How do I open a bank account in Germany? We explain what you need to consider when opening an account.
You need a German bank account (Girokonto; current account) if you want to live in Germany for a longer period of time, for example, to rent a flat and to have your salary deposited.
Open a bank account
To open a bank account, you usually need the following documents: a valid passport, a residence permit, a certificate of registration, and a wage statement (depending on the type of account).
Please note that the individual banks may charge different fees, for example for account management or for non-European bank transfers. It is therefore worthwhile to compare different banks when choosing one.
Many people conduct their banking transactions via online banking. This is possible both at a direct bank (online only) and at a branch bank. At a branch bank, you can also deposit cash into your account on site and get personal advice. With a direct bank, you only have online and telephone service; you cannot go on site to a bank branch. However, an account at a direct bank might be cheaper in many cases.
In most shops you can pay with cash, debit or credit card. Many smaller food shops, e.g. at the weekly market or the bakery, only accept cash; others only accept the EC card (electronic cash card) as of a certain amount. If you shop online, you can also transfer the money by credit card, express bank transfer, Giropay or PayPal.
- Federal Office for Migration and Refugees Information on financial transactions in Germany
- GeldtransFair.de Comparison of the fees charged by various service providers for money transfers abroad