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How to open a German bank account for non-residents

How to open a German bank account for non-residents

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If you are planning to move to Germany, it is essential to get a German bank account. Not only you will need it to get paid, receive pension, social or insurance payments, but having a German bank account is a must in your daily life for tasks such as renting accommodation, paying for your utility bills or even making big purchases.

At the same time, most people who open accounts and bank cards in Germany have relatives, friends and financial responsibilities back in the countries they choose to leave.

Online money transfer systems can help you send money from Germany abroad without the need to open a bank account with them. For example, with Profee you can make an instant card-to-card transfer to more than 45 countries in 5 continents. The transaction fee is fixed at €1 and does not depend on the transfer amount. You can also use Profee to send money from a bank account to a card, as well as from and to a bank account within the European Economic Area.

You will have to open a German bank account to make regular payments:

  • utility bills;
  • insurance;
  • rent;
  • house loan;
  • home internet.

There are also favourable pension programmes, and all kinds of insurance, including car insurance. And, of course, investments. When you live in a country like Germany, it is always great to use the advantages of its stable and strong financial system.

There are several types of banks in Germany

There are three types of German banks: private commercial banks, public savings banks and cooperative banks. Increasingly popular are the online banks that allow you to open a German bank account online and enjoy the banking functionality within your own smartphone.

As with all other banks, you can opt for a current account (girokonto) or a savings account (sparkonto). If you are a student, you can choose a student account that will exempt you from paying bank fees.

What to expect when you open a German bank account for foreigners

Choose a German bank bearing in mind that citizens of certain countries may find it difficult to open an account. And if you already have an online account or an online German bank account with no physical presence, you may run into additional transaction fees. Customers of international branches of German banks can request the transfer of their accounts to a German branch.

The requirements to obtain a German bank card depend on your status:

EU citizens do not have any additional requirements; Third-country citizens will need to present proof of residence in Germany.

To open a German bank account you will be asked to submit a number of documents. Usually, these requirements include:

  • an application form;
  • a valid ID or passport;
  • a valid visa or residence permit;
  • SCHUFA credit rating (though this is not a universal requirement);
  • proof of residential address;
  • a document confirming your regular income or an employment agreement;
  • when applicable, confirmation of student’s status may be requested;

Please note that identity verification is mandatory and can be done either online (with the help of your email or webcam) or using the PostIdent service where you will download a verification paper from the bank’s website and present it at a post office.

On average, getting a German bank account takes 3-4 business days.

How to open a German bank account online

Usually this option is available to EU citizens. They can open a German bank account online using a mobile app.

However, some banks offer this option to open a German bank account for foreigners before they relocate. This is the way of opening a German bank account without having proof of registration in the country. To be eligible, you will need to present a valid German visa and confirm that you have a residential address in Germany. Additionally, you will be required to submit your passport, phone number and email.

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