Why you absolutely need a bank account in Germany
It is very hard to live in Germany without a checking account, a so-called Girokonto. You need it to receive a salary (Gehalt) from your job, to get a phone contract, to freelance, to pay taxes, to pay rent or to buy insurance.
Necessary documents to open a bank account
The amount of papers you have to provide depends on your nationality and is easier for EU residents.
It is helpful to have these documents although not every bank requires them all:
- A German residence permit for non-EU citizens
- Registration of a German address (Anmeldung) or proof of your foreign address
- Proof of income or a letter of recommendation from your employer
- Proof that you are a student (if you’re opening a student account)
- Sometimes a Schufa credit rating
Sometimes also an initial deposit is required.
Banks that let you open a bank account from abroad
The following banks allow you to open a bank account from abroad: source
- bunq and N26 let you open a bank account via an app and are the banks where it is mostly easy to open a bank account. You can *install the bunq app here. Here is a list of accepted IDs by the N26 bank.
- DKB and Comdirect let you submit all the necessary documents online.
Click here to see the pros and cons of bunq, N26, DKB, Comdirect and other selected banks at a glance.
The identification process PostIdent explained
All banks request you prove your identity. While this can be done in brick-and-mortar banks by simply walking in and showing your ID, online banks usually require you to go through the so-called Postident process. This can be done in two ways:
- the bank sends you a barcode which you bring along with your ID and other documents like proof of address to the Post branch near you.
- Download the PostIdent app (Android, iPhone). The app asks you to scan your ID or passport and might connect you to a support person which guides you through the verification process. Support is available in several languages.