Banks and Banking in Germany

The banking system in Germany is more than likely rather similar to what you’re used to. There are many banking options available in Germany, as well as a wide variety of banks available. The process to get a bank account is very simple. Walk in to a bank, set up an appointment if there isn’t a representatives available to speak with you right away, return on the given date with a legal form of identification. If you make a same day cash deposit, your account will immediately become active.

Expats find it useful to open an account in Germany, especially when they are on a long term contract. This makes the process of dealing with everyday transactions less strenuous. When paying rent, and taking care of other necessary utility costs and expenses there will be no need to go through the hassle of having funds transferred from your home back. Having a German bank account  will also offer security as accessing your information becomes a lot simpler, as does disputing transactions that you find mysterious in some way or the other.

The ability to have payment directly deposited to their German bank accounts, save expats the trouble of worrying about exchange rates and whether or not they’ll get the best possible rate when they have to wire transfer their payment to Germany. In addition, the costs that may come with international wire transfers are eliminated. Of course, the exchange rate isn’t a problem for those who are native to countries that use the Euro as their main currency.

Where can you use your Eurocard?

You can use your Eurocard (debit card) at ATM’s to withdraw cash, or in the supermarket, drugstores, clothing stores, restaurants pretty much anywhere that has an automated payment system.

Online Banking

Most banks in Germany offer an online banking option where you are able to see a full overview of your account from your home computer or cell phone. This is a great feature as you get unlimited access in viewing your bank statements and cut out the delivery of paper bank statements to your home. You can also carry out transactions via online banking. Whether you want to transfer money to a bank account in your home country or from one personal account to another, it is all possible with online banking.

Important tips and bits of information:

·         You may be required to have a minimum amount in your bank account each month

·         Depending on your bank and the type of card you elect, you may be subject to a monthly fee

·         You may be required to show your work permit

·         You may be required to show proof of residency when applying for a debit card

·         Using an ATM that does not belong to your bank may come with a small fee

·         Compare banks to see which have lower fees and better interest rates

·         Be careful when checking online banking information on public computers

·         Some banks have an allegiance with certain companies, giving you wonderful discounts on things like flights, restaurants, movie tickets and hotels.

·         Most ATM machines are open 24 hours a day

·         Banks in Germany are generally open from 8:30 am -2:30 pm and :30 – 3:30 Monday to Friday. On Thursday some banks open until 5 or 6 in the afternoon.


Saskia Petz

Tanja Traut

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