Most banks in Germany have adjusted their bank accounts and related services to the major target groups. These are – of course – Germans or people that have been living in the country for a longer period of time. However, if you are recently new to the country you may have different requirements. A student coming from abroad for a limited period of time requires different services than an international expat with no or few German skills. As a foreigner you may even be interested to already open a bank account when you haven’t officially registered as a resident, yet. This is why some banks allow non-residents to set up their account from abroad prior to arriving to Germany.
If you fall into one of those categories, below are some potential options for you:
- Best banks for international students in Germany
- Best German banks for non-residents
- Best German banks with English service
- Best banks for international expats in Germany
If you want to check out more bank account, have a look at our comprehensive overview on the best German bank accounts. In case you require, we also offer an article with more general information on how to open a German bank account.
What is the best bank in Germany for international students?
Lucky you! You have a humongous choice of free accounts. Even if they usually do not have free accounts, most banks offer a free option to students, apprentices and pupils. Our favorites are:
- Commerzbank‘s StartKonto is free up until the age of 27. You do not only get a bank account without any monthly fee but also a free credit card and access to their discount/ cashback platform. Commerzbank’s online banking (except of general website), mobile application and phone service are not only available in German but also English language. For individual service or deposits, you can pay a visit to one of numerous nationwide branches of Germany’s second largest bank (check our full Commerzbank review).
- DKB has one of the most popular online bank accounts in Germany. Students receive a voucher for a free ISIC student card. On top they benefit from the usual benefits such as a complementary debit card, free cash withdrawals abroad and no additional fees for foreign-currency transactions outside the Eurozone (check our full DKB account review).
- Tomorrow is the bank for those of you putting emphasis on sustainability. It is a certified B Corp. This means that it does not put pure emphasis on profit maximization but focuses on creating value for the society and environment. Unfortunately, it is not free anymore but comes for a monthly fee. However, you can open an account from any EU country (check our full Tomorrow bank review).
Which German bank accounts are open for non-residents?
Most banks require you to have an officially registered address in Germany. But there are exceptions. The following banks make it especially easy to open an account from abroad. All banks have different accounts but always offer an option without any monthly fee:
- N26 is Europe’s leading mobile bank. You can open an account using online identification if you live in the EU, EFTA or US. You’ll get a free virtual debit card (physical card is available for a low one-time fee) and enjoy complementary cash withdrawals abroad (check our full N26 review).
- Vivid Money users receive a free debit Visa card made of metal. Free worldwide cash withdrawals are included. Online identification enables you to open a bank account from a wide range of European countries (check our short Vivid Money bank review).
- comdirect belongs to Germany’s second largest bank Commerzbank. Free debit cards as well as complementary cash withdrawals abroad are included. Accounts can be opened no matter where you live. However, online identification is only available with an ID/ passport from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein or Luxemburg. With other nationalities you must download the documents from the website and visit a notary abroad to get identified. In case you plan a trip to Germany anyways, identify yourself at a local post office via “PostIdent” (check our full comdirect review).
- Tomorrow Bank focuses on sustainability as it is registered as a B Corp. Against a monthly fee, customers can set up an account from any EU country (check our full Tomorrow bank review).
Which bank offers the best English service?
The following free bank accounts offer customer service in English as well as other foreign languages:
- N26 is the multi-language king as website, app and customer support are available in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. As already described above,the account includes a (virtual) MasterCard and complementary cash withdrawals worldwide (check our full N26 review).
- Vivid Money (check our short Vivid Money bank review) and Tomorrow Bank (check our short Tomorrow bank review) offer all their services in German and English. Free Visa cards and cash withdrawals worldwide are included.
- Commerzbank is the best retail bank with English service. The online banking (except of website), mobile app and hotline also come in English language. You’ll receive a complementary girocard and unlimited cash withdrawals in Germany with the free account (check our full Commerzbank review).
- Santander (check our short Santander bank review) and Targobank (check our short Targobank bank review) mainly operate in German. However, the mobile application and/ or online banking are partly available in other languages. They belong to the few retail banks that offer free accounts including complementary Visa Credit cards.
What bank shall I choose as an international expat in Germany?
It largely depends on your preferences, which bank account to choose as an international expat. You should check out our full comparison of German current accounts to find the best bank for your purposes. Some good options might be the following:
- DKB offers probably the most complete package: free worldwide cash withdrawals, a complementary credit card and no transaction fees outside the Eurozone (check our full DKB Cash review).
- HypoVereinsbank (check our short HVB review)
- or Commerzbank (check our full Commerzbank review) are good if you want to visit a local branch. HypoVereinsbank has a more limited branch network but their free account includes a compulsory credit card and free cash withdrawals abroad at all UniCredit ATMs. On the other hand, Commerzbank has a denser branch network and offers also service in English.
- N26 (check our full N26 review), Vivid Money (check our short Vivid Money bank review) and Tomorrow Bank (check our short Tomorrow bank review) offer the most complete customer service in English. The accounts have free cash withdrawals abroad and free (virtual) Visa/ MasterCard Debit.
- FYRST (check our short FYRST review) or Kontist (check our short Kontist review) are good options if you are a freelancer or self-employed. They allow and are optimized for the commercial business use of their accounts.
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July 30, 2022 @ 4:58 am
Hello! I simply wish to give you a big thumbs up for the excellent info you have right here on this post. I will be coming back to your web site for more soon.
August 5, 2022 @ 5:58 pm
For the banks that have conditional free bank fees, it must also be noted that they expect the salary to be banked into these accounts. It is not free if you maintain a deposit of 600-700euros from another bank account. We had to know this the hard way.
August 29, 2022 @ 12:45 pm
Thanks for the comment Maya.
It is true that depending on the bank only salary or pension payments are accepted for the minimum incoming funds called “Gehaltseingang” (in August 2022 these are i.e. ING or TARGOBANK). Other banks also accept transfers if the reference account is not at the same bank and registered under the same name called “Geldeingang” (in August 2022 these are i.e. comdirect, Commerzbank or Consorsbank).
September 19, 2022 @ 8:41 am
Thank you for showing all expat friendly banks in Germany. I will try one for sure!