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Finding the best bank in Germany for Expats

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As an Expat, finances are always important. Find out the best bank in Germany for Expats

Due to the low interest rate policy of the ECB, many banks have introduced fees for checking accounts. The best bank offer a current account for your needs and save you hundreds of euros a year by eliminating unnecessary fees. Read below to find out the best bank in Germany for Expats.

What are the most important things when searching for the best bank in Germany for Expats?

  • Pay attention not only to account management fees, but also to fees for credit and debit cards, the overdraft interest or withdrawing foreign currency
  • In contrast to branch banks such as Postbank or the savings banks, direct banks still offer free current accounts with comparatively favorable conditions
  • Pay attention to the fine print! Often premiums or conditions are linked to regular incoming payments.
  • Before choosing a bank, you should check the availability of ATMs in your area
best bank in Germany for Expats

Which German banks offer the best conditions to Expats?

The following 3 direct banks offer the best conditions to Expats in Germany:

  • Deutsche Kreditbank (DKB)
  • comdirect
  • norisbank

From the above 3 banks, DKB seems to offer Expats in Germany the best options:

  • The lowest overdraft interest rate in the current account test
  • Lower credit interest rate on credit card balances
  • A free credit card with which you can withdraw money free of charge worldwide from € 50.00 (or the equivalent in foreign currency), and scores with no hidden costs, e.g. for transfers, which is the case with some other providers
  • Convincingly good customer service and reliable and easy-to-use online banking via the Internet browser and app

The norisbank current account also offers very good conditions:

  • A current account that is still really free. 
  • The overdraft interest could be a little lower at the moment, but as a customer you don’t pay any basic fees or fees for EC or credit cards

Online Banking

When it comes to ​​online banking, the direct banks DKB, norisbank, comdirect and ING are also among the best providers in a current account comparison. 

The online banking terminals of the three banks impress with their ease of use and clear structure. 

norisbank offers a very useful financial planner as part of their online banking

best bank in Germany for Expats

Comparison: The best banks in Germany for Expats

accountBasic chargeCredit interest (pa)Overdraft interest (pa)
DKB0.00 €0.01% *6.74% **
comdirect0.00 €0.00%6.50%
ING0.00 €0.00%6.99%

* Please note that the credit interest of the DKB does not apply to the current account itself, but to the credit of the free VISA credit card. The credit interest for the norisbank current account applies to the “Top-Zinskonto” call money account, which can be booked free of charge when the account is opened.

** For active customers (with monthly incoming payments of € 700) and generally in the first year of account management. From the second year for non-active customers 7.50%.

Best bank in Germany for Expats that offers account overdrafts

For example, if you often overdraw your account, you should pay attention to the overdraft interest . This is how much you have to pay the bank if you go into the red and should therefore be as low as possible. The following providers have a low overdraft rate and are best suited to all current accounts compared to account overdrafts:

  • comdirect (6.50%)
  • DKB (6.74% for active customers, 7.34% for non-active customers)
  • ING (6.99%)
  • 1822direkt (7.17%)

At many banks that offer free bank accounts you should look very carefully here. Since banks are ultimately interested in making a profit, a free account only makes sense if you “earn from the customer” in another way.

Overdraft interest rates of over 10% are not uncommon despite the currently very low ECB key interest rates and ensure that account holders who are occasionally in the red end up having to pay heavily. On the other hand, those who are rarely or not at all in the red can also benefit from these accounts under certain circumstances.

Best bank in Germany for Expats that offers great saving options

If, on the other hand, you always have a little more money in your account, it is advantageous to pay particular attention to the credit interest . These banks, among others, offer high credit interest rates:

  • DKB (0.10% on credit card balance)

Note: At the DKB, the credit interest is not paid to the current account itself, but to the credit on the credit card.

Here, too, the DKB comes off as the best current account in the comparison. The norisbank account comes in second best. With the former, it should be noted that it has a fairly high overdraft rate, which is why you should avoid overdrawing it too often.

Regarding the current account of the DKB, however, it should be noted that the credit interest per se is not particularly high. Nevertheless, it is best suited for savers, as the credit balance on the VISA card currently has a credit interest of a whopping 0.4%, which, as far as we know, no other bank can compete with. In addition, you get points in the DKB Club for money spent with your credit card such as cinema tickets, electronics, kitchen appliances or vouchers can be exchanged.

best bank in Germany for Expats

How many ATMs can you withdraw money from in Germany?

In the following you will find the number of ATMs for all savings banks, branch banks or branch bank associations, such as Cash Pool and Cash Group:

BankATM AssociationNumber of ATMsTo search for a machine
Volks- and RaiffeisenbankenBankCard ServiceNetzapprox. 19,400vr-bank.de
DKBOwn machinesapprox. 20dkb.de
INGOwn machinesapprox. 1,200ing-diba.de
Berlin bankCash Groupapprox. 9,000 (+1,300 Shell petrol stations)cashgroup.de
comdirectCash Groupapprox. 9,000 (+1,300 Shell petrol stations)
CommerzbankCash Groupapprox. 9,000 (+1,300 Shell petrol stations)
DABbankCash Groupapprox. 9,000 (+1,300 Shell petrol stations)
Deutsche BankCash Groupapprox. 9,000 (+1,300 Shell petrol stations)
HypoVereinsbankCash Groupapprox. 9,000 (+1,300 Shell petrol stations)
norisbankCash Groupapprox. 9,000 (+1,300 Shell petrol stations)
PostbankCash Groupapprox. 9,000 (+1,300 Shell petrol stations)
BBBankCash poolapprox. 2,900cashpool.de
Degussa BankCash poolapprox. 2,900
National BankCash poolapprox. 2,900
netbankCash poolapprox. 2,900
Santander BankCash poolapprox. 2,900
Sparda banksCash poolapprox. 2,900
Southwest bankCash poolapprox. 2,900
TARGOBANKCash poolapprox. 2,900
Desert redCash poolapprox. 2,900
Consorsbankk. A.k. A.consorsbank.de
Savings bankSavings Bank Associationapprox. 25,000sparkasse.de
1822 directlySavings Bank Associationapprox. 25,000
best bank in Germany for Expats

What are the characteristics of a good bank account for Expats?

  1. A good account should not have excessive overdrafts , which can be expensive, especially for those who frequently overdraw their account.
  2. The bank offering the account should be from Germany . Thanks to the statutory and voluntary deposit protection, investors are well protected in the event of insolvency or bankruptcy of the bank.
  3. EC and VISA cards should be free of charge and should not incur any annual fees.
  4. There should be no hidden fees , e.g. B. for bank statements, transfers, withdrawals or payments with the EC card. Because in this way an actually free current account quickly becomes a cost trap.
  5. It should offer friendly, accessible, and free customer service 

Selection criteria for the best bank in Germany for Expats

For a current account test or comparison, you could, for example, ask the following questions to find the best account:

  • How many ATMs can you withdraw money from for free?
  • What are the account management fees ?
  • How high are the overdraft rates ?
  • How high are the credit interest rates ?
  • Are debit and credit cards included free of charge?
  • How good is the customer service ?
  • Are there any hidden fees (e.g. fees for bank transfers, bank statements, etc.)?

The most important factors in a bank account comparison

When looking for a new account, you are probably wondering what factors to look out for. The differences are often in the details. It is therefore important that you do your research right from the start so as not to experience any nasty surprises afterwards. The following text is intended to provide you with a little guide so that you are informed about which factors can be important in an account comparison and what you should specifically pay attention to.

1. The cost factor

This factor is of course obvious. Some banks in the current account comparison sometimes charge high fees. But it is z. B. Is it reasonable to pay regular account management fees? Online banks in particular, but also some branch banks, now offer free checking accounts. If you switch, you can save the account management fees. But a change in the other direction is also conceivable if you have to pay numerous special services at your bank, which are already included in the account management fee at another bank. That is why you should also calculate this case so that you can be sure in the end with your new account that you are really paying less than before.

2. The service factor

Another important factor when comparing different accounts is of course the service. While with branch banks you only speak to an advisor during the week and only during business hours, with an online bank you often have the opportunity to reach an advisor around the clock. Of course, also on weekends, on public holidays and at night.

Especially when traveling to the USA, Canada or Asia, i.e. to countries with a strong time difference, it is often important to have a contact person around the clock, otherwise the time difference can cause enormous problems when talking to an advisor want to speak.

In addition, it is of course possible that you feel that your bank gives you bad advice because, for example, you have been offered a loan that is too expensive or a credit card with too many services that are unnecessary for you. In this case in particular, you should only consult our current account comparison, but ask around among your friends, because you can often only find out about good advice firsthand.

3. The bonus factor

Another reason that attracts you to the new bank can of course be a switch bonus. In comparison, this is often in the range between € 50 and € 100 for many current accounts. Of course, you shouldn’t change banks just for a bonus, because you will only receive the money after actively using the account over a longer period of time. So if you are not satisfied with the new bank and you switch again because of it, you will unfortunately not receive any bonus. Therefore, you should only switch to a bank that also meets your requirements for an account.

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Expaturmhttps://www.expaturm.com/
Expaturm aims to help educate Expats in Germany on key issues that they will have to deal with while living in Germany by providing everything you need to know about Banking, Healthcare, Lifestyle, and Housing in Germany
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