german bank account for us citizens

With Expatrio's recommendations, you can open a German current bank account (Girokonto) online for free in just a few clicks. Benefit from Expatrio's quick. We offer clients products and services from our corporate and investment bank, asset management, private banking as well as commercial solutions. J.P. Morgan. NOTE FOR AMERICANS: Due to FACTA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act), it may be the case that you will need to contact a number of these different banks.

: German bank account for us citizens

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Issues with Family Outside the U.S.

Authenticate a U.S. Document for Use in Another Country

You may need to present a legal document issued in the United States for use in another country. These documents can include court orders, contracts, vital records, and educational diplomas. To verify signatures, stamps, or seals on these documents, they must be authenticated.

The process to get a document authenticated depends on the specific document, the state in which it was issued, and other factors. Check with your state’s document authentication agency. Also, visit the Authentications page from the Department of State (DOS).

If the country in which you are presenting your documents is a member of the 1961 Hague Convention, german bank account for us citizens can get an apostille. An apostille validates seals and signatures of officials on public documents. Apostilles authenticate birth certificates, court orders, and many other documents. Learn more about apostilles and how they are issued.

For more information, details on a procedure, or status, call the DOS Office of Authentications at 1-202-485-8000. Phone hours are from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Typically, appointment hours are from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM and 2:00 PM to 2:30 PM ET, Monday through Friday. However, due to COVID-19, the Office of Authentications is not accepting in-person appointments at this time. 


German bank to close its doors to 'U.S. persons' from March, citing FATCA reporting burden

In doing so, Augsburger Aktienbank (AAB) will become the latest in a long line of non-U.S. financial institutions to close its doors to Americans over the past decade, rather than have to comply with the 2010 U.S. anti-tax-evasion law known as FATCA, which obliges such institutions to report to the IRS on the accounts of all of their U.S. citizen clients, and which stipulates significant penalties for any institution found to not to be in compliance.

News of AAB's decision to close its doors to Americans comes as other countries in Europe, particularly France and the Netherlands, have seen so-called "accidental American" clients fighting to be able to keep their local bank accounts and other banking services, as growing numbers of banks insist that they will only keep as clients those Americans who are able to provide them with "Taxpayer Identification Numbers", or other proof that they are U.S. tax compliant or else have officially taken steps to renounce their U.S. citizenships. This is a story that the American Expat Financial News Journal and other media organizations have been covering for more than a year.

In October, meanwhile, a German citizen posted a petition on the website of the Deutscher Bundestag (German Parliament) that called on the German government to intervene with respect to the difficulties many "German citizens" have been struggling with as a result of FATCA, in what was seen at the time as evidence that dual American/German citizens have also been having problems keeping their bank accounts.

That petition called on the German government to "take up and implement in German law" certain key provisions that had been contained in a resolution unanimously approved by the European Parliament on July 5, 2018, which called on EU member states as well as the European Commission to re-open negotiations with the U.S. over how FATCA is enforced.

According to Fonds Professionell, a German-language news magazine and website for German and Austrian investment advisers, Augsburger Aktienbank will close the accounts of its American clients "as of March 31, 2021," while declining to accept as customers any other "U.S. persons" going forward.

"The reason given by AAB is the high level of personnel and technical effort" that FATCA requires, the article explains.

"[FATCA] stipulates that German financial institutions must report all tax-relevant data of [any of their] customers who are 'persons of the United States', according to the law to the Federal Central Tax Office.

"FATCA applies in all countries that have signed bilateral agreements with the USA to implement the regulations in [their] national law."

The Fonds Professionell article goes on to quote the bank as saying, in a letter to an unidentified fund platform it had seen a copy of, that it decided to terminate all "existing accounts and deposits"of its "U.S. person" clients by the end of March, after noticing how the amount of work required to comply with FATCA had been increasing steadily in recent years.

The letter asked the fund platform "to support [Augsburger Aktienbank's] U.S. customers in transferring [their] securities and account balances to a suitable [alternative] bank account," the Fonds Professionell article continues.

"To do this, it is important to know which clientele is affected and what to do.

“'United States persons' are all customers who are taxable in the U.S., for example, because they were born there or have a place of residence [there].

"The possession of American citizenship, dual citizenship, a Green Card or joint tax assessment with a spouse assessed [as being American for tax purposes by the U.S.]  also lead to classification as a 'U.S. person'."

According to the article, although "all [AAB] accounts and custody accounts owned or jointly owned by a U.S. person will be terminated," as would be "accounts and custody accounts in which a U.S. person is registered as a beneficial owner or authorized representative",  an exception will be made for any real estate loans, installment loans and policy loans held by the bank's American citizen clients.

The AAB didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 


Banking in Germany: How to open a German bank account

As an expat in Germany, one of the first steps in setting up your life will be to open up a German bank account, to receive your salary, rent an apartment, transfer money abroad, or take out health insurance.

Banks in Germany

Before you open your bank account, you might want to do some research on which bank best suits your needs. In a country that has more banks per head than anywhere in the developed world, you have plenty of choice.

While you are deciding where to do your banking in Germany, it is wise to take into account that most banks in Germany charge their account holders a yearly fee; many banks will also charge you for withdrawing cash from an ATM belonging to david carroll wachovia different bank. 

Biggest banks in Germany

Banks in Germany fall into three main categories:

Private banks

Private banks are nationwide banks with branch networks. Although they offer everyday banking services, they also have a stronger focus on wealth management, real estate and investment banking.

Direct & Mobile banks

Plenty of online-only banks are now arriving in Germany, offering lower fees and telephone-based customer service. It is sometimes more difficult to withdraw cash if you are with an online-only bank unless they have an arrangement with a high street bank.

Be sure to check all the details of the accounts offered to make sure they suit your needs and requirements. Although the situation is gradually improving, few German banks will provide detailed information in English.

Public savings banks and cooperative banking associations

These are local banks with a strong focus on small and medium-sized businesses and local investment. Although the branding for these banks is the same nationwide, each regional bank operates as its own separate entity. They usually have the most number of physical branches, especially in more rural areas.

How to open a German bank account

To open a private current account (Girokonto) in Germany you will need to make an appointment online or visit your local branch with all of your paperwork. It is also becoming increasingly popular to open your German bank account entirely online, by filling out the relevant form on the bank’s website and then confirming your identity either by video chat or Postident.

Documents for a German bank account

Whether you choose to open your account online or in branch, you will need to provide the following documents:

If your bank has a minimum income requirement you may also have to provide proof of income with payslips or an employment contract.

Once your identity has been confirmed and all the details have been processed, you just need to wait until your account is set up and your new debit card (Girocard) and PIN are sent to you in the post.

Opening a blocked bank account in Germany

If you are from outside the EU and you have no source of income in Germany, you might need to prove your financial subsistence with a blocked bank account, a special type of account that limits your monthly withdrawals. The process for opening a blocked bank account (Sperrkonto) in Germany is slightly different to opening a regular bank account. 

Online banking in Germany

Most banks in Germany can be expected to provide some sort of internet banking for you to conduct your financial affairs online. Be aware that sometimes you will have to specially request online banking (Online-Banking) when opening your account. Your login details will usually be posted separately to your home address.

Most banks offer internet services only in German. If you are unsure, you can always ask for a tutorial from the bank staff member when you open your account. (Or you can brush up on your German!)

What is a TAN (Transaction Authentication Number)?

In order german bank account for us citizens make internet banking more secure, many German banks also use TANs (transaction authentication numbers). These single-use passwords are required to log in to online banking or authorise online transactions. Traditionally, German banks used to print these out 50 at a time for customers, but it is becoming increasingly common to have a TAN sent as an SMS to your mobile phone or generated by a Smartphone App.

What is Giropay / Paydirekt?

Giropay and Paydirekt are two schemes offered by German banks that allow you to pay online using your debit card. Once registered, you can use a username and password or PIN to securely pay for goods.

Banking for businesses in Germany

If you are planning to start up your own business in Germany you might also need to open a German business bank account (Geschäftskonto). Bunq and various other banks in Germany offer accounts specifically designed for entrepreneurs.

The process for opening a business account is very similar to opening a private account. As well as documents confirming your identity and address, you will also need all of the details concerning your business, such as your Handelsregisternummer and a record of your turnover. Most banks will be able to offer different types of business accounts, depending on the size of your company. If you are a freelancer, you may not need to open a business account.

What is the SEPA?

SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) is an initiative of the European Union that came into effect on February 1, 2014. It affects german bank account for us citizens transfers of euros, seeking to improve the efficiency of cross-border payments. Using your IBAN, you can make or receive payments to any account located in the SEPA.

What is my IBAN?

IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number. It is a unique number that identifies your country, bank and account number in a german bank account for us citizens that can be understood by financial institutions worldwide. Your IBAN will be included on any correspondence you receive from your German bank, and also sometimes on the front of your debit card.

Can I open an offshore account with a German bank?

Offshore banking is usually only offered by the major German banks, such as Commerzbank or Deutsche Bank.

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The Tax Implications of Opening a Foreign Bank Account

For Americans who hold assets with foreign institutions, for whatever reason, the tax ramifications are an area of serious concern. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) treats money held in foreign banks differently than money held in domestic bank accounts. To put it bluntly, they don't like U.S. citizens having offshore or overseas accounts—mostly out of fear of being unable to take revenue from such accounts—and so they discourage the practice.

And frankly, most foreign banks nowadays do not want deposits from U.S. citizens, either—not even those in the traditional destinations, such as Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Their reluctance is due to the increased aggressiveness from the IRS and the Department of Justice (DOJ). Foreign banks are only willing to devote so much time and energy to courting American clients, and very few have the type of compliance department that can handle complex U.S. regulations and heightened scrutiny.

Americans who want to open foreign bank accounts should consider these hurdles and do what they can to clear up credit concerns or other risk flags. Simply being an American citizen who is subject to IRS taxation can make an overseas bank hesitate, so it is a good idea to seem less risky on an individual level.

Key Takeaways

  • Any U.S. citizen with foreign bank accounts totaling more than $10,000 must declare them to the IRS and the U.S. Treasury, both on income tax returns and on FinCEN Form 114.
  • The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) requires foreign banks to report account numbers, balances, names, addresses, and identification numbers of account holders to the IRS.
  • The federal government can bring civil and criminal charges against those who fail to disclose foreign accounts or pay taxes on foreign account assets.

Double Taxation of U.S. Expatriates

Unlike almost every other country on the planet, the U.S. government levies taxes on its citizens on income earned anywhere in the world, even if the activity took place exclusively on foreign soil, with foreign capital, and with foreign trading partners. In fact, the U.S. is the only developed nation that taxes global activity.

What this means is an American expatriate living and working in Germany, say, has to pay income taxes to both the German government and the U.S. federal government. If the American worker deposits their monthly earnings into a German bank, the IRS can grant itself access to that account to collect taxes. There are some relief provisions, including a partial credit for foreign taxes paid on overseas income, but they are often insufficient.

Not all foreign account holders engage in economic activity german bank account for us citizens, which means they do not have to worry about this double taxation. However, concerned workers and investors need to file returns with the IRS.

FinCEN Form 114

Since foreign accounts are taxable, the IRS and U.S. Treasury have a very rigid process for declaring overseas assets. Any American citizen with foreign bank accounts totaling more than $10,000 in aggregate, or at any time during the calendar year, is required to report such accounts to the Treasury Department. They are also required to report and pay tax on all income from these accounts, except so-called "signature authority accounts."

From the 1970s until June 2013, foreign account holders filed under Treasury Form TD F 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, better known as an FBAR. Forms were due annually and processed in the Treasury office in Detroit.

After June 2013, the Treasury announced the paper-based FBAR was no longer acceptable. Instead, all U.S. taxpayers with offshore accounts totaling more than $10,000 needed to electronically fill out the new Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Form 114, also titled FBAR. FinCEN 114 included more information and had to pass through the Treasury's Bank Secrecy Act E-Filing System. This new FBAR did not replace an income tax filing but was instead a separate document to be submitted individually. Taxpayers had until June 30, 2014, to file the new form, or else be subject to a penalty of as much as 50% of their assets.

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act

Congress passed the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) in 2010 without much fanfare. One reason the act was so quiet was its four-year-long ramp up: FATCA did not take effect until 2014. Never before had a single national government attempted, and so far succeeded in, forcing compliance standards on banks across the world.

FATCA requires any non-U.S. bank to report accounts held by American citizens worth over $50,000 or else be subject to 30% withholding penalties and possible exclusion from U.S. markets. By mid-2015, more than 100,000 foreign entities had agreed to share financial information with the IRS. Even Russia and China agreed to the FATCA. The only major global economy to fight the Feds is Canada; however, it was private citizens, not the Canadian government, who filed suit to block FATCA under the International Governmental Agreement clause, making it illegal to turn over private bank account information.

Through FATCA, the IRS receives account numbers, balances, names, addresses, and identification numbers of account holders. Americans with foreign accounts must also submit Form 8938 to the IRS in addition to the largely redundant FBAR form. Those interested in opening a foreign bank account must be aware of these requirements and possible tax penalties, especially for retirement accounts abroad, which have their own unique treatment.

All foreign accounts need to be reported to the IRS, even if the accounts do not generate any taxable income.

Foreign Bank Accounts and Tax Evasion

The popular colloquial notion of offshore tax evasion includes a multi-millionaire U.S. citizen who has an ultra-secret bank account in Geneva. In reality, millions of Americans open offshore bank accounts for a huge number of reasons. Whether they report them is a different story.

The U.S. State Department estimated that roughly 9 million Americans lived abroad in 2016; the Federal Assistance Voting Program’s “2016 Overseas Citizen Population Analysis Report”, issued in September 2018, put the number at 5.5 million. It's safe to guess that many millions more living stateside have foreign accounts. Yet less than 1 million taxpayers filed FBARs to declare these assets in 2016.

Obviously, plenty of foreign account holders are not reporting assets. Since 2009, however, the IRS has emphasized compliance, and Americans are more likely than ever to face stiff fines and penalties for nondisclosure. Individuals can be penalized with up to $500,000 and a prison sentence of up to 10 years for failure to file an FBAR.

Even more serious than non-disclosure is a failure to pay taxes on income earned and deposited into a foreign bank account. The federal government can bring civil and criminal charges against those who do not pay Uncle Sam, even by accident.

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Can a Foreigner Open a Bank Account in Germany?

The German bank account is a necessity when living in Germany. Germany has quite a strict banking system, but overall, it’s possible to open a bank account as a foreigner. Your banking option will depend on whether you have a residency in Germany or not.

Generally, foreigners can easily open a bank account almost in any bank in Germany, assuming they have a registered address or residence permit in the country. Whereas, non-residentswill have only limited options such as direct and online banks.

Opening a bank account in Germany as a foreigner is definitely possible. In end, if you are living in Germany on a regular basis, you MUST have an account in the local bank. In this article, you will learn which groups of people can open a bank account in Germany and how to do it in the right way.

Bank account in Germany for foreigners

Foreigners can easily open a bank account almost in any bank in Germany, assuming they have a residence permit in the country. Whereas, it’s will be harder to do for non-residents.

Also, EU nationals will have no problem opening a simple bank account with a German bank, non-EU nationals have to prove some additional documents including the registration in Germany. Requirements will vary from bank to bank.

Both EU and non-EU citizens can open an account in person german bank account for us citizens online by verifying their identity via special tools. In some cases, it’s even possible to open a German bank account from abroad.

Bank accounts at Bunq, DKB, ComDirect, N26, and Revolut are particularly easy to get as a foreigner.

Requirements to open a bank account as a foreigner

If you want to open a bank account in Germany, you need to consider several requirements. There are also banks that will want to see only minimal documents from you, we will talk about them later on.

Firstly, in Germany, foreign citizens are required to register their local address at the registration office of a responsible municipality within three months after arrival.

As a result, you will get a confirmation of the address registration and thus can open a bank account in Germany almost in any bank.

Documents for opening bank account

General documents you will need to open a bank account in Germany as a non-EU foreigner:

  1. German residence permit
  2. Anmeldung (address registration)
  3. Identity document (passport)
  4. Job contract or confirmation that you are a students (optional in some banks)
  5. Evidence of income (depending on the account you want to open)

Besides the standard requirements following criteria can influence a bank’s decision:

  • Your credit score
  • Reason for opening an account
  • If you need an apostille or legalization and if it’s accepted
  • Your country of origin
  • EU sanctions against your country of origin

If you possess all the above documents, you can open a bank account in any German bank.

The situation is different for foreign citizens who are self-employed entrepreneurs. You might have a bit harder time when opening an account.

If you don’t fullfill some requirements you can open an online bank account in Germany or get a virtual card. Read the full article on this topic and pick the best option for yourself.

An online bank account can be easily opened via the internet. These accounts have all the advantages that a normal German current account offers.

The country of origin or residency

Your options and possibilities to open a bank account in Germany will also depend on the country you come from, especially whether it’s an EU or non-EU state.

EU citizens can easily open a bank account in Germany, even if they aren’t living in the country. In fact, banks are required by law to open a standard current account for you.

EU citizens also don’t need any special documents for the application.

All non-EU citizens must provide the confirmation of their address registration in Germany (Anmeldung). At least this requirement applies in most German banks.

Identity proof

Identity proof is necessary if you are opening a bank account online. Every bank in Germany is required by law to verify the identity of the new customer.

There are different verification options available (depending on the bank):

  1. PostIdent: Verify your documents at the German post office, where the clerk checks your identity. You need to be in Germany.
  2. VideoIdent: Verifying your identity by a video call using identification service of the bank. This option might be only available for certain nationalities or passports.
  3. Notary: Use a foreign bank or a lawyer in your home country to verify your identity. In this case you can open a bank account from abroad, but there are still chances that the bank doesn’t recognise the document.

The PostIdent verification method

The PostIdent verification method is only available for someone physically located in Germany. To verify your identity you need to bring the application form and a valid ID to a Deutsche Post location.

Then simply present it to an employee there. The process is free of charge for you – the bank will pay the fee.

The VideoIdent verification method

VideoIdent is the best option to verify your identity and open a bank account from abroad or in the comfort of your home. The process is quite simple.

After you have submitted the application for a bank account and all required information, the bank will ask you to make a video call via the phone, tablet, or computer.

Verification by mobile phone is especially recommended due to the better camera. During the call, you’ll be asked to show your ID to the camera.

After that, you will receive a TAN via SMS or email which you need to submit back to the bank. The entire process takes only a few minutes to complete.

If you are in Germany the easiest way of verification is via the VideoIdent.

After completing the application online you will receive a final document which you need to print and sign (or sign digitally).

Do you have a residence permit in Germany?

As we have mentioned most banks will require from you either a residence permit or the address registration in Germany. In case if you have applied for your residence permit, but haven’t received it yet, banks still might accept your application.

However, some might not. Nonetheless, having a residence permit in Germany will give you an almost 100% success rate in opening a bank account as a foreigner.

Are you an international student in Germany and looking for the best banking account? Read the full in-depth article on that topic.

Open bank account without residency in Germany

But can you open a German bank account in Germany without residency at all? Yes, it is possible, but only in a limited number of banks.

Whether or not you can open a bank account without residency in Germany depends on the conditions of the respective bank. Traditional branch banks such as Sparkasse or Volksbank usually refuse to open such an account.

However, you can do it in so-called direct banks. Such banks are usually operating online, hence, they offer more flexibility also when it comes to the requirements.

Which banks will open an account without a residency?

A checking account can be opened at DKB without residency in Germany. Another provider is Comdirect Bank. Bank N26 is active in 23 European countries.

Open German bank account from abroad

Some people even would like to open a German bank account from abroad. Maybe you are planning to move to Germany or just want to open an account while living abroad.

Keep in mind, if you aren’t in Germany and not living here, you have limited banking options in the country.

Banks like Bunq,DKB, ComDirect, N26 and Revolut will open a bank account for EU citizens living outside of Germany. Where Bunq and Revolut aren’t German banks but operate in Germany and their bank accounts are completely comparable with a German one.

Comdirect opens bank accounts via VideoIdent for people in Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Austria, and Luxembourg. At N26, anyone residing in the EU can get an account.

Moreover, Bunq opens a current account for people residing in the EU and non-EU countries. Nonetheless, it is easier to open up a German bank account after you have relocated to the country.

To confirm your identity, an applicant will need to go through the normal verification process as usual, by using PostIdent or VideoIdent methods.

Other methods of identity verification while abroad

If you don’t have access either to PostIdent or VideoIdent verification processes, you can also have a local bank or a lawyer (or a notary, certified accountant, or tax adviser) to verify your identity.

A bank, for example, will confirm your identity directly on the application form for the German bank account and will send it directly to the bank in Germany.

This option isn’t available in all countries. You need to check in one of the local banks.

Open a bank account with DKB from abroad

DKB is a German german bank account for us citizens that is well known among foreigners in Germany and beyond. They are also accepting customers who live abroad.

The account with DKB is free as long as you have a monthly turnover of at least 700 EUR. In addition, cash withdraw is free of charge worldwide.

To open an account, simply fill out the application form online. As soon as it is reviewed DKB will inform you of the possibilities for identity verification in your country.

After you have completed one of the above-mentioned identification processes, your account will be opened.

Which banks will open a bank account for a foreigner in Germany?

Many German banks will open an account for a foreigner providing they have:

  • passport
  • adress confirmation
  • residence permit in Germany
  • proof of employment or income

However, we have picked the easiest banks to apply for as a foreigner in Germany.


Non-German citizens can easily open an account with DKB, provided they are residing in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland.

DKB or Deutsche Kreditbank is a solid classical German bank with very attractive options for foreigners.

With DKB you can enjoy a free account and free cash withdrawn at all Visa ATMs in Germany and abroad (over 1 million worldwide).

By signing for DKB you will receive two cards: a European debit card and an international Visa card.

A bank account with DKB offers you:

  • Free bank account
  • Free online banking
  • Free VISA card
  • Interest paid on credit card balance
  • Free worldwide cash withdrawals
  • Zero foreign transaction costs
  • Free securities account
  • Monthly credit card and bank statements online
  • Discount on membership in very popular gym McFit 15,00 EUR instead of 19,90 EUR
  • Free cash withdraw and payments with Visa card in Germany, Europe, and worldwide
  • Numerous other discounts, e.g. shopping, entrance fees
  • No yearly fee


Bank 1822direkt is a part of the well-known Sparkasse bank in Germany. At 1822direkt you can choose between different banking options:

The application and setup are made online, so you don’t have to spend time going to the branch. 1822direkt has minimal requirements for foreigners, you just need to have an address in the country.

Besides that the bank account is free for everyone under 27 years old.

Free online bank account

  1. Free account management.
  2. Including 4 free withdrawals from all Sparkasse ATMs in Germany.
  3. Free debit card.
  4. Optional overdraft facility (creditworthiness required)

Classic free bank account

  1. Free account management when with monthly turnover over 700 EUR.
  2. Including 6 free withdrawals from all Sparkasse ATMs in Germany (there are over 25,000 of them).
  3. Free debit and credit cards.
  4. Overdraft facility: you will receive a credit of 1,000 EUR at your disposal (creditworthiness required).

Premium bank account

  1. Account management for 9,90 EUR per month
  2. Free debit and credit cards (Visa gold)
  3. Including free withdrawals from all Sparkasse ATMs in Germany.
  4. Overdraft facility with 1% interest (creditworthiness required).

All accounts are manageable via online banking.

What 1822direkt bank account offers?

  1. Free bank account for people under 27 years old
  2. Free cash withdraw in Germany
  3. Free cash withdraw abroad in the EUR zone
  4. You can an choose between Visa or MasterCard
  5. Get a credit card
  6. Transfers, standing orders, direct debits, payments with the card, are free of charge
  7. If you move abroad, you can keep the account and continue to use them
  8. To keep your account free of charge (for people over 27 years old) you just need need to do a one single incoming transfer per month.

Open a free bank account online

The application is simple and made within minutes online. After that you will confirm your identity via PostIdent-procedure and your card will be on a way!


Bunq is a relatively new banking concept founded in the Netherlands. They operate in 5 languages, so there is no problem if you don’t speak German.

If you reside in the EU, Bunq is a great option, it will allow you to use banking not only in Germany but also in other countries at no cost. Hence, you can open a bank account also when living outside of Germany.

Bunq doesn’t offer free accounts, but their fees are very reasonable and definitely worth the money. Bunq is one of the best online banks so far, the app has an amazing user interface and is simple to navigate.

Bunq banking account and card provide:

  • Instant transfers/payments
  • Easy payment requests – send requests to friends. Receiving payments in Euros is free
  • Easy and low-cost international transfers/payments with Transferwise (Wise)
  • You can have 25 sub-accounts, 3 spending cards, 5 virtual cards, and contactless payments for more flexibility
  • Free ATM withdrawals
  • Contactless payments
  • Advanced budgeting features and instant payment notifications
  • Shop safely with disposable virtual cards
  • If you are a freelancer – special account for you with simple payouts, taxes, and invoice management

The personal premium account costs 7.99 EUR per month, with that you will get 25 sub-accounts, multiple debit cards including MasterCard and Maestro, and a travel card at no extra cost, all will be shipped to you. They offer a 1-month free trial, during which you can test the product.

Free Bunq Travel Card

Bunq travel card will help you to travel abroad and still make payments and withdraw money with no problems.

How to sign up for Bunq?

Signing up for Bunq is typically quick and easy. It takes 5 minutes and only a phone is required, forget about going to the office. To sign you need:

After everything is verified, you can top up the account with money via bank transfer, credit card, debit card, or Sofort. Finally, your debit cards will be shipped to your address at no extra cost.

Are you looking for the best credit card in Germany? Check out this article – we made the choice easier for you.


If you are looking for a free Visa card ING is the way to go. Application with ING is simple and online.

If you are an international student in Germany you can get a free student bank account. The offer is valid for students or individuals younger than 28 years old.

When opening account with ING you will receive a debit Visa card and a normal German giro card. You can use them to withdraw money without commission in any ATMs in Germany and Europe.

ING current account offers:

  • 0,00 EUR account management for students
  • Girocard + VISA card
  • Cash withdraw in EU without fees
  • Optional 500 EUR credit at 6.99% p. a.

To open a bank account with ING you will need:

  • Passport
  • Proof of address
  • Filling the application form

Bank will also request information about your occupation and income. If you are currently unemployed, then it would be a good idea to open the account at a later point of time. This is the “lowest” position at the creditworthiness check.

A disadvantage of ING is the lack of their physical presence in Germany, the company german bank account for us citizens very few offices and only in the following cities: Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Nürnberg, and Berlin.

Are you an international student in Germany and looking for the best banking account? Read the full in-depth article on that topic.

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Opening a German bank account without an Anmeldung

When you move to Germany, you need a bank account to get your paychecks and pay your rent.

You often need a registration certificate (Anmeldebestätigung) to open a bank account. You can't get a registration certificate if you don't register your address (Anmeldung). You can't register your address without a place to live. You can't find a place to live without a bank account. It's a big problem if you are new in Germany.

These banks let you open an account without doing your Anmeldung.


N26 is an online bank with no monthly fees. Their app and their customer service are in English. It's a popular bank for expats, because you can open an account without doing your Anmeldung1, 2, 3, 4.

If your country is in this list, you can open an N26 account without doing your Anmeldung. N26 needs an address to send your credit card to, but you can use any address in Germany. Some people sent their N26 card to their work address1.

Verification method: Video ID for supported passports, PostIdent for others


  • 100% in English and other languages
  • No monthly fees
  • Up to 5 free withdrawals per month from any ATM.
  • Excellent mobile app. Instant notifications when you make a transaction.


  • No branch locations. You do everything online.
  • Not all ID documents are supported. People from certain countries must have a German residence permit to open an account. Some passports are not supported at all.
  • Fewer services than traditional banks (no broker account, few investment and credit options).

Review:An honest review of N26


Comdirect is another online bank that lets you create an account without an Anmeldung1. It uses PostIdent to validate your documents. It has slightly higher fees than N26, but it also offers more services. If you need a broker account or similar options, then it might be a better option.

Verification method: PostIdent


  • No monthly fees.
  • Free withdrawals from any ATM.


  • No branch locations. You must do everything online.
  • Service in German only.
  • PostIdent does not work with all passports. Indian passports rarely work.1, 2

Review:An overview of German banks and their fees

Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank is a popular bank among international students, because it offers a blocking account (Sperrkonto)1, 2 and does not require an Anmeldung1, 2. If you are applying for a student visa, only a few banks offer a blocking account. Deutsche Bank, Fintiba and X-patrio are the most common options.

Verification method: Bank employee


  • English support and online banking. Only some of the correspondence is in German.
  • Offers blocking accounts (Sperrkonto) for students
  • All passport types are supported


  • Monthly fee, ATM withdrawal fees

Review:An overview of German banks and their fees

Berliner Sparkasse

There are some reports of people opening a Sparkasse account without an Anmeldung1, 2, 3, 4. Sparkasse is a well-established bank with the largest ATM network in Germany.

Verification method: Bank employee


  • The largest network of ATMs in Germany1. Withdrawals from Sparkasse ATMs are free.
  • Free account for students under 25 years old.
  • Lower monthly fees than most brick-and-mortar banks


  • Website and letters are in German. Not all branch employees speak English.
  • Monthly fee, ATM withdrawal fees
  • Service in German only

Review:An overview of German banks and their fees


Commerzbank lets you open an account before you register your addres1, 2, 3. I did it in 2015. You just go to a Commerzbank branch and ask to open an account. Commerzbank is a classic bank. They have branches everywhere. They offer good services, but they have high fees. This is why I switched to N26 in 2016.

Verification method: Bank employee


  • Online banking in English. Part of the Commerzbank website is in English.
  • Free withdrawals from Cash Group ATMs (15% of ATMs in Germany).
  • All passport types are supported1.


  • Limited English support. All correspondence is in German, and the English website is very limited.
  • Old-fashioned processes. You must write to your assigned bank advisor to get a replacement card or unblock your account, and you are sometimes forced to visit a branch to sign documents.
  • 10€ monthly fee if your balance is below 1200€.
  • 6€ fee when withdrawing from ATMs from other banks.

Review:Comparison of German banks and their fees


DKB does not require an Anmeldung1, 2. and it uses WebID to verify your ID document. They sometimes refuse people who just moved to Germany.

Verification method: WebID


  • No monthly fees
  • Free withdrawals from any ATM
  • Indian passports are accepted1


  • Does not let everyone open an account. Some income or credit history is required.
  • WebID does not work with all passports. Indian passports rarely work.
  • Service in German only.

Review:Comparison of German banks and their fees


ING is another online bank that lets you create an account without an Anmeldung1. It uses PostIdent to validate your documents. Just like N26 and DKB, it has no monthly fees and free withdrawals.

Verification method: PostIdent1


  • No monthly fees.
  • Free withdrawals from any ATM.


  • No branch locations. Everything must be done online.
  • Service in German only.
  • Requires EU citizenship or permanent residence1, 2
  • PostIdent does not work with all passports. Indian passports rarely work.1, 2

Review:Comparison of German banks and their fees


bunq is an online bank based in the Netherlands. They let you open an account before you even arrive in Germany. They support more passport types than N26, so it might be easier to open an account with them.

Verification method: Video call


  • You can use your account immediately, even before you receive your credit card.
  • The app and the customer support are in English and 5 other languages.


  • 3 to 18€ monthly fee.
  • Only certain passports are supported. Indians can't open a bunq account.
  • No phone support. You can use email, live chat or their online forum, but there is no phone number to contact1.

Review:Comparison of German banks and their fees


Wise (once TransferWise) is a British online bank and currency exchange. They are based in the UK and in Belgium1. Their multi-currency account lets you send and receive money in different currencies for a very low fee. Wise is not a German bank, but your money is still safe, even if Wise goes bankrupt.


  • It lets you convert currencies for a very low fee. This is very useful if you send money between different countries.
  • The app and support are available in English.
  • No monthly fee


  • Wise is not based in Germany. You will get a Belgian IBAN.


Monese is a British online bank. They are based in the UK and in Belgium. Monese is not a bank, but an e-money institution. This means that your money is safeguarded, not re-invested. If Monese goes bankrupt, you will get your money back.


  • The app is available in 14 languages
  • No monthly fee


  • 1.50€ withdrawal fee for the free account1
  • You might need to show a EU passport or residence permit1.
  • Monese is not based in Germany. You will get a Belgian IBAN.
  • Not really a bank. They built an app, but the bank accounts are managed by another financial company1.
german bank account for us citizens

5 Replies to “German bank account for us citizens”

  1. Still works as of 12/14/2019. I received $20.00. The fee was $0.88. The total received was $19.12. Hope that helps anybody figuring out the cost of fees.

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