Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
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Banking

In Munich there is an extensive network of banks with varying fees, therefore you should be sure to gather information on which bank is able to offer you the best conditions to suit your needs.

It is advisable to register at the Bürgerbüro before trying to open a bank account as you will need to show proof of a German address in addition to your national identification documents and, sometimes, your residence permit.

Important points to consider when opening a bank account:

  1. Current Accounts (Girokonto)
  2. Before choosing a bank
  3. Savings Accounts (Sparbuch)
  4. Withdrawing Cash and Cashless Payment
  5. National and International Transfers

1. Current Accounts (Girokonto)

The most common form of account in Germany is a Girokonto (checking or current account). Most financial transactions, such as receiving wages or paying rent, are completed using this type of account. In general, a current account allows you to:

  • withdraw money from your bank using an EC-card. In fact, the EC-Karte is more widely accepted in Germany than credit cards. It is normally free of charge when withdrawing funds from cash points (ATMs) belonging to your bank, but a fee may be charged for withdrawing cash from other banks' ATMs.
  • transfer one time payments from one account to another
  • set up regular fixed payments, e.g. your rent, to be made by standing order (Dauerauftrag)
  • allow regular payments of variable amounts to be withdrawn directly from your account through direct debit authorization, e.g. telephone bills and health insurance contributions (Einzugsermächtigung)

At many banks you can choose between several current accounts with various features at different rates, e.g. online banking, credit card at no charge, etc.top

2. Before choosing a bank, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Once I have opened the account, can I immediately withdraw money from the ATM?
  • Where can I withdraw money free of charge?
  • Can I set up standing orders and authorize direct debits?
  • Will I receive an EC card immediately?
  • What is the limit for cash withdrawals per day/week?
  • Am I able to get a credit card?
  • When can I apply for the card and how long will it take to process?
  • What are the fees associated with my bank account?
  • Do I get an overdraft facility, and what are the fees for this service?

3. Savings Accounts (Sparbuch)

If you would like to put money aside, you can set up a savings account to get a higher interest rate. If you plan to travel, verify whether you are allowed to withdraw funds throughout Europe and/or beyond Europe.

A savings account may also be used as a blocked account needed if you are required to prove that you have sufficient funds during your stay in Germany.

4. Withdrawing Cash and Cashless Payment

You generally receive an EC Card (Electronic Cash) for your account, as well as an associated four-digit PIN code. Both will be sent to you separately by mail. You can use an EC Card to withdraw money from cash machines around the clock. Please note that withdrawing money from third-party financial institutions may be subject to fees.

5. National and International Transfers

When selecting your bank, please be sure to review the costs for national and international transfers. Online transfers are usually free of charge.

SEPA transfers (Single European Payments Area) can be used for international transfers within EU member states, as well as transfers to Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Monaco. The uniform account number needed for doing so is the IBAN (International Bank Account Number) and BIC (Bank Identifier Code).

For more information, please refer to the section Money and Banking on the website, Make-it-in-Germany.

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