COVID-19 in Germany: How a digital bank account might help | Finder DE

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How a digital bank account can help you during COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

A bank account you can apply for and manage from home.

Commerzbank Kostenloses Girokonto

Commerzbank Kostenloses Girokonto logo

€0

Monthly Fee

  • Online banking app
  • €0 cash withdrawals at Cash Group ATMs
  • Virtual debit card with Apple Pay and Google Pay
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The Coronavirus has caused an unprecedented crisis across the world. In Germany, only essential businesses have been allowed to remain open and companies are being encouraged to let employees work from home. These measures have caused mass disruption to people’s way of lives, including the way people manage their finances and banking.

In this guide, we’ll take you through digital bank accounts, what they are and how they might be a good option to consider during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

What is a digital bank account?

A digital bank account is an account that you can apply for and manage entirely from your computer or smartphone. You don’t need to visit a bank branch to apply, pick up your debit card or manage your account. This makes it a viable option to consider as we’re self-isolating and only able to leave home for the essentials.

How can a digital bank account help you during the Coronavirus crisis?

Digital bank accounts come with a number of features that can make banking simpler and more convenient. This is especially important during COVID-19.

  • No face-to-face interactions required. Digital banks do not have branches you need to visit to apply for an account and all customer service is conducted in the app or over the phone. When you have applied for an account and your identity has been verified, your card is mailed to you.
  • Low fees. It’s more important than ever to keep our spending on bank fees low, and digital banks have far fewer fees than traditional banks. You can usually have your pick of a standard account with no monthly fee or pay for a higher tier account to unlock more features. With all account tiers you are generally given free ATM withdrawals up to a certain limit, free foreign currency transfers up to a limit, no contactless payment fees and no transaction fees.
  • Budgeting features. When you sign up for a digital bank you’ll get an app to manage your spending. Features with these apps include automatic spending categorisation, savings goals and analytics.
  • Low-cost international payments. With travel limited, you may need to send money overseas or receive payments from other countries. You can do this easily with a digital bank account. Finance app Revolut lets you hold multiple currencies in one account, while N26 lets you transfer money to other currencies with no foreign currency fees.

What other features come with a digital bank account?

You can also find a number of other features offered by digital bank accounts, including:

  • Multiple accounts. Digital bank bunq lets you open up to 25 accounts each with their own individual IBAN while Revolut gives you a dual account with a UK account number and a European IBAN.
  • Mobile wallets. Digital features such as Apple Pay and Google Pay are usually standard.
  • Paying your friends. Along with easy international transfers, you can pay your friends, too. This includes through split bill functions or through innovative unique payment links such as those offered by bunq.
  • Card and safety controls. Keeping your money safe is easy with a digital bank app. You can switch off contactless payments in the app and switch them on again when you like. You can also lock and unlock your card if you lose it or it’s stolen and also change your spending limit, all within the app.
  • Cryptocurrency. Finance apps such as Revolut and Wirex let you buy and sell cryptocurrencies directly within the app.
  • Savings. While few digital banks have savings accounts that pay interest, they do have a savings function that encourages you to build up your savings balance and reach a savings goal. For example, N26’s Spaces feature lets you save for a specific goal and keeps that money away from your main account funds.

Compare a range of digital bank accounts in Germany

Data updated regularly
Name Product Monthly fee Card delivery Supported currencies
Commerzbank Kostenloses Girokonto
€0
3 to 4 business days

1

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 Account
1822MOBILE Account
€0
N/A

1

Free account management, up to € 100 referral bonus and a free savings bank card: your current account 1822MOBILE offers all of this.
Bitwala Bank Account
€0
Up to 14 days

1

A unique bank account and crypto-wallet managed through a user-friendly app with real-time spending notifications. Includes a free digital Mastercard.
N26 Standard
€0
Up to 10 working days

1

Benefit from no monthly fee, no currency conversion fees and a raft of in-app budgeting features to help you save.
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Data updated regularly
Name Product Monthly fee Card delivery Supported currencies
Fidor Smart Current Account
€5
N/A

1

A mobile current account with real-time notifications on your transactions. Includes a digital Mastercard with mobile payment and a Smart Banking app.
Comdirect Bank Current Account
€4.90
N/A

1

A current account with no minimum incoming funds. Includes a free Visa credit card and free cash withdrawals worldwide.
N26 Metal
€16.90
Up to 10 working days

1

Receive a stainless steel Metal card available in 3 shades, an insurance package and exclusive offers.
Tomorrow Zero
€15
3-5 business days

1

A free Visa debit card with free transactions across the globe and unlimited free ATM withdrawals per month.
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Please note these products are not licenced as banks. Check our product review pages for details.
Data updated regularly
Name Product Monthly fee Card delivery Supported currencies
Wirex Multi-Currency Card
€1.20
Up to 4 business days

19

Get a Welcome Bonus of 1,000 WXT when you sign up with Wirex through Finder.

A multicurrency account that lets you spend aborad in more than 150 currencies and 11 supported cryptocurrencies.
Revolut Premium
€7.99
Up to 3 working days

14

A combined current account and IBAN account with unlimited free currency conversions and international transfers in over 25 currencies.
VIABUY Prepaid Mastercard
VIABUY Prepaid Mastercard
€1.65
3-5 business days

1

VIABUY Prepaid Mastercard comes with no line of credit and it does not require credit checks.
Revolut Metal
€13.99
Up to 3 working days

14

A premium account with an exclusive Metal card featuring insurances, cashback, concierge service, cryptocurrencies and more.
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What fees and charges come with digital banks?

These differ depending on the bank, but generally, you can expect the following:

  • Monthly fee. Most digital banks offer a standard €0 account and then come with paid, tiered accounts that which come with more features.
  • Foreign currency fee. You’ll find that digital banks generally waive foreign currency fees. However, this may be for only a certain number of transactions per month. If you’re currently overseas or plan on travelling later on with the account, make sure you pick an account that meets your needs.
  • ATM withdrawal fees. Usually, digital banks will not charge for ATM withdrawals up to a certain number per month. This is because these accounts do not charge you any transaction fees or contactless payment fees, so you can use them as often as you want in-store or even online without being charged.
  • ATM withdrawals abroad. You may be charged a fee for withdrawing money from an ATM that’s not in Euros.
  • Card delivery. Generally, card delivery will be free, but some digital banks charge for this with their free accounts.

How do you sign up for a digital bank?

Signup is relatively simple. Once you’ve compared your options above, click “Go to Site” on your chosen digital bank account and you’ll be taken to the website to complete the signup process. You’ll need a few things to sign up:

  • Personal details such as your name, date of birth and address
  • Your passport
  • Your face (for a selfie)

Once you’ve verified your identity you will need to add €10 to your account by linking an existing bank account.

Have more questions about digital banks in Germany?

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