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Opening a Local Bank Account

The most common form of account in Germany is a checking account (Girokonto). Most financial transactions can be made through this type of account, such as receiving scholarship money or paying the rent. A checking account offers you the possibility to:

  • Deposit and withdraw money at any time
  • Arrange standing orders (Dauerauftrag) for regular payments (e.g. rent)
  • Pay bills by transfer orders (Überweisung)
  • Pay bills by direct debit authorization for differing amounts, e.g. telephone bills (Lastschrift-Einzugsermächtigung)
  • Have access to an EC card, a debit card tied to an account that can be used to make payments or withdraw money from a cash machine.
  • After proof of regular income have access to a credit card.

Therefore, it is almost indispensable to open an account in order to be able to transfer and receive cashless payments. To open an account, you need your passport or ID and proof of residence in Germany. As in most cases students are exempted from account management fees, you should also take your student ID with you.

Usually, banks are open from 09:00 a.m. to 04:00 p.m. On Thursdays, opening hours are longer until 05:30 p.m. or 06:30 p.m. – but opening hours differ between banks. Of course, you can get cash any time at a cash machine (ATM).

Most commonly used banks in Germany:

Some direct banks: