How does bank account switching work in Germany?


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Switching your bank account in Germany is a very common thing. Especially when you get a better offer from another institution. The process is always easy. Find out below

Have you found a better offer to switch your account? Most account switching processes can inform your contractual and payment partners about your new bank details in less than 10 minutes – regardless of whether you are an employer, electricity provider or insurance company.

Below is a look at how bank account switching works in Germany

Account switching Summary

  • What many people don’t know: If you want to open a checking account with another bank, you can let it do the work. This is regulated by a law from 2016.
  • If you use online banking, you can organize it yourself in a few minutes.
  • Everything should be done within two weeks.

Many consumers are annoyed by overt or hidden fee increases. But only a minority draw the right conclusions from this and switch to another bank or  savings bank that offers cheaper prices. 

According to a representative survey carried out by the Yougov opinion research institute on behalf of the German Press Agency in 2017, only nine percent of those surveyed have changed their current account in the past twelve months. Even if we do not have a more recent study: Most consumers are very persistent. The main reason is likely to be: You are afraid of the supposed work that switching accounts can entail. It has obviously not got around that banks have been legally obliged since 2016 to largely relieve new customers of the work. 

switching banks in germany

Switching accounts without online banking

If you are dissatisfied with your checking account, you must first open a salary account with another bank. Regardless of whether it is a free account, an almost free or a premium account, the change is almost always the same.

Basically there are two ways in which the new bank converts your old account to the new one: either using a paper form or via an internet service in online banking.

Internet banks like to hide the fact that there are both procedures because they fear the time-consuming paperwork that they have to carry out for you. But you can insist on it.

Let’s take a closer look at this procedure.

You can either have the account switching assistance form given to you at the local bank or download it from the website. If the bank does not provide you with a form, you can download the form from the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) here , fill it in and hand it over to the new bank.

Even if the individual forms differ from bank to bank, they are all asked at least this:

  • IBAN old account number
  • Account holder with address
  • Other account holders
  • New bank details
  • Change date.

You also tell whether all or only certain direct debits and standing orders should be moved. Finally, the new bank is instructed to close the old account.

Now the new bank has two business days to request the following from the previous financial institution:

  • a list of the existing standing orders and the information available on direct debit mandates issued
  • a list of the information available on incoming transfers and direct debits from the past 13 months.

The old bank only has five business days to transmit the requested information to the new bank. She may no longer execute direct debits and standing orders from the date you have specified. She must transfer the remaining balance to the new account and close the previous account.

The new bank now has five days to set up standing orders and adjust to direct debits. You must also inform your employer so that your salary flows into the new account with the next payment.

switching banks in germany

The automatic account switch via online banking

Do you use online banking? Then you save your new bank and yourself the paperwork and move the account all by yourself. That takes little more than ten minutes. In addition to the legal, paper-based exchange service, many financial institutions have been offering their own electronic exchange assistance for some time. In the new online banking system, all relevant data is recorded and transferred to the new account. How to do it:

  1. You open a new current account and log into online banking there.
  2. Then open the menu item “Account change” and enter your previous access data for the old bank or savings bank, including your PIN, in the input mask.
  3. Now the program opens your previous account and automatically records all regular payment partners.
  4. Accept all the payment partners you want with a click of the mouse and then confirm the process with a TAN number.
  5. Your new bank informs your payment partner about the changed bank details and sets up the account – done.

Here you will find the account change aids of more than 20 banks

The editors of have received numerous letters from readers who are still reluctant to switch accounts in the past few months. Not least because they still have an overdraft at their old bank. The question that people willing to switch often ask: Will the new bank give me an overdraft facility immediately?

First of all: the financial institutions are not obliged to do this. However, practice provides enough examples that many banks and savings banks are accommodating here – provided they have the right creditworthiness.

The Association of German Banks recommends repaying the overdraft facility before switching accounts. “Alternatively, the new account-keeping bank can replace the loan so that the customer can take advantage of it at the new bank when the bank is ready,” said Tanja Beller, spokeswoman for the banking association, to “It is best to clarify this with the new bank in advance – when applying to open an account.” As a third option, the customer can initially leave the old account in place until he has paid back the loan, Beller continues.

1822 directly
Degussa Bank
Deutsche Bank
GLS Bank
My bank
PSD Bank Berlin
Sparda-Bank Munich
Stadtsparkasse Munich
switching banks in germany

Account change despite open overdraft facility

Direct banks accommodate customers

  • According to Biallo research, ING is particularly customer-friendly when those willing to change want to open a free current account with the direct bank despite the open overdraft facility. 
  • The DKB also has an answer ready for hesitant potential new customers: DKB customers can request any overdraft facility in their internet banking at any time, provided they would like to set a higher or lower overdraft facility. When opening a free DKB cash account, every customer automatically receives an immediate overdraft of at least 100 euros, usually higher. After the first regular salary payments, the overdraft facility automatically increases to up to two net salaries.
  • The PSD Bank Nuremberg also gives customers an instant disposable one – in the amount of 500 euros.
  • The Sparda-Bank Hamburg is even a little more generous, with which a new customer can overdraw their account immediately up to 1,500 euros. But of course only if the SCHUFA information is correct.
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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