There is a plethora of banking options nowadays for English-speakers in Germany, this Klarna bank account review will help you decide if it’s the right decision for you. It’s new offering from a company that has been long active in Germany. It comes with a unique positioning & features.
Klarna bank account review: TL;DR
Here are the main points to take away from this in-depth Klarna bank review:
- Klarna bank account is a free personal current account with integrated shopping and payment features. It comes from a trusted brand & institution.
- It has the usual features neo-banks come with: a German IBAN, free debit card, budgeting/analytics, slick interface, etc.
- Shopping is super easy in the app, and it keeps tracks of your expenses.
- Klarna’s bank account gives you access to installments, at a relatively lower fees than comparable offers on the market. (Please use with care though!)
- Multilingual support: German, English.
- No cash deposits possible, only 2 free ATM withdrawals per months.
- Customer reviews are mostly positive, but it’s hard to tell if it’s about banking because reviews are mixed with the rest of Klarna’s array of features.
- Feature-set is too limited to be used as a main bank account in Germany and cannot be recommended to frequent travellers.
What’s different about Klarna
Most people who have heard of Klarna in Germany know of them because of their “shop now, pay later” platform that allows online shoppers to pay back their purchases with an interest-free installment loan. Founded as Klarna Bank AB in Sweden in 2005, the company employs over 3500 people across various countries and over 90 million customers make use of their service as a payment method. At the beginning of 2021, Klarna moved more squarely into the German banking realm, offering a number of customers free trial checking accounts. They’ve since expanded this service to the general public, and now anyone can sign up for a bank account. This bank account is designed to be used in tandem with Klarna’s shopping services, offering users an end-to-end experience that lets them track and manage their finances and purchases on one platform.
Klarna general features
Between Klarna’s intuitive and user-friendly app and German IBAN account, there are a number of features that Klarna’s users can make use of:
- Mobile app. Klarna’s mobile app not only has a whole load of useful banking and payment features but also makes online shopping an absolute breeze. Fully available in English.
- Visa debit card. Each Klarna checking account gets its own Visa debit card free of charge. This card is also compatible with Google Pay and Apple Pay.
- Banking services. Klarna’s account takes care of all the standard banking features such as deposits and direct debits.
- Budgeting tools. Sort your money according to different spend categories and create monthly budgets.
- Account insights. Understand where your money’s going with a clear overview of your income and expenses.
- Push notifications. Know the comings and goings of money in your account in real-time with push notifications.
- Simple transfers and top-ups. Transfer funds quickly and easily and top up your account balance using a direct bank transfer or IBAN.
- Swedish deposit guarantee scheme. Rest assured knowing that your money is insured up to €100,000 by the Swedish National Debt Office should Klarna somehow fail and go bankrupt.
- 24/7 support. Klarna offers 24/7 customer support via an in-app chat. If you want to speak to someone, there is also phone support available from 9 am to 6 pm on weekdays.
- Advanced security. Log in to your Klarna account using a PIN or biometrics. Pay for things using 3D Secure. Lost your card? Freeze and unfreeze your card directly in the app. Enable and disable contactless, online, or foreign payments to stay in control.
- Phone hotline: as well as chat support in English too.
Klarna unique Features
Many banks and financial institutions offer credit cards but only at an extra cost once you’ve opened your bank account in Germany. Klarna, in addition to the free Visa debit card that comes with every bank account, also offer the Klarna Card, but you do have to apply for it separately. The Klarna Card is a kind of soft credit card that allows you to pay off your purchases immediately, in 14 days interest-free, or in monthly installments. If you decide that you need more time to pay off your purchase, you can extend your payment terms in the app.
Integrated shopping and banking
Klarna’s mobile app was designed not only to streamline its shopping functionalities but also to integrate seamlessly with its bank accounts. Once you open the app, you can track all of your payments, shop with countless online merchants, and also manage all of your finances and bank account. Rather than having to rely on three or four different apps and organisations, the Klarna app lets you take care of everything in one place. This immersive commerce experience makes it easy to buy the things you need while simultaneously keeping your finances in check, and it’s a feature we haven’t seen any other bank offer.
Buy now, pay later interest-free payment plans
Klarna’s bread and butter is a feature that allows you to shop for items and pay them back at a later date, and you can do this all in the Klarna app. If you pay the owed balance within 14 days of receiving the invoice, then you don’t pay any interest or fees. If you don’t pay within that time, Klarna can charge you €1.20 for each payment reminder that they have to send you.
Klarna also offers an installment plan that allows you to shop now and divide your costs into fixed or flexible installments for up to 24 months. For this, however, you pay an interest rate of 11.95%. This is fairly competitive to installments made possible with credit cards in Germany.
What are Klarna’s weaknesses?
For all its strengths, the Klara bank account does have its downsides. The account only offers basic banking functions but isn’t really suited for businesses or anyone moving large amounts of money since the interest rates of fixed deposit accounts are very low at 0.16%.
If you are planning to use their bank account switching feature, there is a fee attached to it (expect 4-8€). As a digital bank, it’s also not possible to transfer money into your account in cash at a counter.
How much does a Klarna bank account cost?
Klarna bank account is free to use and only includes a few fees for very specific transactions. However, the account management, transfers, and the issuing of a Visa debit card are all free of charge. The free bank account allows you to make free transfers within the European Economic Area, and there are no extra costs for direct debits and standing orders.
In the below table we’ll take a detailed look at which services are free to use and which ones are charged:
|Klarna bank card (VISA debit card)||Free|
|Transfers via online banking||Free|
|Cash withdrawals at the ATM||Two withdrawals per month free of charge then 2 euros for each additional withdrawal|
|Cashless payments by bank card worldwide||Free|
|Custody fee / negative interest from 500,000 euros credit||0.5% p.a.|
|Bank account switch service (notification made to existing SEPA mandates)||4-8€ depending on your case|
What are the different types of accounts offered by Klarna?
At the time of writing this bank account review for Klarna, it offers only one type of bank account. This is a German IBAN account that can be accessed via the Klarna mobile app as well as via any browser. As we mentioned above, it comes with a free Visa debit card and has all the basic banking functions that you can expect from a modern current account, including balance checking, deposits, withdrawals, direct debits, and free transfers from EEA countries and Switzerland. With regards to withdrawing money, you have two free ATM withdrawals per month, and thereafter have to pay €2 per withdrawal. The account supports Google Pay and Apple Pay capabilities, and if you have any issues you can contact Klarna’s 24/7 in-app chat support.
Klarna’s bank account offers fixed deposit capabilities. While there are no fees for involving your money in a fixed deposit, you do have to invest a minimum of €5,000 (up to a maximum of €500,000). The amount of interest you earn depends on how long you leave your money is invested for, and this works in a tiered progression:
- 3 months: 0.00% p.a.
- 12 months: 0.70% p.a..
- 48 months: 1.07% p.a.
How do I open a Klarna bank account?
Opening a current account with Klarna in Germany is fairly straightforward, but it has to take place through the Klarna app. What sets Klarna apart is that, unlike traditional banks, there are no special conditions that have to be met in order to open a bank account.
You do, however, have to verify your identity. This is also done through the Klarna app. Users have the option to use Klarna Ident, proprietary software developed by Klarna, rather than third-party video identification software that other digital banks rely on. Instead of a video call, you can verify your identity via an existing bank account rather than using an identity card or passport. You can also do this process at any time during the day, so you’re not limited by a verification service’s or post office’s working hours.
Klarna bank account Germany – step-by-step registration guide
You can register your Klarna bank account by following the steps below:
- Log into the Klarna app
- Select ‘Bank and Card’
- Fill out the digital application form
- Verify your identity using either Klarna Ident, Video Indent, or Post Ident.
- Once verified, choose your PIN code
- Choose your preferred Klarna bank card which will be delivered to you in up to 7 working days
- Enjoy using your bank account
Who is Klarna good for?
The Klarna bank account is an ideal bank account for customers who just want a free everyday current account. If you are keen on shopping online often, the integrated budgeting capabilities might be a way to keep it all under control, provided you don’t use the “pay-later” features too often. The free ATM withdrawals and Visa debit card are ideal for day-to-day purchases, and the Klarna Card is great for slightly larger purchases that can be paid back interest-free in 14 days, or in a number of fixed or flexible installments with an interest rate of 11.95%.
This cannot be recommended to big travelers however, because it doesn’t offer premium features (flight cancellation, luggage insurance, etc) that other banks such as N26 or DKB have. It also only allows you 2 free ATM withdrawals per month, which is far less than the average among neobanks in Germany.
Klarna bank account review: what do customers say?
Since Klarna is such a large company, it’s difficult to separate the reviews of their shopping service from their bank account. That being said, the company does enjoy an overall positive reputation on Trustpilot, with over 47,000 reviews and a rating of 4.4/5 stars. Users praised the flexibility of the banking service and the excellent customer support.
Over 300,000 users on the App Store gave Klarna a 4.7/5 star rating. Again, it was difficult to see which reviews related to the shopping service and which to the bank account, but given that the company enjoys an overwhelmingly positive reputation, it’s safe to assume that customers were relatively happy across the board.
Over 380,000 users gave Klarna a 4.6/5 star rating on Google Play. Again, these reviews were mostly concerned with the Shop Now, Pay Later service that Klarna offers, but it can be inferred that the expertise of their business model is carried over to their banking services.
I hope this Klarna bank account review was useful to you. Don’t hesitate to ask questions in the comments if something is unclear.Bastien
Klarna bank review FAQ
Klarna has been certified with own banking license with the German regulator (BaFin). This comes with the set of guarantees and consumer protection measures that you will find in any more established traditional bank in Germany as a customer.
Yes. There are no monthly costs attached.
Customer reviews mentions a reactive and friendly customer support even if some requests can take some time. Phone support is available in German and English.
You will need to download the Klarna app on your phone and register for an account. There is no dedicated banking app. After filling in some personal details, it will then take you through an identification process, directly from your phone. If successful, you can receive your payment card after a few days.
Klarna states that it checks for your SCHUFA score when using the “pay later” or installments options but it does not when using the direct transfer or debit options.