credit card germany

Credit Card Germany

Credit Cards In Germany

While many day-to-day purchases in Germany are done with cash, paying with a credit card in Germany is becoming more common than ever before. Therefore, if you live in Germany then you should consider getting a German credit card. This guide will tell you about the best credit cards in Germany. You will find helpful tips and important information about credit cards in this article! 

1. Types of Credit Cards in Germany

types of credit cards germany

There are four types of credit cards in Germany:

Revolving credit card: With the revolving credit card you can choose to pay your bill in its entirety or by installments. A credit card company extends you a certain amount of credit, say $5000, from which you can borrow. Each purchase is subtracted from that credited amount and every month the credit card company will send you a bill for the amount “borrowed” (used to make a purchase). If you pay the full amount borrowed, then you are not charged interest. But if you don’t pay the full amount borrowed, then the credit card company will charge interest on the unpaid amount.

Charge credit card: A charge credit card in Germany accumulates the amount of money you spent during the month. Then, at the end of the month, it charges you this amount. For example, if you spend €150 during the month, then at the end of the month you will be charged the full €150. 

Debit card: With a debit card, your bank account is charged immediately after you make a purchase. For example, if you go to the market and spend €20 on groceries with your debit card, then your bank account will automatically be debited €20.

Prepaid credit card: With a prepaid credit card, you deposit a certain amount of money onto the card. Then, you can spend the amount you put onto the card. For example, if you put €100 on your prepaid credit card, then you can spend up to €100. 

2. Why do I need a credit card in Germany?

why do i need a credit card germany

You need a credit card in Germany for several different reasons. Here are the top 6 reasons you need a credit card in Germany:

1. It can be used around the world.

Credit cards are helpful when you’re traveling, especially in non-European countries. For example, if you’re in a country with a different currency and you have not yet exchanged cash, you can use your credit card to make payments. In addition, you can get points from your credit card to use worldwide, such as in hotels, restaurants, shops and car rental companies.

2. Large Payments / Deposits 

In some cases, it may be necessary to have a credit card. For example, car rental companies or hotels almost always require that you provide your credit card number as a deposit. Therefore, if you cause damages, then the rental car company or hotel can charge your credit card. Since the amount of damages could be high and of course not certain beforehand, cash is not accepted as a deposit.

 3. Withdraw Money Abroad

You can withdraw cash from almost any ATM worldwide with a credit card. You can also withdraw money in a foreign currency. Therefore, you don’t need to exchange money. It is important to note, however, that withdrawing money from an ATM with a credit card (as opposed to a debit card) carries hefty fees. While withdrawing cash from an ATM with your credit card is an option, it is oftentimes a very expensive option.

4. Online Payments 

If you want to buy or book anything online then you will most likely need a credit card. For example, if you want to plan a trip then you’ll use a credit card to buy tickets for flights, trains and to book your hotel. It’s not always possible to pay by invoice or bank transfer. 

5. Additional Services

Some credit card companies offer additional services, such as travel cancellation insurance or luggage insurance. These additional services are valid if you pay for the relevant trip with your credit card. You can also take advantage of other services such as fuel discounts or bonus programs. 

6. Consumer Protection

If your purchase is defective, isn’t as described or doesn’t get delivered then you can ask your credit card company financial compensation as well as the seller.

3. What’s important when choosing a credit card in Germany?

free credit card germany

1. Automatic payments

Most credit card companies offer automatic payments. If you sign up for automatic payments, then your credit card company will debit your bill from your bank account on a specific day each month. This is helpful because you don’t need to worry about forgetting to pay your bill! And therefore you won’t have to pay any late fees. 

2. Contactless payments 

Contactless payments are devices, such as credit cards and smartphones, that use radio-frequency identification (RFID) or near field communication (NFC, e.g. Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay) for making secure payments. 

3. Easy application process

It’s important that the application process is simple and easy to understand! For example, if you apply for your credit card online, then you will have to verify your identity through either Postident or Videoident. With Postident, you verify your identity in-person at the German post office (Deutsche Post) with a valid ID document. With Videoident, you verify your ID via a video call.

4. Reward programs & insurance 

Many credit cards offer reward programs and various types of insurance. Cash-back is an example of a reward program in which you earn a percentage of money back that you spend. Another example is fuel discounts. For instance, Santander 1 Plus Visa Card gives 1% discount on fuel (for up to 400€/month spent on fuel). 

5. Fees

It is really important to look out for fees! Some fees you should pay special attention to include foreign transaction fees, ATM fees, and monthly/annual fees. Even if you sign up for a free credit card in Germany, there are other fees you should pay attention to!

4. Credit Card Fees in Germany

credit card germany fees

There are many credit card fees you should be aware of before you get a credit card. Even if your credit card doesn’t have any monthly or annual card fees, there are other fees you should look out for. Below are the top 6 fees to pay attention to.

1. Annual Credit Card Fee 

Not all credit cards are free, some credit cards come with annual fees. Therefore, it is important that you check the cost of the card and the benefits it includes! Sometimes choosing a free credit card outweighs choosing a credit card with annual fees.

2. Foreign Transaction Fees

Some cards charge fees for using your card in a different country, even if the currency is still euros. For example, if you have a German credit card and use it in Spain. This happens more often with debit cards than with credit cards. 

3. Foreign Currency Fees

Some credit card issuers charge extra fees for transactions made in foreign currencies. If you travel often then it is important to choose a credit card with zero foreign transaction fees. 

4. Cash Withdrawal (ATM) Fees

You can withdraw money from ATM machines with almost all credit cards. It’s important to know the difference here been debit cards and credit cards. With credit cards, the withdrawal fees usually come with large fees and high interest rates. Many debit cards, such as the N26 card, will let you withdraw money from ATMs for no extra fee.

5. Second Card or Replacement Card Fee

Some credit card issuers will charge a one-time fee for a second credit card. In addition, if you lose your credit card then you might have to pay a fee for a replacement card. 

6. Interest Rates

Credit card issuers charge interest rates if you don’t pay your bill on time or don’t pay the full amount due. Make sure you’re aware of the interest rate for late payments. 

Many credit card issuers offer different types of insurance if you upgrade your credit card and pay a higher annual fee. For example, sometimes credit card issuers offer travel insurance (Reiseversicherung), accident insurance (Unfallversicherung), luggage insurance (Gepäckversicherung), or payment protection insurance (Ratenschutzversicherung / Restkreditversicherung). It is important to note, however, that oftentimes these insurances are cheaper if you buy them separately. Therefore, you should compare prices before you buy insurance through your credit card provider. 

5. TOP 5 FREE Credit Cards in Germany

The most widely accepted credit cards in Germany (apart from debit cards) are VISA and Mastercard. American Express is also accepted in Germany, but in fewer places. Below are the top 5 free credit cards in Germany.

credit cards germany
  • Monthly Fee
  • Foreign Currency Fees
  • Free Cash Withdrawals
  • Type of Credit Card
  • Requires Specific Bank Account
  • Apple Pay
  • Google Pay
  • Free Replacement Card Card

SANTANDER 1PLUS VISA CREDIT CARD

Santander credit card germany

This is a good credit card in Germany for anyone with steady employment. The Santander 1Plus card is a free visa card in Germany, there are no monthly or annual fees. It charges 1.50% fees on transactions made in foreign currencies. You can withdraw money from ATMs free-of-charge 4x per month. From the 5th ATM withdrawal onward you have to pay a fee. Furthermore, Santander used to refund third-party ATM fees, but it no longer gives reimbursements.  You can get a 1% discount on fuel.  This is a revolving credit card.

  • No monthly or annual fees
  • Foreign currency fee: 1.50% fee on non-euro transactions
  • Withdraw cash for free 4x per month
  • 1% discount on fuel (for up to 200€/month spent on fuel)
  • Revolving credit card

Does Santander 1Plus Visa Card support Apple or Google Pay?

As of now, no. Santander in Germany does not support Apple nor Google Pay.

What documents do I need to apply for a Santander 1Plus card?

Necessary Documents
You must complete and sign the credit card application, and you need to prove your identity via PostIdent. In individual cases, the last 3 proofs of salary or the last pension notification or a registration certificate may be requested. You must also be registered at a German address. 

Can I apply for a credit card even if I don't have a Santander bank account?

Santander 1Plus Visa Credit Card

Yes – you can apply for the Santander 1Plus Visa credit card, even if you do not have a Santander bank account.

Is it possible to increase the card limit?

You can apply to increase your credit limit 6 months after the credit card was issued.

Can I set up automatic payments for my card?

You cannot set up automatic payments for the Santander 1Plus visa credit card.

ADVANZIA MASTERCARD GOLD CREDIT CARD (Gebührenfrei)

Advanzia credit card germany

The Advanzia Bank MasterCard Gold credit card is one of the best credit cards in Germany, especially for expats and students. One reason for this is because it is easy to qualify for the card, even if you do not have a long credit history. Furthermore, it is a free credit card, there are no monthly or annual maintenance fees. The Advanzia MasterCard Gold credit card does not have fees for transactions made in foreign currencies. This is also a great card for anyone that travels often. You will automatically receive free travel insurance if you pay at least 50% of the total transport costs with your Advanzia Mastercard GOLD. This card charges interest on cash withdrawals from ATMs. Lastly, if you lose your card, you can get a free replacement card.

  • No monthly or annual fees
  • No foreign currency fees
  • Free travel insurance
  • Free replacement card
  • 5% refund for rental cars when you book and pay with your MasterCard GOLD on rental car bookings
  • Revolving credit card

Can I withdraw cash for free from ATMs with the Advanzia Mastercard Gold?

Advanzia Mastercard Gold ATM Fees

Advanzia will not charge you immediately on cash withdrawals from ATMs, but interest rates apply from the day on you withdraw cash (1.49% per month).

Can I set up automatic payments?

With the Advanzia Mastercard Gold credit card, you cannot set up automatic payments.

Do I need a bank account with Advanzia Bank to get this credit card?

No – you do not need a bank account with Advanzia Bank to get the Mastercard Gold credit card.

DKB-VISA CREDIT CARD

DKB VISA credit card germany

The DKB-VISA credit card is a good option for expats, travelers, and students. With a DKB bank account, you get a free DKB-VISA credit card. It is free to open a DKB bank account, and there are no monthly or annual fees. In addition, DKB-VISA does not charge ATM fees on cash withdrawals, and there are no foreign currency fees. Furthermore, you can get cashback at many online shops, e.g. B. Amazon, Otto or Booking.com. You can also get a free emergency card and cash in the event of card loss abroad. 

  • No monthly or annual fees
  • No foreign currency payment fees for active customers
  • ATM cash withdrawals free for active customers
  • Cashback at many online shops, e.g. B. Amazon, Otto or Booking.com
  • Free emergency card and cash in the event of card loss abroad
  • Mobile banking app
  • Charge credit card

What is the difference between a DKB active customer and a non-active customer?

Active vs. Non-Active

To be an active customer, you must have at least €700 of incoming transfers to your account each month. The €700 does not have to be transferred as part of your salary or in one transfer.

The DKB bank account is still free for non-active customers!

Foreign currency fees for non-active customers: 1.75% for non-euro transactions

ATM fees for non-active customers: 1.75% for non-euro withdrawals

How does billing work with the DKB-Visa card?

The DKB-VISA card is a charge credit card, meaning the full amount you’ve spent each month is debited from your bank account. You will be billed on the 22nd of every month, and the total amount of your bill will be debited from your account a few days later. If the 22nd falls on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday, then the billing takes place on the previous business day. 

Do I need a DKB bank account to get the DKB-VISA credit card?

Yes – you must open a DKB bank account to be eligible for the DKB-VISA credit card. The DKB current account is free to open.

Does DKB-VISA credit card support Apply Pay and Google Pay?

Apply Pay & Google Pay

Yes – you can use both Apple Pay and Google Pay with your DKB-VISA credit card.

You can also make contactless payments at more than 2.9 million card terminals in Europe by simply holding the credit card to the card reader at checkout.

How do I verify my identity after I submit my application?

ID Authorization

After you submit your application, you will verify your identity via a video call.

  1.  Go to www.webid-solutions.de/dkb
  2. Have your personal reference number ready: (you will receive this number in an email immediately after you submit your application online)
  3. Enter your personal data and your reference number with your computer, smartphone or tablet.
  4. Confirm the terms and conditions and the privacy policy. A process number is then displayed.
  5. Have your ID document ready and start your online authentication via video call. Give the WebID Solutions employee your transaction number and he will guide you through the video authentication process step by step.
  6. Afterwards, you will get a TAN (transaction number) by email or SMS. Enter this via the input mask – in the field provided.
    Then your ID verification is complete!

HANSEATIC BANK GENIALCARD VISA CREDIT CARD

Hanseatic bank credit card germany

The Hanseatic Bank GenailCard is a visa credit card and a good option for expats and travelers. There are no monthly or annual fees. You can withdraw cash free of charge worldwide. This is a revolving credit card, meaning you can settle your sales monthly in convenient installments. You can save 5% on travel when booking through the Hanseatic Bank travel portal. Lastly, you can use the Hanseatic Bank Mobile app to manage your card and use Apple Pay to make contactless payments. 

  • No monthly or annual fees
  • No foreign currency fees
  • Withdraw cash free of charge from ATMs worldwide
  • Contactless payments with Apple Pay
  • Manage your card via the Hanseatic Bank mobile app
  • You do not need to open a bank account with Hanseatic Bank to get this credit card
  • Possible immediate credit limit of up to €2,500
  • Revolving credit card

After I submit my application, how do I verify my identity?

ID Verification

You have two options to verify your identity at the end of the application process – by videoident or by postident. If you choose video authentication then you need a computer, a tablet or a smartphone with a camera and a valid ID document.

You can carry out the identity verification via video call 7 days a week from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. via Hanseatic Bank’s partner, WebID Solutions. You can do it conveniently within a few minutes from home or on the go.

  • Enter your personal data with your computer, tablet or smartphone or in the online application process.
  • Confirm the terms and conditions and the privacy policy. You will then receive an email with your personal process number.
  • Have your ID document ready and start your online authentication by video call.
  • Give the WebID employee your transaction number and he will guide you through the legitimation step by step.
  • You will then receive a TAN (transaction number) by SMS. Enter this via the input mask.

Your online identity verification is now complete, and you do not need to do anything else. Afterwards you have the additional possibility to sign your contract document online.

What do I need for the videoident process?

Documents You Need
  1. A valid identity card or passport. You cannot use a provisional ID to verify your identity.
  2. A computer, a tablet or a smartphone with an internal or external webcam (camera) with a minimum resolution of 640 x 480 pixels.
  3. A stable internet connection.
  4. The possibility of video telephony (microphone and camera).
  5. WebRTC (if you’re using your browser on your computer) or the WebID app (Android / iOS).
  6. Good lighting conditions: You should try to be in a bright room so that your face can be easily recognized. A light source that is in front of you (e.g. window) is ideal for this.

Videoident currently works as an alternative to Postident for people residing in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and many other countries.

WebRTC supporting browsers include:

  1. Mozilla Firefox from version 25
  2. Google Chrome from version build 1180
  3. Opera from version 20
  4. Microsoft Edge from version 15
  5. Safari from version 11
Data Secure

Your data is fully encrypted – both in the transmission, in data storage, in processing during identification and in the transmission to WebID Solutions GmbH or to a WebID partner. Encryption using the DTLS-SRTC protocol corresponds to the currently highest technical standards.

Does Hanseatic Bank GenialCard support Apply Pay?

Yes – you can use Apple Pay with the Hanseatic Bank GenialCard visa card.

Apple Pay Limit

Your daily limit for payments with Apple Pay is the same as your credit card limit.

Multiple Devices

You can use your Hanseatic Bank credit card on many devices. All you need to do is add your Apple Pay card on each device.

What do I do if my credit card is lost or stolen?

Lost or Stolen Card

If your GenialCard is lost or stolen, then you need to contact the Hanseatic Bank immediately by phone. Hanseatic Bank will block your credit card so it can no longer be misused. Before you report the lost or stolen card, you are liable for up to €150. After reporting the loss to Hanseatic Bank, you are not liable for any misuse of the credit card.

How does paying with installments work?

Installments

You have two options. You can pay the total amount of your Genial Card bill with one payment or use the partial payment function, and pay back the total amount in small installments (min. 3% of the amount). You can change the type of repayment at any time. With the Hanseatic Bank GenialCard, your first three months are interest-free.

How and where can I use the Genial Card?

You can use the Genial Card at all places that accept Visa. You can also transfer money to your checking account, within your credit limit, or withdrawing money as cash from ATMs. 

PAYBACK AMERICAN EXPRESS CREDIT CARD (Amex)

American express credit card germany

The Payback American Express credit card is a good option if you plan to use it only in Germany or in countries that have the Euro. If you travel often, then this is not the best credit card in Germany for you because the foreign currency fee is high (2% of the transaction amount). In addition, the ATM cash withdrawal fee for the American Express credit card is also high (4% of the withdrawal amount, minimum €5). The main reason the American Express credit card is a good choice if you plan to use it for purchases in Euros is because of Payback loyalty points. For every €2 you spend, you earn 1 Payback point, except at petrol stations. You can use these Payback points however you want. 

  • No monthly or annual fees
  • Payback points (1 point for every €2 spent)
  • Contactless payments for amounts under €50
  • Charge credit card

What is the foreign currency fee for the American Express Payback credit card?

The foreign currency fee is 2% of the transaction amount.

What is the fee for withdrawing money from an ATM?

4% of the withdrawal amount, minimum €5

How can I redeem my Payback points?

You can redeem your Payback points in the Payback rewards shop online by either by placing the order online or calling the Payback Contact Centre.

Important note about ATM fees:

*ATM operators abroad can charge individual fees that will be shown to you at the ATM before the amount is paid out. Only if you confirm the payment will your card be debited in addition to the payment amount. Since credit card companies do not have any influence over third-party ATM fees, most do not reimburse third-party ATM fees. Santander 1Plus is the exception, Santander will reimburse third-party ATM fees upon request.

6. Free Debit Card in Germany

Debit cards work differently than credit cards. When you use a debit card, the money you spend is automatically debited, or subtracted, from your bank account. You can spend only as much money as you have in your bank account and there is never interest charged on a debit card, because you’re using your own money. A credit card, on the other hand, acts like a loan. A credit card company extends you a certain amount of credit, say $5000, from which you can borrow. Each purchase is subtracted from that credited amount and every month the credit card company will send you a bill for the amount “borrowed” (used to make a purchase). If you pay the full amount borrowed, then you are not charged interest. But if you don’t pay the full amount borrowed, then the credit card company will charge interest on the unpaid amount.

If you are looking for a free debit card in Germany, then the N26 Mastercard is a great option. The N26 Mastercard is an especially good card for expats and people that travel.

n26 credit card germany
N26 Mastercard

When you open a free N26 bank account, you will also receive a free N26 debit card. There are no monthly maintenance fees, and you can withdraw euros at ATMs for free 5x per month. However, the fee for non-euro ATM withdrawals is 1.7% of the amount withdrawn. You can manage your card via the N26 mobile banking app. You can also use N26 Spaces to categorize your spendings and set financial goals. Furthermore, N26 offers customer support in English, Spanish, French, German, and Italian. Lastly, N26 offers a free business bank account and Mastercard for freelancers and the self-employed.

N26 includes:
  • Free Mastercard debit card
  • No foreign currency fees
  • Mobile banking app
  • Customer support & website in English
  • ATM withdrawals in euros: 5x per month for free
  • ATM withdrawals in non-euros: 1.7% of the amount withdrawn
  • Supports Google Pay & Apple Pay
  • N26 Spaces to categorize your transactions and savings

7. Review of German Credit Cards

Below is a list of 9 free credit cards in Germany and 2 free debit cards. Click on the name of the card to read a review and important information about the card!

Santander 1Plus Visa Card

This is a good free credit card in Germany. However, if you travel often then it might not be the best option because of the foreign currency fee. Santander 1Plus charges 1.50% on non-euro transactions. Furthermore, you can only withdraw money from ATMs for free 4x per month. From the 5th withdrawal onward, you will have to pay a fee. As of April 2020, you cannot set up automatic monthly payments. 

  • No monthly or annual fees
  • 1.50% foreign currency fee
  • Withdraw cash for free 4x per month
  • 1% discount on fuel (for up to 200€/month spent on fuel)
  • Revolving credit card

Click HERE to get a FREE Santander 1Plus Visa Credit Card!

Hanseatic Bank GenialCard Visa Card

Hanseatic Bank

The Hanseatic Bank GenailCard Visa credit card is a highly recommended credit card in Germany, especially for expats and travelers. There are no foreign currency fees so it is a great German credit card to take with you when you travel! You can also make easy payments with Apply Pay.

  • No monthly or annual fees
  • No foreign currency fees
  • Withdraw cash free of charge from ATMs worldwide
  • Contactless payments with Apple Pay
  • Manage your card via the Hanseatic Bank mobile app
  • You do not need to open a bank account with Hanseatic Bank to get this credit card
  • Possible immediate credit limit of up to €2,500
  • Revolving credit card

Advanzia Bank Gold Mastercard

Advanzia

The Advanzia Bank MasterCard Gold credit card is one of the best credit cards in Germany, especially for expats and students. One reason for this is because it is easy to qualify for the card, even if you do not have a long credit history. It’s important to note that the Advanzia card will not charge you immediately on cash withdrawals from ATMs, but interest rates apply from the day on you withdraw cash (1.49% per month).

  • No monthly or annual fees
  • No foreign currency fees
  • Free travel insurance
  • Free replacement card
  • 5% refund for rental cars when you book and pay with your MasterCard GOLD on rental car bookings
  • Revolving credit card

Click HERE to get a free Advanzia Bank Gold Mastercard! 

American Express Payback Card

American Express Payback

The Payback American Express credit card charges foreign currency and ATM fees, so it is only a good option if you plan to use it only in Germany or in countries that have the Euro. The perk of the Payback American Express card is that you can get Payback points. You can redeem these points in the Payback rewards shop online by either by placing the order online or calling the Payback Contact Centre. 

  • No monthly or annual fees
  • Payback points (1 point for every €2 spent)
  • Contactless payments for amounts under €50
  • Charge credit card

DKB-VISA Card

DKB-VISA Credit Card

The DKB-VISA credit card in Germany is a good option for expats, travelers and students. There is no foreign currency fees. In addition, if you lose your card while you’re traveling then DKB will send you a free emergency credit card as a replacement. The downside is that you must have a bank account with DKB to get this credit card. 

  • No monthly or annual fees
  • No foreign currency payment fees for active customers
  • ATM cash withdrawals free for active customers
  • Cashback at many online shops, e.g. B. Amazon, Otto or Booking.com
  • Free emergency card and cash in the event of card loss abroad
  • Mobile banking app
  • Charge credit card

Click HERE to get a free DKB-VISA credit card and German bank account! 

N26 Mastercard Debit Card

N26 Card

The N26 Mastercard debit card is the best debit card in Germany. There are no foreign currency fees, and N26 has customer service and a website in English. You can withdraw in euros 5x per month for free. N26 supports Apple Pay and Google Pay. You must have an N26 bank account to get the N26 Mastercard debit card. The N26 bank account is free. 

  • Free Mastercard debit card
  • No foreign currency fees
  • Mobile banking app
  • Customer support & website in English
  • ATM withdrawals in euros: 5x per month for free
  • ATM withdrawals in non-euros: 1.7% of the amount withdrawn
  • Supports Google Pay & Apple Pay
  • N26 Spaces to categorize your transactions and savings

Click HERE to get a FREE N26 Mastercard and a free German bank account!

Norisbank Mastercard

The Norisbank Mastercard

The Norisbank Mastercard is only a good option if you have a bank account with Norisbank and you do not travel. You must also have a monthly income to get this credit card. The Norisbank Mastercard does not charge ATM fees abroad, but any ATM withdrawals made in Germany have a fee: 2.5% of the amount withdrawn, or €6, whichever amount is greater. The foreign currency payment fee is 1.75%.

  • No monthly or annual fees
  • Free ATM withdrawals abroad
  • Fees for ATM withdrawals in Germany: 2.5% of the amount withdrawn, or €6, whichever amount is greater. 
  • Must have a Norisbank bank account
  • Must have a monthly income 
  • Charge credit card

Click HERE for a Norisbank Mastercard!

ICS Visa World Card

ICS Visa World Credit Card

The ICS Visa World Card is not the best credit card in Germany, especially if you plan to use the card abroad. This is mostly because of the ATM fees and foreign currency payment fees. There are no ATM fees for cash withdrawals in euros within the European Union, except for in Germany. The fee for cash withdrawals in Germany are 4%, or at least €5, whichever amount is greater The fee for ATM withdrawals that are not in euros, but are within the European Union, is 1.85%. The fee for ATM withdrawals outside of Europe is 2%. For example, there would be no ATM fees for withdrawing cash in Spain. However, ICS would charge a 4% fee for ATM withdrawals in Germany, 1.75% in Denmark (where the krone is the currency) and a 2% in The United States. 

  • No monthly or annual fees
  • Foreign currency fee: 1.85% of sales for countries within the European Union in which the euro is not the legal tender, and 2% of sales for countries outside the European Union.
  • ATM fees: 1.75%-4% 
  • Revolving credit card

Click HERE for a ICS Visa World Card! 

Barclaycard New Visa Card

Barclaycard New Visa Credit Card

The Barclaycard New Visa Card has a high refusal rate, so it is only a good option if you’ve been living in Germany for at least 2-3 years and you have a good credit history. If you have never had a credit card before, then this is not your best option. This is a good card if you’re traveling to countries that use the euro, because there are no ATM fees for withdrawals in euro. However, the fee for withdrawals in other currencies is 1.99%.   

  • No monthly or annual fees 
  • No ATM fees for withdrawals in euros, otherwise the fee is 1.99%
  • Zero foreign currency fees
  • Revolving credit card

ING Visa Debit Card

ING Debit Card

The ING Visa Debit Card is only a good option if you have an account with ING, and you have an income of at least €700 deposited into the account every month. You must have a bank account with ING to get the ING Visa debit card. The account is only free if you are under the age of 28 or you have a salary of at least €700 per month. Otherwise, the account costs €4.90 per month. ATM withdrawals in Germany and countries with the euro as the currency are free. The minimum withdrawal amount €50. The fee for non-euro ATM withdrawals and foreign currency payments is 1.75% of the withdrawn/transaction amount. 

  • No monthly or annual fee (under the conditions mentioned above)
  • Must have an ING bank account
  • ATM fee for non-euro withdrawals: 1.75%
  • Foreign currency fee: 1.75%
  • Debit card

o2 Banking Debit Mastercard

o2 Banking Debit Card

The o2 Banking Debit Mastercard is not the best debit card in Germany, mostly because of the fees. You can withdraw money 3 times a month free of charge – at all ATMs in Germany and in all euro countries. However, the foreign currency fee for any payments or withdrawals outside the eurozone is  1.75%. From the 4th withdrawal in the month (regardless of whether inside or outside the Eurozone) you pay an additional €2.99. You must have an o2 bank account to get the o2 Banking Debit Mastercard.

  • No monthly or annual fee
  • Foreign currency fee: 1.75%
  • 3 free ATM withdrawals per month at German ATMs & in the eurozone
  • Must have an o2 bank account
  • Supports Apple Pay
  • Debit card

Click HERE for an o2 Banking Debit Mastercard!

8. Frequently Asked Questions

faq credit card germany

Can I have multiple credit cards?

Having Multiple Credit Cards

As long as the credit card company does not reject your application due to lack of creditworthiness, you can have several credit cards. A second credit card can be practical because different cards serve different purposes. For example, you could use the American Express Payback card for purchases you make within Germany to get Payback points. And if you travel often, then you could use the Santander 1Plus card for all of your international transactions.

What is the difference between a credit card and a debit card?

Credit Cards vs. Debit Cards

Debit cards work differently from credit cards. With a debit card, the money you spend is immediately subtracted from your bank account. Therefore, you can only spend the amount of money you have in your bank account. There are no interest fees on debit cards, because you’re using your own money. On the other hand, a credit card works like a loan. A credit card provider loans you an amount of credit, say $4000, from which you can borrow. Every purchase you make is subtracted from the credited amount and every month the credit card company will send you a bill for the amount “borrowed” (used to make a purchase). If you pay the full amount borrowed, then your credit card provider will not charge you interest. If you don’t pay the full amount borrowed, however, then the credit card company will charge interest on the unpaid amount.

How do contactless payments work?

Contactless Payments

You can complete transactions using contactless payment in many shops with one hand: simply hold your credit card on the reader. You no longer need to insert your credit card into the terminal if your card is equipped with an NFC chip (near field communication). Contactless payment works wherever you see the contactless symbol. Almost all shops, petrol stations and restaurants in Europe have contactless cash register terminals. Mastercard wants to switch all POS terminals in Europe to contactless by 2020.

How secure are contactless payments?

Contactless payments meet the same security standards as normal credit card payments. Accidental payments, for example in passing, are not possible. To initiate a payment, the card must be held at a distance of less than four centimeters from the terminal. Multiple charges are also not possible because the card reader will only process one payment per transaction.

What is the difference between Mastercard and Visa?

Mastercard vs. Visa

Mastercard and Visa are payment network processors. They sell cards to credit card companies. Both Mastercard and Visa are accepted at several million cash registers and ATMs around the world. Mastercard and Visa ensure a high level of security for online purchases. There are not significant differences between Mastercard and Visa. The biggest differences are within the individual conditions that the issuing credit card company decides. For example, as of now, the Santander 1Plus Visa card does not support Apply Pay, but the DKB-VISA card does support Apple Pay.

Is it better to choose local currency when paying abroad?

If you want to withdraw money at an ATM or make a payment and you are asked whether you want to pay in euros or local currency, it is best to choose the local currency. When withdrawing money or making payments abroad, the machine operator tries to persuade you to settle at a rate that is generally less favorable for you by offering your home currency (Euro). You will usually receive a better exchange rate if you choose the local currency and let your credit card company/bank workout the exchange rate.

Are credit cards with rewards programs and insurance worthwhile?

Rewards Programs & Insurance

Some credit cards companies offer additional services such as rewards programs or trip cancellation and interruption insurance. Free credit cards with rewards programs or insurance are a good option. For example, with the Santander 1Plus Visa credit card, you can get a 1% discount on fuel. With the DKB-VISA credit card, you can get cashback at many online shops, e.g. B. Amazon, Otto or Booking.com, and with the Hanseatic Bank GenialCard you can save 5% on travel when booking through the Hanseatic Bank travel portal. Some credit cards with large rewards programs charge an annual fee. Therefore, if you have a credit card with an annual fee, then it is important to make sure that you make sufficient use of the rewards program/insurance. 

It’s also important to note that some credit card companies sell additional insurance, such as accident insurance. Oftentimes it is cheaper to buy these types of insurance separately. You should always compare prices.

How long will it take to get my credit card?

Receiving Your Credit Card

The amount of time it will take for you to get your credit card largely depends on your credit card company. If your credit card company uses Postident to verify your identity then your credit card application could take up to five business days to process. If your credit card company uses video to verify your ID then the application check will go more quickly, since you won’t need to mail anything. It can take seven to ten business days from the time the credit card company receives your application until you get your credit card. Oftentimes, you will get your PIN number in a separate letter three business days after you get your credit card.  

What is Apple Pay?

Apple Pay

Apple Pay is a mobile payment system that allows fast, easy and secure transactions in shops, apps and in your Safari browser. As a result, you don’t need to use your physical credit card to pay. Instead you can use your Apple device. Many cards in Germany work with Apple Pay, such as Hanseatic Bank GenialCard, N26 Mastercard debit card, and the DKB-VISA card.

How do I add my credit card to my Apple wallet?

You can easily add your credit card to Apple Pay.

iPhone

  • Open the Wallet app.
  • Tap the plus sign in the top right corner.
  • Follow the instructions shown.

Apple Watch

  • Open the Apple Watch app your iPhone.
  • Tap on “Wallet & Apple Pay” and select “Add credit or debit card”.
  • Follow the instructions shown.

iPad

  • Choose “Settings”.
  • Tap on “Wallet & Apple Pay” and select “Add credit or debit card”.
  • Follow the instructions shown.

MacBook Pro with Touch ID

  • Go to System Settings.
  • Click on “Wallet & Apple Pay” and then click the plus sign to add a card.
  • Follow the instructions shown.

How do I increase my credit card limit?

Credit Card Limit

If you want to increase your credit limit then you have to talk to your credit card issuer. If you have been a customer for a while then your credit card issuer, and you have good credit history, then you have a better chance at getting approved for a higher credit card limit.

Who Wrote This?

My name is Bastian and I am a certified, independent insurance broker in Germany. My wife is American and together we help English-speaking expats figure out insurance, banking, and other issues encountered when moving to/living in Germany.

I also own Germany’s biggest Youtube-Channel about insurance knowledge and was honored with the “Education Award of the German Insurance Industry” in 2018 and became “Young Broker of the Year” in 2017.