When you move to Germany, you need to open a bank account. You need a European bank account to get paid, to pay your rent, and to do buy other things.

In this article, I compare these banks: 1822direkt, comdirect, Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, DKB, ING, 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: German only.

👎 Berliner Sparkasse: German only. Some branch employees speak English.

👍 bunq: Online banking, documents, messages and support in English, Dutch, Spanish, French, Italian and German.

👎 comdirect: German only.

👍 Commerzbank: Online banking and parts of the website are in English. All documents and messages are in German. Some branch employees speak English.

👍 Deutsche Bank: Online banking and documents are in English. Some documents and messages are in German.

👎 DKB: German only.

👎 ING: German only.

👍 N26: Online banking, documents, messages and support in English.

👎 Volksbank: German only. Some branch employees speak English.

German banks with no monthly fees

Some German banks charge a monthly fee for their bank accounts. Usually, if you deposit money in the account every month, or if you keep a minimum balance, the fee is removed.

👎 1822direkt: 3.90€ monthly fee if you deposit less than 700€ per month1.

👎 Berliner Sparkasse: 3€ monthly fee1, or 1€ + 0.30€ per debit card transaction2. 2.50€ per month for the credit card1. No fee for students.

👎 bunq: Minimum 3€ per month for the card. No monthly fee.

👎 comdirect: 4.90€ monthly fee if your deposit less than 700€ per month1. No fee for students under 28 years old, or if you use Google Pay/Apple Pay at least 3 times per month.

👎 Commerzbank: 9.90€ monthly fee if your deposit less than 700€ per month1.

👎 Deutsche Bank: 6.90€ monthly fee1. No fee for EU students1. 6.90€ for non-EU students1.

👍 DKB: No monthly fees1.

👎 ING: 3.90€ monthly fee if you deposit less than 700€ per month1.

👍 N26: No monthly fees if your balance is below 50,000€1.

👎 Volksbank: 6€ monthly fee + 0.50€ for debit card1.

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: 4 free withdrawals per month from Sparkasse ATMs1 (45% of ATMs)1. Otherwise, 2€ per withdrawal1.

👍 Berliner Sparkasse: Free withdrawals from Sparkasse ATMs (45% of ATMs)1. Fee of 2% (minimum 7.50€) per withdrawal from other ATMs1.

👍 bunq: 4 to 5 free withdrawals per month1

👎 comdirect: 3 free withdrawals per month. Free withdrawals from Cash Group ATMs (15% of ATMs). 4.90€ per withdrawal otherwise. 9.90€ per withdrawal outside the Eurozone.

👎 Commerzbank: Free withdrawals from Cash Group ATMs (15% of ATMs). Fee of 1.95% (minimum 5.90€) of withdrawal amount for other ATMs1.

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

👍 DKB: Free withdrawals from any ATM1.

👍 ING: Free withdrawals from any ATM1.

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

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

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.

👍 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.

👍 bunq: No rebate for students.

👍 comdirect: No fee for students under 28 years old.

👍 Commerzbank: No fee for students under 31 years old (StartKonto)1.

👎 Deutsche Bank: No fee for EU students1. 6.90€ for non-EU students1. Offers a Sperrkonto.

👍 DKB: No monthly fee1.

👍 ING: No fee for students under 28 years old1.

👍 N26: No monthly fees if your balance is below 50,000€1.

👍 Volksbank: Free account for students1.

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.

If you are Indian, you can open a blocking account with Kotak Mahindra Bank, and use it to get a German student visa1, 2, 3.

A blocked account is not always required for a student visa. A scholarship, a proof of parental income or a guarantee can also work. 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

Minimum requirements

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

  • A proof of German residency (your Meldebescheinigung). Some banks let you open an account without one.
  • A proof of identity (your passport or national ID)

Some banks require a minimum income or financial history in Germany. Other banks require permanent residency in Germany. For example, DKB often rejects foreigners1. Some online banks only support certain passports1.

If you are American, you need extra forms to open a German bank account, because of FATCA1, 2. Some banks don't let Americans open an account1, 2.

Open a bank account online

Some banks like N26, ING, DKB, bunq, Comdirect and Revolut let you open an account with their app. You can do it at home. They start a video call, and they ask you to show both sides of your ID or passport. This only works with passports from certain countries1. If they don't accept your passport, you must use Postident to verify your documents. This takes longer, and it doesn't always work.

Open a bank account in person

Some banks like Commerzbank, Sparkasse, Deutsche Bank and Volksbank let you open an account in person at their branches. The employees there sometimes speak English. Usually, these banks accept more passport types. They usually let you open a bank account even if you have not registered your address. It's a good way to open a bank account before your Anmeldung.

Transfer money from another country

After you open a German bank account, use Wise or XE.com to transfer money from another country. They have better exchange rates and lower fees than banks. I used Wise when I moved to Germany. I still use it when I need to send money abroad.

Which bank should I pick?

I am with N26 since 2016. I wrote an mostly positive review of N26. I closed my Commerzbank account because of the high fees. I use Degiro to manage my stock portfolio. I also wrote a review of Degiro. I use Wise (TransferWise) to transfer money between Germany and my family in Canada.