A Guide for Expats in Germany
For some expats in Germany, choosing a bank account in Germany can feel a little overwhelming. There is a lot to consider when you have to open a new bank account. But don’t worry – this guide will help you ask the right questions when choosing a bank account in Germany!
Table of Contents:
- What are the fees?
- Are services offered in English?
- Can I manage my bank account online/on an app?
- Are there penalties for closing the account?
- Does the account include a debit card?
- What are the account requirements?
- More Information for Expats in Germany
1. What are the fees?
All banks will charge penalty fees if you overdraft your account, but some banks have additional fees you should look out for. For example, some banks have fees for getting paper statements in the mail. Other banks might have requirements such as a minimum balance, and if you dip below the minimum balance the bank could charge you a penalty fee. It is also important to be aware of your bank’s ATM fees. Furthermore, brick and mortar banks (i.e. branch banks) oftentimes charge monthly service fees. Make sure you ask your potential bank for a comprehensive list of its fees.
2. Are services offered in English?
In Germany, many banks claim to meet the needs of expats, but not all banks will have services in your language. You should ask your bank if its services are available in your language, such as English. As an expat, it’s important to choose a bank that accommodates for language barriers. Ask if your bank has a website, mobile app and customer support in your language. The best German bank account for expats has services available in English, Spanish, Italian, French and German.
3. Can I manage my bank account online/on an app?
Many German banks offer some online services, but not all banks in Germany have mobile banking available. A good question to ask a bank is what services are available online and on your phone. Ask the bank if it has an app that you can use to manage your account. Mobile banking is convenient and oftentimes offers extra security to keep your account safe.
4. Are there penalties for closing the account early?
Ask your bank if it charges penalty fees for your closing within a certain timeframe. For example, a bank might have a penalty fee for closing an account within the first 30 or 60 days from when you opened the account. Ask your bank to make sure you don’t end up with any unexpected penalties.
5. Does the account include a debit card?
It’s important to ask a bank if the account you open will come with a free debit card. For some banks, you have to pay for a debit card. For other banks, you receive a debit card for free with the account.
6. What are the account requirements?
Be aware of the requirements for the bank account in Germany. For instance, some banks require account holders to maintain a minimum balance. Make sure you can meet the requirements, and ask what the consequences are if you fall below the account requirements.
More Information for Expats in Germany…
To learn more about the best bank accounts in Germany for expats, make sure you read this article!
If you’re new to Germany then make sure you have health insurance! Everyone living in Germany is required, by law, to have German health insurance. You’ll even need it for your visa! In Germany there is public health insurance and private health insurance.
Lastly, private liability insurance is one of the most important types of insurance in Germany! This article tells you everything you NEED to know if you’re an expat in Germany!