If you want premium online services, you should not open a bank account through a branch bank. But if online services are not something you need or want you have the option of opening an account with one of the Cash Group branch banks (Commerzbank, Hypovereinsbank, Deutsche Bank and Postbank). These banks came together in 1998 to create the Cash Group. As a result, they formed an agreement to waive ATM fees for their customers to use any ATMs that belong to any of the Cash Group banks. For example, if you have an account with Commerzbank, you could withdraw money from Postbank without any ATM fees. It should be noted, however, that a branch bank is not a good option if you do not speak fluent German.
The easiest way to open a bank account in Germany is through a German neobank. If you don’t have residency in Germany yet or you do not speak fluent German then a neobank is your best option. With a neobank, you can open a German bank account before you get to Germany. You also have banking services available in English and usually a few other languages as well, such as French and Spanish. Right now the only neobank in Germany is N26.
With N26, you can open your bank account from your computer or their app. They also have digital ID verification. After you send in your online application, you will also send in a picture of yourself with your ID documents or do a video chat through the app with one of their employees. You will receive your debit card in the mail after your identity is verified.
Not all banks offer ID verification online. In this case, you will have to verify your ID in-person. There are two ways to do this. Your first option is to take your ID documents to the closest branch to be verified. Your second option is to go to a Deutsche Post branch (Germany’s postal office) and verify your documents using their Postident identification process.
If you speak fluent German then DKB (Deutsche Kreditbank AG) and ING are a good option for online banks. Their bank accounts don’t have any monthly fees and come with a free debit card.