23/10/2017

Money and banking

How to open an account

To open a bank account in Germany, you need the following:

  • your passport
  • your certificate of residency
  • a pay statement from your employer (depending on the account type)
  • for some banks: your work permit

With these documents you can apply for a current account and an EC card with the bank of your choice. Current accounts with some banks do not allow overdrafts; in other words, they do not permit you to borrow money through your account. Some banks also require that a minimum amount be deposited each month. Make sure to clarify both of these questions before opening an account.

It pays to compare

Banks may differ dramatically in the fees they charge – for managing your account or for each transfer of money, for example. Some banks may waive fees if you deposit a certain amount every month, such as your wages. So it pays to compare when choosing a bank.

Online banking

An online account is an alternative to a current account. These accounts can be opened on the Internet or by mail, and they can also be used online. They are offered by a number of direct banks – banks that do not have their own physical branches. An online account serves the same purposes as a German current account, and also has a German account number and routing code. Transfers from and to foreign countries can be made through online accounts.

To open an online account with a direct bank, you need to document your identity using the “Postident” procedure through the German post office. The bank will provide you with the necessary documents. Take them to a post office, show your identification and ask a post office employee to confirm your identity and send the documents to the bank.

Bank cards

With a personal identification number (PIN), you can use your EC card to withdraw money from a cash machine 24 hours a day. After you open your account, your bank will send you your PIN by mail. No fees are charged for withdrawing money from your own bank’s cash machines. A withdrawal fee is charged if you use the machines of other banks – usually one percent, but no more than five euros per transaction.

You can also use your EC card for payment at most shops and petrol stations. However, it is always wise to carry some cash. Cash is still used in Germany – restaurants and shops usually expect you to pay smaller amounts in cash.

Transferring money in Germany

Within Germany, it takes only a few working days to transfer money from your account to someone else’s. You can do this using your bank’s money transfer form or through online banking, which is usually even faster. It is a good idea to keep a receipt for each transfer.

Transferring money abroad

Transferring money abroad

It takes longer to transfer money from Germany to another country. However, you can transfer money to your home country quickly and securely using the following methods:

  • SWIFT: With SWIFT wire transfers, the money is normally in the recipient’s account within 24 hours. Fees vary from one bank to another. Information about this procedure is available at your bank.
  • Money transfer services: A number of service providers can transfer your money quickly to another country. Take the amount you want to transfer, in cash, to an office of the transfer agency (Western Union is often located at a post office) and specify the office in the destination country where the recipient will pick up the money. The recipient will need to show identification. The entire process usually takes only a few minutes; however, it costs seven to ten percent of the amount transferred.
  • Cashier’s checks: Cashier’s checks should be sent only by registered mail, since there is no way to stop payment if the check is stolen.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15

Iranian Voices Slam Donald Trump’s Reported Visa Ban as ‘Shameful’

Iranian Voices Slam Donald Trump’s Reported Visa Ban as ‘Shameful’

 TEHRAN, Iran — President Donald Trump provoked an angry backlash from Iranian voices after reports he would block visas for citizens of seven Middle Eastern and African countries and temporarily...

Read more

These are the world's most powerful passports

These are the world's most powerful passports

Germany takes the lead with a visa-free score of 157. Singapore overtakes South Korea and becomes the highest ranked Asian passport, with a visa free score of 156, coming second...

Read more

Curtailment of 30,000 student visas each year sparks row

Curtailment of 30,000 student visas each year sparks row

More than 30,000 non-EU students a year have had their visas curtailed by the Home Office in the past three years, figures obtained by BBC News show. And 410 educational establishments...

Read more

Calls for inquiry after evidence for UK student deportations ‘comprehensively demolished’

Calls for inquiry after evidence for UK student deportations ‘comprehensively demolished’

The Home Office is facing calls to launch a parliamentary inquiry into Theresa May’s immigration policies after a tribunal found thousands of foreign students may have been unfairly deported. The UK’s...

Read more

Americans and Canadians might need visas for Europe

Americans and Canadians might need visas for Europe

Be prepared! You might need a visa for your next European holiday or business trip. The European Union is considering requiring Americans and Canadians to apply for visas, even if they...

Read more

EU chokes on US visa dispute

EU chokes on US visa dispute

Bulgaria and Romania want the EU to impose visas on US nationals. It probably won’t happen. But EU officials’ attempts to “wiggle” out of the situation haven’t gone down well. The...

Read more

Turkey moves closer to EU visa-free travel

Turkey moves closer to EU visa-free travel

Turkey is moving closer to being granted visa-free travel to the European Union. It could be in force by the end of June.   The bloc’s executive, the EU Commission, has said...

Read more

EU might require visas for U.S. and Canadian visitors

EU might require visas for U.S. and Canadian visitors

Visa-free travel throughout the EU’s Schengen region may be coming to an end.Currently, Americans and Canadians only need a passport to visit the EU while visitors from other countries like...

Read more

Italian PM in Tehran with large delegation

Italian PM in Tehran with large delegation

Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is in Iran for a two-day visit at the head of a large delegation to upgrade relations which have been warming following a nuclear agreement...

Read more

Germany, Turkey to Intensify Illegal Immigration Fight

Germany, Turkey to Intensify Illegal Immigration Fight

Merkel has refused to restrict asylum conditions and has sought to persuade Turkey to crack down on people smuggling BERLIN—Germany and Turkey on Friday pledged to intensify efforts to fight...

Read more

Iranian citizens fear US visa waiver bill: ‘It’s just unfair’

Iranian citizens fear US visa waiver bill: ‘It’s just unfair’

Iranian citizens who have ties to the United States are anxious about a new bill that would no longer allow them to be part of the visa waiver programme. If...

Read more

Iranian dual citizens fight new US visa rules

Iranian dual citizens fight new US visa rules

Dual citizens from Iraq, Iran, Syria and Sudan are protesting against a new US programme that restricts their travel.Neysun Rouhani and his wife live in the UK. He's a concert...

Read more

Germany should invest more to help euro zone grow - Commission

Germany should invest more to help euro zone grow - Commission

Nov 26 Germany and the Netherlands, which have big current account surpluses, should invest more to help boost economic growth and inflation in the whole euro zone, the European Commission...

Read more

Italy is land of opportunity for Goldman Sachs

Italy is land of opportunity for Goldman Sachs

The US investment banking group’s SICAV has already risen through the ranks in size of assets, from 43rd to 18th, currently at just over $50bn, while GSAM as a whole...

Read more

Australia and Germany sign new tax treaty

Australia and Germany sign new tax treaty

Australia and Germany have signed a new treaty on tax in the first step towards growing trade and investment between the nations and improving the integrity of the tax system...

Read more