Instructions for your first bank account in Germany

German Bank Accounts for Immigrants

More than one million people immigrated to Germany in 2012 (source: Federal Statistical Office in Germany).

In order to participate in the economic life and to receive the salary or the income support, one absolutely needs a current account. On the other side, rent and providers of electricity and telecommunications are almost always paid cashless – so via bank transfer or direct debit payment.

Cash flow / cash flow checking account

The classical cash flow on current accounts in Germany. A credit card for cashless payments or to withdraw at ATMs is automatically included in the current account.

As an immigrant, where do I open my first bank account?

Recommendation #1

It is useful to open the first bank account at a bank branch office in the place of residence or nearby your workplace.

Tip: Visit various banks in your area and see where you are received with a warm welcome. Maybe you also have a friend who is able to recommend a bank out of his/her own positive experiences and may even accompany you to your first meeting / account opening.

Fees, but a personal contact

Current accounts at bank branches often have fees, but you will have a local contact person. This is very important, if your German skills are not too good. It is often easier to communicate having a personal meeting.

The Deutsche Bank is popular among immigrants …

Particularly popular for immigrants is the Deutsche Bank. Surely this has something to do with the name and the internationally known brand of German´s largest bank.

And something else: At the online-banking of the Deutsche Bank, one can easily switch between the German and English language, as the following clip will show:

Almost all the other German banks only offer a German version for the online-banking.

Unfortunately, the Deutsche Bank has most of its branch offices in medium sized to large cities. On the countryside and in small towns, there are hardly any branch offices. In this case, the Sparkasse and the Volks- and Raiffeisenbank could be an option, which provide an excellent branch density depending on the region.

Documents that you need for the account opening:

  • ID document (e.g. passport)
  • Certificate of registration (in order for the bank to have your address)

To set up a current account on a credit basis, no further documentation is necessary.

If you also want to apply for a credit line or a credit card, then you should take the last three salary statements with you.

The recommendation number 1 is mainly for recently immigrated persons and those who do not know or only a little about how to deal with bank services in Germany.

If you know a bit more or if you have had a steady job for the last 6 months, the recommendation number 2 could be interesting for you.

Recommendation #2

  • free current account
  • free Girocard
  • free credit card
  • free cash withdrawals
  • fair interests on credit balance and
  • low interest rates on credit …

… these are conditions that are almost only provided by direct banks.

You cannot go to direct banks. The application for the account as well as the subsequent customer communication takes place online. The identity of the person can be verified in any post branch office (PostIdent-procedure) and the post will then send the obtained data to the bank.

Very many people in Germany use bank accounts as main or second accounts at directs banks, as the conditions are simply very beneficial.

Account holder of a free checking account

… after 6 month of solid employment, the prospects for one of the best direct bank accounts are perfect!

Try a German direct bank!

If you are already working since 6 month in Germany and if you are well acquainted with the language, then you should definitely try one of the accounts at a direct bank.

One can also apply for the direct bank account of the Comdirect without a salary statement on a credit basis.

Online-accounts in comparison

You can find out which German direct bank is perfect for you, using our current account comparison.

Tip: The strongly represented DKB on this web portal is also very interesting for immigrants. Particularly because one has the possibility to apply for the account before even entering Germany!

Pages that may interest you

images: saschi79 & Texelart (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.

5 Responses to “German Bank Accounts for Immigrants”

  1. Sash says:

    Hi Tanja,
    I’m resident in Slovakia (EU), I have a well paying steady job for a few years and I am unhappy with the banking in my country, German banks seem more stable. I was wondering what the best way/option for me to get a German bank account. I would also like to transfer my Slovakian credit rating to German SCHUFA, I have read that Commerze bank can do this however an appointment and consultation is needed and there are no branches or partners in my region.

    You advise is appreciated

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    • Tanja says:

      I do not know a “Commerze Bank”. However, if this is about the German “Commerzbank”, I cannot tell you a lot about it, because the Commerzbank is not one of our favoured banks.

      If you do not have a German passport, then opening a bank account from Slovakia is currently difficult. Depending on what you intend to do with the German bank account, I recommend to following my instructions here: https://www.deutscheskonto.org/en/opening-bank-account-germany/

      The opening of a savings account and, in your case, maybe even a securities account is a lot easier for the bank, because it does not have to perform a credit assessment. As soon as the bank customer is known to the bank, because he/she holds assets at the bank, then opening a current account will be easier.

      It would be interesting, if one could also open a deposit account at the DKB first. In this case, a German-speaking person would be perfect to perform this test!

      At the Comdirect, it is possible to make separate account openings of savings account or securities account.

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  2. tumurkhuyag batchuluun says:

    Hi im moving germany berlin soon to live long term. And I Have check coming from usa wells fargo bank. The money amount in the check is more 500,000 dollar so is there going to be any advantage that i can get from a bank in german? And i have only my passport right now but i can get my proof of residence once i get in apartment. Amd how much do they charge for depositing my my check? Thank you

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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  3. Amine ELBOURAHI says:

    Hi Tanja,
    I would like to open a free bank account, i ve just moved to Germany 2 months ago.
    Any advice will be highly appreciated.
    Thanks in advance.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    0

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