Konto ohne Wohnsitz

Konto ohne Wohnsitz

Is it possible to open a bank account in Germany without a residence? This question is raised by many immigrants who plan to move to germany. Such an account is indeed possible, but only few banks allow to open such an account. Applicants must provide proof of identification due to the german money laundering legislation and this is considerably more difficult from abroad. How the opening of an bank account from abroad nevertheless can succeed, I’ll explain in the following article:

Only direct banks allow account opening abroad

Whether a bank account without a residence in Germany can be opened depends on the conditions of the bank. Classic branch banks such as Sparkasse, Volksbank, Postbank etc.. in most cases refuse such an account opening. Branch banks are usually restricted to customers in their own business area. The correspondence is often still postal and with a foreign residence this is of course problematic. Unlike the direct banks (bank without any branch network), these have the clear advantage that the account management (for example transfers, communication with bank employees) is already happening online and account statements are made available via e-mail or as a download. Therefore the direct banks are more flexible when it comes to residence.

Comparison of possible bank accounts

A bank account can be opened at Comdirect Bank (subsidiary of Commerzbank) without domicile in Germany. Another popular supplier is DKB (direct bank subsidiary of Bayerische Landesbank). Update 2017: With N26 I would like to include another provider, who does allow account openings for EU citizens from 17 countries. The most important tariff details I have summarized in the following table:

Comdirect DKB N26
Bank comdirect dkb Number26
Who is allowed to open a bank account?
German citizens living in Germany
German citizens living abroad
Foreign Citizens
with residence in Germany, Austria and Switzerland with residence in Germany, Austria and Switzerland with residence in Germany, Austria, Irland, France, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Finnland, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxemburg, Slovenia, Estonia, Greece, Slovakia
Important Account Details
Account Management fee / monthly fee free free free
Cards

Girocard and Visa Credit Card (both free)

comdirect

Girocard and Visa Credit Card (both free)

dkb-visacard

Maestro-Card and Mastercard Credit Card (both free)

Mastercard von Number26

Withdraw money in Germany

free with Girocard
– only Cash Group ATMs*

free with Visa Credit Card on all ATMs with Visa sign

free 3-5 times per month, above this 2 € for each withdrawel

withdraw money outside Germany
in EU-countries
free with Girocard on all ATMs free with Visa Credit Card on all ATMs with Visa sign All withdrawel in Euro currency are free
withdraw money outside Germany
no EU-countries
free with Visa Credit Card on all ATMs with Visa sign free with Visa Credit Card on all ATMs with Visa sign Withdrawel in non Euro currency, fee of 1,7 %
Interest rate 0 % 0,2 % 0 %
interest paid on overdraft 6,5 % 6,9 % not possible / they don’t offer overdraft facilities
Test results / recommendations comdirect-testsiege Testsiege der DKB
Open bank account
Account opening possible online online online
proof of identification
in Germany
PostIdent, VideoIdent (Webcam) PostIdent, VideoIdent (Webcam) PostIdent, VideoIdent (Webcam)
proof of identification
abroad
Notary Local Bank / Lawyer
Open Bank Account Open Bank Account Open Bank Account

* 9,000 domestic atms of the cash group banks Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, Hypovereinsbank and Postbank.

Summary

DKB (top recommendation)
With over 3.5 million customers, DKB is the second largest direct bank in Germany. There are no monthly account fees, nor is a salary or income required for the opening of the account. At DKB, cash can be withdrawn free of charge from all Visa ATMs (over 1 million worldwide) in Germany and abroad. Usually, foreign banks demand a high fee of up to 5 Euros per cash withdrawal. Therefore, the DKB is very popular with German holidaymakers.

comdirect

Comdirect offers very similar conditions to the DKB. There are no monthly account fees or income required to open the account. Within Germany, however, customers can only use the approx. 9,000 ATMs of the Cash Group banks to withdraw cash free of charge. In foreign countries, Comdirect customers can use all Visa machines for free cash.

N26

In contrast to DKB / Comdirect, N26 doesn’t offer overdraft facilities. The account can not slip into the negative as you have only the money available, which was previously paid into the account. When opening the account, N26 doesn’t check the credit score, therfore the account opening is easier compared to the other providers. In addition to German nationals, EU citizens from 17 countries can also open an account with N26. Monthly account fees do not apply. In the case of card payments, the user is not charged at home or abroad. The disadvantage of N26 is the cash supply. Cash can be deducted free of charge in Germany depending on the tariff 3 – 5 times per month. In addition, the withdrawal costs 2 € each. In other EU countries, withdrawals in EUR currency are possible without restrictions. For withdrawals in non-euro currencies, a fee of 1.7 of the amount must be paid.

How long does the account opening take?

It can take up to one week until the banks carried out the checks (e.g. credit score) and confirm the opening of the account. After this, another week may pass before you hold the bank cards and all other documents in your hands. The reason for this is that the cards/documents are sent separately for security reasons. Particularly fast is N26: Due to the missing credit score check, the Mastercard and the corresponding online access data may already arrive at the customer after 3-4 days (abroad +6 days).

Proof of identification

For the account opening, a proof of identity has to be provided. Such proof is necessary due to the German money laundering legislation. There are three possible methods for legitimation which take a different amount of time. So you have a little influence on how long the account opening takes.

VideoIdent (fast)

The fastest way to prove identity is using the VideoIdent method. The method of legitimation has been possible in Germany since 2014. This requires an Internet-enabled PC / Tablet computer with webcam as well as the ID card / passport. For legitimation, a video chat with a bank employee takes place. The passport must be held into the camera so that the safety features can be checked. In addition, a photo of the applicant’s face is made. The VideoIdent procedure is free of charge for the applicant.

PostIdent

With the PostIdent procedure one must visit a post-branch in Germany for the identity verification. The postal worker completes the PostIdent coupon (which you receive after the online account opening), checks your identity card (identity card or passport) and sends the PostIdent coupon you have signed to the bank. Of course, it takes 1-2 days until the proof of identity arrives at bank. The account opening is therefore faster with the VideoIdent procedure. The PostIdent procedure is also free of charge for the applicant.

From Aboad with lawyer / notary / local bank (slow)

Foreigners can also open an bank account.Identity verification is possible at a local bank or a lawyer abroad. The lawyer or bank must complete the registration form and send it directly to bank. The costs incurred for this are not covered by bank. The possibility of legitimation by a bank / attorney is not possible in all countries.