Comparison of the best free-of-charge Giro accounts:

Open an Account at DKB or ING-DiBa?

DKB oder ING-DiBa?

When one wants to open a new free giro account, it makes sense to perform a comparison between DKB and ING-DiBa, because:

  • They are the two leading direct banks.
    One has the most customers in total, and the other has the most (free) Visa cards in the customers’ wallets.
  • There is an important reason for those two being in the leading position!
    For many years, they have obviously been having the best offers on the market and have been able to expand their customer base – especially with the critical internet customers – to occupy the pole-position.
  • Their Giro accounts will remain free of charge in the future as well!
    This has been confirmed by both banks on request of Deutschesaccount.ORG.

There are of course a couple of other quite good banks on the market, which might be better in individual cases – for example, if you want to link your new Giro account to a securities loan.

For most, the reduction to two really great banks already helps. For your ultimate decision you can use the comparison:

(Below the table you find further descriptions, and you can use the comments feature to ask questions.)

  Logo der DKB
Logo der ING-DiBa
The most often requested features
Account management unconditionally free of charge
Cash withdrawal
(Geramany + Euro zone)
free of charge
at every ATM via Visa Card
Cash withdrawal
(abroad, outside the Euro­zone)
free of charge
at every ATM via Visa Card
without withdrawal fee
but with 1.75% foreign currency surcharge
cards DKB Visa Card
1 Visa Card free of charge
DKB Girocard
1 Giro card (V Pay), free of charge
ING Visa Card
1 Visa Card free of charge
ING-DiBa Girocard
1 Giro card (Maestro), free of charge
the gravierendsten differences
Type of card “real” credit card
the Visa Card has its own credit line, and the balance is settled monthly via the Giro account
debit card
each card sale is settled with the Giro account immediately
Orders via phone (e. g. transfers, depot orders) no yes (partly subject to charges)
Emergency Card yes, within 48 hours worldwide
(report on experience)
no, mailing of a replacement card is possible to the home address or abroad (7 days + dispatch time, subject to charges)
further differences between DKB and ING-DiBa
cash withdrawals via credit card 1,000 Euro per day and card 1,000 Euro per day, but max. 4,000 Euro per week
cashdeposits free of charge starting with 5 Euro
via the few deposit terminals
free of charge starting with 1,000 Euro
via the few branches of Reisebank
Interest interest on deposits: on the Visa Card
loan interest: only if Giro account is showing a negative balance
interest on deposits: on the Extra-account
loan interest: only if Giro account is showing a negative balance
incoming transfers­from abroad worldwide starting with 12.50 € worldwide 0,00 €
Features in common (DKB and ING-DiBa are similar regarding many services)
This is offered by both free of charge account management, free of charge card(s), free of charge SEPA transfers, land line telephone number for the customer support, free of charge account opening
Availability via telephone around the clock (24/7) or via e-mail / regular mail
Blocking of the card around the clock via telephone customer service
Joint ­account yes, with two or several persons
Language German
Additional products overnight account, depot, installment credit overnight account, depot, installment credit, credit line
Account opening (important to know!)
Credit check yes
approx. 65 % pass this check; here tips dazu
approx. 65 % pass this check
Application for an account opening only online only online
Legitimization (identity check) If place of residence in Germany
• per video chat (WebID) or
• PostIdent procedure
• per video chat or
• PostIdent procedure
If place of residence abroad
• per video chat (German language IDs)
bank, notary or attorney ­legitimization
• no opening possible
Application for an account opening is accepted from:
• Germany, Austria, Switzerland (all nationalities)
• worldwide with German citizens
• Germany (a later move abroad while keeping the account is possible)
… readers from Austria open the account here ►
Start of account opening Link to Bank
(further info)
Link to Bank
(further info)

Tips regarding the use of the new accounts

1. Withdraw cash

It is the easiest to withdraw cash via the Visa Card (DKB as well as ING-DiBa), because then you do not have to search for the “appropriate” ATMs or group.

Every ATM that accepts Visa Cards will pay out the desired cash, though there might be pay-out limits imposed by the ATM provider. The DKB/ING-DiBa cards are by default unlocked for 1,000 Euro per day.

The fee for withdrawal is automatically taken over for you by DKB respectively ING-DiBa. In Germany, that is currently 1.75 Euro per withdrawal.

Mit der DKB free of charge withdraw cash

Please, do not let such tables unsettle you. The crucial part is what happens on the monitor.

In case you have been customer of a local bank until now, you do not have to have any bad conscience, when you use the same ATM with withdrawals in the future. Your old bank might then even make more money with you than they used to. 😉

Please use these cash withdrawals carefully, so that these fantastic conditions preferably will remain available to us.

Fantastic conditions

For withdrawals abroad, both banks do not charge any fee regarding the withdrawal as such. If you withdraw cash in a currency other than Euro, ING-DiBa charges 1.75 % international­ service­ fee for the currency exchange.

This exchange fee is charged by DKB as well, but will be automatically refunded to your Giro account at the end of the month. Thusly, the DKB Visa Card practically is free of an international service fee, at least if you are an active customer at DKB. More about that under item 4.

Independently from the price list of DKB/ING-DiBa, there is a direct customer fee at the withdrawal in some countries, which is charged at ATMs. You will for example find such indications during cash withdrawals at ATMs in the USA, Canada, Paraguay or Thailand. This cannot be influenced by any German bank.

2. Use of the two cards

In case you have only been used to the use of the “EC Card”, there is something new for you: You now have two cards, and it is important to understand the differences. There are significant advantages, when it comes to using the one or the other card. We have put up two comprehensive pages about this for you:

The most important difference concerns the withdrawal of cash. Roughly summarized: With the Visa Card, it is free of charge everywhe – with the Giro Card (formerly EC Card) only only at the bank’s own ATMs.

3. Use abroad

The Visa Cards of both banks are suitable for taking with you abroad. The DKB Visa Card is even better suited, because the international­ service­ fee is automatically refunded, with card payments as well as with cash withdrawals at ATMs. With ING-DiBa one pays 1.75 % on each payment in foreign currency.

What is really great, is that when you lose your card, DKB issues a emercency card within 48 hours (in my case it took less than 20 hours) has it delivered to your current travel location.

Additionally or alternatively one can have emergency cash disbursed at the nearest Western Union counter (in my case, this worked within approx 3 hours after I reported the card as lost).

DKB Notfallkarte

… Received after just a few hours ► Cromprehensive report

4. Use as a salary account

You can use DKB und ING-DiBa as your main Giro account with incoming salary, but do not have to in order to buse it free of charge.

Is a use as a salary account neccessary? No! But it can make sense.

Information regarding DKB

After the account opening, you will obtain the privileged status of “active customer” for the duration of 12 months, in order to be able to test all features and advantages of DKB extensively. After this time you will remain active customer, if you maintain a monthly incoming amount of at least 700 Euro. That does not have to be a salary. A transfer (standing order) from another Giro account would suffice.

You can read about all significant differences between active and passive customer here ► the account models.

An overdraft facility of more than 500 Euro is only granted in cases of incoming salary. The amount of the overdraft facility can maximally be 15,000 Euro, i.e. the limit of the Visa Card as a credit. The credit limit can be increased anytime with transfers onto the Visa Card.

Information regarding ING-DiBa

At ING-DiBa, no incoming salary is neccessary, either. You can even be granted an overdraft facility of max. 10,000 Euro without incoming salary. For the calculation of the overdraft facility limit, a submission of salary statements is neccessary.

You can supplement the overdraft facility with a framework credit. This is an additional credit line that is ready to use for you anytime, but does not have to be used. We have people participating in our Program Towards Financial Freedom (German site), who have a credit line of 35,000 Euro at ING-DiBa: 10,000 as a Giro account overdraft facility and further 25,000 Euro as a framework credit.

In case this is of interest to you, you can have a look at these experiences. As you know: A very good credit rating is a requirement. If one already is in trouble, a bank will be less willing to loan any money (or will charge significantly higher interest rates).

The best strategy is to open/develop the accounts, cards and credit lines you might need in your life during the “good times” (steady job, no negative Schufa entries).

5. Further useful tips

In case you decide on opening one of these great Giro accounts, it makes sense to learn more about the smart use of the account, so you can use the new bank more efficiently and significantly minimize the risk of paying fees you would not neccessarily incur – for example at an ATM abroad, due to pressing the “wrong” button.

DKB Video

For new DKB customer we have compiled and published a little video training (German).

In case you have decided on ING-DiBa, it makes sense to subscribe to our Sonntagsmail (Sunday Mail), which is free of charge. Since DKB and ING-DiBa belong to the banks permanently monitored by us, you will keep informed and up-to-date regarding important changes.

Tips for an account opening

Both Giro accounts can exclusively be opened online. It therefore does not make any sense to look for the option elswhere.

DKB as pioniers – meanwhile ING-DiBa as well – offers in addition to the proven PostIdent procedure the legitimization via the modern VideoIdent procedure.

For you, this has the advantag that you can open the account right now – regardless of your current location, e.g. if you are travelling abroad.

For an account opening you only need:

  • a stable internet connection
  • your ID or passport
  • 5–10 minutes time
  • a camera … alternatively you can use the PostIdent procedure
    Tip regarding the camera: This can be the one from your notebook or smartphone – after the filling in and sending of the online account application, you can change the device for the legitimization – the prompt for legitimization can come after up to 30 minutes.

You start with the online application – here the links for you:

DKB ► assistance
ING-DiBa ► assistance


If you have questions regarding the account opening, the account use or in case of general tips regarding the smart use of the beiden banks we compare here, please feel free to use the comments feature.

You can also share your experience, especially when this might potentially help other smart banking customers. We look forward to hearing from you, many thanks!

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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.

4 Responses to “Open an Account at DKB or ING-DiBa?”

  1. DPP says:

    Thank you for this really useful resource!

    With DKB, I understand that – instead of a Tagesgeld account – there is the extra DKB-VISA-Tagesgeld credit card which pays interest on credit balances, but this credit card can still be used as a regular credit card for payments, for example online. What protection is there against credit card fraud on this card? I’m wary of putting a large amount of savings on it, in case something happens and the savings are lost.

    Alternatively, is it possible to block the card so that payments cannot be made with it, but still to use it for savings?

    • Editorial Team says:

      Yes, it is correct that the balance on the DKB Visa Card gains interest according to the current overnight money rates.

      But you can additionally open the DKB-VISA-Tagesgeld, as you’ve mentioned. This is not a physical card, but a virtual one. If you don’t use it anywhere for payments (online shops for example), nobody will know your credit card number.

      The Tagesgeld/overnight money deposit is just as save as with a regular savings account. Should there in fact be a debit that you have not authorized, the customer service can reverse-book it. But this won’t happen if you don’t give your credit card/account number to anyone.

  2. Valeria says:

    thanks for you article, very useful! Can you explain the difference regarding the incoming transfers­ from abroad? It’s not very clear to me if they are free of charge for DKB.
    thank you!

    • Gregor says:

      That’s easy: incoming money transfers in Euros (from the SEPA area) are always free of charge, for example a transfer from Austria. Both countries have the Euro as their currency. For a transfer from the US, there are fees. Here, the bank has to exchange the currency.

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