Opening a Bank Account
All banks, savings banks and post banks in Germany offer more or less the same service, but the fees for their services may differ.
As a student you are usually exempt from account management charges (Germ. "Kontoführungsgebühren") but this does not happen automatically. To receive the discount, please show your EBS student ID card when opening the account.
You have to open the account personally. Please bring the following documents:
- Your passport or national identity card;
- Proof of registration in Germany from local resident's office (Germ. "Einwohnermeldeamt");
- EBS student ID card.
As an account-holder, you can carry out monetary transactions at any branch office of your bank. You can get cash free of charge from ATMs at any branch office of your bank. If you use the ATM of a different bank, you will have to pay a service fee for each withdrawal.
Apply for online banking when opening your account! It is very handy to handle transactions!
In Germany, it is not common to send cheques to people by post (e.g. rent to your landlord). There are various ways of conducting monetary transactions:
- Transfer (Germ. "Überweisung")
Used to transfer money electronically from one account to another. You have to fill in a transfer form and hand it in at your bank or do it via your online banking portal.
- EU standard transfer (Germ. "EU Standard Überweisung")
Used to transfer money between two banks in the EU area with little or no fees at all. Enquire with your bank for details. Don't use "normal" transfers between two banks in the EU as they have high service charges!
- Standing order (Germ. "Dauerauftrag")
If you have regularly recurring payments of the same sum, such as your monthly rent, it is convenient to arrange a standing order. The sum will be transferred automatically on an agreed date and to the account of the recipient.
- Direct Debit (Germ. "Lastschrift")
This is a handy method of payment if you have recurring sums which vary in size, such as the telephone bill. You give the recipient a direct debit authorization (Germ. "Einzugsermächtigung") which authorises them to draw the respective amounts from your account. Of course, you can always cancel the authorization and stop the direct debit.
This method of payment may be new to you and you may be suspicious that it could be open to abuse. However, all direct debits are registered on your bank statement so that you can check them and revoke any incorrect debits.
For the addresses of local banks you can refer to our Life at EBS Guide.
As a rule, banks are open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm with a break around lunchtime.
When you open an account, the bank will ask you if you want an ATM Card ("EC-Karte", usually free of charge) and/or a credit card ("Kreditkarte"; costs may vary). These cards as well as your individual security codes will be sent to you by post in separate envelopes within 1-2 weeks after opening the account. Make sure your name is clearly visible on your mailbox!
In Germany, it is not common to pay small amounts (less than 10 EUR) with a credit card! Use cash or an ATM card instead.
Most shops and hotels in Europe accept German ATM and credit cards. Signs on the door tell you what the shops accept:
- EC or MAESTRO sign = ATM cards accepted
- VISA/MASTER/ etc. signs = credit cards accepted
Loss or Theft of Cards
Be careful of criminals misusing your cards! Should you lose your credit/ATM cards, call your bank immediately to freeze the cards and then notify the police of the criminal transcations!
If you need to block your cards outside of normal banking hours, call the general emergency hotline to report losses and theft: 116 116.