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Bank Account

If you are staying in Germany for an extended period, are receiving a regular salary or fellowship and have to pay rent, it is a good idea to open a current account at a bank at the earliest opportunity. You can open a current account at a bank. To do so, you will need to present your passport or identity card and confirmation from the “Einwohnermeldeamt” (Residents’ Registration Office) that you are registered. Some banks will also require you to present your residence permit from the “Ausländeramt” (local Immigration Office).

There are hardly any differences between the banks in respect of the services they offer, but there are differences in the charges you have to pay, so you should be sure to check in advance. You will be issued with a debit card called a “EuroCheque-Karte” (EC card)” for your current account which will allow you to draw cash from a cashpoint (ATM). This service is free if you use cashpoints belonging to your own bank but incurs charges if the cashpoints are maintained by other banks.

Most banks are open from Monday to Friday between 8.30 am and 4 pm.

Transferring money abroad can be expensive. You should enquire about the conditions at your own bank at home in advance and possibly choose a bank in Germany that cooperates with your bank at home.
Apart from cash, most shops, restaurants and firms accept debit and credit cards. Smaller sums, in cafés, for example, are usually paid in cash.