Which German bank is the best for you?

Which German bank is the best for you?

An in-depth comparison of Germany's most popular banks for expats and foreigners.

Opening your first German bank account can be a daunting task. You have to consider the various fees, the ATM network the bank is part of, the quality of the support and more. To complicate things, most bank reviews are sponsored and biased towards whoever paid for the article.

In this article, we compare the following banks: 1822direkt, comdirect, Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, DKB, ING DiBa, N26, bunq, Berliner Sparkasse and Volksbank.

German banks with English support

Only one German bank officially offers a 100% English experience: N26. Deutsche Bank offers online banking and most of its documents in English, but still sends some of its correspondence in German. Commerzbank also offers online banking in English. Other banks only offer their services in German.

👎1822direkt: Service in German only.

👎comdirect: Service in German only.

👍Commerzbank: Commerzbank also offers online banking and parts of its website in English, but their contracts, correspondence and documentation are still in German. I can personally confirm that you need to understand German to be a Commerzbank customer.

👍Deutsche Bank: While the Deutsche Bank website is only available in German, users have confirmed that online banking and documents are available in English. However, not all correspondence is in English, so you may sometimes need to understand German.

👎DKB: Service in German only.

👎ING DiBa: Service in German only.

👍N26: The N26 website, documentation, correspondence and customer service are all available in English. I can personally confirm that N26 can be used 100% in English without problems.

👎Berliner Sparkasse: Service in German only. Some filial employees may speak English.

👎Volksbank: Service in German only. Some filial employees may speak English.

👍bunq: Service in English, Dutch, Spanish, French, Italian and German.

German banks with no monthly fees

Some German banks charge you a monthly fee for having an account with them. This fee is usually waived if you make a certain amount of money per year, or if you keep a minimum balance in your account.

👍1822direkt: No monthly fees if you are under 27 years old, or if you deposit money in your account at least once per month. 3.90€ otherwise1, 2.

👍comdirect: No monthly fees1.

👎Commerzbank: 9.90€ monthly fee if account balance is below 1200€, free otherwise1.

👎Deutsche Bank: 5.90€ monthly fee1. No fee for students1.

👍DKB: No monthly fees1.

👍ING DiBa: No monthly fees.

👍N26: No monthly fees.

👎Berliner Sparkasse: 3€ monthly fee1, or 1€ + 0.30€ per debit card transaction2. 8.50€ per year for the debit card1. No fee for students.

👎Volksbank: 3.95€ monthly fee + 0.50€ for debit card1.

👎bunq: 8-10€ monthly fee.

German banks with no ATM fees

Withdrawal fees are the most annoying problem with German banks. Some banks charge 5€ to 7€ to use an ATM that's not in their network. These fees add up really fast. We recommend to choose a bank that does not charge ATM fees.

👍1822direkt: 0€ to 0.30€ per withdrawal from Sparkasse ATMs (45% of ATMs)1. Fee of 6€ or 1% of withdrawal amount for other ATMs1.

👎comdirect: Free withdrawals from any ATM1, 2. Fee of 10€ for ATMs outside the Eurozone. You are not allowed to withdraw less than 50€ from ATMs1.

👎Commerzbank: Free withdrawals from Cash Group ATMs (only 15% of ATMs)1. Fee of 6€ or 1% of withdrawal amount for other ATMs1.

👎Deutsche Bank: Free withdrawals from Cash Group ATMs (only 15% of ATMs)1. Fee of 6€ or 1% of withdrawal amount for other ATMs.

👍DKB: Free withdrawals from any ATM1.

👍ING DiBa: Free withdrawals from any ATM1.

👍N26: 5 free withdrawals per month from any ATM. After that, you pay 2€ per withdrawal.

👍Berliner Sparkasse: 0€ to 0.30€ per withdrawal from Sparkasse ATMs (45% of ATMs)1 depending on account type. 4.95€ per withdrawal from other ATMs1.

👎Volksbank: Free withdrawals from BVR ATMs (32% of ATMs)1. Fee of 7.50€ or 1% of withdrawal amount for other ATMs1.

👍bunq: 10 free withdrawals per month from any ATM, in any currency, anywhere on the planet.

German banks for students

Some banks offer special low fees for students and begin charging fees after they graduate. Most online banks are already free, so it's not such an impressive deal, especially when you consider ATM withdrawal fees.

👍1822direkt: No monthly fee for people under 27 years old1, 2.

👎comdirect: 4.90€ monthly fee if income is below 1250€ per month, free otherwise1.

👍Commerzbank: No monthly fee for students under 30 years old (StartKonto)1.

👍Deutsche Bank: No monthly fee for students (Das Junge Konto)1. Offers a Sperrkonto.

👍DKB: No monthly fee for anyone1.

👍ING DiBa: No monthly fee for anyone.

👍N26: No monthly fee for anyone.

👍Berliner Sparkasse: No monthly fee for students up to 25 years old1. 8.50€ per year for a debit card. Some branches offer a Sperrkonto.

👎Volksbank: No rebate for students.

👎bunq: No rebate for students. 8-10€ monthly fee for all users.

Blocked account (Sperrkonto) for the student visa

If you want to apply for a student visa, you usually need a blocked account (Sperrkonto)1, 2 as a proof of financial resources (Finanzierungsnachweis). If you need a blocked account, Deutsche Bank is often the only option1, 2, but a few Sparkasse branches also have blocked accounts1, 2. Some lesser known banks such as Fintiba and X-patrio also offer this service.

Indian citizens also reported that you can open a blocking account with Kotak Mahindra Bank, and use it to obtain a German student visa1, 2, 3.

A blocked account is not necessarily required as proof of financial resources. A scholarship, proof of parental income or a guarantee could also be sufficient. If you need help with your student visa, ask your German embassy or consulate, or a relocation consultant.

How to open a bank account in Germany

The requirements to open a bank account are the same for most banks:

Some banks also require a minimum income or some financial history in Germany, and will sometimes refuse business to foreigners and candidates with bad credit. For example, DKB does not accept people without credit history.

Some banks let you register online using their app and your cellphone's camera. The process only takes a few minutes1. Opening an account through the app is only possible if you have an ID from one of the supported countries. If they don't accept your passport, you must use Postident to validate your document, but Postident supports even fewer documents. This is an issue we mention in our review of N26.

Other banks usually require you to go in person to one of their branches to open an account. This takes a few minutes, but you might need an appointment. Traditional banks are more flexible with the identification documents they accept. They often let you create an account before you have an address in Germany. This is the best way to open a bank account before your Anmeldung.

Once you have a German bank account, use TransferWise or XE.com to transfer money from another country. They have better exchange rates and lower fees than banks or wire transfers.

Related: Opening a German bank account without an Anmeldung

So which bank should I pick?

  • If you don't speak German, N26 and bunq offer support in multiple languages. Deutsche Bank is the only traditional bank that offers some English support.
  • If you just moved to Germany, these banks will let you open an account without an official address. N26, DKB, bunq and comdirect even let you open an account from another EU country1.
  • If you need a Sperrkonto, Deutsche Bank is your best option. They also offer some English support, and they offer a free account for students.

I have been with N26 for a few years. I have reviewed N26 here. I closed my Commerzbank account because of the high ATM fees. I use Degiro to manage my stock portfolio. I have reviewed it here. I use TransferWise to transfer money between Germany and my family in Canada.


  • Sms

    Thank you for the valuable information

    Reply to Sms
    • Reply to Sms

  • Esteban

    Hi! Thank you for the very detailed review.
    Just something to change: I have Berliner Sparkasse and they do offer their online Banking website in English, and also there is usually one employee at the branch who would speak English.


    Reply to Esteban
    • Reply to Esteban

  • Nw User

    I confirmed with N26. They require residence permit to open the bank account. wtf.

    Reply to Nw User
    • Reply to Nw User

    • Moncef Bouhmidi

      No , only passeport and a german phone number !

      Reply to Moncef Bouhmidi
      • Reply to Moncef Bouhmidi

      • Laiqah

        I have tried using my passport to open an account and they said it doesnt count as a form of identification. That's the only form of identification I have while I wait for my residence permit (blue card) but I desperately need to open a bank account .

        Reply to Laiqah
        • Reply to Laiqah

    • Nicolas Bouliane

      As the N26 documents say, this depends on your nationality. For some countries, you just need a passport. For others, you also need a German residence permit.

      Reply to Nicolas Bouliane
      • Reply to Nicolas Bouliane

  • Thomas

    Thanks for this great writing. It's really helpful for a newcomer in Germany.
    Regarding 1822Direkt online account, I just opened one but I don't know how I can deposit cash to the bank. Like N26, it let you go to teller of supermarket (REWE or others) to deposit about 100Euro to your account without fee. I tried to search for the information about 1822Direkt but found nothing.
    Can you help to advise me on this issue?
    Many thanks.

    Reply to Thomas
    • Reply to Thomas

  • Sayed

    Hi, thank you so much for the fruitful comparison. Here, I would like to share with you my personal experience of Commerzbank in Germany. As I also searched, on the internet, some pages recommended Commerzbank for the international employees in Germany who would like to have an account. However, in practice, I had an unpleasant experience with this. Based on my experience, for opening the account in the branch that I attended, they 'only' accept and 'respect' German citizens and those with a long residence permit. So, I won't recommend this to other international staff at all. Also, When complained about the conditions and treatment, they easily replied that since they are a 'private' agency, they have the right to reject inquiries based on their policy!

    Reply to Sayed
    • Reply to Sayed

  • Maria

    Hello Nicolas, I am new in the country, thus your article has been very useful for me, so thanks very much.

    According to your article, I think N26 will be the best option for me to start banking. Additionally, I expect to move a considerable amount of money to Germany. So, I am wondering what could be the best way for me to save money and to get the best value of the money exchange. I appreciate if you have any suggestions that you can share with me.

    Thank you,

    Reply to Maria
    • Reply to Maria

    • Nicolas Bouliane

      Hi Maria,

      Try TransferWise. It's integrated into N26, but you can use it with any other German bank. This is how I transfer money between Germany and Canada.

      Reply to Nicolas Bouliane
      • Reply to Nicolas Bouliane

      • Maria

        Thank you!!

        Reply to Maria
        • Reply to Maria

      • WIllem

        Hi Nicolas - you say TransferWise is integrated into N26 - can you explain how to reach this functionality? I have an account with N26, but I can't seem to find this functionality either in the app or their online banking site.

        Reply to WIllem
        • Reply to WIllem

  • Rene

    Hello, congrats for your nice written article!
    I am coming soon to Germany and I am really leaning towards N26. I am just having one thought ; If something happens, who could quarantee for my money? I am pretty sure I am gonna leave in my bank account approximately 500E per month, that means 6.000 in a year. Are these online banks safe?
    Should you have any free time, please give me an answer.

    Reply to Rene
    • Reply to Rene

    • Nicolas Bouliane

      N26 offers you the same protection as other banks in Germany. If the company is bankrupt, your money is insured up to a much greater amount than 6000€.

      Reply to Nicolas Bouliane
      • Reply to Nicolas Bouliane

      • Priiya Rao

        However nice this bank is I do understand that this bank doesnt accept Indian passport as a valid document! Surprising indeed

        Reply to Priiya Rao
        • Reply to Priiya Rao

        • Raj

          They don't recogise Indian Passport as a valid identity proof, but the German Universities accepts them as a valid ID. Quite strange banking practice N26 follow.

          Reply to Raj
          • Reply to Raj

  • Attaullah

    Sir very good information of all people search who is the best bank in Germany but Sir I have one problem I am refugee mean auslander my question is I have no open bank account in n26 because n26 required German residence so I question which the best Bank for me

    Reply to Attaullah
    • Reply to Attaullah

  • Camille

    I would like to know if you have any idea of a good bank in Germany which have an easy way of transfering money to a Canadian account ?

    Reply to Camille
    • Reply to Camille

    • Nicolas Bouliane

      You can use TransferWise to send money to Canada. That's what I did during my internship in Germany, before I moved here permanently. N26 has a partnership with TransferWise, but any German bank should work.

      Reply to Nicolas Bouliane
      • Reply to Nicolas Bouliane

      • Angela

        Hello Nicolas,

        Since N26 has a partnership with TransferWise, does that mean we can directly transfer money from N26 to a Canadian bank? Do you know what the fees are?


        Reply to Angela
        • Reply to Angela

  • Pushkar Kumar

    Very nice article. Really loved it.
    I have also written an article on the topic:
    How To Open A Block Account In Kotak Mahindra Bank For German Visa

    You can mention it, if u want it.

    Reply to Pushkar Kumar
    • Reply to Pushkar Kumar

  • Ben

    Hello, thanks for the great summary! Do you happen to have a list of German banks that support Apple Pay? And also, which banks offer an English online banking or at least customer support in English?

    Reply to Ben
    • Reply to Ben

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