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How to pay in Germany

Find out the different ways you can spend in Germany.

From digital payment apps to more traditional approaches like using cash, there is a huge range of methods of payment you can use in Germany.

This guide will cover the different ways you can pay in Germany, including the most popular methods and platforms.

Cash payments

While card and mobile payments are gradually being accepted across Germany, you can’t go wrong with traditional cash payments. Some cities, like Berlin, have merchants that specifically opt for cash-only transactions.

Paying with cash is extremely popular in parts of Germany. In fact, Deutsche Bank reported in 2017 that Germans paid in cash for over 70% of their transactions.

Paying with card

With the rise of e-commerce and online shopping, residents in Germany are paying with cards now more than ever. These include debit cards and credit cards.

Debit cards

Debit cards, also known as Maestro cards, work like standard prepaid cards where you can only spend as much as you own. From Deutsche Bank to Commerzbank, German banks now offer debit cards with their current accounts. This way, you can spend on the go without worrying about accumulating interest fees. Examples of such cards include Mastercard debit cards, Visa debit cards, and the common Girocard.

Credit cards

Credit cards tend to be accepted at larger department stores in Germany. With contactless payment features, credit cards are now easier to use than ever.

Instead of having to key in your PIN number, you can simply wave your card in front of the payments terminal for purchases below 50 euros. This saves you both time and effort – research by Bundesbank shows that contactless payments take a mere 22 seconds compared to card and PIN payments (29 seconds), as well as traditional card and signatures payments (38 seconds).

Here is a list of common credit card providers in Germany for you to consider.

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Paymill
  • Payone
  • PayPal
  • Ingenico
  • Hipay
  • Postfinance
  • Saferpay
  • Skrill
  • Mollie
  • Payolution
  • Heidelpay

Paying with your smartphone

From Apple Pay to Google Pay, mobile payment methods in Germany allow you to spend from the convenience of your phone. This method treats your phone as a digital wallet or debit card and allows you to transact by bringing your phone near a payment terminal.

Mobile payment options available in Germany include:

  • Apple Pay
  • Google Pay
  • PayPal
  • PAYBACK PAY

Direct debit

Direct debits are one of the more popular methods of payment in Germany. When you opt to make a payment, the money is directly debited from your bank account. This is most commonly used during online transactions, and offered by e-wallets and banks alike.

These are some popular providers in Germany who offer direct debits.

  • Sofort
  • Payone
  • Hipay
  • Paymill
  • Skrill
  • Ingenico
  • Postfinance
  • Instalment payment
  • Klarna

Digital banks also offer direct debit payments. Refer to the table below for popular digital banks in Germany offering direct debits.

Paypal and other online payment methods

There is a host of other online payment methods available in Germany, including e-wallets like Paypal, SMS payment apps like Mobiamo, as well as bank transfer platforms like Giropay, Uberweisung, and SEPA. These payment methods are widely used for online shopping because they are typically considered safe methods of transaction.

While these online payment methods might not be as popular as cash or card payments, more merchants in Germany are warming up to the idea of ​​e-wallets with the rise of e-commerce.

How to pick the right payment methods in Germany

Out of all these methods, which method of payments should you use in Germany? Consider the following factors before making a decision.

  • Location. Some cities in Germany are more receptive to newer methods of payment than others. You should pick a payment method depending on where you’re based. For example, if most merchants in your area only accept cash and there are plenty of ATMs nearby, then using cash might be the best payment method for you.
  • Safety. Different payment methods come with their own risk. E-wallets, for instance, might not be regulated as strictly as digital banks are in Germany. The way you intend to store and use your money will determine which level of security you seek, and thus, the method of spending you choose.
  • Fees. How much does it cost for you to spend? Some payment methods like SEPA transfers are often offered for free by banks in Germany. Other providers might charge a fee for bank transfers or direct debits. These small fees can add up so do take them into consideration before choosing a method of payment.
  • Convenience. Digital bank accounts, cards, mobile payment platforms, and e-wallets offer a world of convenience when it comes to making payments in Germany. Debit and credit cards typically come with contactless payment features so that you can tap to spend without keying in your PIN number. Mobile payment solutions also offer this tap-and-go convenience. E-wallets and digital banks, on the other hand, allow you to spend in a few taps through a handy mobile app.

Bottom line

From mobile payments to direct debits, there are plenty of ways you can spend in Germany. The method of payment you choose will ultimately depend on where you’re based, what you’re willing to pay, and personal spending preferences.

Compare a range of online banks in Germany

1 - 20 of 21
Name Product Mobile view Digital banks English Management Fee Card delivery Supported currencies Mobile payments
TARGOBANK Online-Account
  • Management Fee

    3.95 €

  • Card delivery

    N/A

  • Supported currencies

    1

  • Mobile payments

3.95 €
N/A

1

Apple Pay, Google Pay
An online current account that comes with a Visa credit card. Free online transfers and free cash withdrawals at more than 3,000 ATMs.
1822MOBILE Current Account
1822MOBILE Current Account
  • Management Fee

    0 €

  • Card delivery

    N/A

  • Supported currencies

    1

  • Mobile payments

0 €
N/A

1

Apple Pay, Google Pay
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.
DKB-Cash: Free current account
  • Management Fee

    0 €

  • Card delivery

    Up to 7 business days

  • Supported currencies

    1

  • Mobile payments

0 €
Up to 7 business days

1

Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay
A current account with fees that comes with a free Visa credit card and free cash withdrawals worldwide.
Norisbank Top Current Account
  • Management Fee

    0 €

  • Card delivery

    5 to 7 working days

  • Supported currencies

    1

  • Mobile payments

0 €
5 to 7 working days

1

Apple Pay
Benefit from a 0 € account fee, free Maestro card and free cash withdrawals from thousands of locations worldwide.
Openbank Free Current Account
  • Management Fee

    0 €

  • Card delivery

    N/A

  • Supported currencies

    1

  • Mobile payments

0 €
N/A

1

Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay
A free current account with free euro transfers within the eurozone. Includes a debit card with free cash withdrawals worldwide.
N26 Standard
  • Management Fee

    0 €

  • Card delivery

    Up to 10 working days

  • Supported currencies

    1

  • Mobile payments

0 €
Up to 10 working days

1

Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay
Benefit from no monthly fee, no currency conversion fees and a raft of in-app budgeting features to help you save.
bunq Easy Green Personal
  • Management Fee

    17.99 €

  • Card delivery

    Up to working 10 days

  • Supported currencies

    19

  • Mobile payments

17.99 €
Up to working 10 days

19

Apple Pay, Google Pay, FitBit Pay
An account with an exclusive stainless steel card. Help the environment – a tree will be planted for every €100 you spend.
Commerzbank StartKonto
  • Management Fee

    0 €

  • Card delivery

    3 to 4 business days

  • Supported currencies

    1

  • Mobile payments

0 €
3 to 4 business days

1

Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay
A free current account for young people with a free Young Visa credit card. Cashbacks and discounts in more than 2,000 online shops.
Tomorrow Now
  • Management Fee

    3 €

  • Card delivery

    3-5 business days

  • Supported currencies

    1

  • Mobile payments

3 €
3-5 business days

1

Apple Pay, Google Pay
A free Visa debit card with free transactions across the globe and N/A for free.
bunq Easy Bank Personal
  • Management Fee

    2.99 €

  • Card delivery

    Up to working 10 days

  • Supported currencies

    19

  • Mobile payments

2.99 €
Up to working 10 days

19

Apple Pay, Google Pay, FitBit Pay
Benefit from zero FX fees, bill splitting facility, and a wide range of advance payment features with this low-cost digital account.
N26 Metal
  • Management Fee

    16.90 €

  • Card delivery

    Up to 10 working days

  • Supported currencies

    1

  • Mobile payments

16.90 €
Up to 10 working days

1

Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay
Receive a stainless steel Metal card available in 3 shades, an insurance package and exclusive offers.
Tomorrow Zero
  • Management Fee

    15 €

  • Card delivery

    3-5 business days

  • Supported currencies

    1

  • Mobile payments

15 €
3-5 business days

1

Apple Pay, Google Pay
A free Visa debit card with free transactions across the globe and unlimited free ATM withdrawals per month.
N26 Smart
  • Management Fee

    4.90 €

  • Card delivery

    Up to 10 working days

  • Supported currencies

    1

  • Mobile payments

4.90 €
Up to 10 working days

1

Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay
A mid-tier, premium subscription plan that comes with a range of essential money management features to help you better manage your finances.
Comdirect Bank Current Account
  • Management Fee

    4.90 €

  • Card delivery

    N/A

  • Supported currencies

    1

  • Mobile payments

4.90 €
N/A

1

Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay
A current account with no minimum incoming funds. Includes a free Visa credit card and free cash withdrawals worldwide.
N26 You
  • Management Fee

    9.90 €

  • Card delivery

    Up to 10 working days

  • Supported currencies

    1

  • Mobile payments

9.90 €
Up to 10 working days

1

Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay
A smart IBAN account with no currency conversion fees, complimentary insurances and no ATM fees here or abroad.
Tomorrow Change
  • Management Fee

    7 €

  • Card delivery

    3-5 business days

  • Supported currencies

    1

  • Mobile payments

7 €
3-5 business days

1

Apple Pay, Google Pay
Manage your shared finances conveniently with Tomorrow’s mid-tier plan. Benefits include multiple sub-account, fee-free monthly cash withdrawals and more.
Commerzbank Free current account
  • Management Fee

    0 €

  • Card delivery

    3 to 4 business days

  • Supported currencies

    1

  • Mobile payments

0 €
3 to 4 business days

1

Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay

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.
TARGOBANK Starter Account
  • Management Fee

    0 €

  • Card delivery

    N/A

  • Supported currencies

    1

  • Mobile payments

0 €
N/A

1

Apple Pay, Google Pay
Equipped with all essential banking features, this free account designed to help students or young adults below 30 years old to kickstart their financial independence.
Vivid Premium
  • Management Fee

    9.90 €

  • Card delivery

    4-5 days

  • Supported currencies

    1

  • Mobile payments

9.90 €
4-5 days

1

Apple Pay, Google Pay
A premium bank account with maximised cashback rewards on everyday spending online and in store, including up to 100 € cashback per month.
Vivid Standard
  • Management Fee

    0 €

  • Card delivery

    4-5 days

  • Supported currencies

    1

  • Mobile payments

0 €
4-5 days

1

Apple Pay, Google Pay
A free bank account with fee-free payments and transfers globally. Enjoy up to 20€ cashback per month.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Please note these products are not licenced as banks. Check our product review pages for details.

1 - 12 of 12
Name Product Mobile view Digital banks English Management Fee Card delivery Supported currencies Mobile payments
Revolut Standard
  • Management Fee

    0 €

  • Card delivery

    Up to 9 working days

  • Supported currencies

    27

  • Mobile payments

0 €
Up to 9 working days

27

Apple Pay, Google Pay
Enjoy no monthly fee, no currency conversion fees up to 1.000 £ per month, and the ability to hold over 15 currencies in your account.
Wise Multicurrency Account
  • Management Fee

    0 €

  • Card delivery

    Up to 14 working days

  • Supported currencies

    19

  • Mobile payments

0 €
Up to 14 working days

19

Apple Pay, Google Pay
Wise (formerly TransferWise) is an international account with over 50 currencies, instant and very convenient money transfers, a card to spend in any currency, bank details to be paid in 30 different countries and multi-currency direct debits.
Revolut Plus
  • Management Fee

    2.99 €

  • Card delivery

    Up to 9 working days

  • Supported currencies

    25

  • Mobile payments

2.99 €
Up to 9 working days

25

Apple Pay, Google Pay
Enjoy purchase, event ticket and returns protection, plus other innovative features with this lower-priced subscription plan.
Revolut Metal
  • Management Fee

    13.99 €

  • Card delivery

    Up to 3 working days

  • Supported currencies

    29

  • Mobile payments

13.99 €
Up to 3 working days

29

Apple Pay, Google Pay
A premium account with an exclusive Metal card featuring insurances, cashback, concierge service, cryptocurrencies and more.
Revolut Premium
  • Management Fee

    7.99 €

  • Card delivery

    Up to 3 working days

  • Supported currencies

    28

  • Mobile payments

7.99 €
Up to 3 working days

28

Apple Pay, Google Pay
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
  • Management Fee

    5.82 €

  • Card delivery

    3-5 business days

  • Supported currencies

    1

  • Mobile payments

5.82 €
3-5 business days

1

Apple Pay, Google Pay
VIABUY Prepaid Mastercard comes with no line of credit and it does not require credit checks.
Monese Starter
  • Management Fee

    0 €

  • Card delivery

    Up to 3 working days

  • Supported currencies

    2

  • Mobile payments

0 €
Up to 3 working days

2

Apple Pay, Google Pay
A dual currency account with no foreign currency fees up to €2,000 per month. Features include budgeting tools and multilingual support.
Monese Classic
  • Management Fee

    5.95 €

  • Card delivery

    Up to 3 working days

  • Supported currencies

    2

  • Mobile payments

5.95 €
Up to 3 working days

2

Apple Pay, Google Pay
A dual currency card designed for travellers with no foreign currency fees up to and foreign transfers in several currencies.
Monese Premium
  • Management Fee

    14.95 €

  • Card delivery

    Up to 3 working days

  • Supported currencies

    2

  • Mobile payments

14.95 €
Up to 3 working days

2

Apple Pay, Google Pay
A premium card with no fee for international payments, no foreign currency fees, and unlimited ATM withdrawals at home and abroad.
Wirex Standard
  • Management Fee

    0 €

  • Card delivery

    Up to 4 business days

  • Supported currencies

    12

  • Mobile payments

0 €
Up to 4 business days

12

Apple Pay, Google Pay

Get a Welcome Bonus of $15 USD in WXT when you sign up with Wirex through Finder.

Benefit from an array of digital payment features, including a free prepaid Wirex card and unlimited fee-free transfers at interbank rates - with zero monthly subscription fee.
Wirex Elite
  • Management Fee

    29.99 €

  • Card delivery

    Up to 4 business days

  • Supported currencies

    12

  • Mobile payments

29.99 €
Up to 4 business days

12

Apple Pay, Google Pay

Get a Welcome Bonus of $15 USD in WXT when you sign up with Wirex through Finder.

Access supercharged rewards and curated merchant offers in addition to standard Wirex digital payment features and travel card.
Wirex Premium
  • Management Fee

    9.99 €

  • Card delivery

    Up to 4 business days

  • Supported currencies

    12

  • Mobile payments

9.99 €
Up to 4 business days

12

Apple Pay, Google Pay

Get a Welcome Bonus of $15 USD in WXT when you sign up with Wirex through Finder.

Enjoy revolutionary digital payment features on-the-go, plus exclusive merchant deals and higher rewards when you spend on your Wirex card.
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