As a new ex-pat in Berlin, you’re likely curious about the banking system. You may have heard that it can be tricky to open an account with a foreign bank. You could be wondering how to use your credit card as easily as possible. In this guide, we’ll cover all of these topics in detail so you know exactly how to navigate Berlin’s financial landscape.
You might have these questions
What do you need from your bank? Do you need an ATM card? A debit card? A credit card? Online banking services? International transfers? An app for mobile banking?
How much money do you have in savings and what kind of interest rate can you expect on it?
Are there any fees associated with opening or maintaining an account? If so, how much will they cost per year and month in total and how often do those charges occur?
Let’s dive right in and find answers to these questions.
Choose between a Girokonto and Festgeldkonto
The first step in getting a bank account is to choose between a Girokonto (standard checking account) and Festgeldkonto (savings accounts).
A Girokonto is where you pay bills, and it’s connected to an Acco- or Sparkonto savings account. Your Acco- or Sparkonto will have its passbook, which you can use to deposit money into your main bank account. Some German banks allow you to open an Acco- or Sparkonto online; others require going into the branch.
A Festgeldkonto, on the other hand, is a savings account that pays interest—and sometimes even bonuses—for keeping money in the bank for longer than six months. With a Umschuldungskredit, there’s no penalty for withdrawing money from this type of loan at any time. However, if it sits unused for too long after being withdrawn then there may be some penalties involved with repaying it early (the fee structure varies by provider).
Understand the bank fees
Banking in Germany is much different—while most banks have similar fees, there are some differences. For example, some banks charge a monthly fee of around €5, while others charge an annual fee based on your account balance. One thing that’s certain: if you want to use ATMs outside of the bank’s network (i.e., not at their branches), they will generally charge you between €1-2 per withdrawal as well as a small transaction fee (which varies by bank).
Bring your identification documents to open an account.
The first thing you’ll need is your identification documents. You should bring your passport, as well as your proof of your rented apartment (Aufenthaltstitel). If you have a German social security number (Sozialversicherungsnummer), bring that too!
If you are married, bring proof of your marriage with you—a marriage certificate will do just fine.
If you have a driver’s license from another country, bring it with you so the bank can verify its validity and make sure it matches up with the name on their records.
Bring utility bills or other proof of address such as a lease agreement or rental contract.
Be prepared to provide proof of income.
As a rule of thumb, banks in Germany generally require you to have adequate income. The amount varies depending on the bank and your situation. But you’ll almost always be asked to prove that you can cover your expenses (including rent) with your income.
They want to see proof of your last 3 months of expenses. You can do this by sending them copies of recent income proof, which show how much salary is coming in every month. You might also be asked for pay stubs from the last three months. In addition to providing these numbers themselves, potential customers may also need their employer’s help filling out some forms or writing letters stating that they earn enough money for their current circumstances).
Get your free EC Card and credit card (if desired).
First, you will need to get your free EC card and credit card (if desired). You can get an EC card for free when opening a bank account. Some banks also offer debit cards or credit cards with no charges attached.
Next, if you want to apply for a credit card or overdraft facility (or both), there are two options:
- Get a job in Germany with an income of at least €1,400 per month, which is considered sufficient by most banks; then ask them directly about additional services. The downside here is that it may take some time before you get approved for this type of account; but once approved and set up, these additional services should work seamlessly with your existing accounts.
- Or try applying through an online service like Vivus as they specialise in helping ex-pats open up their lives and do not require proof of income upfront. Their rates are reasonable and they offer various types of accounts depending on what type of banking needs one has after moving abroad — from basic savings accounts to mortgages over years.”
Consider taking out insurance.
Once you’ve opened a bank account, it’s time to consider your insurance needs. Insurance can be used to protect your savings, assets and income as well as your life.
You should think about the things that are important to you when choosing an insurance policy. For example:
If you own property in Berlin that’s worth more than €50,000, then taking out buildings and contents cover will help protect them from damage or theft. If something does happen, the insurer will pay for repairs or replace damaged items within a reasonable time frame (usually around three weeks).
If you have any expensive personal items – such as jewellery or watches – then home contents insurance could also provide cover if they get lost or stolen while at home (for example if someone breaks into your house). It might even cover the accidental loss if someone accidentally drops one of these items on the floor without realising it has smashed into pieces!
Life insurance is designed to provide financial support for people who depend upon their salary after they pass away (this is known as a death benefit). This means that if something happens unexpectedly – like being involved in an accident – then there will be money available immediately which would otherwise be taken up by medical bills etc…
Now that you have an account, get ready for an amazing time in Berlin! You can use your new debit card to shop, pay rent and bills, or take out cash from any ATM. If you want to save some money as well, consider opening a savings account at your local bank branch or online banking platform.