Having a German bank account is one of the most important things you have to do when moving here. You will need to provide bank details in order to rent (or buy) a house, but also to get internet service or a cell phone contract. Most German employers will only tend to transfer money into a German count. Movingto-Berlin.com has a great guide on getting your bank set up in Germany. Here are some good takeaway points:
- See what ATMS you tend to pass on your commute to work; signing up for a bank with inaccessible ATMs can become quite a pain.
- Some banks, like DKB (Deutsche Kreditbank AG), N26, and Postbank, allow you take cash out of any ATM without fees, which can be quite handy if you use cash frequently.
- If you prefer a brick & mortar bank to an online bank, the most common ones in Berlin (and Germany) are Sparkasse, Volksbank, Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, and Postbank. The last three are partnered so that you can withdraw from one with another’s card and not have to pay an ATM fee.
For expats, the go-to bank seems to be N26. It has no monthly fees, allows you to sign up for debit and credit cards, has an English interface and customer support, and you do not need to be a German resident to open an account. You can also withdraw money worldwide without fees. One thing to note is that N26 does not seem to have good feedback from the online community. Although I have friends who use N26 without issue, I have read numerous complaints particularly about the bank’s customer support. For those who want better support, DKB seems to be the close runner-up, the only real difference being that they don’t have English customer support.