Finally, the time has come: From now on, you can open a current account in Germany, which:
- is completely available in English language:
- Procedure of the account opening
- Online banking
- Customer service (phone/e-mail)
- Includes a MasterCard (individual card design possible)
- Includes a DE-IBAN (important, if you want to apply for a loan in Germany)
- Can even be opened from abroad (from many, though not all countries).
For the online account opening one only needs 1-2 minutes ► www.onlinekonto.de
Why does this account exist?
There are not many English-language websites that deal with the opening and clever use of bank accounts in Germany. Therefore, we have continuously been receiving queries from within Germany and abroad regarding whether we knew a bank that offers an English-language customer service and/or online banking.
In small countries, such as Estonia, English as a second language in banking is completely normal, but with more than 80 million people in Germany alone, the market for German banks is big enough among German-speaking people, and there is only little interest in providing the complete banking and all procedures in another language.
After three years of searching and continuous conversations with different contact persons at different banks, from marketing up to the product manager, we have managed to convince a provider to additionally offer their account and all corresponding procedures including customer service in English language!
It is achieved!
From now on, the Onlinekonto of PayCenter is available in German and in English language. One can change the language on each page by selecting the corresponding flag (below right).
What can this current account do for you?
For many people who have either just recently arrived in Germany or plan to move to Germany soon or just have a current account in Germany at their disposal – the Onlinekonto is an outstanding solution, because it offers:
Standing orders are transfers that are implemented each month at the same time and in the same amount. Usually, one pays the rent in Germany using a standing order.
The debit entry is even more important than the standing order, because if one wants to conclude a mobile phone contract, get an installment loan or wants to register a car in Germany, one needs a current account from which the other party can debit the monthly or yearly amount due.
Most providers only debit from a DE-IBAN.
Receiving social benefits
If you receive or will receive social benefits from the state of Germany, then you need a current account as well.
The Onlinekonto can be opened and used by private persons and by companies. You can find details regarding that on this page.
Most German direct banks are banks exclusively for private customers and do not permit a commercial use of their accounts.
Online banking, customer service and MasterCard
Of course, the account features online banking access, so that you have worldwide access to your bank account. On the other hand, there are no local branch offices. You communicate with the provider through e-mail or phone. However, you can now do this in English language as well!
You receive a MasterCard for the account, with which you can pay at all MasterCard points of acceptance or withdraw cash at an ATM.
The online banking has an interesting security feature: You can block or activate the card use for some countries. Practical, isn’t it?
What this current account cannot do for you:
International transfers. It is a current account for the Euro zone. Transactions are only possible in Euros.
With the MasterCard, you can also pay in other currencies, but you cannot transfer to another currency area. For money transfers to Great Britain, Poland or the USA you can use TransferWise as a supplement. The transfer to TransferWise is done in Euros, and TransferWise ensures that your money is credited in the foreign account within a very short time, and at unbeatably great conditions.
I myself am an enthusiastic TransferWise user!
Account balances above Euro 15,000. PayCenter offers a current accout with a maximum account balance of Euro 15,000. This usually is enough for 99% of the people interested in a current account.
Important facts about the account opening!
When it comes to the account opening, there is a big advantage compared to all other good direct banks in Germany:
The account opening takes place immediately online!
When they say “immediately”, they really mean “immediately”.
You can open the account on a Sunday or in the middle of the night: As soon as you fill out and submit the account application online and confirm your e-mail address, the account is opened.
You immediately receive access to the online banking. There, you will find your account number (IBAN), and if you want to, you can perform the first transfer (i.e. a deposit) immediately.
Why is it so fast?
The explanation is easy: PayCenter only offers credit accounts (where you first need to have money deposited before you can actually use it), and they therefore save themselves the creditworthiness check. The creditworthiness check (query of income, living conditions, credit history) is normally a usual procedure prior to an account opening in Germany.
Again, “credit account” means here: You can only use the account and card as long as there is money in the current account. Please ensure that you alway stay within the range of that balance.
PayCenter does not offer loans and no credit cards with installment feature. This perhaps is good news for you, because you won’t ever pay expensive loan interest and cannot blunder into a debt-trap.
This current account is financed through a fee for the account opening, a monthly account management fee and accounting entries. However, there is a whole bunch of services included, such as e.g. 1 cash withdrawal free of charge per month. You can find the list of prices and services ► here.
Account opening from abroad
This is really good news, because in order to open this current account, you do not need an address in Germany.
An account opening with an address within the European Union is just as easy. There is also the possibility of opening the account from outside Europe, for example from the USA. In this case, though, it can happen that the customer service queries your reason for wanting to open a current account in Germany.
In the meantime, like everywhere around the globe, one has to prove one’s identity beyond doubt, if one wants to open a current account. Currently, this is performed through the PostIdent-procedure at every German post office. One visits any post office in Germany with the identification document or passport and the ID-coupon one receives after the account opening, and gets legitimized there.
Video identification soon possible!
Of course, we know that there are people who would like to open the account from abroad completely. Therefore, the good news: The legitimization through video chat will soon be available!
When the time has come, we will let you know more about that in one of our next blog articles. Of course, in order to stay up-to-date, you can also subscribe to our newsletter.
Currently, you have six weeks after the online account opening to perform the legitimization at a German post office. Once that has been successfully done, you will receive your MasterCard (by mail), so that you can make payments (outgoing transfers).
Until then, only deposits are possible. By the way, this has helped quite a few of our readers, because they could already receive money from business partners and customers to their German current account – immediately after they had opened it online.
If you like, you can open a current account in Germany and you:
- can use it completely in English language (change into German language possible as wekk),
- can use the advantages of a German current account,
- get a MasterCard for cashless payments or cash withdrawals,
- are allowed to use the account for commercial purposes (otherwise unusual in Germany),
- do not need an address in Germany for the account opening (being a EU-citizen),
- get the support of the English-speaking customer service,
- can open the account immediately (you receive your new account number within a few moments).
“Open your online account in just 1–2 minutes”
… success guaranteed!
Questions on the account opening or account use?
We will gladly answer questions through the comments feature, since we are happy that you and many other smart bank customers will soon be well supplied with an English-language account in Germany.
We have been working on this issue for three years and are proud to have now achieved our goal – including the account opening from abroad, soon to be completed with VideoIdent.
Many thanks to PayCenter, the account provider who made it possible that this great account is now available in English too, and who has employed English-speaking staff especially for this purpose!