How to open a current account?
Some documents are mandatory if you want to open a bank account:
- Your passport
- Your certificate of residency [↙]
Depending on the account you want to open, you may need a pay statement from your employer. In addition, some banks may ask for your work permit [↙] or your work contract.
Make sure you clarify some points before opening your account:
- Do the bank allows overdraft?
- Is there a minimum amount to be deposited in the account each month?
- How dense is the bank’s ATM network?
Online comparison sites like Banks Germany can help you to find the best offer in view of your situation.
What about an online account?
Of course, you may choose to open an online account, which is a popular and economical solution. If you want to do so, you will need to use the “Postident” procedure, which is done through the German post office. The bank will give you a document to download and bring to the post office with your passport or identity card. The postal officer will then make you sign a document, which will then be sent to your bank.
What about your bank/ATM card?
After having opened your bank account, your bank will send your PIN by mail. In Germany, as with most of the world, withdrawing money in your bank’s cash machines/ATM’s is free of charge. Making a cash withdrawal from another bank is usually accompanied by a small fee (generally 1%, or 3 to 5€).
So, in choosing your bank, it’s a good idea to make a point of looking at its ATM network!
It is often possible to pay by card, but the use of cash is still ubiquitous in Germany, particularly in restaurants and small shops. It is essential for you to always have some cash with you.
How to transfer money?
Once you open your German bank account, you may have to transfer money to it from your country of origin – this is required, for instance, in order to make a deposit for your flat. Be careful if you transfer money from another currency. Fees can be important, depending on the method of transfer. Ask your home bank and look for transfer services such as Western Union (often located in post offices) or Transferwise (online) if they offer lower prices.
It will take a few days to transfer money from your German account to another German account. Doing it online will be faster than doing it with a transfer form.
Here you find the most important information needed to answer your questions about Opening a bank account. If you know other tips or want to share your experience, do not hesitate to contact us. You could even send your testimony which could be published on our website! Thanks for your contribution to the Leon community!