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How to open a bank account in Germany

Opening a bank account is a straightforward process in Germany. However, you often need to show some proof of a German address besides your national identification document.
Therefore, you should be registered at the Residents' Registration Office (`Einwohnermeldeamt´) before opening an account. IScO can assist you with this registration.


Current accounts (Girokonto)


The most common form of account in Germany is the so-called Girokonto (checking or current account). Most financial transactions, such as receiving salary or paying rent, are completed using this type of account. In general, a current account allows you to:

  • withdraw money from your bank using an EC-card. This is normally free of charge at your own bank's ATMs, but a fee of several EUR may be charged for withdrawing money from other banks' ATMs;
  • transfer money to pay bills using transfer forms;
  • set up regular fixed amount payments (e.g. your rent) paid by standing order;
  • set up regular payments (even of variable amounts, e.g. telephone bills and health insurance contributions) to be paid by direct debit.


To open a bank account, you will require:


  • Your Passport/ID Card
  • Your address in Karlsruhe (should you have one)

At many banks you can choose between several current accounts with various features at different fees (e.g. online banking, interest, credit card at no charge, etc.). If you are an enrolled PhD student you can apply for exemption from the usual account charges (`Kontoführungsgebühren´).
Online banks generally offer accounts without any account charges.



Further Information

More information about opening a bank account please visit the Euraxess website for "Banks and Sparkassen" in Germany.