How do I open a German bank account?

If you are staying longer in Germany, receive a salary and have to pay rent, we recommend you open a checking account as soon as possible.

In order to open a bank account at a traditional bank, your need to present a "Meldebescheinigung", i. e. the confirmation that you are registered at the "Einwohnermeldeamt" (Residents' Registration Office). You may also be asked to present proof of employment.
Once you opened the account, the bank will send you a bank card (EC / maestro) and a separate letter containing the corresponding PIN. You can use this card mainly to pay at most stores and withdraw cash from ATMs. Withdrawing cash at an ATM belonging to your bank or group of banks is usually free but at other machines there might be fees.
Some banks also issue a credit card which also enables you to pay at most stores, online and to withdraw cash at any machine at no extra fees. However, you might have to pay an annual or monthly fee for the card. Please check with your prospective bank.

The alternative to traditional "bricks-and-mortar" banks are pure online banks. Their fees are usually lower and they tend to be more flexible. However, they offer few or no possibilities to deposit cash into the account. Application forms for online banks can be found at their websites. The exact process depends on the bank: There will always be some form to fill in and a few documents to submit - but banks in Germany are legally required to verify the identity of each customer. The process how this is done varies from bank to bank and from country to country.

The branches of most banks are open from Monday to Friday between 8.30 am and 4 pm, ATMs are accessible 24/7.

Please contact us for further information or consult this link: Living and Working in Germany.

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