Opening A Bank Account in Germany (2021) #1 Guide in English2021-07-28T13:54:25+02:00

There is no easier or faster way to open a bank account in Germany than to follow the instructions on this page. And this is not just a bold statement, it’s a promise! Opening a bank account in Germany can be tough when you don’t know where to start. That’s why we wrote all the information you need on one page and in English. For anyone that doesn’t have time and wants to compare bank accounts right away – here are the 3 best online banks in Germany. For anyone else, there is more information about opening a bank account in Germany below.

Opening a Bank Account in Germany

One of the most important things you need to get if you’re moving to Germany – besides health insurance and private liability insurance – is a German bank account. Without it, there is no moving forward. German companies are really “old school” when it comes to money. Paying with credit card or PayPal is not very common. You need a bank account in Germany. Learn in the following what to know about bank accounts in Germany.

Types of Bank Accounts

There are two different types of German bank accounts you should know about as a foreigner in Germany: current accounts (“Girokonto”) and savings accounts (“Sparkonto”). You can find more information about the these two accounts in our FAQs. The type of bank account you will need is a German current bank account.

What to Know Before Opening A Bank Account in Germany

There are a lot of things to take into consideration before opening a bank account in Germany. The most important things to look at are customer service, languages offered, mobile banking, safety, convenience and fees.

Customer Service

As mentioned before, what makes branch banks unique is that they offer face-to-face customer service. To the contrary, online banks and neobanks do not offer face-to-face customer service.

Branch banks have less customer service hours since you have to go into the branch during their open hours. In addition, most branch banks are only open Monday-Friday. For example, one of Germany’s largest branch banks, Deutsche Bank, is only open Monday-Friday from 9:30 to 17:00.

On the other hand, online banks and neobanks have more customer service hours. They are are usually available to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For example, Deutsche Kreditbank AG has around-the-clock customer service.

Neobanks usually have the most available customer service. In addition to offering 24/7 access to customer service, many neobank have customer service available on bank holidays.


While branch banks offer face-to-face customer service, there is no guarantee that an of the employees will be able to assist you in your language. It’s common to go to a branch bank in Germany and not be able to speak with anyone in a language other than German.

Online banks sometimes offer a few of their services in both English and German, but there is no guarantee. For example, Deutsche Kreditbank AG and ING (two large online German banks) do not have a website in English nor English-speaking customer support.

If you want a guarantee that you will have banking services in your language, opening a bank account in Germany with a neobank is your best option. You can usually get customer support and a mobile banking app in more than one language, such as English, Spanish, Italian, French and German.

Mobile Banking: Safety & Convenience

It’s important to choose a bank that offers an app for your smartphone because it makes banking safer and more convenient.

A mobile app makes banking safer because you can pair your account with your phone. By doing so, you have the option to receive notifications anytime your debit card is used. If you were not the one that used your debit card, you can immediately go on the app and lock your card.

For example, if get a notification that your card was used at an ATM, you can lock your card from the banking app. That way your card can’t be used again until you unlock it.

You can also verify transactions if your card was used at an unfamiliar location

A banking app also makes banking more convenient. For example, you can manage your account, transfer money and access customer service all from the app.

Even if the bank’s website is in English doesn’t mean the bank has customer support in English! N26 is the only bank so far that offers both!

Our Experience Opening A Bank Account In Germany

After my wife’s experience trying to open a bank account in Germany at a branch bank, I would never recommend anyone to open an account at a branch if he/she does not speak fluent German!

Don’t make the same mistake like we did…

After my wife’s experience trying to open a bank account at a branch bank in Germany, I would never recommend anyone open an account at a branch if he/she does not speak fluent German!

My wife, Samantha, is an American and needed to get a German bank account. When she tried opening a bank account in Germany with Sparkasse, she was lost after 2 minutes. No one really spoke English. This was the first problem.

Opening A Bank Account In Germany – Questions you need to ask yourself:

How much does it cost?

Are there any fees?

When do I get my debit card?

Where can I withdraw cash?

Samantha needed a bank that was easily usable for non-German speakers. We did some online research and finally found our answer.

N26 fits the needs of a non-German perfectly

The German online bank N26 has a lot of great features that made getting a German bank account easy, especially for foreigners. It was the perfect option.

Some features that really appealed to us included:

  • No unnecessary bureaucracy (It’s true – Germans love bureaucracy…)
  • Everything was in English (so my wife could understand it)
  • I.D. verification was all online via video-call, no walking to the „Deutsche Post“ (German postal office) verify her I.D.
  • No fees
  • We could do it all in less than 10 minutes

Open a N26 account was so easy for Samantha, that I also opened an account with them. We’ve been happy with it for now over 4 years.

Opening A Bank Account In Germany – But Where Now!?

After our experience with German banks, we highly recommend an online bank with English website and English customer support. Below you will find a comparison of 3 of the most popular online banks in Germany. I don’t think I need to mention that you shouldn’t go to “Sparkasse” or “Raiffeisenbank”, unless you’d like to put yourself through a stressful situation. N26 is the only one that offers an English website, English customer support and an English app.

N26 is definitely our #1 choice for you!

Your benefits:

No Monthly Fees

No German Residency Required

Free Credit Card

No ATM Fees (5 withdrawals per month)

English Website

Pay Contactless

There is no better bank account in Germany for expats than N26.

open german bank account n26 - Opening A Bank Account in Germany (2021) #1 Guide in English
Open a N26 bank account for free!

Let’s have a closer look on N26 and their services

English available

First of all, everything they offer is available in English (as well as other languages such as Spanish, Italian or French). This is one of the best features if you can’t speak German yet!

You can do banking through your phone

It is designed to be a mobile bank. Therefore, the only device you need is your smartphone and all the banking can go through the app. Of course, there is also a desktop version. But 95% of the time I use the app because it’s just so convenient.

Additional benefits

– 100% online and accessible via your mobile phone

– 100% free – no fees, debit card included

– 3D Secure

– Instant push notifications on all account activity

– Lost your card? Don’t panic, you can lock it immediately (this already happened to me!).

– Login using your fingerprint

– Headache free transfers anytime, anywhere

– International transfers in 19 foreign currencies

– Track your balance over time

– Automatic categorization – get an instant breakdown of your spending

– And did I mention, it’s 100% free???

Super Cheap International Money Transfer: N26 & TransferWise

One of the perks owning a German N26 bank account is super fast and cheap international money transfers. My wife needed to send between her account in the US with dollars and her account in Germany with euros many times. Fees with normal banks are horrific, but with TransferWise you get a fair price. For example, with N26 and TransferWise a €1,000 transfer only costs around €6.00 in fees.

N26 also has a partnership with Transferwise, the top money transfer service! This is a great feature for foreigners in Germany. If you have to transfer money from your home country to your German bank account, this is the easiest, fastest, and cheapest way to do it! You can transfer money directly through the N26 app with 19 different currencies. The biggest perk is that they use the true mid-market exchange rate. Therefore, you won’t be charged any hidden fees for your transfer. It’s quick too – transfers are usually completed within 1-2 business days.

Open a N26 bank account for free!

Any Questions Left ? Use Our FAQ!

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