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No fee bank accounts in Germany

Your guide to no fee bank accounts in Germany and how they work.

Bank accounts are meant to be safe spaces for you to store your money, but pesky fees can get in the way of your long-term savings. Even the smallest monthly account fees could add up over the years, translating into huge costs that eat into your savings. You could, however, avoid this with no fee bank accounts.

Read on to find out more about bank accounts in Germany with no monthly fees, including the features and potential hidden costs involved.

Compare a range of no fee bank accounts in Germany

Name Product Management Fee Interest Rate Overdraft Card Fee
DKB-Cash: Free current account
0 €
0%
0%
0 €
A current account with fees that comes with 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.
Commerzbank Free current account
0 €
0%
0%
9.90 €

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%
0 €
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.
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How does a bank account with no management fee work?

Most current accounts in Germany charge monthly account management fees in exchange for the services and features that come with your account.

Current accounts with no management fees might offer the same features but come with other costs — like currency exchange fees incurred while shopping online. In other cases, current accounts could come with no management and miscellaneous fees at all but only offer the most basic features.

In Germany, many digital banks are also able to offer accounts with no management fees, simply since they don’t need to maintain a large headcount or any physical bank branches.

You can save hundreds by switching

If you have a current account with a €5 monthly account management fee, that’s €60 a year lost to fees. By switching to an account with no account management fees you could save up to €300 in five years.

Types of bank accounts in Germany

The two main types of bank accounts in Germany are:

  • Current Account (Griokonto). A standard type of bank account in Germany used for day-to-day transactions such as salary crediting, bill payments and making EFTPOS purchases with a linked debit card. A Griokonto comes with an International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and a German debit card known as Girocard.
  • Savings Account (Sparkonto and Depot). An interest-bearing savings account that can be opened alongside a Girokonto, so that you’d be able to deposit money from your current account to accrue interest. These accounts may be high-yield accounts that come with high interest and stricter eligibility requirements, or low-interest accounts available to most applicants.

Which bank account type would you need?

If you’re an expat living in Germany, you’d probably need a Griokonto to transfer funds between your bank account in your home country and your new bank account. It can also help you manage your day-to-day expenses, pay your bills, receive your salary or make purchases wherever and whenever you want.

German banks also tend to offer both general current accounts and specialised accounts (such as student bank accounts), so make sure to choose one that best suits your needs.

Bank accounts in Germany

Which are the banks in Germany with English-language support?

If you’re an expat or student in Germany, signing up for a bank account with a local bank that only offers its services in German can be very challenging.

To help you narrow down your search, we’ve listed some of the most popular German banks and they offer English-language support:

Banks with English support:

  • N26
  • bunq
  • Commerzbank
  • Deutsche Bank

Banks with German-only support:

  • DKB
  • ING
  • comdirect
  • 1822direkt
  • Berliner Sparkasse
  • Volksbank

    What are the no fee bank accounts available in Germany?

    German bank accounts come with a range of features and charges. In general, most bank accounts offer free plans for students and select federal volunteers. Others are free as long as certain minimum deposit requirements are met.

    Here is a range of no fee bank accounts you may want to consider in Germany:

    • N26 Standard Current Account. N26 offers a no fee bank account with multilingual support, a debit MasterCard and a mobile app for easy usage.
    • Commerzbank Current Account. Enjoy a free Maestro Girocard and unlimited complimentary cash withdrawals from CashGroup ATMs when you choose Commerzbank.
    • DKB-Cash Current Account. The DKB-Cash account comes with a free Visa credit card and a Maestro or VPay Girocard, as well as zero-fee cash withdrawals within the Eurozone.
    • TARGOBANK Online Konto. Multilingual support, free withdrawals at local CashPool ATMs and banking services in over 240 cities — these are some of the features you’ll get with the TARGOBANK current account.
    • Norisbank Top-Girokonto. As the direct banking branch of Deutsche Bank, norisbank offers a no fee bank account that comes with a Girocard, mobile app with an English interface and a Couples account option.
    • Fidor Smart Current Account. Fidor’s completely-digital current account comes with a virtual Mastercard debit card, access to Fidor Pay on Android phones as well as customer support for native English-speakers.
    • Postbank Komfort-Konto. Deposit at least €3000 per month into a Postbank Komfort-Konto and enjoy no account management fees, inclusive of a Postbank Visa Card or Mastercard, and low interest rates for overdraft.
    • HVB Start Account. A no fee bank account for those under 26 that comes with an HVB GiroCard, free access to the SB-terminal, and Europe-wide free payments and withdrawals.

    How to compare no fee bank accounts?

    Here are some features you may want to compare when deciding on a no fee bank account in Germany.

    • Customer service. Good customer support is important and it could be worth paying more for better service. For those who are non-native to Germany and can’t speak German, it is even more critical that you opt for banks like bunq, N26, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank — all of which offer their services in English as well.
    • Interest rates. No fee bank accounts undoubtedly save you on costs but should help you grow your money as well. Some bank accounts offer higher interest rates, which is great for those holding their cash for a longer term. However, do take note that most accounts in Germany will offer you near-zero interest or even charge you interest.
    • Perks and bundles. Some no fee bank accounts may come with bundles, such as family plans or healthcare insurance, or perks such as cashback and rewards. Choose a fee-free bank account that gives you the most bang for your buck.
    • Internet banking availability. No fee bank accounts that come with online banking facilities offer you greater convenience and control over your money. If having a tight hold of your finances is important to you, you might want to choose a provider who offers mobile banking.
    • ATM network coverage. As cash is still king for many in Germany, it’s important to consider the bank’s ATM network coverage. Are there any of the bank’s ATMs located within your proximity? Does the bank have any shared ATM network with its partner banks?
    • Discounts applicable to your financial situation. Students in Germany, for instance, should choose a no fee bank account offering them special rates. This also applies to federal volunteers, and sometimes the elderly.
    • Additional features. Depending on your needs, you may need an account that allows you to manage all your finances in one place. This may include your investment portfolio, insurance products, home loans and more.

    What are the possible fees might be tied to a no fee bank account?

    Although no fee bank accounts should be free, hidden costs that might unexpectedly arise. These are some fees you should watch out for when applying for fee-free bank accounts in Germany:

    • Account maintenance fee
    • Credit or debit card fees (annual fees, card replacement etc)
    • ATM withdrawal fees (from overseas ATMs or third-party banks)
    • Foreign exchange fees
    • Overdraft credit interest rate
    • Wire transfer or bank giro transfer fee

    Difference between traditional no-fee bank accounts and digital bank accounts

    No fee bank accounts in Germany are available from a few different providers, including traditional banks and digital banks. There are a number of differences between these providers, but one big difference to take note of is how they are licensed.

    Traditional banks such as Deutsche Bank have bank licenses that enable them to accept deposits and protects your funds up to €100,000. Digital banks and finance apps such as Revolut and N26 have been licensed by BaFin, the German banking authority, in a few different ways: as banks, as electronic money institutions or as payment institutions. If they are licensed as a bank, they can function like a traditional bank and your money is protected in the same way.

    For the other two licenses, they will not be able to offer standard current accounts but rather prepaid cards. Your money will also not be protected by the government guarantee.

    Digital banks

    How to apply for a no-fee bank account

    Whether you’re applying for a digital bank account or a traditional bank account, most providers today offer online registration. Simply visit the provider’s website and fill out the online application form to get started. Alternatively, you can always visit a local bank branch to open your account.

    If you are registering for an online bank account, you’d be required to complete a quick identity verification process through a webcam, selfie, email verifying code, or PostIdent.

    Eligibility criteria

    • German resident or foreigner with a valid visa.
    • At least 18 years of age (for most account types)

    Required documents

    Here are some common documents that may be requested from you in order to open a bank account in Germany:

    • Identity proof. A German ID, driver’s license (issued in the EU) or valid passport. Foreign applicants will also need to provide a valid visa or residence permit.
    • Proof of residential address. A recent utility/telco bill, mortgage payment or bank statement.
    • Proof of employment. You may have to submit an employment verification letter with your employer or company details.
    • Proof of study. If you’re a student, you’ll also need to provide documents to prove your student status, such as your enrolment or scholarship letters.
    • Credit history. Some banks may require your SCHUFA credit rating

    Bottom Line

    No fee bank accounts are great options to consider when choosing a bank account that gives you the most bang for your buck. Pick an account that will give you the features, fees and customer service standard that you’ll be most satisfied with.

    Frequently asked questions

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