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Compare bank accounts in Germany

What you need to know about the fees, payment options and features on a range of current accounts in Germany.

Compare a range of banks accounts in Germany

Data updated regularly
Name Product Management Fee Interest Rate Overdraft Card Fee
Commerzbank Free current account
€0
0%
-
€0

Receive €100 starting credit after 3 months of account activity

A current account with €0 fees and cashback at select Shell petrol stations. Includes a Mastercard Classic credit card.
1822MOBILE Current Account
1822MOBILE Current Account
€0
0%
-
€0

Receive €20 credit when you open an account and use it to receive your salary. Open by 30 November 2020.*

Free account management, €20 when you open an account, up to €100 referral bonus and a free savings bank card: your current account 1822MOBILE offers all of this.
Comdirect Bank Current Account
€4.90
0%
6.50%
€0
A current account with no minimum incoming funds. Includes a free Visa credit card and free cash withdrawals worldwide.
Norisbank Top Current Account
€0
0%
10.85%
€0
Benefit from a €0 account fee, free Maestro card and free cash withdrawals from thousands of locations worldwide.
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Whether you’re new to Germany or a native German resident, the right current account can help you manage your day-to-day expenses, pay your bills, receive your salary or make purchases wherever and whenever you want.

Read on to find out more on what to look for with current accounts in Germany, the features and fees these accounts come with and how to open an account.

What is a current account?

A current account, known as a Girokonto in Germany, is a simple deposit account that holds your money. German current accounts are offered by banks, credit unions, building societies or other financial institutions. You can get your salary or wages deposited into your current account directly by your employer, which you can access by withdrawing the cash from an ATM, making EFTPOS purchases with a linked debit card or paying your bills. Some current accounts in Germany offer cashback on spending, and many also come with an overdraft facility.

Benefits of current accounts in Germany

  • Safer than cash. Current accounts in Germany offer a secure place to hold your money, which is much safer (and easier) than keeping your money in physical cash. Thanks to a policy known as Entschädigungseinrichtung deutscher Banken, your deposit of up to €100,000 in a German bank account is protected by the German Government.
  • Easy access to your money. The money in your bank account is yours to access whenever you want. You can withdraw cash from your bank account at an ATM, use a debit card to purchase things in stores, pay your bills or shop online 24/7.
  • Free debit card. Current accounts in Germany usually come with a free Visa or Mastercard debit card that’s linked to your account. You can use this debit card in stores in Germany and overseas, at ATMs and online. Unlike a credit card, the money on your debit card is limited to what you deposit into the account.
  • Transaction history. You can see your past bank account transactions by logging into your Internet banking portal or mobile banking app. This is a handy way to keep track of where and how you’re spending your money.
  • No interest charged. Unlike a credit card which is a type of loan that you need to repay, the money in your bank account is your money. You can only spend what you have in the bank account, so there are no interest repayments to worry about and there’s no risk of spending more than you have.
  • Mobile banking app. Most bank accounts in Germany offer mobile app access. This means you can keep track of your bank account, manage your expenses and see your transactions in the mobile banking app

How to compare current accounts in Germany

When comparing current accounts, consider the following features to make sure you choose the right bank account for you.

Consider the account maintenance fees.

Check to see if you’ll be charged on a monthly or annual basis for using an account. Look for a current account that charges no or low monthly account maintenance fees. Or, if there is an account maintenance fee, you can often get the fee waived by depositing a certain amount of money into the account each month.

Check the deposit conditions.

If the account does require your to meet a monthly deposit requirement, make sure it’s an amount that you can easily meet each month.

Check the ATM fees.

Will you be charged an ATM withdrawal fee to access your cash? Don’t forget to check the overseas ATM withdrawal fee, too, as this can be quite high with some bank accounts in Germany.

Compare the overseas fees and charges.

If you travel a lot or regularly shop online from overseas retailers, check the international transaction fees when comparing bank accounts. Some German bank accounts don’t charge an international transaction fee at all, and others will waive this fee if you meet certain deposit conditions. Sending or receiving money in a currency other than euros can be expensive with a standard current account.

Look at the linked savings account.

If you want to link a savings account, or Sparkonto, to your bank account with the same bank, check what interest rate you can earn with the savings account. However, most savings accounts in Germany currently offer interest of about 0.1% to 0.5%, so don’t worry if the linked savings account comes with a low interest rate.

Consider the payment options.

If you want to make contactless purchases with your phone, check that the bank account supports Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay.

Check the customer support language options.

While this might be less applicable to native German residents, expats looking to open a bank account in Germany should check that there are English-language customer service options for any current account.

What features am I looking for?

There is a good range of current accounts in Germany, each with its own product options. Consider which features you’re looking for — whether it’s mobile banking, overdraft facilities, or cheap international transfers — before choosing a current account.

Do I need a joint account?

If you’re looking for a bank account in Germany that you can share with another person (for example your partner), make sure you check if the account can be opened as a joint account.

How to open a current account in Germany

You can open a new bank account online in a matter of minutes. Here’s how to open a German bank account in 5 steps:

  • Compare. Compare bank accounts from a range of providers and find the right one for you.
  • Apply online. Once you’ve chosen your bank account, complete the online application.
  • Add your details. You’ll need a form of identification, an IC or Passport for EU citizens, a Meldebescheinigung for potential long-term residents and a student pass for students. Expats will need to show a work permit, residence permit, or visa. You’ll also need to fill in your name, age, address and contact details as well as your residency status in the form.
  • Verify your identity. If you’re applying online, the bank will use a system known as PostIdent to verify your identity. Once your identity is verified, your account should be opened immediately.
  • Fund your account. Transfer some money into your new bank account from another account, or deposit cash into the account via a bank branch or ATM. You’ll soon receive your debit card in the mail.

Frequently asked questions

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