Is keeping cash at home illegal in Germany? What does German law say?


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How much cash can you keep at home in Germany? Is there a cap on this? Find out what you need to watch out for.

Keeping cash at home: Several thousand euros found under the bed! Such reports have always existed and even today some people prefer to keep their savings at home under the mattress.  What is the legal situation for keeping money at home in Germany?

Is keeping cash at home illegal in Germany? These myths circulate

In August 2021 there was the last tightening of the money laundering law. For all cash deposits of 10,000 euros or more, you now have to convincingly prove that the money was acquired legally. If this proof of origin is not successful, the money owners will be prosecuted.

  • Some law-abiding citizens do not understand several intricate details of the money laundering law and believe that keeping more than 10,000 euros in cash at home is also illegal.
  • Other people tell of friends whose neighbors knew a pensioner who had serious problems with the police because of his cash stored at home.
  • Some concerned citizens have read on social media that a maximum of 10,000 euros can be kept at home with no penalty.
  • But all these arguments are fake news, as you can read in the next chapter.


Yes, you can keep cash at home in Germany

In July 2020, the Deutsche Bundesbank reported on a large representative survey on cash possession. The article begins with the following sentence: “In 2018, private individuals in Germany kept an average of 1,364 euros in cash at home or in a safe deposit box.” Because the relevant laws have not changed in the meantime, collecting cash at home is widespread and not punishable.

  • If you search the entire Internet and especially the Money Laundering Act with the best search engines, you will not find any German legal prohibitions on keeping money or valuables. Therefore, keeping cash at home, even in large sums, is not punishable.
  • In discussions on the Internet, most people in Germany think that everyone can do whatever they want with their cash. Even in conversations, almost all neighbors, acquaintances, and relatives believe that you can collect any amount of cash at home.
  • Targeted queries to employees of financial institutions make it clear that there are no upper limits when keeping cash at home.
  • However, as a money owner, you must be aware that keeping large amounts of cash at home is not particularly advisable.

Suggestions for properly keeping cash at home in Germany

With a lot of cash in the house, the residents live in constant insecurity, because the money can be stolen by thieves or destroyed by fire and water damage . In addition, well-hidden sums of cash and valuables can no longer be found after the death of their owners.

  • If the cash is stolen at home, the household contents insurance usually takes effect, but only reimburses amounts up to a maximum of 2,000 euros.
  • For larger sums of money, insurance companies usually require the installation and use of permanently installed, expensive safes and the payment of substantial insurance premiums.
  • If you still want to store larger amounts of cash at home, you need very good hiding places that thieves don’t know about . Unusual money hiding places are particularly promising .
  • All in all, it is much cheaper for you if you rent a well- insured safe deposit box (for around 70 to 80 euros per year) for your cash.

Keeping money safely: The best tips for at home

Because there is hardly any interest on the savings account, many savers hide their money at home.  Below is look at some of the safest ways to hide your money.

Hide money safely: You should avoid these places

Below are some of the best places not to put your money in your home:

  • Never hide your money in easy-to-open drawers or other storage compartments. Closets or shelves are not safe places either. Decorations with cavities are also not suitable. Burglars are quick and don’t pay any attention to objects, so all drawers, cupboards and shelves are cleared out first and decorations are destroyed if necessary.

Hide money safely: the hole in the door

The apartment doors are made of wood and are therefore easy to work with.

  • For a good hiding place, all you have to do is drill one or more holes in the door from above.
  • There you can then hide the cash rolled up.
  • Then take a sawed-off screw and simply turn it a few turns into the hole. This gives the impression of a normal screw and your money is safely hidden.

Hide money behind a picture

Pictures are also a safe place for your cash – especially the picture frames.

  • If possible, you should hang up a picture with a picture frame that you can prepare so that it has a second back wall.
  • This second back wall then serves as a secure cavity for your cash, especially as the area only needs to be very narrow.
  • Once you get the second backing board, hide your money and put the picture on the wall.

Your money is safe in the ventilation shaft

Existing ventilation or exhaust air shafts are also good hiding places for your cash. Especially if you are inconspicuously in the basement or in the attic, for example. It is even better if the existing grilles are secured with screws, then the hiding place looks even more inconspicuous.

  • When placing your cash, however, you should make sure that it cannot be seen from the outside through the ventilation slots.

Hide money safely: buy the wrong socket

You put it in the wall like an ordinary socket and hide your money there. Since thieves do not have time to check the authenticity of every single socket in the house, it is a simple and easy to implement hiding place.

Money is safest in a safe deposit box

The safest place to hide your cash is outside of your actual home. We recommend renting a safe deposit box, especially for very large amounts of money that you could only hide at great expense in your own home. This way you are on the safe side and don’t have to live in uncertainty whether your hiding places are really safe. The rent for a locker is around 70 to 80 euros per year, depending on the provider.

Tim Gumbert
Tim Gumbert
Tim is the go-to guy when it comes to finding all the gems regarding life as an Expat in Germany. His whole motto is discover Germany on your own and without a roadmap, explore new routes while climbing or mountain biking.


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