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How to Open a Bank Account in Germany

Opening a German bank account is essential for living in Germany, not only for starting a business.
You will need a bank account at the latest when you register your business with the tax office or when you start paying taxes.

You do not need a business account; a normal bank account is sufficient for now. However, some banks will close your account if you use it for extensive business purposes. So this is where you need to watch out!

It should be said that bank accounts in other European countries are also fine, as long as they support SEPA transfers. If this applies to you, you can keep your old account for now.

How does banking work in Germany?

There are different types of banks in Germany: private commercial banks, public savings banks, and state banks, and cooperative banks. In addition, there are also a number of international banks, online and mobile banks in Germany, which make banking user-friendly and thus mostly simplify it.

What types of bank accounts are available in Germany?

  • Checking account: The standard type of bank account in Germany, used for receiving paychecks as well as paying bills. German banks usually offer both general checking accounts and special accounts (for students and young people). For your business purposes, the checking account will probably be the right one.
  • Savings account: This is a savings account that can be opened at the same time as a checking account, allowing you to save money and earn interest. This type of account can be opened by both Germans and foreigners.
blog post cover bank account
 Alternatively, if you are a student in Germany (up to a certain age, usually 29), you have the option of having a student account set up, which exempts you from the fees for an account at a selected bank.

 

Open a bank account in Germany

While some banks are open to working with expats, there are others that are more hesitant or refuse right up front due to a lack of credit history in Germany. Regardless of which bank you choose to open your account with, you should provide the following documents:

  • The completed application form.
  • Your valid passport and, if applicable, your current German residence permit.
  • Proof of registration/address.
  • Initial deposit (the minimum amount depends on the bank of your choice).
  • Proof of income/employment.
  • Proof that you are a student (if you want to open a student account).
  • SCHUFA credit report (some, not all, banks require this).
 

Open an online bank account

You can also bypass the bank interview and open an online bank account for your (business) purposes.
To open an online bank account in Germany, you need to verify your identity after filling out some documents. To do this, you must either use a webcam, send a verification code by email or use the „PostIdent procedure“, which is an approved substitute for establishing identity, with the fee paid by the online bank in question. Often, opening and setting up such an account costs very little or is completely free.

At this point we would like to recommend the Penta Bank that we use ourselves. Here, the interaction was always excellent and the interface was clear for all our needs.

 

 

And the most important thing: everything is available in English!

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