Review Online Banks in Germany: comdirect & o2 Banking
Features, Services, Fees and Opening
comdirect is part of Germany’s 3 biggest online banks with almost 3 million clients. It is a 100% subsidiary of Commerzbank. Therefore, customers can profit from the broad Commerzbank expertise, service portfolio and partly also its branch network, while enjoying the low fees of a direct bank.
o2 Banking is a joint initiative by mobile network operator Telefónica o2 and comdirect. o2 Banking clients have a comdirect accounts with slightly different conditions. There is a special app and bonus program targeted towards o2 customers. There is also the possibility to easily access the other services provided by comdirect.
1. Overview: Which Bank Accounts can customers choose from?
- Free current account for individuals (Girokonto)
- Free current account for partners (Gemeinschaftskonto), includes free bank cards for both account holders
- Free current account for minors from 7-18 years (JuniorKonto)
- Premium account (Girokonto Plus) with credit card, extra cash service and insurance package
- Free o2 Banking current account for individuals or partners
Last update: 5 April 2021
2. Features: What do comdirect and o2 Banking offer?
All accounts have a German account number (IBAN). The free comdirect and o2 Banking accounts come without monthly fees during the first 6 months after account opening, and remains free
- for everybody younger than 28 as well as for pupils, apprentices students and interns or
- with a minimum monthly income of €700 or
- 3 monthly payments by Visa Card (incl. Apple/ Google Pay) or
- 1 monthly trade (incl. savings plan) on an investment account
In all other cases a monthly fee of €4.90 is applicable. The free comdirect and o2 banking accounts accounts include the following perks:
- Free Girocard with contactless option (VPay)
- Free Visa Debit card with contactless option
- Mobile Payment (Apple Pay / Google Pay)
- Free card payments worldwide by Girocard (in accepted countries) and Visa card; non-Euro transactions are subject to a transaction fee of 1.75%
- Unlimited free cash withdrawals in Germany at Cash Group ATMs (Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, Postbank, HypoVereinsbank) and associated retailers in Germany (e.g. Shell, REWE, Penny, Ald Süd)
- 3 free cash withdrawals worldwide per month by Visa Card incl. Germany (additional foreign currency transaction fee of 1.75% outside Eurozone)
- 3 free cash deposits per calendar year at Commerzbank branches (at counter and self-service machines); €4.90 for any additional deposit
- Use of Commerzbank self-service machines (e.g, deposits, card pin change)
- o2 Banking customers with o2 contract (mobile, internet) receive 2% interest on their funds when fulfilling conditions of 1 incoming transfer per month from any account registered on another name (e.g. employer) and €500 spending per month (excl. ATM withdrawals, transfers to accounts on own name)
The Girokonto Plus includes the following premium services for a monthly fee of €14.90 (individual booking is also possible for the price shown in brackets:
- Visa Credit card (fully suitable for i.e. store payments, online shopping, hotel or rental car bookings) with 0% foreign currency transaction fees outside Eurozone (individually €1.90/ month)
- Cash plus option (Bargeld Plus) with unlimited cash withdrawals worldwide by Visa Debit and unlimited cash deposits by Girocard at Commerzbank (individually €6.90/ month)
- Travel insurance package (Reise-Sorglos-Paket) with insurances for abroad travel cancellation, health, luggage, rental car and emergency service (individually €7,90/ month)
3. Requirements: Who can Open a Bank Account with comdirect and o2 Banking?
All comdirect and o2 Banking accounts are exclusively available for private purposes. Hence, the use for activities related to freelancing and self-employment is not allowed. For this case comdirect’s parent company Commerzbank offers a variety of paid business accounts (promotional link). In case you look for a free alternative have a look at our comparison table to find the best free business accounts in Germany.
comdirect is the only German bank that allows opening a bank account with every passport from around the world. Therefore, potential customers follow the online application process. Afterwards, for required personal identification various methods are available depending on the nationality and country of residence (read more on possibilities for identification below). In any case, you can keep your account and continue using comdirect’s services when moving abroad later.
The same conditions apply to o2 Banking.
comdirect performs credit checks when opening a bank account (SCHUFA, income checks). This is why people with lower creditworthiness – oftentimes new arrivals with few credit history in Germany – receive a debit instead of a credit card. As an alternative, you may then chose another account from list of banks in Germany and reapply at a later point in time. Anyways, o2 Banking exclusively issues debit cards.
4. Customer services: Which languages are supported and how is the online/ mobile banking?
There is no English or foreign language support for the customer service (24/7 landline phone number) and the entire interface (web and mobile). The good news is that basic German skills are sufficient to understand the user-friendly and self-explanatory interfaces.
If you require some initial support, we recommend using Google Translate (promotional link to comdirect site) for automatic website translation.
Online banking and mobile app
As an online bank, accounts can be fully managed through the website. Furthermore, comdirect recently released a new mobile banking app with the following features:
- Bank Transfers (including photo and voice transfer options)
- Stock trading
- Review of balances and limits
On the other hand, the o2 Money app for managing your o2 Banking is a full financial planner. You can manage monthly budgets, expenditures and income, maintain contracts as well as secure the bonus interest.
Further services (savings, investments, credits)
Comdirect and o2 Banking clients have easy access to all other services of Commerzbank’s full-service portfolio. Furthermore, comdirect offers the following additional services to their as well as o2 Banking customers:
- Investment accounts (the “Depot” is free without conditions during the first 3 years, afterwards it stays free for customers with a free current account, a regular savings plan or 2 trades/ quarter) and cominvest robo advisor
- Various offers for credits and mortgages
5. Account opening: What steps to follow to get a comdirect or o2 Banking account?
Opening an account is convenient, fast and done completely online – as for opening any other bank account in Germany: You will have to fill out the online form with your data and then identify using one of the following options:
- Video-Ident: Remote identification through webcam is available for customers from any country worldwide with a German, Austrian, Swiss, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg ID or passport.
- PostIdent: Identification is also possible in any post office in Germany. This is also possible for short-term visitors that need to bring a passport and proof of their residence abroad (e.g. official certificate, ID card, phone/ electricity bills).
- Certification by a notary: This possibility exists for people living abroad. A local notary needs to confirm their identity using the provided form. In case you want to make use of this option, please contact comdirect for any individual specific additional requirements (e.g. an apostil).
For any questions, do not hesitate to use the comment function!