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Last Update: 14 June 2024

1. Free German Bank Accounts for Individuals, Students, Business and Couples

Once you understand how to open a bank account in Germany, it is about finding the best German bank account for your style of life in Germany. We help you with the most comprehensive English overview for finding a current account (“Girokonto”). The good news: Our comparison shows options without monthly account fees, whoever you are, and whatever you need. There are international student accounts, joint accounts, checking accounts for individuals, business accounts, online bank accounts, and options with traditional banks. This list compares free bank accounts in Germany regarding complementary debit or credit cards, cash withdrawals, residence or job requirements, English customer support, sign-up bonuses, and more.

Commercial partners

Best Free Bank Accounts in Germany: 4 Ideas for Every Purpose

C24 Bank Logo

C24 Bank Smart is easy to open, features a user-friendly smartphone app, and sub-accounts.

Commerzbank Bank Logo

Commerzbank StartKonto includes a legit credit card, and a discount portal.

Santander Logo

Santander BestGiro has an opening bonus and complimentary credit cards.

N26 Logo

N26 Standard is accessible to most European residents and speaks 5 languages

2. Comparison of Free Current Accounts in Germany (“Girokonto”)

The following bank accounts are dedicated to private use, meaning your personal expenses and income as an employee, student, pensioner, or even unemployed person (credit checks may apply). It is indicated in the single account reviews whether an account can also be opened for exclusive personal use if you are a freelancer or self-employed person. However, in this case, you should get an additional business account for any business-related transactions, e.g., customer payments or settlement of supplier invoices. Otherwise, you risk that the bank will close your account because of infringing upon their conditions of use. The list is in alphabetic order, with our commercial partners on top.

Benefit
Drawback
Good to Know
1822direkt logo

1822direkt
Girokonto Klassik
by Sparkasse

Girocard: €6 yearly
Visa Credit Gold: 1 year free
Free withdrawals worldwide
1.75% fees outside Eurozone
Apple Pay / Google Pay
Joint account available
Optional savings account
For private use
German residence required
English mobile app
Online / ltd. branch service

Commercial partner

No monthly fee
(conditions apply)

€100 sign-up bonus

C24 Bank Logo

C24 Bank
Smart

Free Visa Debit & Girocard
No credit cards
Free withdrawals worldwide
No fees outside Eurozone
Apple Pay / Google Pay
Free account sharing available
Optional savings & sub-accounts
For private use
German residence required
German interface / support only
Online service

Commercial partner

comdirect logo

comdirect
Girokonto Aktiv
by Commerzbank

Free Visa Debit, Girocard: €12/year
Credit cards as of ~€35/year
Free withdrawals worldwide
1.75% fees outside Eurozone
Apple Pay / Google Pay
Joint account available
Optional savings account
For private use
Worldwide residence possible
German interface / support only
Online / ltd. branch service

Commercial partner

No monthly fee
(conditions apply)

€75 sign-up bonus &
3.5% interest for 3 months

Commerzbank Logo

Commerzbank
Girokonto

Free Girocard, Visa Debit €42/year
Visa Credit: Free for students
Free withdrawals in Germany only
1.5% fees outside Eurozone
Apple Pay / Google Pay
Joint account available
Optional savings account
Not for freelancers/self-empl.oyed
German residence required
English online / mobile app
Branches / online service

Commercial partner

No monthly fee
(conditions apply)

€50 sign-up bonus

Consorsbank Logo

Consorsbank
Essential
by BNP Paribas

Free Visa Debit & Girocard
Visa Credit Gold: €108/year
Free withdrawals worldwide
2.1% fees outside Eurozone
Apple Pay / Google Pay
Joint account available
Optional savings account
For private use
Worldwide residence possible
German interface/ support only
Online service

Commercial partner

No monthly fee
(conditions apply)

DKB Logo

DKB
Girokonto

Free Visa Debit, Girocard €12/year
Visa Credit: ~€30/year
Free withdrawals worldwide
No fees outside Eurozone (cond.)
Apple Pay / Google Pay
Joint account available
Optional savings account
For private use
Worldwide residence possible
German interface / support only
Online service

Commercial partner

No monthly fee
(conditions apply)

ING Logo

ING
Girokonto

Free Visa Debit, Girocard~€12/year
No credit cards
Free withdrawals worldwide
1.99% fees outside Eurozone
Apple Pay / Google Pay
Joint account available
Optional savings account
For private use
German residence required
German interface / support only
Online service

Commercial partner

No monthly fee
(conditions apply)

€50 sign-up bonus

N26 Logo

N26
Standard

Visa Debit: €10 one-time fee
No credit cards
Free withdrawals worldwide
1.7% fees outside Eurozone
Apple Pay / Google Pay
Joint account available
Free savings sub-account
Private and business use
European residence required
Multilingual interface / support
Online service

Commercial partner

Santander Logo

Santander
BestGiro + BestCard Basic

Free Visa Debit, Girocard: €12/year
Free Visa Credit
Free withdrawals worldwide
1-1.5% fees outside Eurozone
Apple Pay / Google Pay
Joint account available
Optional savings account
For private use
German residence required
English mobile app
Branches / online service

Commercial partner

No monthly fee

€150 sign-up bonus

TARGOBANK Logo

TARGOBANK
Online-Konto + Classic Karte
by Crédit Mutuel

Free Visa Debit
Free Visa Credit
Free withdrawals in Germany only
3.85% fees outside Eurozone
Apple Pay / Android app
Joint account available
Optional savings account
For private use
German residence required
English online / mobile app
Branches / online service

Commercial partner

No monthly fee
(conditions apply)

bank icon

VR-Perfekt
by Volksbank-Raiffeisenbank

Free Visa Debit & Girocard
No credit cards
Free withdr. in Germany only
1.75% fees outside Eurozone
Apple Pay
Joint account available
No savings / sub-accounts
For private use
German residence required
German interface / support only
Online service

Commercial partner

No monthly fee
(conditions apply)

bank icon

Hypovereinsbank
Pluskonto
by UniCredit

Free Visa Debit, Girocard~€12/year
Free Visa Credit
Free withdrawals in 14 countries
1.75% fees outside Eurozone
Apple Pay
Joint account available
Optional savings account
For private use
German residence required
English / Italian mobile app
Branches / online service

No monthly fee
(initial 2 years only)

bank icon

norisbank
Top-Girokonto
by Deutsche Bank

Free Girocard
Free Mastercard Credit
Free withdrawals worldwide
0.5% fees outside Eurozone
Apple Pay
Joint account available
Optional savings account
Not for freelancers/self-employed
German residence required
English mobile app
Online / ltd. branch service

No monthly fee
(conditions apply)

bank icon

Vivid Money
Standard

Visa Debit: €19.90 one-time fee
No credit cards
Free withdrawals worldwide
No fees outside Eurozone
Apple Pay / Google Pay
Free account sharing available
Optional savings & sub-accounts
For private use
European residence required
Multilingual interface / support
Online service

No monthly fee
(conditions apply)

3. Comparison of Free German Business Accounts (“Geschäftskonto”)

Corporate entities are legally obliged to have a separate bank account to split business-related and personal transactions. In practice however, most banks prohibit the business use of their current accounts (Girokonto) even for freelancers as well as self-employed people. Generally, the amount of free business accounts is very restricted and they offer fewer perks. Not only from an accounting point of view, it therefore makes sense to maintain two accounts: a business account where you pay business expenditures and receive customer payments as well as a current account where you transfer your “salary” and pay private expenditures.

Commercial partner

Finom Logo

Finom
Solo

Visa Card Debit
Paid local cash withdrawals
Paid cash withdrawals abroad
Limited free transactions
Google/ Apple Pay
One account/ card holder
EU residence required
Services for freelancers
Multilingual interface/ support
Online service

Commercial partner

FYRST Logo

FYRST
Base

Backed by Deutsche Bank and free debit + credit card!

Visa Credit, Girocard
Free local cash withdrawals
Free cash withdr. in multiple countr.
Limited free transactions
No Google/ Apple Pay
One account/ card holder
German residence required
Services for freelancers
German interface/ support
Online service

Commercial partner

Kontist Logo

Kontist
Free

Accounting and tax services available!

Virtual Visa Card Debit
Paid local cash withdrawals
Paid cash withdrawals abroad
Limited free transactions
Google/ Apple Pay
One account/ card holder
German residence required
Services for freelancers
Multilingual interface/ support
Online service
No monthly fee (conditionally)

Commercial partner

N26 Logo

N26
Standard

Best smartphone app and multi-language service!

(Virtual) MasterCard Debit, Maestro
Free local cash withdrawals
Free cash withdrawals abroad
Free Euro transfers
Google/ Apple Pay
One account/ card holder
EU/EFTA residence requir.
Private and business use
Multilingual interface/ support
Online service

4. For Every Purpose: Find the Best German Bank Accounts

What is the Best Online Bank Account in Germany?

Nowadays, online banking is the norm, even with traditional banks. All bank accounts in our list can be easily opened and managed online 24/7. Nevertheless, some digital banks excel with a straightforward account opening process, user-friendly applications, and real-time transactions.

Two famous options are C24 Bank and N26 as native digital banks. Their easy account opening processes are easy. You can check transactions, block cards, or manage the account in real time through the app. While C24 offers sub-accounts without fees, N26 accounts can be even registered from abroad.

Where do I Get a German Student Bank Account?

When you are a local or international student in Germany, you can profit from the perks of a free student bank account. This means no minimum balance requirements, no monthly fees, more perks and discounts. Almost any bank offers a free student account. You can find detailed reviews on our site.

Which Banks in Germany Offer a Joint Account?

Currently, ten banks offer free joint accounts. These banks are 1822direkt, comdirect, Commerzbank, Consorsbank, DKB, HypoVereinsbank, ING, norisbank, Santander and TARGOBANK offer free joint accounts. If you move to Germany as a couple or in a partnership, you might want to choose a bank that can register the shared account under both names. With a joint account, both of you will not only receive online access but also debit and/or credit cardsCheck our detailed reviews above about the different bank features in our overview.

Is there a Free Business Bank Account?

You require a particular business account if you are a freelancer, a self-employed person, or a larger company. Regular bank accounts are only available for private purposes. There are currently five business bank accounts without monthly fees (check list of German business accounts).

What are Good German Bank Accounts for Foreigners, Expats and Non-residents?

While some banks require a German address, others allow non-residents to benefit from the German banking system. Currently, six banks in Germany offer free accounts and allow you to open them without a German residence permit. Some require an EU residence, while others allow a worldwide residence. These banks are comdirect, Consorsbank, DKB, N26, Vivid Money, and Finom.

Moreover, many banks increasingly offer services, mobile applications, or online banking in English, too. This can be great if you need a German bank but cannot speak German. We have marked these banks in our overview above.

5. How to Open a Bank Account Online for Free?

If you require a German bank account, the process is straightforward. Our dedicated article here also outlines a detailed description of all steps to open an account:

  • You choose your personal best bank account in Germany. Please remember to choose a bank that permits an international residence if you want to open an account outside of Germany.
  • You can directly apply for the account online on the bank’s website.
  • There is a subsequent identification process, which in most cases includes a video call, personal identification at a post office, or submitting a copy of the ID.
  • Afterward, you will receive a German bank account number, access codes for online banking, and banking cards via e-mail or post. Then you are ready to use your bank account.

6. Conclusion

You can be an expat living in Germany, a non-resident, an international student, a freelancer, or a self-employed employed person. There is no need to pay for a bank account since many free options exist. Modern online banks or more traditional banks like Deutsche Bank offer free or cheap accounts.

Our overview consolidates all the banks we could identify that offer accounts without monthly fees. Some of them have no restrictions, but sometimes there can be certain conditions, like monthly active use. If you want to make a quick choice: We consolidated ideas for digital accounts, expat accounts, joint accounts, business accounts, and student accounts.

7. Frequently Asked Questions

Disclaimer:

The information in this post is non-binding and for informational purposes only. It is not a complete market overview. We do not take responsibility for the accuracy and up-to-dateness of the data. 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.

7 Comments

  1. Ross
    June 21, 2019 @ 4:31 pm

    Thanks a heap! This site is great and the best I found for non-natives. Your comparison helped me a lot to open a German current account.

    Reply

    • Chris
      July 1, 2019 @ 9:08 pm

      Thank you so much for the compliments. We hope that you found the best current account and you are happy with your choice.

      Reply

  2. ปั้มไลค์
    July 3, 2020 @ 6:45 am

    Like!! I blog quite often and I genuinely thank you for your information. The article has truly peaked my interest.

    Reply

  3. Javier
    September 24, 2020 @ 8:42 am

    even though my german isn’t good, i opened a bank account with DKB. it was super easy and i’m very happy. thanks for providing all this information.

    Reply

    • Chris
      September 28, 2020 @ 8:01 pm

      Thanks Javier. Glad to hear that you are happy with the account. Feel free to drop a message if you have any questions.

      Reply

  4. cg2024
    March 22, 2024 @ 5:04 am

    Good article, but unfortunately N26 does not allow me to open an account as a USA resident

    Reply

    • Chris
      March 23, 2024 @ 9:48 pm

      Thanks for your question. It is true, as described you require a European residence to open an account with N26.

      Reply

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