by foreign students to demonstrate proof of sufficient means.

        • Reply Aditya 03/04/2016 at 19:08

          Yeah i also need to open an account so which bank is best

          • settle_in_Berlin 04/04/2016 at 14:08

            DKB is highly recommendable, free Girokonto, no fees paying or withdrawing money, even abroad. <

  • Reply SZhan 12/10/2015 at 15:02

    Thanks for the very useful tips and options! I’m really grateful that you wrote this article to help newcomers along. German bureaucracy can be so intimidating. Keep up the great work!

  • Reply peter odonnell 18/07/2015 at 19:36

    I only have my UK passport, and a birth cert, if i cant find someone speeking english in the bank i wont get far.
    have euros in cash luckily as im having visa issues after a purchace on a new zealand bank account.
    I Need an account here in Berlin and a visa to make it work .
    Any help or advice would be appreciated

    • Reply settle_in_Berlin 28/07/2015 at 11:16

      I’m not sure i get everything of your situation but i try other banks to find help in English, or alternatively, online banks that can serve you in English. Also ; if you have a UK passport, you shouldn’t need a visa right ? Are you not considered EU citizen then ?

  • Reply margaret lindsey 07/03/2015 at 11:55

    interested in opening bank account with bank of berlin germany
    deutsche bank
    need urgent information

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