When you move to Germany, you need a bank account to get your paychecks and pay your rent.

You often need a registration certificate (Anmeldebestätigung) to open a bank account. You can't get a registration certificate if you don't register your address (Anmeldung). You can't register your address without a place to live. You can't find a place to live without a bank account. It's a big problem if you are new in Germany.

These banks let you open an account without doing your Anmeldung.

N26

N26 is an online bank with no monthly fees. Their app and their customer service are in English. It's a popular bank for expats, because you can open an account without doing your Anmeldung1, 2, 3, 4.

If your country is in this list, you can open an N26 account without doing your Anmeldung. N26 needs an address to send your credit card to, but you can use any address in Germany. Some people sent their N26 card to their work address1.

Verification method: Video ID for supported passports, PostIdent for others

Pros:

  • 100% in English and other languages
  • No monthly fees
  • Up to 5 free withdrawals per month from any ATM.
  • Excellent mobile app. Instant notifications when you make a transaction.

Cons:

  • No branch locations. You do everything online.
  • Not all ID documents are supported. People from certain countries must have a German residence permit to open an account. Some passports are not supported at all.
  • Fewer services than traditional banks (no broker account, few investment and credit options).

Review: An honest review of N26

Website: n26.com

Comdirect

Comdirect is another online bank that lets you create an account without an Anmeldung1. It uses PostIdent to validate your documents. It has slightly higher fees than N26, but it also offers more services. If you need a broker account or similar options, then it might be a better option.

Verification method: PostIdent

Pros:

  • No monthly fees.
  • Free withdrawals from any ATM.

Cons:

  • No branch locations. You must do everything online.
  • Service in German only.
  • PostIdent does not work with all passports. Indian passports rarely work.1, 2

Review: An overview of German banks and their fees

Website: comdirect.de

Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank is a popular bank among international students, because it offers a blocking account (Sperrkonto)1, 2 and does not require an Anmeldung1, 2. If you are applying for a student visa, only a few banks offer a blocking account. Deutsche Bank, Fintiba and X-patrio are the most common options.

Verification method: Bank employee

Pros:

  • English support and online banking. Only some of the correspondence is in German.
  • Offers blocking accounts (Sperrkonto) for students
  • All passport types are supported

Cons:

  • Monthly fee, ATM withdrawal fees

Review: An overview of German banks and their fees

Website: deutsche-bank.de

Berliner Sparkasse

There are some reports of people opening a Sparkasse account without an Anmeldung1, 2, 3, 4. Sparkasse is a well-established bank with the largest ATM network in Germany.

Verification method: Bank employee

Pros:

  • The largest network of ATMs in Germany1. Withdrawals from Sparkasse ATMs are free.
  • Free account for students under 25 years old.
  • Lower monthly fees than most brick-and-mortar banks

Cons:

  • Website and letters are in German. Not all branch employees speak English.
  • Monthly fee, ATM withdrawal fees
  • Service in German only

Review: An overview of German banks and their fees

Website: berliner-sparkasse.de

Commerzbank

Commerzbank lets you open an account before you register your addres1, 2, 3. I did it in 2015. You just go to a Commerzbank branch and ask to open an account. Commerzbank is a classic bank. They have branches everywhere. They offer good services, but they have high fees. This is why I switched to N26 in 2016.

Verification method: Bank employee

Pros:

  • Online banking in English. Part of the Commerzbank website is in English.
  • Free withdrawals from Cash Group ATMs (15% of ATMs in Germany).
  • All passport types are supported1.

Cons:

  • Limited English support. All correspondence is in German, and the English website is very limited.
  • Old-fashioned processes. You must write to your assigned bank advisor to get a replacement card or unblock your account, and you are sometimes forced to visit a branch to sign documents.
  • 10€ monthly fee if your balance is below 1200€.
  • 6€ fee when withdrawing from ATMs from other banks.

Review: Comparison of German banks and their fees

Website: commerzbank.de

DKB

DKB does not require an Anmeldung1, 2. and it uses WebID to verify your ID document. They sometimes refuse people who just moved to Germany.

Verification method: WebID

Pros:

  • No monthly fees
  • Free withdrawals from any ATM
  • Indian passports are accepted1

Cons:

  • Does not let everyone open an account. Some income or credit history is required.
  • WebID does not work with all passports. Indian passports rarely work.
  • Service in German only.

Review: Comparison of German banks and their fees

Website: dkb.de

ING

ING is another online bank that lets you create an account without an Anmeldung1. It uses PostIdent to validate your documents. Just like N26 and DKB, it has no monthly fees and free withdrawals.

Verification method: PostIdent1

Pros:

  • No monthly fees.
  • Free withdrawals from any ATM.

Cons:

  • No branch locations. Everything must be done online.
  • Service in German only.
  • Requires EU citizenship or permanent residence1, 2
  • PostIdent does not work with all passports. Indian passports rarely work.1, 2

Review: Comparison of German banks and their fees

Website: ing.de

bunq

bunq is an online bank based in the Netherlands. They let you open an account before you even arrive in Germany. They support more passport types than N26, so it might be easier to open an account with them.

Verification method: Video call

Pros:

  • You can use your account immediately, even before you receive your credit card.
  • The app and the customer support are in English and 5 other languages.

Cons:

  • 3 to 18€ monthly fee.
  • Only certain passports are supported. Indians can't open a bunq account.
  • No phone support. You can use email, live chat or their online forum, but there is no phone number to contact1.

    Review: Comparison of German banks and their fees

    Website: bunq.com

    Wise

    Wise (once TransferWise) is a British online bank and currency exchange. They are based in the UK and in Belgium1. Their multi-currency account lets you send and receive money in different currencies for a very low fee. Wise is not a German bank, but your money is still safe, even if Wise goes bankrupt.

    Pros:

    • It lets you convert currencies for a very low fee. This is very useful if you send money between different countries.
    • The app and support are available in English.
    • No monthly fee

    Cons:

    • Wise is not based in Germany. You will get a Belgian IBAN.

    Website: wise.com

    Monese

    Monese is a British online bank. They are based in the UK and in Belgium. Monese is not a bank, but an e-money institution. This means that your money is safeguarded, not re-invested. If Monese goes bankrupt, you will get your money back.

    Pros:

    • The app is available in 14 languages
    • No monthly fee

    Cons:

    • 1.50€ withdrawal fee for the free account1
    • You might need to show a EU passport or residence permit1.
    • Monese is not based in Germany. You will get a Belgian IBAN.
    • Not really a bank. They built an app, but the bank accounts are managed by another financial company1.