The 3 best current accounts in Germany
The selection was made by me personally and super-subjectively – but in contrast to most current account comparisons on the Internet, I use these accounts myself. How? You will find out in detail on this page!
a) Germany’s best current account
DKB Cash – free current account of the DKB
| Withdrawing cash through the DKB-card is in practice free of charge in more than 99 per cent of cases, because the DKB does not charge its customers any fees and takes the fees of foreign ATMs automatically. Only if an ATM charges a “direct customer fee”, this is subject to charge, as the DKB has no influence on that.
 Cash deposits are only free through the few DKB-owned machines.
[Z] At cash withdrawals in foreign currencies (journey abroad), the DKB does not charge the foreign transaction fee. It is expected that this will also be cancelled for card payments in foreign currencies!
How I use the DKB:
The DKB is my main bank since 2004. It is where I receive my salary payments, so I rejoice about pleasantly high credit lines. All payments that I make through the Visa Card remain free of interest until the automatic monthly settlement with the current account. Therefore, I have never paid expensive lending rates.
Due to the high credit lines (up to 3 times the monthly salary), the card is ideal for making deposits on journeys (hotel, rental car).
Some like the DKB Club a lot, because they automatically earn points through the card payments, which they can redeem later on for exclusive things.
Especially important: I love the freedom to withdraw cash free of charge (without having to locate specific cooperating partners) in Germany and abroad!
Three particularly popular articles about the DKB:
- DKB Cash with Visa Card – free of charge!
- 3 secrets for new DKB customers
- DKB Visa Card in the use abroad
b) Germany’s second best current account
Free current account of the Comdirect Bank
| Within Germany, one can withdraw money totally free at the ATMs of the Cash Group (Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, Postbank etc.). Please use the Girocard for this. Likewise within the EU + Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland. In the rest of the world, the withdrawals through the Visa Card are free. Here, free also means: there are no charges by the Comdirect – there can be direct customer fees through ATMs. The Comdirect has no influence on that either.
 Cash can be paid through the deposit machines or through the deposit counters of the Commerzbank. Three times per year, the Comdirect bears the charges, from the fourth time favourable Euros 1.90 will be charged per deposit.
How I use the Comdirect:
The Comdirect is my secondary current account to which I have also linked a securities account. Even without salary payments, you can get an overdraft facility at the Comdirect. This makes the use as a secondary account very pleasant. One does not have to be afraid of chargebacks due to insufficient funds!
Should the creditworthiness at the time of account application not be adequately documented by the information in the online application and additional information by the Schufa (credit investigation company), one can get the current account on a credit basis. The Visa Card is then issued in the prepaid version. Apart from the lacking of credit line, it has the same advantages as the normal Visa Card.
I particularly like to use the Comdirect current account on the road, because I really like the banking app because of the ease of operation – despite its huge scope of possibilities. I confirm the orders via mTAN. For this, I do not even have to leave the app, because my cell phone displays the contents of the incoming SMS line by line at the top of the screen.
In order to not have to pay roaming charges for incoming SMS abroad, one can switch to iTAN or photoTAN. All TAN-procedures are available parallel and free of charge.
I make cash deposits – which are rarely necessary – through the branch office of the Commerzbank, which is located in my home town.
Three particularly popular articles about the Comdirect:
- Explanation of the price listing: Withdraw free of charge with which card and where
- Open the current account in Germany and from abroad
- Comdirect & DKB: the differences
c) Germany’s third best current account
Free current account of the ING-DiBa
| The cash supply at the ING-DiBa is (almost) easy: Use the Visa Card for all cash withdrawals at the ATM. For this, the bank does not charge you any withdrawal fee. However, when withdrawing abroad in another currency, the foreign transaction fee of 1.75 per cent will be charged.
Additionally, you can withdraw cash free of charge within Germany at many places with the Girocard. This works as follows: Go to the 100 bank-owned ATMs or the checkouts of the markets Rewe, Penny, Toom or Netto Marken-Discount. Nevertheless, there you can get up to Euros 200 at a minimum purchase amount of Euros 20. Amounts from Euros 1,000 can be paid through the branch offices of the Reisebank. An appointment by phone is necessary for the provision!
 Cash can be deposited through the branch offices of the Reisebank. From a deposit of Euros 1,000, the ING-DiBa bears the incurring charges.
How I use the ING-DiBa:
My free current account at the ING-DiBa exists already since 2008. At that time, I have created it as an emergency account. This bank and account are quite outstanding for this purpose. Thanks to a proof of salary, one gets – provided the creditworthiness – an overdraft facility of triple the net salary without actually having to transfers the money to this account.
So I set up the most important bank accounts as order templates and also tested them. Works flawlessly.
Since I have deliberately set it up as an emergency account (e.g. if my main current account should get blocked due to online fraud or other reasons), I did not really use it yet. Except in 2009, when I took advantage of almost the entire overdraft facility for a few weeks.
This inactivity was no problem for the ING-DiBa. It sent me new cards for free timely before the expiration of the cards, which I then filed in my emergency folder.
I know people, who have been victims of complete account blockings, therefore the recommendation to you today: Set up an emergency account as a precaution to which you can switch immediately, if it should be necessary. The current account of the ING-DiBa is perfect for that!
Euros 75 start balance
My previously rare use of the account is also the reason, why there are hardly any articles about the ING-DiBa on our special portal. Should I try a few more things to expand this section?
The first two articles about the ING-DiBa:
- ING-DiBa with Giro + Visa Card ► free of charge!
- ING-DiBa current account as a completely underestimated option for German expatriates!
Which current account is the best one in Germany for you?
I am looking forward to your opinions – especially, if they are enriched with personal usage experiences. Please use the comments box at the bottom of this page for your commitment! 🙂
In order to boost the first opinions, I have recorded this short video clip. Do you like it?
Images: Trophy cup, fotolia.com
Hi and thank you for this article!
So, it seems that in Germany, it is very commmon to have at least two bank accounts (I´m Kind of old School one bank account client. I´ve noticed this form your articles and discussing with some friends.
I´ve already commented on the other pages about my experience with VR Bank and DKB. So, ready your article, I see that ING-DiBa is also an option.
I basicaly have two questions (and clarification to ask):
1- Is SCHUFA Information required by this bank? (From my understanding, since the VISA works in debit mode, it wouldn´t be necessary. Only in case of Overdraft Facility)
2- For the Card use: The Girocard should only be used in the ATM of ING-DiBa (Or some store chains for at least 200 euros). The Visa Card can be used at 90% of German ATMs free of Charge. Could you please Elaborate in which branches can it be used?
Thank you very much 🙂 !
1 – When applying for a ING-DiBa account, the SCHUFA information will be needed for that, even if no credit line is involved.
2 – You can get cash (without additional charges) with the Girocard at 1.200 ING-DiBa ATMs. The same goes for certain shops, where you can withdraw up to 200 EUR from your account, if you buy something at the shop for at least 20 EUR. Currently, you can do that at these shops in Germany: REWE, PENNY Markt, toom Baumarkt, Netto Marken-Discount. You CAN also get cash with the Girocard at the ATMs of other banks in Germany, but they will require a fee.
You can also withdraw cash (without additional charges) at 58.000 German ATMs with the VISA symbol and more than 400.000 ATMs in the Euro zone that have the VISA Symbol.
I hope this helps 🙂
Thank you for the reply. I made an application and they accepted me 🙂 (unlike DKB…)
They sent me everything except for Girocard Pin (But I will wait another day or two before contacting them). Thank you again, without this portal I wouldn’t be able to discover all these awesome information 🙂 !
You’re very welcome! 🙂 Thanks for the feedback, and enjoy your new account!
Some of this banks accept Brazilian costumers with passport for identification?
Of course. With PostIdent.
First of all thank you for this great portal. I´m looking for an advice and I hope you can help me. I´ve been in Germany for some months now and I have an account in a local branch of VR Bank (opened it upon arrival) and an Ing-Diba (after consulting this portal).
I think I still need a filial bank account because I don´t speak German well enough (in case of a problem which makes me hesitate to fully change to Ing-Diba). But VR bank is charging me between 5 – 11 euros each month despite my salary going there. Is there any recommendation for another filial bank please?
Thank you very much.
thanks for you positive feedback!
I am very sorry though – since we are specialized in German direct banks, we can hardly give an advice or statements regarding other filial banks.
I have been living in germany for more than 2 years now and have account in Deutsche Bank as my filial bank. That was because it was easy to open an account from outside Germany and needed to block some money for visa purpose. After arriving I noticed that there are not many ATMs even though through Cash group. so later I opened an account at sparkasse. I also keep an Gebuhrenfrei card to purchase something online. but the problem is Gebuhrenfrei does not have any PIN functionality when purchasing online and that is scary to me. Previously I used to use BNP from France and that had this PIN whenever I am buying something online. Could you suggest something so that I have:
– PIN enabled for online purchase
– No Foreign fees
– no management fees
DKB, ING-DiBa and Consorsbank all adopt the “Verified By Visa” security system which require a pin for each online payment.
Those accounts are all free and don’t charge you if you pay in EUR. Withdrawals are always free, regardless of the currency, if you use their Visa card.
Having said that and having tried all of them, I think DKB is the best overall.
Thanks @Kenny Meyer. I thought cash withdrawl in foreign currency is not free in ING DIba or in Consors
For ING-diba is correct what you say. However Consorsbank and DKB have free withdrawals worldwide. There is a 1,75% fee for foreign currencies with CB and DKB, but just for card payments. The only problem with Consorsbank,imho, is that you need to wait a 2-3 days before your card payments appear in the list of movements. With DKB you don’t have this problem. ING has this feature as well, but I haven’t tested it yet.
I’m looking to move to Munich, Germany towards the start of 2018 and I need a good bank with no fees or monthly maintenance. It seems like DKB is the best option at this point. Would you recommend I open an account from the US over a year before moving to establish credit? It seems like an important thing to have for rent, mobile phones, and utilities. Also, I’ll be working up until I move to Germany and could contribute monthly funds to the account. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make any deposits once I move to Germany. Will that be an issue as some accounts require monthly deposits to avoid fees? Also, I know that Germany request for you to have enough funds to sustain yourself before issuing long-term visas. Will having an account open for over a year help? It’s okay if you’re unable to answer this part of the question. Thanks a lot.
The DKB and most of the other German banks at well, do not open free of charge Giro accounts for foreign citizens living in the US. From the perspective of the bank this would not make much sense. The bank takes over the costs for the account opening (100-200 EUR), as well as the fees for card and account, but it has hardly the opportunity to earn money with the customer, since most services are without charge.
Banks mainly earn money with granting loans/credit (a credit line on the account, credit line on the credit card, consumer credit or construction financing). But such credit is not granted to people living abroad.
There are of course providers of sole Giro accounts (without credit possibilities), but such accounts are not free of charge. One pays for the account opening incl. the card issuing and the current costs.
Thank you for your input.