MBA Germany

German Banks


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There are many banks and Sparkassen in Germany. Banks are private institutions. Sparkassen are operated by local public authorities, which explains their names: Berliner Sparkasse, Hamburger Sparkasse and Sparkasse Dresden.

Most banking institutions offer a complete range of banking services, investment and insurance services; many of them also offer information about property rentals and purchases. Since services, prices and conditions vary widely, you should compare prices before making a decision. Consumer-Advice agencies also provide information on banks and Sparkassen. Almost all banks now provide online banking via Internet.

If you open a bank account in a German bank, remember to compare commission rates for money transfer to and from Germany. Many German banks have automatic teller machines (ATM'S), enabling you work with foreign currency while your stay in Germany. In most of the banks in Germany you will find a few English speaking employees, the best chance is in the foreign exchange section of the bank.

You might also choose to handle your finances through a Postbank account; this is often cheaper compared with other banks. There are Postbank counters at all post offices (Deutsche Post) and you can withdraw money from your account on production of ID such as passport or identity card. Non-cash payments (remittances, credit notes etc.) are effected at the Postbank by letter via its branches, to which the completed and signed forms are sent.

Most PostBanks open weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm. Main offices usually try to work same schedules as regular shops, but they may also open on Saturdays. In rural areas, banks are sometimes closed from 1 to 2.30 pm for lunch time. Most bank sections have cash machines (ATMs) that allow you withdraw cash, transfer money and get bank statements 24 hours a day.

Opening an account

Opening a bank account is a direct process in Germany and it is always require to show a confirmation of a German address besides your national identification document; It is therefore recommendable to register at the Einwohnermeldeamt (Residence registration) before opening an account.
Current accounts

Opening a bank account is one of the first things people have to do when moving to another nation. It is intended to be a relatively quick and easy process in Germany with some expats also able to consider setting up offshore bank and investment accounts.

If you are receiving a regular income in Germany, you may need to open a "Girokonto" (current account). The most common form of account in Germany is a Girokonto. Most financial transactions are completed through this kind of account, such as receiving wages or paying rent.

You will also need to know your IBAN (International Bank Account Number), number and swift code. Every account within the European Union's 25 member states should have an IBAN number. This is directed to facilitate international payments in Europe. In consequence, an IBAN and sometimes swift code are important for money transactions that are being made by an employer based in another EU country. If you want to have multiple accounts, you should ask your bank for the cheapest way to do it; perhaps it might be a sub account from your main Girokonto.

Savings accounts

You can open a savings account (Sparbuch) to get a better rate of interest. When opening a savings account, you will acquire a passbook (Sparbuch).With a regular passbook (with a withdrawal notice period of three months) you can withdraw 2000 in a calendar month without prior notice.

With a Postsparbuch (PostBanks), you will be able to withdraw money in most European countries and currencies with no extra charges.

A savings account can't replace a checking account, if you need services such as direct debits and standing orders keep in mind that they are generally not available with savings accounts.
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Money and Finance in Germany
MBA Germany