Best Credit Cards in Germany for Students

Students often are short on money, in that hard times, a credit card can come in very handy. Despite part-time jobs, support of parents, and scholarships, you might need to have flexibility in your budget in case of additional expenses like clothes, a car, or even a holiday. For that reason getting a credit card as a student in Germany can be a great solution.

Best credits cards for students in Germany are:

  • American Express Payback
  • DKB Visa Card
  • Awa7 Visa Card
  • Free Mastercard Gold Card
  • Free Santander BestCard Basic
  • 1822direkt Classic Credit Card
  • ICS Visa World Card

If you are a student in Germany and looking for a credit card – this article is the first and last you should read. Here, we have made a review of the top credit cards in Germany that are also available for students. Check out best German credit cards in this article.

How to choose best credit card as a student?

If you are thinking about getting a credit card during your studies in Germany, you should consider first if it’s a good option or taking a small personal loan will be a better idea. Moreover, one should compare all credit cards on the market, because the conditions differ significantly.

Nonetheless, all credit cards on our list are suited to the needs of students but also of other folks in Germany. Nonetheless, the monthly or annual fee is lower than average, as well as the requirements.

Top Credit Cards for Students in Germany

BankMonthly feesCard typeCash withdrawals in EU/abroadPayments in EU/abroadBonus
Payback American ExpressFreeAMEX4%Free/2%Payback for each 2 EUR spent
Santander BestCard BasicFreeVisaFree up to 4 timesFree/1,5%-
Free Mastercard GoldFreeMastercardInterest rate 1,49%Free/Free-
DKB Visa CardFree VisaFree/FreeFree/FreeCash-back up to 20%
Awa7 Visa CardFreeVisaFree/FreeFree/Free5% discount on travel bookings
1822direkt ClassicFreeVisaFree/1,75%Free/Free-

1. American Express Payback

American Express Payback is a free credit card from one of the world’s renowned providers. The payback feature allows you to collect points while spending money in all stores except gas stations.

Highlights of American Express Payback:

  • AMEX credit card
  • No monthly fee
  • Payments are free with EUR zone
  • Online application via video legitimation or PostIdent

How much is payback? You can earn 1 Payback loyalty point for every 2 EUR spent. 100 Payback points are worth 1 EUR.

Things to know:

A fee of 2% applies for payments outside the EUR zone. Plus, you need to pay 4% commissions for cash withdrawals. Hence, this card is good if you plan to spend money within the EU. 

2. DKB Visa Card

Credit card from DKB is one of the best free credit cards in Germany and Austria, as well as their free bank account for students. This card will be especially handy when you are traveling and withdrawing cash abroad.

Highlights of DKB – Girokonto Visa Card:

  • Free bank account
  • Free debit card with credit function
  • Online banking
  • Worldwide free cash withdrawal with Visa card at ATMs
  • Open account online
  • Free emergency card and emergency cash
  • Up to 20% online cash-back
  • International student card (ISIC) for worldwide discounts

With the DKB Visa credit card, students can benefit from both free withdrawals and fee-free payments in Germany and abroad.

To get a DBK credit card you need to sign for their free bank account first. Hence a visa credit card will accompany a normal debit card. Both of them are free.

Things to know:

  1. The minimum amount for free cash withdrawal at ATMs is 50 EUR.
  2. Monthly deposit of 700 EUR improves conditions of the card.

3. Awa7 Visa Card

Awa7 Visa is one of our favorites on the list. It’s a German credit card that comes completely free of charge (i.e. no monthly or annual fees).

The name of the company comes from Hebrew, where Awa means “the life-giving one”. The 7 stands for seven days, so a week, in addition, the number is a lucky number in this country. Just so you know. 🙂

Moreover, if you are in need for the money it’s the best choice! With a credit card from Awa7, you can apply for an immediate credit of up to 2,500 EUR already while ordering. And the best part of it is that the credit interest rate is zero if you pay back the money within the first 3 months.

Highlights of Awa7 Visa Card:

  • Visa credit card
  • Free of charge – no monthly or annual fees
  • No foreign transaction fees – pay worldwide for free
  • No minimum turnover
  • Free cash withdrawals worldwide
  • Online legitimation possible
  • Flexible repayment options – one-off payment or monthly installments
  • Apple Pay & Google Pay
  • Credit line for up to 2,500 EUR
  • Either pay in monthly instalments or balance out your monthly bill in one go
  • Zero credit interest rate
  • 12-month online shopping insurance
  • 5% discount on travel bookings

This card is by far outweighs most credit cards options for students as well as for other people in Germany.

4. Free Mastercard Gold

The GebĂĽhrenfrei (Free) Mastercard Gold is the perfect credit card for students in Germany and it’s FREE. While it doesn’t cost you anything it comes with very useful features.

Highlights of Free Mastercard Gold:

  • Mastercard credit card
  • No monthly or annual fees
  • No fees for payments in foreign currency – worldwide free payments
  • Free cash withdrawals
  • Easy application process (no PostIdent required)
  • Apple Pay & Google Pay
  • Travel insurances included
  • Free credit for up to 7 weeks
  • 24/7 customer service

Things to know:

  1. When withdrawing the cash interest rate of 1,49% per month will apply.
  2. No automatic deduction of monthly bill from bank account.

Can a foreigner get a credit card in Germany? Read in our article.

5. Free Santander BestCard Basic

Santander is a large bank known worldwide, including in Germany. They offer several credit cards, but Free Santander BestCard Basic is one of the best option for students in Germany. As a student you can get the credit card even without a regular income, but with a lower credit limit.

However, it’s also suited for professionals with a regular income and self-employed people who are residing in Germany.

The card is also suitable for regular travelers who mainly travel within the EU, since withdrawing cash and pay in EURO with a Santander credit card is free.

Highlights of Free BestCard Basic:

  • Free Visa credit card
  • 0 EUR annual fee
  • Free cash withdraw worldwide up to 4 times per month
  • Paying in EUR is free
  • No need to open a current account
  • 24/7 customer service
  • 5% cashback with selected travel partners
  • Online banking
  • Credit limit up to 2,000 EUR
  • Interest rate 13,98 %
  • Pay credit back in 28 days with zero interest

Things to know:

  1. 1.5% foreign transaction fee applies when paying in non EURO currency
  2. Max. 4 free cash withdrawals per month

You can apply for the credit card online. Conditions for the application:

  • Regular income
  • Residence in Germany

6. 1822direkt Classic Credit Card

Highlights of 1822direkt Classic Credit Card:

  • Visa or Mastercard credit card free of charge
  • First year is free
  • Get 225 EUR bonus as a new client
  • Fee current account incl. SparkassenCard
  • Unlimited free cash withdrawals at all Sparkasse ATMs in Germany (over 25,000)
  • No limits for payments
  • Free cash withdrawal in the EU
  • Fast account opening with Video-Ident or PostIdent
  • Free mobile app
  • Attractive insurance benefits

Things to know:

  1. Visa or Mastercard credit card free of charge with the year’s turnover exceeding 4,000 EUR (or 700 EUR per month) otherwise 3,90 EUR monthly fee.
  2. Cash withdrawals outside the EU are subject to the fee of 1,75%.

1822direkt Visa Gold Credit Card

Bank 1822direkt offers a wide range of credit cards, which are perfectly suitable for students in Germany. 1822direkt itself is part of the Sparkasse, one of the biggest bank networks in Germany.

Highlights of 1822direkt Visa Gold Credit Card:

  • Visa or Mastercard Gold credit card
  • Monthly fees of 9,90 EUR
  • Get 225 EUR bonus as a new client
  • Fee current account incl. SparkassenCard
    Unlimited free cash withdrawals at all Sparkasse ATMs in Germany (over 25,000)
  • Free cash withdrawal in the EU
  • Fast account opening with Video-Ident or PostIdent
  • Free mobile app
  • Attractive insurance benefits
  • PIN of your choice
  • Visa payWave for contactless payments

Things to know:

Cash withdrawals outside the EU are subject to the fee of 1,75%.

1822MOBILE Credit Card

1822MOBILE in another, more affordable credit card provided by 1822direkt.

Highlights of 1822MOBILE Credit Card:

  • Get 25 EUR as a starting credit
  • No monthly fee
  • Free current account incl. GiroCard
  • Optional overdraft facility
  • Free mobile app
  • Fast account opening with Video-Ident or PostIdent
  • Contactless payments

Things to know:

  1. No account management fee if payments of at least 0,01 EUR per month are received; otherwise, a monthly fee of 1,90 EUR is charged.
  2. An overdraft facility is possible after 3 salary confirmations.

We also recommend you to read “Best bank accounts for students in Germany” so you can pick the optimal one for your situation.

7. ICS Visa World Card 

ICS is known as an international credit service, its Visa World Card, the most widely accepted credit card in the world. With the Visa World Card, you have a credit card with which you can pay literally anywhere in the world and receive cash abroad free of charge.

Highlights of ICS Visa World Card:

  • Visa credit card
  • Annual fee 0 EUR (permanent)
  • Free cash withdrawal in the EU
  • 2% fee for withdrawals outside of the EU
  • Apply without having a current account
  • Real credit card with possible partial payment
  • Easy application via Video-Ident procedure
  • 5% cash back on travel bookings

Things to know:

In Germany, cash withdrawals from the credit balance are subject to a fee of 4% of the amount (min. 5 EUR).

Benefits of having a credit card in Germany

Many students aren’t even aware that they have the opportunity to get a credit card in Germany and having one can make your life easier.

Financial flexibility is by far the biggest advantage of a credit car. Moreover, it’s very helpful for traveling and online shopping, since you can pay with a credit card everywhere on this planet, which isn’t the case with a normal German card.

Hence, it will be tremendously useful for your semester abroad. In addition, you can usually withdraw cash for free.

  • Credit line when you need money
  • Reasonable repayment conditions
  • Low costs
  • No fees abroad
  • Free cash withdraw
  • Various benefits from discounts to insurances
  • Easy online shopping

Yet, Germans still barely use credit cards, learn why.

Chances of getting a credit card as a student

Students aren’t most creditworthiness people, hence some banks might hesitate to issue a credit card for you. Banks will look at your finances before they make a decision.

If it looks rather poor, they might reject your application. As a rule, a student must have some monthly income or savings in order to get a trustworthy credit card in Germany.

Nevertheless, you can get a credit card even as a student without a regular income. These cards are called prepaid credit cards, where you deposit funds before using them. But they are still suitable for paying and withdrawing money in Germany and abroad.

Taking a loan as a student in Germany

Taking a loan can be a good alternative to the credit card in Germany. Moreover, there are some loans that are easily accessible to students without many requirements.

Besides, classic student loans are quite common in Germany. You can get a loan to finance expenses during a course of study.

In Germany, Auxmoney provides quick and simple loans for students.

Read more about loans in Germany and how to take one as a foreigner.

Here are some possible funding options for students in Germany:

  • BAföG
  • KfW student loan
  • Student loans from individual banks, e.g. from Sparkasse
  • Loans at private banks, icluding microfinancial organizations like Auxmoney

Unfortunately, not all foreign students are eligible for this credit. The official student loan is available for:

  1. EU citizens residing in Germany for at least three years.
  2. Family members of above mentioned EU citizen, who are residing in Germany together. 
  3. People with German school leaving diploma or who has finnished a German school abroad.

Nonetheless, if you don’t fall into one of those categories you still can take a student loan with some private bank. Apply for such here.

From our research and experience, Auxmoney is by far the best and easiest place you can get a loan as a student or a foreigner, the refusal rate is very low as well as the requirements. It’s a private organization powered by investors with their funds, which is different to the traditional bank. 

Moreover, you can apply for a loan even if a traditional bank refuses your loan request. Application and the whole process at Auxmoney are made online.

As a foreign citizen in Germany, you will need to have an address in the country, a German bank account, and a source of income to get a loan. After fulfilling these requirements you will receive a loan from Auxmoney within 24 hours or the next few days.

Other benefits of the loan with Auxmoney:

  • favorable interest rates
  • fast money from private and institutional investors
  • loan from 1,000 EUR to 50,000 EUR
  • uncomplicated application
  • very satisfied customers

Requirements for credit cards in Germany

Generally, any student can apply for a credit card. However, you need to be “creditworthy”. This means not having a negative credit score or Schufa. A credit card is nothing more than a monthly loan – which of course you have to pay back.

If your credit score is negative, issuing a credit card can be too risky for financial institutions.

In addition, having a regular income (e.g. a student job) will greatly help you to get a credit card in Germany. Nevertheless, you should always make sure that you can pay back the money you spend with a credit card.

Read about requirements for foreigners.

Hope this article was helpful. We also recommend you to read “Best bank accounts for students in Germany” so you can pick the optimal one for your situation.

Also the article about taking a loan in Germany might be helpful.

Recommended products and services in Germany:

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Anna

Anna is an enthusiastic expatriate with experience of living in Germany, Austria and Greece. She shares her passion for living abroad on this website.

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