Special for German expats and emigrants

Perfect bank account for German citizens abroad? ✈

Many will read this article, when they are abroad and face problems with the recent bank in Germany. This is why we present you here two outstanding German banks at which you can open an account from abroad.

Complete account opening possible from abroad!

Both banks send you access data and bank cards free of charge to your abroad place of residence, no matter where you are!

Even more: You can hold both as a German citizen abroad, so that you do not have to pay capital gains tax / settlement tax. Thus, your interest gains or dividend income will not be reduced unnecessarily by tax deduction. Not every bank in Germany can or will do that!

Please watch the video before you continue reading:

  Logo der DKB
Logo der Comdirect
The basic data on account and credit card
Account management
  • unconditionally free of charge
Cards DKB Visa Card
1 or 2 Visa cards free of charge
Comdirect Visa Card
1 Visa card free of charge
Withdrawing abroad and daily limit
  • free of charge
    at any ATM using the Visa card
  • Euros 1.000
  • Euros 600
Maximum card recharge
  • unlimited
  • Euros 5.000
Credit interest
  • yes, currently 0,7 %
  • no
Further details (differences)
Phone orders (e.g. transfers, deposit order)
  • no
  • yes (partially subject to charge)
Abroad transfers Worldwide from € 12,50 Worldwide from € 7,90
Outside the SEPA area, TransferWise offers its services for many countries to save transfer costs.
Emergency card
  • yes, within 48 hours worldwide
  • no, but emergency money within 48 hours worldwide (subject to charge)
Even more details (common features)
Foreign transaction fee
  • 1.75 % at card payments in foreign currencies

At cash withdrawals at the ATM foreign transaction fee applies.

Refund of foreign fees At cash withdrawals, both banks refund the foreign fees – Instructions DKB, Comdirect.
interesting for travellers to the USA, Thailand, Mexico
Availability By phone around the clock (24/7) or via e-mail / post
Joint account Yes, with two or more persons
also possible together with foreign citizens – e.g. life partner abroad!
Language German
Product supplements Savings accounts, deposits, children accounts, loans
Details on the account opening (important to know!)
Guarantee on account opening?
  • no

For people, who have a negative Schufa (credit investigation company), we present alternatives further below in the article.

Creditworthiness check yes
about 65 % pass this check; find tips here
about 65 % pass this check
Application on account opening online online
Legitimating (Identity check) aus Deutschland
• via video chat (WebID) or
• PostIdent procedure
• via video chat or
• PostIdent procedure
From within Germany
• via video chat (WebID) (IDs in German language)
legitimating through bank, notary or lawyer
• via video chat (IDs in German language)
legitimating through notary
Start the account opening link to the bank
(read further information)
link to the bank
(read further information)

Backgrounds that one must know in order to complete the account opening successfully!

On this page, background information is divulged in more detail than usual:

  1. DKB
  2. Comdirect
  3. Schufa-free providers

To find out details about the features and the clever usage of the bank and the account, please take a look at the linked pages.

1. DKB – a bank that you should study in detail!

The Deutsche Kreditbank (DKB) had the politically motivated attitude for many years to open a free current account with Visa credit card in Germany for every German-speaking person in the world.

DKB Visa Card

DKB Visa Card: widespread among German citizens abroad.

That is the background, why many German-citizens abroad and citizens of other countries have learned German (e.g. through the Goethe-Institute) and still have an account at the DKB today. Please never cancel it, because most people will not get a second chance for an account opening.

Since the account is absolutely free of charge and the bank could only earn through Interchange fees for the credit card usage (these are the charges that the payee has to pay for the transaction) or through the difference in interest at balance on the account, it was difficult get out of the red.

Please do not understand this wrong: The DKB as a bank makes good profits since years, but in the area of “International Business”, it was a permanent loss maker.

Thus, the board decided to close this department. This is the background, why non-German citizens from non-German speaking countries cannot open an account since summer 2014!

German citizens abroad have a good chance to open the account!

German citizens abroad still have a good chance to successfully open an account at the DKB. They are attended – as well as all previous customers abroad – by the general customer service.

Account opening from abroad

The DKB has grown significantly in Germany in recent months, so that new account managers were hired. These, of course, do not know all the details about opening an account from abroad from the past, so that irritations can occur sometimes.

However, with a bit of goodwill on both sides, one being a German citizen abroad can open an account wonderfully from abroad. The legitimating takes place conveniently via video call (German IDs or passports).

If one wants to open a joint account – for example, with the life partner of another nationality – the ID-form of the bank can be used for legitimating. Out of legal reasons, this currently only works from about 40 countries. You can find out which they are in this linked German article: DKB legitimating.

Frank from Malaysia also heard at first that the account opening from abroad was no longer possible, but with goodwill on both sides, the account opening worked out and he is now a satisfied DKB-customer.

Andreas, who spends a lot of time in Thailand, has also opened an account at the DKB from there. He had to change the bank, because his old bank increasingly caused him problems. It was a retail bank, which asked him to visit a branch office for little things, and threatened him that it would otherwise cancel the overdraft facility. This does not exist at the DKB. Everything is clarified via phone, e-mail or letter. Personal appearance: not required at all!

Loan at a residence abroad?

At the DKB, it has even worked to get a private loan for the renovation of rentable accommodations in Thailand.

Out of fairness, we must add that the DKB does not grant loans to persons with a residence abroad, nor finances properties abroad.

Andreas´ challenge at the DKB could be solved through his German address and his regular income – pension payments. And yes, the use of the money of the DKB personal loan is free to choose.

Creditworthiness check based on the Schufa-data (credit investigation company)

The DKB Cash is a free current account with a real credit card. Even if the overdraft facility (credit limit) at residences abroad is mostly (for now) quite manageable, the creditworthiness is checked at every account application.

Card limit can be indefinitely increased through deposits!

If someone has left Germany and had negative entries in the Schufa, then he/she does not have good cards for the account opening.

In this case, he/she can look for solutions at other providers further down in the article!

“Apply for the DKB-Cash now”

… the worldwide most attractive account!


Comdirect Bank – the alternative

The free current account of the Comdirect is quite similar to the one at the DKB – the customer service is even a lot better. In detail, there are differences that you can see here: Comparison DKB–Comdirect.

Overall, the DKB is a little bit better, and therefore also the number one on our special portal.

Should it not have worked out at the DKB or if you simply like the Comdirect better, you can apply for the account opening here.

Tip to increase the likelihood of account opening!

If your creditworthiness is currently not the best, you can also be clever and open a call money account first. At the opening of a call money account, no creditworthiness check takes place. Why should it? At best, this is money for the bank!

Later on, you can expand the existing customer relationship with a current account. This two-step plan is really only meant for people, who already know that they have a little problem with the Schufa.

Prepaid-Visa credit card rechargeable with up to Euros 5,000

Additionally, the current account of the Comdirect can be held as a credit account (without credit line). A Visa credit card is included anyway. This will be issued in the prepaid version and can be charged with up to Euros 5,000. The withdrawing of money abroad is of course free of charge!

Pros and Cons through the parent bank

Comdirect belongs to 80 % to the Commerzbank (German main bank). This has advantages as well as disadvantages.

Of advantage is the free use of the Commerzbank branch offices for the Comdirect customers in Germany, e.g. for cash deposits or the picking up of larger payouts. Okay, this is maybe not so important for you as a German citizen abroad.

Sometimes of disadvantage are the exchange rates. These run via the Commerzbank too and are not always, but often a little worse than at the DKB.

Absolutely powerful: the Comdirect-Depot

When it comes to online banking, I personally find the Comdirect a bit more attractive. The securities account is definitely better. Regarding securities, the Comdirect is technically as well as in customer service miles ahead.

This is perhaps important to know, if you have any securities assets in Germany. Additionally, you can get a good securities loan at the Comdirect – even at a place of residence abroad. Finally, the securities are left as a safety. The loan can be used freely. Salary payments are not required!

“Yes, I want to become a Comdirect customer”

… free current account with additional advantages!

► this link is for the account opening from abroad

Do you like this online current account?

3. Schufa-free providers with the possibility of an account opening from abroad

The following two providers are still in the (further) development phase and have not yet reached their full potential. In further articles, you can read more detailed descriptions!

Checking account specifically for smartphone usage

3a. Number26: free and schufa-free current account for Smartphones

Thanks to the identification via video call, one can apply for and open this account via Smartphone from anywhere in the world. Schufa query? None, as it does not matter.

Current account especially for the Smartphone usage

The current catch: Currently, the MasterCard can only be sent to postal addresses in Germany, Austria, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Ireland and Slovakia

The good news: Number26 will extend the list of countries, to where the credit card can be sent in the coming months.

“Yes, I have an address in one of this EU-countries”

… start the account opening!


► watch further information about Number26

Oh, yes: Number26 is a start-up company, which currently “lives” mainly through investor funds. Whether and how the provider will establish, remains to be seen.

Conclusion: Ideal as an additional account!

3b. Global-Konto (global account): subject to charge, but Schufa-free!

Global-Konto is a current account of PayCenter, one of the first German e-money institutions. The current account works like a bank, however, no loans are granted. This is reserved for banks.

Since it is a credit account, no Schufa information is required.

Global Account for private and business

Banks earn most through loans (interest rate differential between the low central bank interest rates and the interest rate that you pay as a borrower plus the money creation through the loan).

PayCenter cannot do this. PayCenter must finance the technology and personnel through charges. Therefore, there is a fee for the account opening, account management fees, and, of course, the cost of shipping the card to the abroad address.

The legitimating is currently carried out via the PostIdent-procedure in German post branch offices. The procedure through webcam is already in its preparation phase; this is why I have already listed the Global-Konto here.

“Yes, I can do the PostIdent”

… start the account opening!


Note for entrepreneurs:

The Global-Konto can also be opened as a business account!

Which one is the appropriate account for you?

and for further questions concerning the account opening and usage, you can use the comments box. In the meanwhile, this special portal could gather a big (German speaking) community that is glad to help and if I can, I will reply you here personally!

Thank you for reading this article until the end. 🙂 My respect to you, as these were almost 1,500 words.

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Who writes here?

Someone who gained experience with more than 100 banks in more than 20 countries during the past 15 years. My name is Gregor and if you click to continue you can find out why I am here and what this site is for ⇒ continue.

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