How to open a bank account in Germany

Having a bank account in your country of residence is always a smart choice to send money to Senegal or your home country. This piece will walk you through the process of opening a bank account in Germany. We will discuss it at length but first, a brief background is deemed important to mention.

Germany has a strong economy and rich heritage and culture, which attract many people worldwide. Not only are these two big attractions for the people from the developing countries, but Germany is also home to some of the world’s top-notch universities which international students prefer to study. These are a few reasons the Indian diaspora has a fairly large presence in Germany, where they study and earn. They then send money back home to their families for financial support covering education, savings, and an enhanced living standard. From the two basic options of sending money back to India from Germany, the expatriates choose banks for a time-consuming and time-ineffective wire transfer or one of the best online money transfer companies such as ACE for a time-efficient and cost-effective money transfer to Senegal and other countries.

For either of these options, you must have a bank account in Germany which necessitates the need even further if you are an expatriate. Seen in this context, below is all the relevant information about the German banking industry.

Banking in Germany:- The banking system in Germany consists of private commercial banks, public savings banks, and cooperative banks. This is the basic banking setup in Germany. Other than these, you will find many international banks, online as well as mobile banks.

Types of German bank accounts:- There are two main account types which are Griokonto and Sparkonto. Griokonto is the current account that is in general use for receiving and sending funds and bills payment. But the best part is that in Germany you can choose a general current account or specialized account which is mostly used by the youth and students. Sparkonto, on the other hand, is a savings account. It is used to save money and earn interest and both the residents and non-residents can open a Sparkonto or savings account.

Options to choose from:- Since there are many options in the German banking system, what you choose depends largely on your preferences and requirements. Following are the details.

Savings banks:- There are a few local banks such as Sparkassen and Volkasbanken whose focus is small businesses and a strong customer base. These banks have a wide branch network and are dotted across the country and in the suburban and rural areas. You can send money to Senegal online through many commercial banks in Germany.

Private banks:- There are a lot of these private banks in Germany, including Deutsche Bank, Postbank, and HypoVereinsBank, etc. They are all part of Cash Group which means that if you withdraw money from their ATMs you will not be charged. Withdrawal from the ATMs of other banks can cost you a hefty 5 Euros per withdrawal.

Online banks:- The culture of online banking is booming in Germany in recent times. These banks include DKB Cash, N26, and O2 banking among others. These online banks work in deep liaison with the traditional banks for the convenience of the customers and prove to be cheaper than the traditional banking services in terms of fees and time efficiency.

Documents to open an account:- In Germany you will come across a few banks which do not offer services to expatriates. Of course, the banking services are available to the residents but the non-residents come across these issues but the ratio is lower than negligible. Most of the German banks, however, offer services to and facilitate the non-residents. Following are the documents required to open a bank account in Germany.

  • Complete application form;
  • Valid passport;
  • Current residence permit in Germany;
  • Proof of address;
  • Initial deposit at the time of opening account. It varies from bank to bank;
  • Employment certificate or proof of income;
  • If you are a student, you will provide proof of being a student, in case you want to open a student account;
  • SCHUFA credit rating. This credit rating is required by some banks only.

Now let’s take a brief look at the factors you should consider before choosing a bank.

Services:- Where most banks offer an entire gamut of banking services, it is important for you to take a detailed look at those services well before doing business with the concerned bank.

Customer support:- When in Germany, look for a bank whose customer support is offered in English, in case if you are not conversant with the German language. For online money transfers to Senegal, 24/7 customer service assures peace of mind.

Maintenance fees:- Try to look for a bank whose maintenance charges and services fees are relatively less than the others. Paying as much as 5 Euros on each ATM withdrawal can be a burden financially.

Network:- Look for a bank whose branches and ATMs are dotted all across where you live. It will cause convenience of commuting with saving your time, money and energy.

Online services:- Make sure that the bank whose services you avail also has online banking services. The importance of online banking services in today’s tech-driven era cannot be overemphasized.

Conclusion:- From all of the above, we hope to have made the process of opening a bank account in any of the German banks quite clear. A thorough reading and understanding of this article will be more helpful as it will give you a deep insight into the entire German banking industry.