How to open a bank account in Germany (2023)

If you’re looking to experience Berlin’s thriving startup scene; or to take your financial career to the next level in Frankfurt - Europe’s very own Main-hattan - at some point you’re going to need a German bank account.

Germany has a very strong and well organised banking sector, so opening a bank account should be a quick process; provided you have the correct documentation. Here’s what you need to know.

Can I open a bank account remotely or online?

While some banks will need you to make an appointment and visit a branch in order to open a bank account, as a general rule you can make your application online.

That said, it’s probably better to make your application in a branch. Many banks’ websites (including those of major banks) are entirely in German, so making an online application will be a challenge if you don’t understand the language.

In any case, you’ll need to be physically present in Germany in order to apply for your account. This is because you can only obtain some of the required documents (and complete the account opening procedure) once you’re in the country.

How to open a bank account in Germany (1)

What documents do I need?

In order to open a bank account in Germany, you’ll need the following documents:

  • your passport or national identity card (if you’re an EU citizen)
  • proof of registration (Meldebescheinigung)
  • student registration (if you want to open a student account)

Some banks may also ask for a document to prove your income, such as payslips or a salary statement from your employer. It’s best to check with your bank beforehand whether they’ll require these and any additional documents.

(Video) How To Successfully Open A German Bank Account As A Foreigner [Step-By-Step Guide]

Meldebescheinigung - Proof of registration

If you plan on residing in Germany permanently, you need to register your address with the local authority, called Bürgeramt. The process is called Meldebescheinigung, and you’ll need to do it every time you change your address.

In order to complete the process, you’ll need to fill out a form (you can print this off your local Bürgeramt’s website), and then go to the Bürgeramt office with the form and your passport or identity card. dw

This document is your official proof of address, so you’ll need to register before you can open your bank account. You’ll also need it for other things, including getting a job and registering for the national health insurance program.

Verification of identity for online customers

As in most other countries around the world, German banks are required by law to verify your identity.

This isn’t a problem when you open your account in branch, because a bank official will see your passport or national identity card and confirm your identity in person. However, if you decide to open your account online, you’ll need to verify your identity some other way.

In Germany, PostIdent is the most common way to verify your identity.

You’ll need to download an identity verification sheet from your bank’s website and present it at your local post office together with your passport or national identity card. You’ll then be given another document to sign, which is sent to your bank. Your bank will usually pay the fee for this procedure.

Alternatively, you can get your identity verified by a lawyer or notary. Again, you’ll need to download the identity verification sheet and take this to your lawyer together with your passport or national identity card. Many banks will reimburse this fee, too.

Finally, depending on your nationality, a German bank might also accept verification carried out by your home bank. You can get in touch with a customer representative beforehand and they’ll guide you on how to go about this.

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How to open a bank account in Germany (2)

(Video) Best Bank Accounts in Germany [2022 Update]

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Which bank is best for my needs?

Banking has a long history in Germany. There are thousands of banks, sorted into three categories: private banks, cooperative banks and public access banks. Despite these differences, most banks offer very similar products, including basic bank accounts, student accounts and business banking facilities.

The four largest banks in Germany are Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, Postbank and Hypovereinsbank. Together, they cooperate as the Cash Group (more on this later).

Here’s what they each have to offer.

Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank is one of the largest international banks in the world, and probably the most well known German bank.

Its two main bank accounts BestKonto and AktivKonto, both come with a MasterCard credit card as standard and can be opened online. A word of warning though: the website is entirely in German.

The main difference between the two accounts is that BestKonto has a more expensive monthly fee (it costs €9.99 a month, while AktivKonto costs €4.99 a month) and comes with more perks, including travel insurance and security and emergency services.

The student account, called Das Junge Konto is free and offers 0.1% in-credit interest a year.

There’s also a range of services for businesses and freelance professionals. These include a bank account, called KanzleiKonto, made specifically for accountants, lawyers and other professionals that hold client money.



Commerzbank’s range of bank accounts includes a free, basic bank account and a premium account, called PremiumKonto, that offers two debit cards and travel insurance.

The student account, called StartKonto, is available to students aged 18 to 30. It’s free and includes a young visa credit card and five free downloads from Universal Music.

If you’re a business owner, Commerzbank also offers a range of business services, including tailored bank accounts and point of sale systems. You’ll also benefit from advice on managing your finances.

Commerzbank’s website has an excellent English translation. However, you cannot apply for a bank account online.


Postbank’s basic bank account, GiroBasis, has a free visa debit card as standard and supports online payments via Paydirekt.

The student account, Giro start direkt, is free if you’re under 22. You can also get up to €250 in Amazon vouchers as bonuses when you recommend a friend, as a loyalty bonus, and even for graduating and earning your first salary.

Postbank’s business account, Business Giro, also comes with a number of benefits, including up to four €50 vouchers from Amazon. You’ll also get a business visa credit card with 40 day payment terms and interest-free credit.


HypoVereinsbank is part of the international Italian banking group Unicredit, one of the leading banking groups in Europe. It has a range of bank accounts you can apply for online. However, the website is in German, so it may be a challenge if you don’t understand the language.

As the name suggests, the HVB Konto Online is a basic, online only account. It has no monthly fees and comes with a free debit card.

The HVB Konto Start is available to students up to 25 years old. It’s free and includes a free MasterCard as standard.

(Video) Step by Step Guide: Opening Free Bank Account (Girokonto) in Germany with Detailed Comparisons

The bank also offers special business accounts for professionals. These include accounts made specifically for doctors and chemists as well as products for entrepreneurs.

How to open a bank account in Germany (3)

What are the costs?

Most banks in Germany offer free bank accounts which include a free debit card and free online banking as standard.

A basic account should be more than enough for most of your everyday banking needs. However, it won’t have much in the way of perks. If you’re looking for additional benefits, such as free travel insurance, you’ll need to choose a premium account and pay a monthly fee.

ATM Fees

Germany’s four major banks and their subsidiaries cooperate as the Cash Group. What this means for you is that ATM withdrawals are free if you bank with one of Germany’s four major banks and use any of their ATMs. Use another ATM, however, and you risk paying very high fees (up to €5 per withdrawal).

Some banks offer free withdrawals in some foreign ATMs if you have a premium bank account. However, while you won’t be charged a fee for making the withdrawal, you may be faced with an unfavourable exchange rate.

As a general rule, you should avoid withdrawing foreign money from an ATM. If this isn’t possible, you should at least make the withdrawal in your local currency so as to minimize costs.

International Transfers

German banks often charge fees for international money transfers outside of the eurozone. However, you should also beware when a bank says international transfers are commission-free, as it will often make up for this by giving you a unfavourable exchange rate instead.

You’ll also need to consider whether the foreign bank will charge a fee for the incoming transfer, as this will further increase the cost.


How to open bank account in Germany? ›

To open a bank account, you usually require the following documents: a valid passport, a residence permit, a certificate of registration, and a wage statement (depending on the type of account).

Can an American open a German bank account? ›

Yes, foreigners can open German bank accounts. However, you'll often be asked for a German proof of address, or at the very least an address from another Eurozone or EEA country. If you're still based in the US a flexible multi-currency account from a specialist provider like Wise or Revolut may be a better option.

How do you open a bank account answer? ›

To open an account, you'll need to choose a bank and provide the bank with some necessary information, including your identification and proof of address. You'll usually need to be 18 to meet the bank's eligibility requirements. Finally, you might need to fund the account or have a minimum balance to avoid fees.

What are 3 questions you should ask when opening a bank account? ›

10 questions to ask about your checking account
  • Does the bank have online banking and a mobile app? ...
  • Where are the bank's branches? ...
  • What are the bank's fees? ...
  • What are the minimum balance requirements? ...
  • Can I use an ATM for free? ...
  • What happens if I try to withdraw more money than I have in my account?

Can I open bank account in Germany without address? ›

You typically need to have a permanent address in Germany to open an account. Many online-only and mobile-only German banks also offer accounts to those living overseas. These are useful for those planning to move to Germany or those who work in Germany.

What is the best bank for foreigners in Germany? ›


For the third year in a row, it was voted the best branch bank in 2020. It is a private bank and part of the Cash Group (Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, HypoVereinsbank & Postbank). In the past years, Commerzbank has invested heavily to keep up with current trends and to also appeal to foreigners.

Does Germany accept American debit cards? ›

Debit cards from any major US bank will work in any standard European bank's ATM (ideally, use a debit card with a Visa or MasterCard logo). As for credit cards, Visa and MasterCard are universal, American Express is less common, and Discover is unknown in Europe. Check your cards' expiration dates.

What states have German American banks? ›

German American is a very strong financial services provider in southern Indiana and Kentucky, specializing in banking, insurance, investments and wealth management for business and retail customers.

Can I open a bank account in Germany without tax ID? ›

To apply for a bank account in Germany, you need the following documents: Your ID card or passport. Proof of address registration or Meldebescheinigung (a registration certificate you must get within 14 days of living at your new address in Germany) German tax ID number.

What are 5 things you need to open a bank account? ›

What do I need to open a bank account?
  • Government issued photo ID or driver's license.
  • Social Security Card or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.
  • Passport or Birth Certificate.

What are the 7 steps to open a bank account? ›

7 steps to take to open a savings account
  1. Choose how to apply. ...
  2. Gather your identification. ...
  3. Provide contact details. ...
  4. Select a single or joint account. ...
  5. Accept the terms and conditions. ...
  6. Submit your application. ...
  7. Fund your new account.
Aug 17, 2022

What are the 5 steps to open a bank account? ›

A Quick Guide to Opening a New Bank Account Online‍
  1. Step 1: Choose Your Banking Partner‍ ...
  2. Step 2: Visit the Bank Website or Use Their App‍ ...
  3. Step 3: Fill in the Application Form‍ ...
  4. Step 4: Submit Necessary Paperwork ‍ ...
  5. Step 5: Complete KYC Process‍ ...
  6. Step 6: Start Banking!
Feb 2, 2023

How much money can you put in a bank without questions? ›

We're here to help!

The IRS requires banks and businesses to file Form 8300, the Currency Transaction Report, if they receive cash payments over $10,000. Depositing more than $10,000 will not result in immediate questioning from authorities, however.

How much money does the average person have in their bank account? ›

While the median bank account balance is $5,300, according to the latest SCF data, the average — or mean — balance is actually much higher, at $41,600.
How much does the average household have in savings?
Average U.S. savings account balance
1 more row
Dec 21, 2022

What do banks check before opening an account? ›

Some common requirements include: Current government-issued identification (such as a driver's license, passport, military identification card or state identification card) Social Security number or taxpayer identification number. Proof of address, such as a utility or cable bill or mortgage statement.

Can a US citizen open a bank account in Europe? ›

It's possible to open a bank account in Europe for many US citizens. However, providers, such as Wise offer multi-currency accounts in several different European currencies. You can also get a card that lets you spend like a local in over 170 countries.

Can I live in Germany without address? ›

Registering your address in Germany is mandatory.

By law, everyone staying longer than three months in Germany must register their address (anmelden) within 14 days of moving into a new apartment. Not registering your address within 14 days can result in a fine of up to €1,000.

Which bank should I open an account with in Germany? ›

If you speak German, look at DKB and ING. People often recommend them. If no banks accept your passport, try Deutsche Bank. Online banks like bunq, Monese, Revolut and Wise also accept more passport types.

Are there any American banks in Germany? ›

us bank Frankfurt, Hessen, Germany.

Is there a Bank of America in Germany? ›

Whatever your needs, a Bank of America financial center with walk-up ATM in Berlin can help. Stop by a local branch or make an appointment today.

Does Bank of America have a partner bank in Germany? ›

Other fees, such as an international transaction or foreign currency fee, may still apply for some account holders. Participating banks are located around the globe.
Bank of America account holders.
Coverage AreaGlobal ATM Alliance Bank
ItalyBNL d'Italia
LuxembourgBGL BNP Paribas
Germany, SpainDeutsche Bank
7 more rows

Is it better to get euros or use debit card? ›

Advantages of an overseas card

The main advantage of using a debit or credit card overseas is that you won't pay foreign transaction fees every time you spend. While many also won't charge fees for cash withdrawals, you will still usually be charged interest from the date of the transaction if you use a credit card.

How much cash can I carry to Germany? ›

Cash sums totalling 10,000 or more euros on trips to and from Germany must be declared to the customs authorities. This applies to both cash and equivalent means of payment.

Will my US credit card work in Germany? ›

Using a credit card

Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in Germany. You could also use American Express cards and Discover cards with the Diners Club logo — though fewer locations accept them.

What American bank is international? ›

Citibank is one of the best international banks in the US for expat banking because of their very international model. It currently physically operates in 97 markets2, supporting clients from more than 160 countries, making access to their ATMs more convenient.

How do I use Zelle in Germany? ›

No, Zelle® can only be used to send funds to someone who has a bank account in the United States. However, you can visit a local U.S. Bank branch to send money via wire transfer to an international recipient.

What country owns Bank of America? ›

Bank of America, in full Bank of America Corporation, one of the largest banking and financial services brands and corporations in the United States. It was formed through NationsBank's acquisition of BankAmerica in 1998. Bank of America is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.

How much money I can deposit in bank without tax in Germany? ›

As of August 8, 2021, the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) will require the presentation of a meaningful document as proof of origin for cash deposits of more than 10,000 euros.

What documents does a foreigner need to open a bank account? ›

To start banking with us as a non-resident, we need certified copies of:
  • Valid passport.
  • Proof of address not older than 3 months.
  • 3 months' statements from your offshore bank.
  • Proof of income.

Can a foreigner open a bank account without SSN? ›

Yes, it's possible to open a bank account as an undocumented immigrant or without having a Social Security number. You'll need to provide other forms of proof of ID, such as a passport, driver's license, consular ID or birth certificate.

Can I open a bank account without proof of address? ›

To open an account to manage your finances otherwise known as a bank account, you now only need proof of ID using either a valid driving license, passport or National ID card. Modern online financial institutions can now help customers open a bank account with no proof of address.

Do I need 100 dollars to open a bank account? ›

The interest they pay for savings accounts You usually need to make an initial deposit between $25 and $100 to open a savings or checking account.

Where can I open a bank account without residency? ›

These banks require a social security number, which non-citizens don't have. This is the most common problem that foreigners realize. However, larger banks such as US Bank, TD Bank, Bank of America, Chase, and Wells Fargo will allow non-residents to set up a checking account and a savings account.

What are the 3 types of bank accounts? ›

Different Types of Bank Accounts in India
  • Current account. A current account is a deposit account for traders, business owners, and entrepreneurs, who need to make and receive payments more often than others. ...
  • Savings account. ...
  • Salary account. ...
  • Fixed deposit account. ...
  • Recurring deposit account. ...
  • NRI accounts.

Can you open a bank account without going to the bank? ›

You can apply for most checking accounts online if you're 18 or older by going to the bank's website and filling out the application. The application will ask for basic information about yourself and some may ask you to submit documents.

How many documents are required to open a bank account? ›

When opening a savings account, customers are required to submit their KYC documents - address and identity proof - for verification. Once the documents are verified by the bank, customers are eligible to open a savings account.

What are 4 things required to open a checking account? ›

What you need to open a checking account
  • Your Social Security number.
  • A valid, government-issued photo ID like a driver's license, passport or state or military ID.
  • A minimum opening deposit of $25 to activate your account (once you've been approved).

What is the fastest way to open a bank account? ›

5 Easy Steps To Create A Savings Account Online
  1. Step 1: Get online: ...
  2. Step 2: Keep the documents required for opening a Savings Account handy. ...
  3. Step 3: Experience better banking with video KYC. ...
  4. Step 4: Explore the HDFC Bank Savings Account – to access banking services almost instantly.

How much money is required to open a bank account? ›

Frequently Asked Questions

While some banks ask for a minimum of Rs. 1,000 as the balance criteria; others ask for Rs. 10,000 as the minimum balance required. Moreover, some banks offer zero-balance accounts too.

Do banks report deposits to IRS? ›

If you plan to deposit a large amount of cash, it may need to be reported to the government. Banks must report cash deposits totaling more than $10,000. Business owners are also responsible for reporting large cash payments of more than $10,000 to the IRS.

What is the $3000 rule? ›

Treasury regulation 31 CFR 103.29 prohibits financial. institutions from issuing or selling monetary instruments. purchased with cash in amounts of $3,000 to $10,000, inclusive, unless it obtains and records certain identifying. information on the purchaser and specific transaction.

Does the IRS monitor your bank account? ›

But, in reality, the IRS rarely digs deeper into your bank and financial accounts unless you're being audited or the IRS is collecting back taxes from you. The IRS has loads of information on taxpayers. Most of it comes from three sources: Your filed tax returns.

How much cash does the average American have? ›

According to the Northwestern Mutual Planning and Progress Survey for 2022, the average amount of personal savings in 2022 came in at $62,000. This is a considerable decrease from the $73,000 average amount of personal savings reported on the same survey in 2021.

How much money does the average American have in their checking account? ›

One commonly cited data point comes from the Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances, which finds that Americans hold an average balance of $42,000 in transaction accounts. This average is skewed by people holding high balances, so it might be better to look at the survey's median balance figure, which is $5,300.

How much money does the average American have saved? ›

42% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings as of 2022. The average American savings account balance is $4,500. Between 1959-2022, the average U.S. savings rate has been 8.96%. The average household savings rate in the U.S. was only 5.1% in the second half of 2022.

What are 3 requirements for opening a bank account? ›

You'll need basic information like your home address, email address and phone number, as well as identification documents such as a driver's license, Social Security Number, and a minimum opening deposit amount. Most checking accounts come with checks, some don't - choose which you'll need.

Can banks check your credit score? ›

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a bank can obtain a consumer report if it has a "permissible purpose," which may include the following: Credit transactions. Review or collection of an account. Opening a deposit or savings account.

Can a bank ask where you got money? ›

Yes they are required by law to ask. This is what in the industry is known as AML-KYC (anti-money laundering, know your customer). Banks are legally required to know where your cash money came from, and they'll enter that data into their computers, and their computers will look for “suspicious transactions.”

Can a non citizen open a bank account in Germany? ›

Although it is theoretically possible for anyone to open a business account with any bank, non-German citizens who don't reside in Germany can usually only open accounts with so-called direct banks (Direktbanken).

Can I set up a German bank account online? ›

You can even open an online account before arriving in Germany, although you'll need to verify your address before receiving your debit card.

Which bank is best to open account in Germany? ›

Here are the best banks in Germany:
  • Norddeutsche Landesbank. ...
  • Landesbank Baden-Württemberg. ...
  • KfW Bankengruppe. ...
  • ING-DiBa. ...
  • DAB BNP Paribas, Munich. ...
  • N26. ...
  • Sparkasse. ...
  • Volksbank. 'Volksbank' translates to 'people's bank', and there are several European banks that operate under this name.

What is the best German bank for Americans? ›

If you speak German, look at DKB and ING. People often recommend them. If no banks accept your passport, try Deutsche Bank. Online banks like bunq, Monese, Revolut and Wise also accept more passport types.

Which banks allow foreigners to open accounts? ›

These banks require a social security number, which non-citizens don't have. This is the most common problem that foreigners realize. However, larger banks such as US Bank, TD Bank, Bank of America, Chase, and Wells Fargo will allow non-residents to set up a checking account and a savings account.

Which German bank is free? ›

DKB (Deutsche Kreditbank) is a great option for an online bank because of its free debit card with free global withdrawals and good 24h support. *Apply for the DKB-Girokonto account here. The DKB account is free as long as you have a regular income of at least 700.

What nationalities does N26 accept? ›

We offer our accounts in the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (not available for residents in the DOM/TOM), Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

What is the minimum balance in Deutsche Bank? ›

Easy balance requirement

With Value-Plus Savings Account you have the freedom to either maintain a minimum Average Quarterly Balance (AQB*) of Rs. 1 lakh in Savings Account or a minimum Assets Under Management (AUM**) of Rs. 1.5 lakh enjoy the various privileges of a Value-Plus Savings Account.

Which is the safest bank in Germany? ›

The best bank in Europe is KfW in Germany, which was voted number one in the list of the 50 safest banks in Europe 2023.

Can foreigners get credit card in Germany? ›

There are different credit cards that are available in Germany for everyone. It doesn't matter if you are a German, a foreigner, or a student studying in Germany. Credit cards company offers bonuses and benefits to their card holder.

Which European country is easiest to open a bank account? ›

What is this? The good news is that, in some countries, like Lithuania, Poland and Bulgaria, you can easily open a bank account without being a resident. In some cases, all you need to provide is your passport. In other cases, you will need to provide a proof of residency from your country.


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