Skip to content

Best Credit Card In Germany 13 Free Options for 2024

Last Update: 23 January 2024

1. What Is the Best Credit Card in Germany?

We compare 13 free credit cards in Germany to give the information required for choosing the best free credit card. You can directly skip to each credit card’s essential features, benefits, and limitations by clicking here. Otherwise, this article will provide you with some basics on credit cards in Germany first.

You can be an expat, student, or long-time resident in Germany: A credit card often means convenience, flexibility, and even rewards. However, it needs to suit your needs adequately. And there are lots of options to choose from to find best credit card in Germany for you.

Table of Contents

Best 4 Free Credit Cards in Germany for Every Purpose

awa7 Visa Kreditkarte

#1 – awa7 Visa is a complete package: No fees for use abroad or for cash withdrawals. awa7 supports mobile payments, automatic settlement of open balances and features an English online app.

TF Bank Mastercard Gold Kreditkarte

#2 – TF Bank Mastercard Gold is expat-friendly: Easy opening, liberal towards, English app. TF Bank comes with an insurance package, a long payback duration and no foreign-currency transaction fees. 

Payback American Express

#3 – PAYBACK American Express is best for rewards: collect cashback, get shopping discounts and a start bonus. You can get a free partner card and open balances are automatically settled.

norisbank Mastercard

#4 – norisbank Mastercard is an all-in-one solution: no montly fees for an online bank account with a full-fledged credit card and free cash withdrawals. norisbank is backed by Deutsche Bank.

2. Major Brands in Germany: Visa Credit Card, Mastercard, and American Express

Only some years ago, German stores rarely accepted credit card payments. But things have changed. Nowadays, almost every store that takes electronic payments also accepts credit cards. Three names usually stand out for credit card issuers: Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.

  • Visa credit card is widely accepted across Germany. Recently, it has become the most popular brand. Currently, Germany has about 18 million basic credit cards for everyday purchases and premium cards (e.g., travel insurance or rewards) issued by Visa.
  • Mastercard is just behind Visa, equally serving around about 18 million users. Mastercard offers a similar range of card types, some of which include price protection and identity theft protection.
  • American Express, often called Amex, is known for its premium service and rewards program. About 3 million Germen credit cards are currently in circulation. However, retailers often have to pay higher fees when accepting Amex payments. Hence, the acceptance rate in Germany is significantly lower. Cardholders appreciate the benefits that come with the brand: Extensive travel insurance, exclusive event access, and a superior rewards program.

3. Credit Card, Debit Card, and Prepaid Card: Understanding the Differences

Often, people only talk about requiring a “Visa,” “Mastercard,” or “credit card.” However, there are four different types with distinct differences in how they function:

  1. Charge credit cards: This is probably the most common type of credit card in Germany when you get it together with a bank account. The total balance is deducted from your bank account once a month. This way, you cannot run into high-interest payments because of missed payments. Nevertheless, penalties are charged if the transaction fails because you have insufficient funds in your current account.
  2. Revolving credit cards: You do not have to pay interest until the due date (usually 30-60 days in the future). Afterward, you can decide on the amount you want to pay back. Although, there is interest accruing on any unpaid amount. It is preferable to choose a German credit card provider that allows you to set up an automated direct debit for the total amount from your bank account once it is due. This way, it is not possible to run into debt by accident.
  3. Debit cards: The focus is on efficient payment, as the money is immediately deducted from your account. Accruing debt is impossible, but debit cards also offer fewer perks. They are primarily available in combination with any standard current account. Check here for our review on bank accounts and debit cards in Germany.
  4. Prepaid cards: You must load money onto the card before using it. Prepaid cards function much like debit cards, with the difference being that they are not linked to a bank account. These cards are often dedicated to people with a short or adverse credit history.

Our review for the best credit card in Germany focuses on charge and revolving credit card features and benefits. Only these cards offer you perks and the option of delayed payments, e.g., to cover the duration between travel expenses and a refund from your employer. They are also necessary for hotel or rental car bookings as they allow a company to “block” a certain amount.

However, please refer to our dedicated review of the best German bank accounts if you want a debit card.

Options for best credit card germany

4. Factors to Consider in Choosing a Credit Card

Everyone has different needs. Hence, deciding on a premium or free credit card depends on your spending behavior and needs. Here are some essential aspects to keep in mind:

  1. Fees: Some credit cards come with annual fees. Our reviews focus on cards without monthly fees. Still, some issuers may charge fees for foreign currency transactions, cash withdrawals, or interest.
  2. Sign-up Bonuses: Many credit cards attract new users with enticing incentives: Cash, cashback rewards, or bonus points are just some options.
  3. Rewards Programs: Some credit card companies reward usage with cashback, airline miles, or loyalty points.
  4. Benefits: Some of the best credit cards in Germany also come with complementary insurance packages or partner cards.

5. The Entire List: Find a Free Credit Card in Germany

To find the best free German credit card, we identified cards that do not come with any monthly or annual fees. However, be mindful of any potential charges that may arise during usage, such as:

  • Usage fees for transactions in other countries or foreign currencies
  • Charges for cash withdrawals, both within and outside of Germany: Please note that beyond the fees listed in our overview below, some ATM providers may charge additional fees independently of your card. These will be shown to you on the screen before confirming the withrawal. In this case, we recommend to search for another ATM that does not charge fees.
  • Fees for obtaining a second card or replacing a lost card
  • Interest rates applied to delayed or unpaid bills

All credit cards require a residence in Germany. The different banks will also perform a credit check (Schufa) before accepting you as a customer. This record is only created with time. Some banks like TF Bank or Advanzia are known to be very welcoming towards recently arrived residents of Germany. However, in case you get rejected, we advise you to wait a couple of weeks after registering a residence, setting up a local bank account and obtaining frequent income. As an alternative, you can also check our list of free debit cards here.

This overview reflects the best of our knowledge. It is in alphabetic order. Even though we’ve tried to make the overview as holistic as possible, let us know in the comments if we need to include any exciting offers or corrections. If you want to know more about or sign up for a specific credit card, follow the link to the issuer’s website. After online assignment, you will have to follow an identification process that is similar to the one for opening a bank account in Germany.

Advanzia Bank Gebührenfrei Mastercard Gold

Advanzia Gebührenfrei Mastercard Gold

Mastercard
No auto repayment
<51 days interest free
Apple Pay / Google Pay
No fees outside Eurozone
Interest for withdrawals
Discounts / cashback
No partner card
Multi-language mobile app
Online service
Without bank account

Commercial partner

No annual fee

American Express Blue Card

American Express
Blue Card

American Express
Full auto repayment / credit option
<30 days interest free
Apple Pay / Google Pay
1.99% fees outside Eurozone
Fees for withdrawals
Discounts / cashback
Free partner card
German interface / support only
Online service
Without bank account

Commercial partner

No annual fee

25 Euros start bonus

awa7 Visa Kreditkarte

awa7
Visa Kreditkarte

Visa
Credit / full auto repayment
<30 days interest free
Apple Pay / Google Pay
No fees outside Eurozone
Unlimited free withdrawals
Discounts / cashback
No partner card
English mobile app
Online service
Without bank account

Commercial partner

No annual fee

barclays visa card image

Barclays Visa

Visa
Credit / restr. full auto repayment
<56 days interest free
Apple Pay / Google Pay
No fees outside Eurozone
Free withdrawals with top-up
Travel cashback
Free partner card
German interface / support only
Online service
Without bank account

Commercial partner

No annual fee

25 Euros start bonus

Consors Finanz Mastercard

Consors Finanz
Mastercard

Mastercard
Credit / restr. full auto repayment
<90 days interest free
Apple Pay / Google Pay
No fees outside Eurozone
Interest and fees for withdrawals
No discounts / cashback
No partner card
English mobile app
Online service
Without bank account

Commercial partner

No annual fee

75 Euros start bonus

Hanseatic Bank
Genial Card

Visa
Credit / full auto repayment
<30 days interest free
Apple Pay / Google Pay
No fees outside Eurozone
Unlimited free withdrawals
Travel, discount, voucher portal
No partner card
English mobile app
Online service
Without bank account

Commercial partner

No annual fee

ICS
Visa World Card

Visa
Revolving credit
Credit / full auto repayment
No Apple Pay / Google Pay
2% fees outside Eurozone
Free withdrawals outside Germany
Travel cashback
Free partner card
English / Dutch mobile app
Online service
Without bank account

Commercial partner

No annual fee

norisbank mastercard image

norisbank
MasterCard

Mastercard
Full auto repayment
<30 days interest free
Apple Pay
0.5% fees outside Eurozone
Unlimited free withdrawals
No dscounts / cashback
Free partner card
English mobile app
Online service
With bank account only

Commercial partner

No annual fee

50 Euros start bonus

Novum Bank Extra Card Logo

Novum Bank
Extra Karte

Mastercard
No auto repayment
<49 days interest free
No Apple Pay / Google Pay
2,99% fees outside Eurozone
Fees for withdrawals
Discounts / cashback
No partner card
English mobile app
Online service
Without bank account

Commercial partner

No annual fee

Payback American Express Card

PAYBACK American
Express Card

American Express
Full auto repayment / credit option
<30 days interest free
Apple Pay / Google Pay
2% fees outside Eurozone
Fees for withdrawals
Discounts / cashback
Free partner card
German interface / support only
Online service
Without bank account

Commercial partner

No annual fee

40 Euros start bonus

santander best card image

Santander
BestCard Basic

Visa card
Credit / full auto repayment
<30 days interest free
Apple Pay
1.5% fees outside Eurozone
4 free withdrawals/month
Discounts / cashback
Free partner card
English mobile app
Branches / online service
With / without bank account

Commercial partner

No annual fee

targobank log

TARGOBANK
Classic-Karte

Visa card
Full auto repayment / credit option
<30 days interest free
Apple Pay / Bezahl-App (Android)
1.85% fees outside Eurozone
Fees for withdrawals
No discounts / cashback
Free partner card
Multilingual mobile App
Branches / online service
With bank account only

Commercial partner

No annual fee

TF Bank Mastercard Gold Kreditkarte

TF Bank
Mastercard Gold

Mastercard
No auto repayment
<51 days interest free
Apple Pay / Google Pay
No fees outside Eurozone
Interest for withdrawals
Discounts / cashback
No partner card
English mobile app
Online service
Without bank account

Commercial partner

No annual fee

6. Conclusion

Choosing the best credit card in Germany is a personal decision. First, reflect on your lifestyle, and then consider the fees, sign-up bonuses, rewards programs, or other features such as insurance packages. We advise you to have a detailed look at the entire list to select the best option for you. Although, there are lots of premium options with a variety of perks, you can choose from a variety of free credit cards in Germany. Some highlights for every purpose are:

  1. awa7 Visa is one of the best credit cards in Germany for you in case you look for a holistic package. They offer free cash withdrawals, no foreign transaction fees, automatic repayment of debt and an English mobile app.
  2. TF Bank Mastercard Gold is very expat-friendly with liberal credit checks and no foreign-transaction fees. The interest free period of up to 51 days and the English mobile app are highlights.
  3. PAYBACK American Express is a free Amex credit card. It includes a generous cashback program, shopping discounts, a start bonus and a free partner cards. The outstanding balance is automatically deducted from your bank account.
  4. norisbank Mastercard comes with a full-fledged bank account and free cash withdrawals. norisbank is backed by Deutsche Bank. 

7. Frequently Asked Questions

Disclaimer:

  • The information provided in this post is non-binding and for informational purposes only. It does not represent a complete market overview. We do not take responsibility for the accuracy and up-to-dateness of the information provided on the list. Please re-check the final conditions and prices on the providers’ websites (§18 ZKG).
  • We do not intend to provide financial advice. All investments involve risks of loss.
  • Some of the links in this article are promotional links. We gain a commission if you purchase an item or open an account following this link. It helps us keep this site running and does not come at any cost to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *