Choosing the right bank is a critical matter in Germany. Moreover, foreign students must learn the twists and turns of German banking.
Upon arrival in Germany, opening a bank account must be a top priority. Having a bank account guarantees the safety of your funds. It also serves as a channel to receive or send money within or outside Germany.
If you’re not yet familiar with banking matters in Germany, here’s a quick guide for banking in Germany:
Different Types of Bank Accounts
There are two major types of bank accounts in Germany: Sparkonto and Griokonto.
Sparkonto is a savings account. This is the type of bank account you need for the basic storing of money. You’ll also earn interest with this account.
Grikonto is a standard account. It’s great for sending payments and receiving checks.
Both German and non-German citizens could open these accounts. Other banks also offer special accounts to students.
Requirements in Opening a German Bank Account
Some German banks ask for a credit history to open an account. As an international student, you wouldn’t have a credit record yet unless you’ve used a German bank account.
Regardless, you must still present certain documents to open an account. These are:
- Bank application form (can be online or in-person)
- Valid passport
- Bank statement
- Residence permit
- Any document that proves your student status
- Identification requirements (webcam, verification code, or PostIdent)
Different Types of Banks
Apart from banks, you can also choose to open a TransferWise account. This is a multi-currency channel that you can use to send and receive money, and make payments.
There are also mobile banks in Germany. Some of these are DKB Cash and O2 Banking. Online banks are a cheaper and more convenient alternative to traditional banks.
There are also Private Banks and Cooperative Banks. A private bank may be better for you as a foreign student.
Best Banks for International Students
Here are some of the most prominent banks in Germany:
- Deutsche Bank – This is the largest bank in Germany with international ties to other banks.
- Norddeutsche Landesbank – This is Germany’s biggest commercial bank.
- N26 – This is a mobile bank which you can open for free without any charges.
- ING-DiBa – This bank has over 58,000 ATMs across Germany. This is a great option for those who regularly make withdrawals.
You can research more about these banks to find what’s best for you. Refer to our guide on how to choose the right bank when selecting options.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Bank
How do you know which bank is right for your needs? Here are some factors to consider:
- Online banking – Most traditional banks also offer mobile banking options. Find the one with the most reliable and secure online platform.
- Fees and other charges – Some banks have minimum balance requirements. Others charge for every transaction you make.
- Customer service – It’s best to join a bank where customer service representatives speak English. They must also be accommodating to your needs.
Still curious about German banking? Read more of our stories here at MSM Unify to find more related content.