As soon as you arrive in Berlin, you should open a current account (“Girokonto”) at a bank. With this kind of account you can carry out transfers and receive payments. It is advisable to choose a bank with many branches so as to avoid charges when withdrawing cash. The most frequently used banks are:
To open an account you need a valid personal ID or passport as well as a confirmation of registration in Berlin ("Meldebestätigung") that should not be older than six weeks.
The Berliner Bank (Schloßstr. 114, 12163 Berlin–Steglitz) allows you to open an account without immediately providing a confirmation of registration. It is sufficient to supply a confirmation of your address via Freie Universitaet Berlin (for which you should contact the project managers of the PCD network).
Master’s and PhD students should bring their student ID, since students are frequently exempt from account management fees. These otherwise depend on the bank and the payments you receive, and can be € 5-10 per month.
After your application at a bank it usually takes about a week for your EC card to be dispatched.