Best Bank in Germany
Choosing the best bank in Germany is a difficult task.
But don’t worry with our help finding the best bank in Germany will be the easiest task.
We will compare the advantages of disadvantages of the most famous German banks and find the perfect choice for you.
Signing up with a bank in Germany is very important as you will not be able to rent an apartment or sign up for internet without a German bank account.
Furthermore you will most likely have to pay a hefty fee for each transaction such as getting cash at a German ATM with your foreign bank account.
German landlords might not accept a foreign bank account for the monthly rent.
On top of that you might even run into problems at work.
Most German companies won’t let you sign a work contract without you having a German bank account.
Therefore finding the best bank should be one of the first things to take care of when moving to Germany.
Comparison of Best German Bank Accounts
|English sign up process
|Sign up from abroad
|Monthly bank account fees
|0€ for N26 Standard
|0€ Aktivkunden with over 700€ monthly transaction volume
|Free cash withdrawal Germany
|Yes, 3 times/month at any ATM
|Yes, unlimited for Aktivkunden
Free withdrawal at 12.000 ATMs of Cash Group
|Free cash withdrawal worldwide
|Only with paid account
|Foreign currency transaction fee
|Credit/Debit card included
|Mastercard Debit 0€/month
|Visa Debit 0€/month
Visa Credit Card 2,49€/month
|Visa Credit Card 0€ first year, afterwards 29€/year
|8,9% interest p.a.
|6,58% – 7,18%interest p.a.
|Not clearly stated on website
|Unlimited free cash withdrawal at 11.500 retail stores
Free tickets for football, icehockey & much more
|Nextbike limited free usage
It seems like that banks in Germany are still stuck in the last millennium.
Believe it or not, but right now N26 is the only bank in Germany that let’s you sign up for a bank account in English.
While at most other banks you still need to physically show up at an office to prove your identity, N26 let’s you sign up completely online.
So setting up your German bank account has just become incredibly easy.
And best of all, you don’t need to have a German address in order to open a bank account with N26.
If you are still living abroad we recommend this article on how to open a German bank account from abroad.
- English signup process – possible without German address
- Free Mastercard debit card
- Free money withdrawal up to 3x per month from any ATM in Germany and worldwide with N26 Mastercard
English signup process – possible without German address
As already mentioned N26 is the only German bank at the moment that offers an English banking interface and also an English signup process.
If you ever tried to learn German you can imagine how helpful this really is.
And we can’t stress this enough – You can already open an N26 German bank account from abroad.
This will make your start in Germany so much easier and more convenient.
The moment you arrive in Germany you can already have your German bank account with all its advantages like free cash withdrawals, German (virtual) credit card, etc.
Virtual Mastercard debit
Once you sign up with N26 you will get a virtual Mastercard debit card with which you will be able to do your shopping online and offline (if connected to Google or Apple Pay).
Just download the app and add the virtual N26 Mastercard to either Google or Apple Pay and use your smartphone at the supermarket to pay.
In case you are oldschool and prefer a physical card you will need to pay 10€ once and N26 will send you your physical Mastercard made of plastic.
Free money withdrawal
With your N26 account you can get out cash for free up to 3 times a month at any ATM in Germany.
If you are travelling a lot it gets even better as you can get out cash for free at any ATM worldwide as often as you want.
And on top of that there are around 11.500 retail stores in Germany where you can get cash for free.
In summary there is no reason at all not to sign up with N26 right now.
The signup process is online and in English, the account is completely free of charge and you can get out cash for free at any ATM.
And last but not least all N26 cards come with an NFC chip which let’s you use contactless payments. Very handy feature during corona-times.
DKB – Deutsche Kreditbank is a direct bank from Berlin and has been voted best direct bank by Focus Money for already the sixth time in a row.
This is something no other German direct bank has achieved ever before.
That is a good indicator that DKB can be a great choice for your German bank account.
Let us explain why we think that DKB is, together with N26, your No.1 option for a German bank account.
In case you were wondering what direct bank means:
Direct bank simply means you will not find any physical branches in your town, but all banking will be done online (or if you have issues via phone).
- Free unlimited money withdrawal from any ATM in Germany and worldwide with DKB Visa debit card
- Very easy and clean online banking interface
- Great customer service
- Ability to sign up without German address
- If you can’t provide a steady income application might get declined
Free unlimited money withdrawal
Getting out cash without paying fees at any ATM is a big plus for signing up with DKB.
With traditional banks like Sparkasse or Hypovereinsbank you can only withdraw money without a fee at ATMs of their branch.
But especially in rural areas or in Berlin (yes, no kidding, our capital is lacking ATMs) finding an ATM of your branch is very difficult.
And even better, with your free DKB visa debitcard you can also withdraw money from any ATM worldwide free of any costs.
This makes DKB a great option for any frequent traveler.
No more worrying about being ripped off for withdrawing money.
DKB’s online banking is state of the art and makes online banking easy and fun.
Everything, that you needed to go to your local bank to in the past now can be done online.
DKB of course offers a secure line (SSL) and transfering funds can be done with the usual TAN system.
If you prefer to do all your banking on your mobile phone just download the app in the Play Store or Apple App Store.
For increased security you will also use the TAN Generator on your phone.
No more printed out TAN lists!
Great customer service
DKB offers a local 24/7 service hotline concerning any problem that you might run into.
So whether your account got closed due to suspicious login attempts or you have some questions regarding your account there will always be a DKB employee to help you with your problems.
Ability to sign up from abroad
In the past (and with most other banks still today) you needed to provide a German address in order to get the final documents sent.
I you did not have an apartment (because you did not have a German bank account yet) things could get very tricky.
When you already know that you are going to move to Germany then you should sign up from abroad with DKB.
We have heard that DKB sometimes might decline applications without telling you a reason why.
We suspect that in order to offer that great service and good rates DKB makes sure to minimize the risk of getting ‘bad’ customers that might not have enough money on their bank account.
But if you get accepted, which is usually the case, you can be sure to have made the right decision to sign up with DKB.
DKB – Deutsche Kreditbank has been rated best bank in Germany in many leading consumer magazines from Focus Money to Handelsblatt.
This comes in as no surprise as DKB really offers outstanding advantages to many other traditional banks such as free money withdrawal worldwide or 24/7 service hotlines.
So if you are looking for a bank account in Germany make sure to sign up with DKB.
Especially foreigners will appreciate the ability to sign up from abroad and their customer service that also usually speaks English.
In case you need a real Visa Credit Card instead of a Debit Card you can choose that option for just 2,49€/month.
Similar to DKB also Postbank has won several awards in the past including the one for safest online bank by Focus Money.
Doesn’t this give you some peace of mind moving all your banking from traditional banking to online banking?
And Postbank still has some physical locations in case you do not feel comfortable to do all your banking online – this is the main reason for us to include Postbank in our list.
However, Postbank does not offer any free bank accounts anymore.
Furthermore we have to point out that you cannot use Google nor Apple Pay with your Postbank account, which is for us a bit disappointing.
- Many local branches in Germany
- Girokonto starting at just1,90€ per month
- Free withdrawal from 10.000 ATMs from Cash-Group in Germany
- Only free cash withdrawal from cash group ATMs
If you do not feel comfortable yet to open up an online bank account then Postbank is your best choice.
Postbank is a traditional bank where you do all your banking in their local branches. But of course if you want to do your banking online, Postbank also offers that option.
Girokonto starting from 1,90€ per month
Good news is that Postbank is less picky when it comes to accepting applications.
But this means that they will charge a little fee for the Girokonto plus.
Free withdrawal from cash group ATMs
With your Girokonto you will automatically get an EC-card which will enable you to withdraw money from any Cash Group ATM free of charge and also pay in most supermarkets/restaurants/shops cashless and also free of charge.
In fact Germans do love paying with their EC-card even for goods less than 5 Euros.
So get prepared to always bring your EC-card wherever you go.
Only free cash withdrawal Cash Group ATMs
Usually Cash Group ATMs are everywhere to find, but sometimes, especially if you need to get out cash urgently, it might happen that you need to use a non cash group ATM. And this will cost you money.
If you don’t feel comfortable with 100% online banking yet, then Postbank is a very good choice for you.
The Girokonto will cost a monthly fee but with just 1,90€ a month that is a fair offer.
Oh and their local branches are usually very modern and service is very good.
Not without good reasons Postbank was voted “best Girokonto” in 2014.
How to Open a German Bank Account – Step by Step
If you open a bank account in Germany be sure to have all the information needed available.
Sign up processes may vary from bank to bank but here is a list of which information generally is needed when you open a German bank account:
Vorname – First name
Name – Family name
Geburtsdatum – Date of birth
Familienstand – Marital status
Staatsangehörigkeit – Nationality
Telefon & email – Telephone number & email address
Land – Country
Wohnhaft seit – Resident since (since when do you live at this address)
Wohnstatus – Resident status
Tätitgkeit – Occupation
Aktuelles Nettoeinkommen pro Monat in Euro – Current net income per month in Euro
Zweiten Kontoinhaber – Secondary account holder
Usually it will take up to 5 working days until the papers from the bank arrive at the stated address.
Therefore if you open a German bank account you better should do this as soon as possible after moving to Germany.
Open a German bank account from abroad
Yes, you read that correctly.
Since the arrival of N26 it is possible for expats and foreigners to sign up for a German bank account without the German Anmeldung (which you only get after registering at a German address).
Read our complete guide on how to signup for a German bank account from abroad to find out how.
Difference between Debit Card and Credit Card
Be careful when you are a frequent traveller and you require a real Credit Card instead of just a Debit Card.
There are a few slight, but important, differences between a Debit Card and Credit Card.
First of all, if you travel a lot you will notice that hotels and car rentals always as you to provide your credit card as a security deposit when checking in/renting a car.
And there lies the problem with a Debit Card – most hotels and rental companies do not accept a Debit Card as security deposit.
In order to avoid that problem make sure to have at least one real Credit Card when traveling.
The other difference between those 2 types of cards is that with a real credit card you bank account will only be charged onces at the end of the month.
All your purchased are financed in the first place by your credit card and then at the end of the month you will need to pay the bill.
A debit card however will always be charged to you bank account the second you make this purchase.
So if you have a negatie balance on your bank account you won’t be able to make a purchase with a debit card.
Finding the Best Bank in Germany
As you can see finding the best bank in Germany is not really that difficult a task.
DKB & N26 have won so many tests and really is that good that it is an obvious choice to sign up with one of them.
N26 is clearly a top choice for everyone who feels comfortable with banking purely using and App.
N26 is definitely the easiest way for English natives to sign up for a German bank account.
There are only few reasons that speak against DKB and these are mainly that DKB is a pure online bank, so you need to feel comfortable with doing all banking online.
And the other reason may be that you have been declined by DKB, which sometimes might happen if you do not have a steady income.
As mentioned before make sure to sign up with DKB already before moving to Germany as it comes in very helpful to already have a German bank account before moving to Germany.
With our help you will be able to pay less for more service and quality.
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