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 also show their residence permit. Some passports are not supported at all. bunq and DKB supports more passport types1.
  • 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. Everything must be done online.
  • Service in German only.

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..

Pros:

  • English support and online banking. Only some of the correspondence is in German.
  • Offers a blocking account (Sperrkonto) for students

Cons:

  • 5.90€ monthly fee

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.

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 correspondence is in German. Not all branch employees speak English.
  • 3€ monthly fee
  • 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: Commerzbank employee

Pros:

  • Online banking available in English. Part of the Commerzbank website is available in English.
  • Classic bank with multiple branch locations.
  • Large portfolio of banking services (broker account, investments, loans and more).
  • Free withdrawals from Cash Group ATMs (15% of ATMs in Germany).

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

There are reports that DKB does not require an Anmeldung1, as it also uses PostIdent1. Unfortunately, they reportedly refuse foreign customers with no credit history in Germany.

Verification method: PostIdent

Pros:

  • No monthly fees
  • Free withdrawals from any ATM

Cons:

  • Does not let everyone open an account. Some income or credit history is required.
  • 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: PostIdent

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • No branch locations. Everything must be done online.
  • Service in German only.

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 more types of ID documents to create an account than N26.1
  • 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:

  • 8-10€ monthly fee.
  • 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

    Other banks

    Wise (TransferWise), Revolut and Monese also let you open an account without an Anmeldung.