How to Choose a German Bank Account

How to Choose a German Bank AccountWhen someone from another country moves to Germany, or an ex-pat returns after a long time away, one of the first tasks is to open a German bank account (Girokonto), checking account or current account. Before walking into the first bank you see, the following information can educate you in the different options available.

Foreigners should understand that there are different types of German bank accounts with different requirements.

Ask yourself the following questions to begin the process:

  1. Will you have a set amount of money being directly deposited into the account?
  2. Are you satisfied with online banking or prefer a physical branch location?

The answers to these questions can help you narrow down the selection of German bank accounts that you would like to use. They can also help you avoid fees that are often waived if a director salary deposit is made monthly.

The three main categories of bank accounts in Germany include:

  1. Online banks with no monthly deposit requirement
  2. Online banks that require a monthly income deposit
  3. Brick and mortar bank locations

Online Banks without Monthly Deposit Requirement

Many German citizens and foreigners living in Germany enjoy the low fee structures and extra services associated with an Internet bank or online banking. Ideal for people without direct monthly deposits and for those who do not require a physical branch location, the online banks highlighted below may work for you.

DKB – Cash

  • Free bank account for life
  • Free international cash withdrawal
  • Free Visa debit card
  • DKB Club with cashback when you shop
  • 0.90% interest on the money you keep in the account
  • Overdraft protection with 7.9% interest


  • Free bank account for life
  • Free worldwide cash withdrawal
  • Free Visa debit card
  • Free deposit account for securities
  • Free ability to deposit money overnight
  • Bonus €50 for opening and using a new account

Online Banks With Monthly Deposit Requirement

Individuals who do have a monthly income deposited directly in their bank have additional options. This circumstance may also affords you more bonuses and perks of holding an account at one of these institutions.

DAB Bank

  • Free lifetime bank account
  • Free international cash withdrawal
  • Free MasterCard debit card
  • A €90 sign on bonus if you deposit a minimum of €800 monthly
  • Overdraft protection with 7.5% interest


  • Free lifetime bank account
  • Free worldwide cash withdrawal
  • Free Visa check card
  • A €100 prepaid debit card for signing up
  • Overdraft protection with a 7.5% interest rate

1822 Bank

  • No fee account with a monthly deposit
  • Free European cash withdrawal
  • Free credit card with a €2000 balance
  • €90 sign-up bonus with an €800 monthly deposit
  • Overdraft protection for 7.5% interest

Brick-and-Mortar Bank Branches With Monthly Deposit Required

The majority of physical bank locations do not provide free accounts unless you make a direct deposit every month. Check around for local offers to see if any banks have special promotions for free accounts, such as Postbank’s Happy Hour offer.


  • Free account with €1000 direct deposit
  • Free Visa debit card for one year
  • Free transactions at Cashgroup ATMs
  • Free mobile phone with their salary account


  • A free account with a €1200 direct deposit
  • A convenient English language bank website
  • Free and easy cash withdrawal at Cashgroup ATMs
  • Sign-on bonus of €100 +8500 miles and additional points

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