A bank changes its strategy

DKB: No more accounts for foreigners!

The DKB has been an insiders’ tip for free checking accounts with credit cards and free withdrawals at ATMs worldwide. That’s over on 30th of June 2014.

Foreigners are not wanted anymore

New customers who live outside Germany aren’t welcome anymore 🙁

Two times all-clear!

  • Everybody with a registered residence in Germany will still be able to open the brilliant DKB account.
  • Everyone who has the account already can keep it even if their residence is abroad. DKB won’t terminate anyone’s checking account.

DKB changes its strategy

We never really understood why DKB offered their free checking account to the whole world. The only requirements had been for years:

  • customers needed to understand German and
  • the customer’s identity had to be confirmed in a legally compliant way.

Background information you won’t read anywhere else

Much money flowed into Germany in the past years, in particular from countries that were affected strongly by the financial crisis and from countries that are politically unstable.

But with a key ECB interest rate of 0.15 % and a lax lending policy by the European Central Bank there’s not much need for banks to collect savings from private individuals.

On the other hand DKB can hardly earn money with foreign customers while the deposit business is unattractive. The credit business is the most profitable business for banks apart from dicey speculation. But DKB does not offer loans abroad.

So almost all foreign customers cause DKB only expenses – for account management, the Visa card and withdrawals.

Foreign customers are too expensive!

Furthermore it was much more complicated to open an account for people abroad than for German residents who could use the PostIdent procedure available in every German post office. Outside Germany new customers had to confirm their identity with a lawyer or a notary.

It’s understandable that DKB finally lost its interest when customers from abroad also complained about the procedure for being too complicated or when when notaries refused to cooperate on the identification process.

Criticism of DKB’s decision

It’s surprising that DKB stops accepting customers abroad just now that SEPA – the single euro payments area – has been introduced in all countries using euro as currency, removing all disadvantages of foreign accounts in respect of national account numbers.

In the past, the requirement to use the intricate IBAN and BIC numbers with international accounts lead to a preference for national checking accounts. Now that the IBAN is obligatory even for national transactions, it doesn’t make any difference whether the account is with an Italian, Spanish or German bank.

Customers have to pay fees for checking accounts in most euro countries. Other rare free checking accounts don’t offer nearly as much features and service as DKB provides.

Why no European retail bank?

DKB could have taken the opportunity to develop into the first pan-European retail bank.

Their experiences with customers from every country of the world (except North Korea) would have been an ideal foundation.

Nevertheless, we respect DKB’s decision and reorientation. The bank seeks to acquire new customers in Germany and is going to extend their services in accordance with their motto “Hausbank im Internet”.

We will track this development and will report about it on this specialized web portal.

Image: AMATHIEU, fotolia.com

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Who writes here?

Someone who has helped more than 100,000 people to obtain a new bank account in the past 7 years. My name is Tanja and if you continue reading, you will find out why I and this page exist ⇒ read more.

43 Responses to “DKB: No more accounts for foreigners!”

  1. Gert says:

    I applied for a DKB account last week and did the PostIdent last saterday. Today I got a letter that the account was rejected. Any ideas what free account I can open as a non-German in Germany?

  2. Gert says:

    In the Netherlands

    • Tanja says:

      Sorry, that is the reason. You can read in this article (see top) that the DKB don’t accept foreign people with resident not in Germany for bank account since 30th of June 2014.

      Sadly! I hope that this will be change in future. Because we live in one European Union, in one world!

  3. Gert says:

    My online application for DKB was before the deadline, the PostIdent was after the deadline so I was to late.

    Are there other banks where I can open a girokonto?

    • Tanja says:

      If you have a credit history in german SCHUFA you can try it on Comdirect Bank. The conditions are similar like DKB.

      Another way is to open an account in a bank branch in Germany. That is could be easier. But sadly the conditions are not so good. The banker will ask you why you want this account and how you are planning to use.

  4. zhang says:

    Such a pity! I am just plan to apply a account.,if only I can see the page earlier.
    So there is no chance to open a German bank account as a non-resident now?

    • Tanja says:

      If you have a German passport, you can stay abroad and get the account of the DKB.

      We heard also that people from Austria https://www.deutscheskonto.org/en/dkb-austria/ and Switzerland get a German bank account after 6/30/2014.

      But now DKB accept no other foreigners for account opening. We hope that will be changing in future, because we see that can make sense for the bank!

      Sadly a lot of people from abroad had problems with identifications, and was angry on bank. For DKB is the identification process more expensive as for German people. At the statistic says that German people are more interesting for bank (you know, a bank want earn money).

      But, really I hope that we and the bank will find a new solution and a new process for people from other countries for opening this German bank account.

  5. Nilofer says:

    DKB rejected my account too. I am living in Germany since more than a year and in Munich since 7 months.


    • Tanja says:

      Banks receive reports about the creditworthiness of potential customers who live in Germany from the credit bureau SCHUFA. This information about the creditworthiness is usually much more telling than what can be found about people from foreign countries.

      Your time in Germany might have been too short for SCHUFA to be able to provide a meaningful creditworthiness ranking. There is probably only little data available about you. We are currently working on an article which shows how you can find out which information is contained in SCHUFA’s creditworthiness database about you. The article will be translated into English as well.

      DKB as bank with most favorable conditions puts higher emphasis on the creditworthiness for domestic account applications, because account and Visa Card are only available with a line of credit, even if the limit isn’t very high at the beginning. DKB has gained experiences and learned from these … i.e. people had opened an account, used the line of credit to the full extent and disappeared then. Now that’s not possible anymore.

      Please have a look at our second top recommendation: Comdirect Visa Card. The terms and conditions are similar to DKB’s. Comdirect can also issue a prepaid Visa card though. It works like a regular credit card, but needs to be loaded in advance by transferring money to it. So, Comdirect might be more amenable to open an account for people who do not have a comprehensive credit history at SCHUFA yet.

  6. Stu says:

    The real reason is they don’t want to be sitting on Greek confetti Euros on the inevitable return to the DM

  7. Steve says:

    DKB allowed me to apply and told me how I need to prove my identity then wrote to me to reject my application.

  8. Steve says:

    BTW, I’m English living in Switzerland.

    • Tanja says:

      Today, I asked the DKB regarding an account opening with a place of residence in Switzerland. The answer was: We will continue to accept applications on account opening from Switzerland. The nationality does not really matter (exception: if EU-embargos apply).

      The legitimating takes place via PostIdent-procedure in a branch office in Germany or through identification form as presented on: https://www.deutscheskonto.org/en/open-bank-account-germany/

      However, the DKB performs creditworthiness checks at every account application. After all, it is an account with a credit line on the credit card and account. In our experience, about 1/3 of applicants do not pass this check and therefore do not obtain an account.

      This is not unusual. All German banks with a true credit card work with the creditworthiness check.

      Alternatively, you can open a bank account in Germany with Visa or MasterCard on credit basis (prepaid credit card). For this, of course, you will have to pay a monthly or annual fee.

  9. Joao Silva says:


    Today I got the letter rejecting my DKB account. I sent my payslip from January from a Germany contract and an Internet Bill proving my address. I also went to post-office to prove my ident.
    I tried to call them but they say they can’t give a reason for rejecting accounts.

    How many months are necessary to have a valid SCHUFA report?

    BTW, I am a EU citizen, I have lived in Germany for a while but working for a foreigner company, only from January I am working for a German company. couldn’t this be taken into account?

  10. Hasan says:


    I want to open DKB account for the funds but they reject
    Which bank is the cheapeast ?



  11. George says:

    I actually live in Greece and would like to open a joint account with either a cash card or a prepaid mastercard / visa in Germany. Ideally, I would like to open it online. Which options are actually available?

    • Redaktion says:

      What is the nationality of the second account holder? Speak / understand one of you German?

      • George says:

        We are both Greek nationals and do not speak German.

        • Redaktion says:

          Sadly, in this case we don’t know a German online bank for you. But you can try it in lokal branches, if you visit Germany.

          We hope that a German online bank will offer such accounts in future. If someone hear about, please contact us. Thank you!

  12. Sam says:

    I understand DKB is accepting applications from Austria and Switzerland. As a non-EU citizen (speak German) living and working in Austria, is it possible for me to open an account with them? How to handle the credit rating requirement (possible to submit the credit report used in Austria)?
    If DKB is not an option, would there be any obstacles with comdirect? Is it possible to do the ID legitimating via video call or would PostIdent from an Austrian Post office work? What would be the best way to proceed to improve the chances of my application? Thank you!

    • Redaktion says:

      Yes, you see it right. The first step for better chances is to use German for communication.

      • Sam says:

        Thank you for the short reply. Would you or any of the other editors (ie. Tanja) be so kind to help me out with my other questions. This site provides very good information both in German and English, that I and many others benefit from. Thanks in advance.

  13. Thanos says:


    i live in Germany and work here since last November, i want to open a joint with my Greek girlfriend that doesn’t work here in Germany. Is that possible?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Joobei says:

      I am from Greece and my account application was rejected just a couple of weeks ago (perhaps because I’m on a 1-year job contract). I would be interested in knowing if they will approve your account. I would first try to open an account for myself and then add your girlfriend to the account.

      • Thanos says:

        Forgot to add, i am also from Greece. Any advice?

        • Joobei says:

          Thanos the only thing is to apply and see what happens. First you will need to do a passport verification (you can do that online). Next, they will ask you your job contract and your residence certificate. You should prepare scanned copies in .pdf to send them. Following that, a few weeks later you’ll know whether or not your application has been accepted. I submitted all the documents but I was rejected nevertheless (perhaps because my work contract in Germany is for one year only.. dunno).

          Good luck. Let us know what happened.

    • Tanja says:

      Of course, this may work. At a joint account of two non-German citizens, at least one has to reside in Germany.

      However, the same applies here that it is a current account with credit line and this means that you have to pass the creditworthiness check.

      Find tips on: https://www.deutscheskonto.org/en/account-opening-dkb/

  14. Paul Blue says:

    I am German citizen living in Canada for more than 20 years.
    I started collecting my German Pension recently and I would like my Pension to be deposited directly to a German Bank. Can I open an account with DKB or other German bank? If yes what kind of account, because I will only use the money when I travel to Europe once a year.

    • Tanja says:

      The good news: You belong to the group of people for who the DKB generally opens bank accounts.

      During the account opening process at the DKB, the creditworthiness of the applicant is checked. It is important to have a regular income. However, this does not have to be deposited on/transferred to the account.

      Maybe these three tips will help you: https://www.deutscheskonto.org/en/account-opening-dkb/ … otherwise simply start the account application and wait to see what happens 🙂

      Good luck!

      PS: It is a good idea to let the pension payments be transferred to the DKB account, as you can withdraw them free of charge using the Visa credit card at the ATM in Canada!

  15. Panshul Gupta says:

    I applied for a checking account with DKB but got rejected.
    I am Indian, living in Germany since September 2011 and have been working on a permanent contract since January 2013 in Heidelberg.
    I moved to Munich and started working here since April 2015 and am living at my current address since July 2015.
    I also have a blue card EU visa and an unlimited working contract.

    I still have no clue about the reason of rejection. Could you please help me understand, so that I can work on that and get an account.


    • Redaktion says:

      As bystanders, it is always difficult to say, where the problem was … and the DKB generally does not provide any information. If it did not work with the account opening despite a good income, I would make a request at the Schufa https://www.deutscheskonto.org/en/schufa-inquiry/

      Here, you can see what Germany’s largest creditworthiness rating company has stored about you … and induce positive changes, if applicable. The creditworthiness assessment of the Schufa serves most banks as an important decision-making aid, whether to grant a bank account with a credit card or not.

  16. herman says:

    I am german, studying in the philippines. can i keep my bank account (DKB) even i have no residence in germany anymore?

  17. Lucas says:

    I am Brazilian and have lived in Germany for studying last year (during 7 months). Now I am back here for work, with a 3-years work contract. I have provided all the information required on the website and they automatically declined my application. The only reason I could imagine is because I have started my contract this month. Do you know what could be the case?

  18. green says:

    I am a foreign student living in Germany for almost two years. Monthly income of about 1000 Euro. Tried opening a student DKB account.

    It always gets rejected by the automated DKB system. I do have even a steuernummer from Germany. This is awkward. I have several other bank accounts Deutsche Bank, Sparkasse, Fidor Bank München.

    My plan was to if I can open an account in DKB, I will close Sparkasse and Fidor. Whatever, till now unlucky.
    I have no idea what DKB is thinking.

    • Editorial Team says:

      DKB might be thinking: Has just started their history at the credit rating agencies, and already has three Giro accounts in Schufa? How is he/she going to use our account, if he already has three Giro accounts?

      Opening many Giro accounts within a short time, is not a good idea. Of course you will get further new accounts from those banks, whose business model is based on account maintenance fees. But DKB is not interested in “account collectors“ as customers. Statistics show that such customers cost more money for DKB than they can earn from them. In order to protect their great terms and conditions, this is something the bank wants to avoid, in the interest of all customers.

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