Everyone who is living in Germany needs a bank account, international students aren’t exception. However, if you have a European banking card you can survive, but having a German current account will be always an advantage. If you aren’t from the EU you will have to open an account in a local bank.
Best banking accounts for international students in Germany:
- Vivid Money
- Deutsche Bank
Overall opening a student account in any German bank is a relatively easy process. But as in any other country, there are many different banks and people get spoiled for choice.
From traditional banks to online fintech companies – almost all of them offers accounts for students which are free in most cases.
Below we review some major banks in Germany which are offering special offers for international students.
|Bank||Monthly fees (age)||Card type||Cash withdrawals in EU/abroad||Payments in EU/abroad||Credit card||Bonus|
|Bunq||Free - 2,99 EUR||Visa||0,99 EUR||Free/Free||No||No|
|Vivid Money||Free||Visa||Free/Free||Free/Free||Yes, free||Cash-back up to 25%|
|1822direkt||Free||Visa||Free 4-6 times/Free||Free/Free||Yes, free||No|
|Consorsbank||Free till 28||Visa||Free/2,10%||Free/Free||Yes, 60 EUR a year||50 EUR|
|Deutsche Bank||Free till 30 (18 EUR for a card)||Maestro/Mastercard or Visa||Free/Free||Free/Free||Yes, 39,90 EUR a year||No|
|Commerzbank||Free till 27||Visa||Free/Free||Free/Free||Yes||No|
DKB or Deutsche Kreditbank is a solid classical German bank with very attractive options for international students. In various German ratings for bank accounts, DKB was granted a first position.
By signing for DKB you will receive two cards: a European debit card and an international Visa card.
Unfortunately, they don’t offer a website in English, hope you speak some German or ask the friend to help you. They have a free student account called DKB Girokonto checking account, where you will also receive a debit Visa card for international purchases.
DKB Girokonto account has:
- Completely free bank account
- Free online banking
- Free VISA credit card
- Free Visa card combined with ISIC* as addiction to the EU Maestro card
- Interest paid on credit card balance (for active users)
- Free worldwide cash withdrawals (for active users)
- Zero foreign transaction costs (for active users)
- Discount on membership in very popular gym McFit 15,00 EUR instead of 19,90 EUR
- Free cash withdraw and payments with Visa card in Germany, Europe, and worldwide
- Numerous other discounts, e.g. shopping, entrance fees
*The ISIC is an international student card and guarantees you student discounts worldwide. You can even choose between a normal Visa card and the combination of Visa and ISIC.
With the DKB VISA card, you can withdraw money in all cash machines with a VISA Logo worldwide free of charge, regardless of the host bank of ATM.
You can also apply for a Visa card with an integrated international student card ISIC you will also need your matriculation certificate from the university.
Even after finishing your studies, DKB Girokonto account will be continued at no cost.
Sounds like DKB is a perfect deal but be aware that it doesn’t have any branches, this way they save money to offer the best conditions for students.
If you need advice, you can contact customer support via email or phone. As at many other banks you can open an account online, submit all documents, and receive your card via post.
Furthermore, depositing cash can be a bit difficult, they have few deposit ATM machines. However, it can be done at banks like Reisebank or Postbank or in many partner supermarkets. At supermarkets, you will need to generate a special code in online banking beforehand and pay 1,5% of the sum you want to deposit.
In shops, you can withdraw 50 EUR to 300 EUR daily and also deposit 50 EUR to 999 EUR daily.
As a new customer, you need to have at least 700 EUR per month on your account in movement in order to use all free features of the DKB. It is especially important in the first year of use.
Also read whether a foreigner can open a bank account in Germany and how to do it.
Bunq is a relatively new banking concept founded in the Netherlands. They offer new generation banking, everything is online, simple, and fast. You can use the card from Bunq in Germany, all European countries and beyond. They operate in 5 languages, so there is no problem if you don’t speak German.
- Affordable bank accounts starting from free to 2,99 EUR per month
- Cash withdrawals worldwide
- Free SEPA transfers
- Top up your balance for free
- Interest paid on the card balance – 9x more than you get in other banks
- Fantastic user interface and simple navigation
- Instant transfers/payments
- Quick card delivery
Choose between a free saving account, cheap plan for just 2,99 EUR per month, or a premium for 8,99 EUR. With a premium account, you will get 25 sub-accounts, multiple debit cards including MasterCard and Maestro, and a travel card at no extra cost, all will be shipped to you.
They offer a 1-month free trial, during which you can test the product.
Lastly, the bank account from Bunq is similar to what N26 and Vivid Money offer.
3. Vivid Money
Vivid Money is a new online banking solution made in Germany. The main advantages of their bank account are zero fees and a 100% digital setup.
In less than two years, they have gained popularity in Germany, especially among the young innovative crowd. You can read reviews of hundreds satisfied customers here.
Benefits of Vivid bank account:
- Free banking account
- Free withdrawal from 50 EUR to 1,000 EUR per month
- Cashback up to 25%
- Free Visa debit card
- Open account quick and easy online
- No fees when using abroad
- Extra chic metal card for free
- Free SEPA transfers
- Free cash withdrawal abroad up to 200 EUR
You can choose between a free account or prime for 9,90 EUR per month, which is also free for the first 3 months of use.
Compare providers and rates of various insurances including car insurance, sim cards, credits & loans, internet, electricity, and much more. With this fair comparison, you will find the perfect deal for your situation. Check out some of the largest German platforms Verivox.de and Tarifcheck.de. You can purchase a favorable deal directly on the website.
Bank 1822direkt is a part of the well-known Sparkasse bank in Germany. At 1822direkt students can select between three different options:
- free online bank account
- classic free bank account
- premium bank account
In addition to the debit card, you can apply for a credit card. Moreover, the application and setup are made online, so you don’t have to spend time going to the branch. 1822direkt has minimal requirements for students, you just need to have an address in the country.
The bank account is free for everyone under 27 years old.
- Free account management when with monthly deposit over 0,01 EUR, otherwise affordable 1,90 EUR per month
- Including 4 free withdrawals from all Sparkasse ATMs in Germany (there are over 25,000 of them), plus 2,00 EUR per aditional withdrawal. You can use free cash service in many supermarkets (e.g. Aldi Süd, Lidl, REWE, dm-drogerie, etc.)
- Free debit card
- Optional overdraft facility (creditworthiness required)
- Free account management when with monthly deposit over 700 EUR, otherwise affordable 3,90 EUR per month
- Including 6 free withdrawals from all Sparkasse ATMs in Germany (there are over 25,000 of them), plus 2,00 EUR per aditional withdrawal. You can use free cash service in many supermarkets (e.g. Aldi Süd, Lidl, REWE, dm-drogerie, etc.)
- Free debit and credit cards
- Overdraft facility: you will immediately receive a credit of 1,000 EUR at your disposal (creditworthiness required)
All accounts are manageable via online banking.
What does 1822direkt bank account offer for students?
- Free bank account for people under 27 years old
- Free cash withdraw in over 25,000 ATM across the country
- Free cash withdraw abroad in the EUR zone
- You can an choose between Visa or MasterCard
- You can get a credit card
- Transfers, standing orders, direct debits, payments with the card, are free of charge
- Google pay – pay with your phone
- You can use the current account payments within Europe and for for transfers beyond
- If you move abroad, you can keep the account and continue to use it
- To keep your account free of charge (for people over 27 years old) you just need need to do a one single incoming transfer per month
The application is simple and made within minutes online. After that you will confirm your identity via PostIdent-procedure and your card will be on a way!
Consorsbank has existed since 1994 and is well established direct bank in Germany. A bank account at Consorsbank is worthwhile for anyone in Germany, from students to self-employed or employees.
The main reason for this is the affordability of the bank account and other financial services of the bank.
Consorsbank bank account and card provide:
- Bank account with zero fees till the age of 28
- Free debit Visa card
- Free credit card
- Free payments and withdrawal in Germany
- Free payments and withdrawal in EURO countries
- Bonus: As a new customer, you receive 50 EUR on your account!
Things to know:
Consorsbank provides free accounts and cards for people up to 28 years old. For someone over 28 years old, the account will be 100% free if their monthly turnover is a minimum of 700 EUR, otherwise, they pay just 4 EUR per month.
Cash withdrawal in Germany
You can withdraw cash for free starting from 50 EUR in Germany with the Visa card in all Visa ATMs.
Cash withdrawal and payments abroad
You can withdraw money for free in all EURO countries. For withdrawal in non-EURO countries, you pay a fee of 2,10% of the amount. Yet, this fee you will see across most banks.
Payments with a Visa card are free in EURO countries as well.
You have the option to get a credit card with Consorsbank, however, it’s more on the expensive side – you pay a 60 EUR yearly fee.
6. Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank won’t offer you a free Master or Visa card, you will need to pay 18 EUR for it. However, you will receive a standard European Maestro card with Euro on balance.
The student’s account called “Junges Konto” is free of charge for all up to 30-year-old students, trainees, students, and volunteers. There is no monthly fee.
The card from Deutsche Bank can be used to withdraw money from over 38,000 machines in around 31 countries, is included free of charge. Transfers via online banking, banking terminal are included free of charge.
Deutsche Bank Young Account offers:
- Free bank account for students younger than 30
- Free Girocard (EU card)
- Free cash withdraw in Germany at Cash Group banks
- Free cash withdraw worldwide at 38,000 ATM’s
- Free online banking
- English Customer Service
- Additional blocked account can be opened
Also, you can apply for Visa or Mastercard credit card for 39,00 EUR per year. The overdraft facility can be only applied to a credit card and from the age of 18, however, a good credit ranking is required.
Note that the interest rate is 10.90% P.A. if you decide to take an overdraft.
Apart from Deutsche Bank ATMs, cash withdrawal is possible at the partner’s banks in Germany such as Berliner Bank, Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, Hypovereinsbank, Postbank. As well as internationally: Bank of America, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Scotiabank, TEB, and Westpac.
- No free debit Visa or Mastercard
- Charge of 1,5 EUR for money transactions at the counter
To sign up you will need your passport, university ID, and a document from your local Bürgeramt showing that you have a registered German address.
Are you a student in Germany and looking for the best credit card? Check out this article – we made the choice easier for you.
Last on our list but by far not the least – Commerzbank offers free basic accounts for international students. It’s one of Germany’s largest banks, with an extensive network of branches all across the country.
Commerzbank student bank account offers:
- Free student account
- Free cash withdrawals* at all Commerzbank as well as Postbank, Deutsche Bank, HypoVereinsbank
- Cash deposits at all Commerzbank ATMs
- Branches all across Germany
- A student who deposits at least 500 EUR also receives a free Visa debit card with their account
Furthermore, if you can prove your monthly income Commerzbank will also provide a Visa credit card with a regular minimum allowance of 300 EUR per month. Prepaid credit cards are also available.
Things to know
Only students under the age of 27 years can take advantage of a free bank account in Commerzbank. Moreover, trainees and social year participants can use their financial services too.
Also read whether a foreigner can open a bank account in Germany and how to do it.
What do you need to consider before opening a bank account in Germany?
Some banks provide a bank account for students only under a certain age, most of them won’t register a person over 30 years old. Therefore, make sure you qualify as a student for the bank.
Also note that if you are doing an internship or under training but still registered with a university, you will be considered as a trainee student and most banks provide the same benefits as for students.
If you are looking just for an option to pay online in Germany, we recommend having a look at virtual cards that everyone can get.
Some banks provided added benefits for students, such as special conditions for credit of a credit card, or joining bonuses such as cash benefits. Keep a lookout for joining bonus offers.
Although most of the banks provide a free bank account for students and trainees, there may be some banks that have hidden costs such as transaction charges or withdrawal fees.
Always read the fine print or look out for such charges and ask just ask. Additionally, some banks will charge you account fees once you are no longer a student.
Therefore, make sure you cancel the bank account once you finish your studies or see if they have other conditions for a free account (e.g. deposit a regular monthly salary).
Which card do you actually get with the registration of the student account? All the banks provide an EC/Maestro Card which is valid only within the EU.
Sometimes you can’t even purchase stuff online on international websites, because they don’t have the option to pay with SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) what the EU does.
Therefore I would recommend a bank that offers an international debit Visa or Mastercard in addition to the standard Maestro. It is also helpful for international travel.
Furthermore, all international students need health insurance in Germany. We made the selection of health insurance in Germany easier for students. As an international student, you have a wide range of insurance providers to pick from, but we compared the best of them in this article.
Recommended products and services in Germany:
- Health insurance for students
- Health insurance for expats, employees, self-employed and freelancers
- Best international health insurance
- Liability insurance
- Car insurance or find one here
- Best free credit card
- Best free bank account
- Compare providers and rates for various insurances, sim cards, internet, electricity, banking accounts, credits & loans, and more.
- Loan with minimal requirements
- Compare loans
- Best price & value sim card and best deal overall including high-speed internet
- Learn German on the best online platform
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