Commerzbank Free current account
- Online banking app
- 0 € cash withdrawals at Cash Group ATMs
- Virtual debit card with Apple Pay and Google Pay
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Digital banks put your finances at your fingertips 24/7. There’s a host of online banks, digital-only banks and personal finance apps available now, designed to give you better, faster control of your cash. Some of these banks include global brands like Revolut as well as German players like Tomorrow Bank.
We’ve rounded up everything you need to know so you can decide if an online bank account is right for you.
Digital banks, also called online banks, offer a way to manage your finances through a smartphone or web app. These banks allow you to log into your account anywhere that has Internet access, giving you constant visibility of your money and helping you understand the best way to manage it. You will find these banks also offer low fees, smart financial tools and more.
Online bank accounts are a great option if you’re new to Germany or travel around a lot as you can access multiple currencies, cheap transfers and benefits such as travel insurance.
There are several advantages to signing up with a challenger bank:
Here are a few things that you may not know about using your smartphone to do your banking:
While traditional bank accounts usually only allow you to hold one currency, online bank accounts such as Revolut allow you to hold several currencies in the one account. Revolut and other digital banks such as Wirex also allow you to trade cryptocurrencies in your account.
In Germany, digital banks usually have limitations on how many ATM withdrawals you can make a month and do not offer cheque facilities.
Travel is big with digital banks. You will usually find these banks allow you to transfer money to other countries with low or no foreign currency transfer fees. ATM fees in foreign countries will also be lower or abolished altogether.
Not every mobile bank has a full banking licence. Some digital banks hold a banking licence, meaning your funds are protected under the German Deposit Protection scheme. Banks that do not hold this licence are still able to conduct banking business in Germany but may be partnered with a licenced bank or financial operator, such as a payments company, to do so.
Some German digital banks require you to conduct all of your banking from your smartphone. This means no Internet banking from your computer or tablet.
Digital banks still take security seriously, but you will see different security features. For example, you will usually be able to lock and unlock your card in case it’s stolen or you lose it. There’s also no need to call, you can do this in the app. With most mobile banks you can also set payment limits and turn on and off payment capabilities such as contactless payments.
Some mobile banks charge higher monthly fees for premium accounts that offer features such as insurance, discounts and more. This means a higher cost at first which will negate your ongoing costs.
There are a number of companies offering bank accounts, finance apps and ways to manage your spending. However, not all of these are licenced as “banks”. Some providers are electronic money institutions or payment institutions.
These non-bank providers are still able to offer you debit cards and finance apps, but the account where your money is held is not considered a bank account. You are also not protected under the deposit guarantee which will safeguard up to €100,000 of your money in case anything happens to the bank. You can compare bank and non-bank providers in the table above.
There are a number of mobile banks and finance apps available in Germany. These include:
There are two types of online bank accounts: those that are offered by digital banks, and those that are offered by traditional banks on top of regular banking services. For the former, you might encounter a sign-up process similar to the one below:
If you’re opening an online bank account with a traditional bank, with whom you already have a standard bank account, you might have to:
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