Finances and Accounts
If you live and work in Germany, you will need a bank account, a Girokonto, to receive your salary, pay your rent and to pay for other everyday necessities, such as a mobile phone contract. You do not need to be a German citizen to open a bank account in FrankfurtRheinMain (FRM). Here you will learn everything you need to know about money.
Opening an Account
As an EU citizen, you are entitled to a bank account. The banks are obliged to open a basic account for you. Non-EU citizens need a work permit and proof of registration from the registration office.
Some banks offer free current accounts; others charge a fee. It is always worth comparing the different options.
Once you have chosen a bank, you need to submit the following documents to apply for an account:
- Valid ID/passport
- Proof of registration from the registration office. EU citizens only need this if they want to open an account with an overdraft facility (a Dispo).
- Your work permit if you are from outside the EU.
- A salary slip from your employer. Again, this is only necessary if you would like an overdraft facility.
Once your application goes through, you will receive your account details by post. You will get an EC card with a four-digit PIN. This enables you to withdraw money and make cashless payments. Many banks will also give you a credit card, but this depends on the type of account you choose and your overdraft facility, and often costs extra.
You can use your EC card and your four-digit PIN to withdraw money from many ATMs around the clock. Make sure you use an ATM belonging to your own bank or a partner bank to avoid fees. If you withdraw money from other banks, you may incur fees of up to EUR 5.00.
You can also use your EC card to make cashless payments in most shops. Nonetheless, you should still always have some cash on you in Germany. In smaller shops, in particular, it is not always possible to pay by card.
Managing your Account
You can access and manage your bank account over the internet including transferring money and downloading bank statements. Many banks also allow you to manage your account over the counter or by using a machine in one of the branches.
To transfer money within Germany, you only need the name of the recipient and the IBAN (International Bank Account Number). If you would like to transfer money within the EU, you also need the BIC (Business Identifier Code). You can find both of these codes on your EC card.
If you would like to transfer money outside the EU, you have to pay a fee. Again, you need the bank account details of the recipient. In addition, you normally need to specify the currency you would like to transfer the money in, so make sure you take exchange rates into consideration. Using a money transfer service may help you save fees and you do not need a bank account to do so. You can simply transfer cash. In addition, the recipient can pick up the money in their local branch just a few minutes later.