Review of Best German Bank Accounts: DKB
Features, Services, Fees and Opening
DKB is one of the most established online banks in Germany with approximately 4.5 million clients. It is a Germany-wide operating subsidiary of Bavaria’s state bank. Founded in 1990, DKB emerged out of East Germany’s state bank and is therefore headquartered in Berlin. It offers one of the most popular and best German current accounts, which comes without any monthly fees. However, it also offers further services such as investments accounts and loans.
1. Overview: Which Bank Accounts can customers choose from?
- Current account for individuals (DKB-Cash)
- Current account for couples (DKB-Cash Gemeinschaftskonto), includes free bank cards for both account holders
- Current account for students (DKB-Cash für Studenten), includes free International Student Identity Card (ISIC) and related discounts for one year free
- Current account for minors (DKB-Cash u18), automatically offers perks for “active customers” (see below for details)
Last update: 5 April 2021
2. Features: What does DKB offer?
All accounts come without any monthly fees and have a German account number (IBAN):
- Free Visa Credit Card with contactless option (fully suitable for i.e. store payments, online shopping, hotel or rental car bookings)
- Free Girocard with contactless option (Maestro or VPay)
- Mobile Payment (Apple Pay / Google Pay)
- Free card payments in Germany and within the Eurozone
- Free card payments worldwide in other currencies than Euro for active customers, “inactive customers” are subject to a transaction fee of 1.75%
- Unlimited free cash withdrawals at ATMs in the Eurozone (minimum withdrawal amount of €50) and associated retailers in Germany (between €50 and €300 at i.e. REWE, Rossmann, Penny, Real, dm)
- Unlimited free cash withdrawals at ATMs worldwide in other currencies than Euro (minimum withdrawal amount of €50), for “inactive customers” an additional fee of 1.75% is applicable
- Unlimited free cash deposits at one of DKB’s cash deposit machines (about 20 machines in large German cities, i.e. Berlin, Munich, Leipzig, Dresden)
- Cash deposits of up to €999,99 per day at associated retailers with a transaction fee of 1.5% (i.e. REWE, Rossmann, Penny, Real, dm)
Active and inactive customers
Additionally, to above mentioned benefits “active customers” enjoy further advantages such as reduced overdraft fees, services for emergencies/ fraud, online cashback and free tickets for live events.
All new customers automatically are granted the “active customer” status for the first 12 months of their account opening. In order to maintain this status, your account shall record incoming transactions of at least 700 EUR per month (e.g. salary, pensions, transfers from other accounts). Once incoming transactions are inferior to €700, it takes three consecutive months of sufficient incoming funds to re-obtain the “active customer” status.
3. Requirements: Who can Open a Bank Account with DKB?
The DKB Cash accounts are available to private individuals. Freelancers and self-employed people can also apply for the normal account. In this case, they may be granted a lower limit for their credit card, which however can be increased by transferring available funds to the credit card account.
Moreover, there is also a special business account with not only a higher credit limit but also different overall conditions. It is only available to special freelancers like notaries, lawyers, bakruptcy advisors, tax accountants, auditors, healtcare professionals, pharmacists and real estate managers.
Accounts can be opened with all countries of residence (except Iran/ North Korea) if you have German citizenship. People with other nationalities require an official residence in Germany, Austria or Switzerland. In any case, you can keep your account and continue using DKB’s services when moving abroad later.
As DKB issues a real credit card it performs quite intensive credit checks. As a Germany newbie you may not have intensive credit history. In this case you should however try to open a DKB Cash account. In case you may be rejected, you may simply chose another bank account from our comparison table and reapply at a later point in time.
The credit check outcome also defines your initial Visa card limit. This limit you will be granted as a free credit to spend: once a month, the amount will be settled with an automatic transaction from your current account. In case you need a higher limit on your Visa card (e.g. for larger purchases, travelling, rental car guarantees) you may always transfer funds from your current to your Visa card account or contact DKB to review the limit.
4. Customer services: Which languages are supported and how is the online/ mobile banking?
Unfortunately, customer service (24/7 landline phone number) and the entire interface (web and mobile) are exclusively provided in German language. In case you have some basic German skills, this should be sufficient as the interfaces are quite user-friendly and self-explanatory.
If you require some initial support, we can recommend using Google Translate (promotional link to DKB site) for automatic website translation. Also there are video tutorials available that we have gathered below. Here, you may also want to adjust the settings and let YouTube show automatically edited subtitles in English or your language of preference.
Online banking and mobile app
DKB provides an advanced infrastructure for internet and mobile banking. The online banking interface in your web browser includes all functions to fully manage your account. Furthermore, there is a state-of-the-art mobile app “DKB-Banking-App”, which includes amongst others the following useful features:
- Bank Transfers
- (Temporary) locking of bank cards
- Cash withdrawals in shops
- Mobile payment (Apple / Google Pay)
- Push notifications in real-time to control card usage
- Review of balances and limits (i.e. overdraft, credit card)
Further services (savings, investments, credits)
If you would like to merge all your financial activities at one bank, DKB might be an especially good option for you. In its portfolio there are
- Savings accounts and fixed-term deposits (even though there might be options with higher interest on the market)
- Investment accounts (“DKB Broker” comes without monthly fees, reasonable transaction costs and a range of ETF saving plans)
- Offers for credits and mortgages
5. Frequently Asked Questions about DKB
6. Account opening: What steps to follow to get a DKB-Cash?
Opening an account is convenient, fast and done completely online. It follows the ordinary account opening process that we have described here: You will have to fill out the online form with your data and then identify via Post- or Video-Ident.
For any questions, do not hesitate to use the comment function!