Why do I need a current bank account in Germany?

As a student in Germany you will have several payment obligations (e.g. rent, electricity) or you might receive salary from your part-time job. Using your bank account from your home country, high costs and fees can incur as additionally cashless payments are common.

Why not open a bank account in Germany, to avoid unnecessary costs?

With a current account you can for example meet monthly payment obligations such as rent and electricity bills through an automatic online transfer. Bank transfers (Überweisungen) can be easily carried out via online banking.

Some transactions that can only be made, having a German account:

  • Payments for rent and fees for housing (electricity, telephone, water bills)
  • Receiving a wage, salary or scholarship
  • Payments for a gym, sports club membership or phone contract
  • Cashless payments and withdrawing money

The Bank will normally ask you for the following documents:

  • Valid passport*
  • Residence permit
  • Certificate of enrollment or employment (Immatrikulationsbescheinigung / Beschäftigungsnachweis) from your university or educational institution

If you would like to have a line of credit (Dispositionskredit) with your current account, you need to present your proof of salary (usually from the last three months).
*Under age (under 18) students need the approval of their legal representative for the opening of a bank account.

At which bank should you open your current account?

There are two types of banks where you can open your bank account, either at an online or offline bank.

Depending on your country of citizenship, certain banks may be best suited for your needs. The reason for this is that each bank has a different targeted audience. Some banks will only cater for citizens of German speaking countries. To find the right bank proceed to our bank comparison and pay attention to the targeted audience column. You will find online and offline banks – offering slightly different services.

In comparison to an online bank, offline banks have different local branches offering you face-to-face contact. Prices for different accounts and services may vary from branch to branch.
An online bank in comparison provides less face to face consultancy but offers a 24/7 customer hotline for any doubts, which most offline bank offer for additional customer service.

When opening an account at an online bank the identity verification is normally carried out in two ways – PostIdent or VideoIdent.

The “Postident” process is a method for a secure and personal verification of identity, which is carried out in person by Deutsche Post employees.

The “VideoIdent/WebIdent” process is a method for a secure and personal verification of identity, via video chat, which allows you to open an account bank from your home desk in any country.

Use our step by step tutorials to open any bank account listed on our website. With our tutorials we will guide you through the registration and give further information.

If you decided to open a bank account at an offline bank you will be given further instructions looking at our bank comparison looking for offline banks.

Special case: Blocked account for foreign students from non-EU countries

If you are a non-EU student, applying for a visa to study in Germany, it is mandatory to proof specific amount of money in a German bank account. Hereby the Federal Republic of Germany wants to assure, that you can finance your living expenses for the first semester/year of studies.

As required by law, you are obliged to pay a minimum of 720€ per month that you plan to stay in Germany into the blocked account. This blocked account that you need to deposit, will remain blocked until you arrive to Germany. Another regulation sets the maximum amount to withdraw per month at 720€, unless you have deposited more money than requested.

At the moment there is no legal regulation for German banks to offer blocked accounts to foreign students. Out of the 400 different saving banks in Germany only a limited amount of banks offer blocked accounts – Deutsche Bank or Fintiba. Main differences between the two are the fees and the reachibility. For further information to blocked accounts, see our comparison of blocked accounts.

Important to consider is, that you must choose a bank that is located near the city you will start your studies. In other words: you cannot live and study in Munich and have your account in Berlin because each savings bank serves customers in a defined territory. For the activation you will have to visit your branch and in case of any questions it is favorable to choose a bank located close to your city of studied.