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Like many things, opening a business in Germany can be difficult, but thankfully opening a business bank account is one of the easier parts.Business bank accounts are also known as Geschäftskonto and will provide you with an IBAN and allow you to do things like add multiple users and cards, track spending, and make foreign purchases with ease. Thanks to the increase of digital-only banks in Germany, you can now sign up for a business bank account quicker than ever before and help your business grow.
This guide will take a look at some of the banks available to you in Germany, as well as highlight some of the necessary paperwork you will need to get started.
In Germany, business bank accounts are essential for any incorporated business (like a GmbH, UG or AG) and also useful ways for freelancers, small businesses, artists, and the self-employed to manage their funds separate from their personal accounts. Many accounts will also give you insights to your spending, which can help you tally things up more easily at tax time. Keeping your business finances separate to your personal is also important for bookkeeping, especially around tax time when the tax office (Finanzamt) requires access.
Business accounts also allow you to do essential things such as pay your share capital (Stammkapital), which is necessary if you choose to run for incorporated businesses such as a GmbH or UG. Larger companies such as AG’s pay Grundkapital instead, which is also possible from a business account.
Some banks may even ask you to stop using your personal account for banking purposes if they notice too many invoices (Rechnung) which indicate business activity. As such, opening a business account early on can help prevent issues later down the line. And given the range of affordable (and sometimes free) accounts available, even the smallest operations should be able to find a business account that suits their needs.
The documents required to open a business account in Germany will depend on the type of business you plan to run.
The documents required for individuals or partnerships to open a business account vary, and do not usually require an Anmeldung or SCHUFA (unless the bank offers overdraft services).
Freelancers (Freiberufler) and the self-employed only need a proof of identity document to get started, such as a passport. EEA residents can use their National Identity card (excluding Denmark, Iceland, and Norway).
A sole trader, more accurately known as a sole proprietorship in Germany (Freiberufler), is essentially a one-person business. It differs from a freelancer as there as an actual registered business, not just a self-employed person. A sole proprietorship (Freiberufler) is also able to open an account with just a proof of identity document (eg, passport), however, they may have to provide a proof of trade license if one is acquired later on.
A registered businessperson (eingetragene Kaufmann – e.K.), which is similar to a sole proprietorship that is registered under the individual’s own name, will need their certificate of incorporation to open a business account. They may also be required to include an extract from the commercial register (Handelsregisterauszug), or their trade license, later on.
Partnerships (Personengesellschaften) fall into two baskets, a civil law company (GbR) or a general commercial partnership (oHG).
A civil law company (GbR) only requires the proof of identity of all partners, as well as the articles of association (Gesellschaftsvertrag).
A general commercial partnership requires the same as a GbR but with the added inclusion of an extract from the commercial register (Handelsregister), the list of partners (Gesellschafterliste) and a trade license (if applicable).
Corporations such as a GmbH, UG or AG will need a comprehensive list of documents to open a business bank account.
While every business has different needs, these criteria should be useful for anyone comparing business bank accounts for the best deal.
Digital banks and finance apps provide a new pathway for businesses to get started. Being digital-only, providers such as N26, Bunq and Revolut tend to be more “lightweight” in terms of features than their brick and mortar counterparts. They also include a range of tools, insights and features unlocked by the FinTech revolution. For instance, digital banks usually provide a free or cheap starter account, are intuitive to use for digital natives, make spending and sending money overseas easy, and offer insightful data-analysis which is like having a virtual accountant in your pocket.
Digital banks and finance apps can be licenced in a couple of different ways. Some digital banks, such as N26, are licenced as banks. This means they can take deposits, offer interest-bearing products and any funds you deposit with them up to €100,000.
Other finance apps are licenced as electronic money institutions and payment institutions. These providers are able to offer apps to manage your money and debit cards to spend. However, they cannot take deposits and your money will not be protected by the government guarantee.
Das Netbank Business Konto ist ein praktisches Werkzeug für Freiberufler, Einzelhändler und Selbständige in Deutschland.
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28% of German adults – an estimated 19.7 million – say they have a digital-only bank account and that number is set to grow.
Was Sie über die beliebte digital banking app in Deutschland wissen müssen.
Sie suchen ein business-Konto mit Flexibilität und einfach zu bedienenden Funktionen? Revolut for Business könnte für Ihr Unternehmen arbeiten.
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