Which Bank Is Best For Students - In this article we will try to find the best bank account for students in Germany.
Having a bank account is important no matter where you live. But more so as a foreign student in Germany. It is important to take good care of your finances. Additionally, a bank account is mandatory for the following:
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But the banking system in Germany is very different from India or most non-EU countries. Actually, when I came from India, it took me a while to understand how things work here. It can be confusing and intimidating.
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So for you to get rid of all the confusion, in this article I will summarize the best bank accounts for students in Germany. First, let me explain the banking system in Germany. And here are some points to consider before opening a bank account. So let me list the best options available to open your bank account.
It is important to understand that the banking system in Germany is very different from what you are used to. So let's get to know the German banking system and look at these factors in your chosen bank.
In other words, you should analyze the following bank account features before making a decision:
A) Kontoführungsgebühren - Literally translates as "account management report". This is the amount you pay to keep your money in a bank account. Fees can range from 4€ to 8€ per month. But it may increase further depending on regional factors. For example, my Volksbank account in Hamburg cost me 13 euros.
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B) Zero to zero interest – In most German banks, you don't earn any interest on the money you deposit. When I come from India, there is always positive attention, which was a completely new thing for me to hear. But it is common for most European countries to have zero or negative interest rates for depositing money in a bank account.
C) Cards – When getting a debit card or credit card, you should see if the bank you choose offers MasterCard or Visa. Some German banks issue cards through Vpay (domestic issuers) and these are not accepted when traveling to other European countries.
D) Customer Service – As an expat, you must be sure that the bank you choose offers excellent customer service. If you are new to Germany, you may need help with English. So this option is definitely beneficial. With the rise of fintech companies, most banks have better online banking options.
As a student in Germany, our main motto behind every decision is to save money! Students are often small and on a limited budget. Even with a part-time job, it is recommended that you limit your expenses in any way you can. Thus, an ideal bank account should meet the following criteria:
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In general, there are two main requirements for opening a bank account in Germany. These requirements are generally the same across all banks.
Exceptions: Some bank accounts may reject foreign applicants because their requirements may include "providing a financial history in Germany". There may also be additional requirements for US citizens applying to open a bank account as a result of FATCA.
Important : There may be situations where you need to open a bank account in Germany immediately, but you do not currently have a residential address in Germany. In this case, I recommend you to open a vice account without limit.
The Borderless account is a multi-currency account that allows you to store up to 40 different currencies in one account and send to over 50 different countries. Using Vice Exchange, you can easily transfer money between currencies.
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In this section of the article, we will look at some of the options we have for choosing the best bank accounts in Germany. As we discussed above, we consider the main parameters we discussed above.
The first and foremost option we consider is Commerzbank. I put this first because no bank in Germany offers such good services for free to students.
Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft is one of the largest German commercial banks operating in the field of domestic and foreign finance. The bank is headquartered in Frankfurt am Main and operates internationally. As of 2019, Commerzbank is the second largest bank in Germany by the value of its balance sheet.
In short, Commerzbank seems like a good choice. Its benefits mainly include better customer service and easy access to bank services.
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The only significant drawback is the minimum deposit of 700 € per month. But it can be a bit overwhelming for students who receive monthly capped account payments!
This is definitely one of my favorite banks in Germany! There are several reasons, so let's look at them one by one.
N26 is a German 'neobank' headquartered in Berlin. It currently operates in various member states of the Euro Payments Area (SEPA) and the USA.
As far as free bank accounts go, this is as good as it gets. Overall, I believe N26 and Commerzbank are the two best options for students.
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I have already written a detailed review about N26 and its services. You can check the article here
CommDirect Bank AG is Germany's third largest direct bank, the online subsidiary of Commerzbank. Founded in 1994 by Commerzbank, the company went public in 2000. Commerzbank merged this company on November 1, 2020.
ComDirect is a bank that offers its services entirely online. Therefore, if you are an expat in Germany, it can be useful to have a bank that works entirely online.
In conclusion, Comdirect is a good choice for students to open their accounts in Germany. However, a significant drawback is that customer support is only available in German.
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Deutsche Bank offers a special bank account service for students - Das Junge Konto. One of Germany's most popular banks, Deutsche Bank has more than 27 million customers through nearly 2,500 branches worldwide, including 1,680 branches in Germany.
However, there is a significant downside to opening your account at Deutsche Bank. It is free for students only. After graduation, the low bank account plan will cost you around €6.00 per month.
The Wise (formerly TransferWise) Borderless account is mainly for international students who want to pay when they move abroad. With a Vice Borderless account, you get a free Eurobank account with IBAN.
Overall, it looks like a good choice. Especially if you come to Germany. You can easily open this account without a German residential address.
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Deutsche Creditbank is the second largest bank in Germany with 4.5 million customers and is wholly owned by Baerische Landesbank. DKB offers a bank account service to everyone regardless of their status as a student in Germany.
After you apply for a bank account with DKB, your Schufa credit score is checked. If you are a new foreign student to Germany, there is a high chance that your application will be rejected.
N26 has revolutionized the banking system in Germany with its 100% digital banking services. Likewise, Vivid Money is also becoming one of the best "neobanks" in Germany.
However, Vivid Money services are not suitable for those who usually use cash for transactions. There is free withdrawal up to €200, after which a 3% withdrawal fee is charged.
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Monies is different from traditional German banks. It's not even a "German bank" to begin with. Monese is a British digital financial services provider that operates primarily in the Euro area. Monese offers several flexible plans for free and paid account services.
In conclusion, we can say that Monese is the best option to open your bank account if you don't have an address yet, because yes, you can open an account with Monese without one. But to get a debit card, you need to have an address and it's not a 100% free bank account except account maintenance fees.
I have tried to summarize some of the best options you can have for opening a bank account in Germany as a student. However, this list does not cover all available options. Here I list some notable exceptions made and the reason for removing the bank from this list.
I removed these banks from the list because I felt that students who want to open an account with minimal fees may not understand the terms and conditions, but if you want to pursue one of these banks, you can absolutely do the job just remember to do your due diligence.
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We are coming to the final part
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