Bank accounts for the self-employed

26 posts in this topic

Posted

OK, here goes....

 

i've had my account with Noris Bank (cheap'n'cheerful, no Gebühr) for about 14 months. when i first had this account i was unemployed, but not claiming anything. upon starting work in the summer of last year i needed an EC card (working outside of Germany, but needing access to funds) and i got one.

 

i was away over winter and my card had expired in that time.

 

i'm now planning on being self-employed. once again i need an EC for work (again i'll be working outside of Germany and need to pay hotel bills). i trotted along today to the bank and spoke with some gimpy bank nerd who told me that since i was planning on being self-employed they wouldn't give me an EC card...! arrrghh! the joke of it is, my friend is with Noris, is claiming H4 and has an EC card because, get this, he recieves a monthly "income". the lazy git doesn't do anything and the bank feel he is more worthy of their services than i am.

 

the boss lady there recommended that i should speak to Deutsche Bank.

 

so off i went.

 

there they said that there was a possibilty of recieving an EC card, but only after six months, and only if they thought i was eligable according to some secret hocus-pocus rules.

 

i need the card asap.

 

from there i spoke to the nice girl at Hypo Veriens. yes there is a possibilty that i'd recieve an EC card, but i'd have to have a chat with their Geschäftskontoberater. oh, and i'd have to pay €15/month for the luxury of having a bank account with them.

 

Sparkasse was much the same except i'd only be paying €8/month but they'd charge me for each and every transaction.

 

so, can anyone recommend a bank that will provide an EC card, isn't scared of someone being self-employed and aren't going to finacially rape me for providing them with a job?

 

prior to coming to Germany i was never aware that you'd have to pay to have a bank account. it seems somewhat cheeky that they take money from you. after all, they are using your money to make more money themselves. and the interest rates aren't that high to warrent the charges.

 

many thanks,

 

J

 

slowly, but very much surely, i'm getting the arse ache with this country....

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Posted

Yes, it's usual to pay for a bank account, at least for the traditional German banking houses.

 

Maybe you could try Direktbanken like Ing-DiBa? They also have Girokontos for Freelancers http://www.ing-diba.de , but they will make a solvency check, I think.

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Posted

Funny bank the Noris bank. When my ec card expires I get a new one without asking a month before.

 

So you will be self-employed, no one knows how much you will earn and you will make your money abroad and you are an foreigner anyway who could leave the country at any moment and vanish - why should any bank want to give you credit? Since an ec-card means credit.

 

I have a an all free french bank account,nice and the Sparkasse online account here costs me about4-5 € a month and all transfer within Germany are for free. Not so nice but not really a rip-off IMHO.

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Posted

Which Sparkasse a/c were you offered? Basic ATM withdrawals and transfers and the rest do not get a fee (ContoMaxx etc).

 

Where there is an issue is that they are separate entities and so counter transactions do attract a transaction charge (and possibly a delay) because you are not a customer of that location. But not the routine stuff above a lot of us do.

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Posted

 

Since an ec-card means credit.

 

 

does it actually? I thought the default payment card that comes with a German account is electronic-only and does not mean credit: the transaction is rejected at the point of your sale should it take your account into the red. these cards are not VISA/Mastercard but can still work for paying for stuff abroad (e.g. if it's a Maestro card as well, it can work in other electronic payment systems), though it's a bit of a lottery.

 

or is it something else you guys call an EC-card?

 

if you need a Visa/Mastercard get a prepaid one (same principle, wider acceptance internationally), some banks have in-house versions of this, otherwise there are specialist suppliers. no credit check on these either.

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Posted

EC stands for electronic cash. not credit. if the cash isn't on my account the transaction won't go through.

 

can anyone tell me. should i be telling the bank people that i am self-employed or freelance?

 

i know that they are essentially the same, but the bank people seemed insistent that i need a business account. maybe i do, maybe i don't. what i do need is a bank account that i can pay money into/have monies paid into and take out and spend where and when i want... much like a normal Giro account.

 

cheers for replies.

 

J

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Posted

 

EC stands for electronic cash. not credit. if the cash isn't on my account the transaction won't go through.

 

Your bank may be a 'bit different' then or you have not built up any credit history. I can use my EC card and be up to 22K in the red before it stops me withdrawing.

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Posted

 

EC stands for electronic cash. not credit. if the cash isn't on my account the transaction won't go through.

When you have a Girokonto you can negotiate a Dispo Credit (normally up to 3x your monthly netto income). When using the Dispo you pay 10 to 13% (depends on the bank) interest (off topic: funny term for "Zinsen" ;-)

 

 

i know that they are essentially the same, but the bank people seemed insistent that i need a business account. maybe i do, maybe i don't. what i do need is a bank account that i can pay money into/have monies paid into and take out and spend where and when i want... much like a normal Giro account.

Direktbank like IngDiba or 1822 etc. offer the possibility to create an account online. But as I said: They will check your solvency. Germans are checked normally through Schufa http://www.toytowngermany.com/wiki/SCHUFA

 

The business account makes things easier with the Finanzamt and the German taxes system. One account for private, one for business consum. In Germany freelancers are the stepchildren of the state, many duties, few rights.

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Posted

 

Your bank may be a 'bit different' then or you have not built up any credit history. I can use my EC card and be up to 22K in the red before it stops me withdrawing.

 

but that's your overdraft isn't it? if so, it's not linked with the card as such, you could also spend it by doing bank transfers or direct debits. if they don't want to give someone credit, they can set the overdraft to zero and still give them a card.

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Posted

Afraid I dont know of any banks that are especially friendly to the self employed - or towards anyone else for that matter.

 

At least German banks dont charge you 40 pounds to send you a letter the second you go 1p overdrawn.

 

When I was starting up self employed in Germany many years ago I went into Citibank in Berlin and was given the cold shoulder immediately they heard I was self employed. Even though I had a good income.

 

Fact is, we are a risk to them. Unlike banks themselves of course - they are all as safe as houses.

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Posted

Quite right, rick de! I went to Sparda Bank a few months ago to open up a new account to put money aside for future tax payments. Didn´t get past the reception desk when I told them I was self-employed.

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Posted

You're quite right that banks just don't like self-employed people. My bank told me to keep quiet about it when I tried to change my account from private customer to self-employed. To the OP, I'd suggest the same. Don't rock the boat and if it ain't broke, don't try and fix it.

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Posted

my thoughts, too, nulunu.

 

i'll look into the IngDiba and 1822 options over the weekend. i'd rather have a bank that is a bank so that i can go in and speak to someone, but then even my bank - or many others it would seem - are what i'd consider a proper bank. they don't physically deal with any money. all transactions have to be done via the machines. the people at the bank are little more than puppets.

 

is the UK the only country that has a "free" banking system? it can't be because i don't remember having to pay anything for the bank account i had in Oz....

 

grrrr...

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Posted

 

is the UK the only country that has a "free" banking system? it can't be because i don't remember having to pay anything for the bank account i had in Oz....

 

well UK "free" banking is not without its drawbacks, nor is it ultimately free (they make a profit from this business). there are often exorbitant charges every time you make a little error, and lots of well camouflaged poor deals that take some effort to disentangle. you can hardly open a savings account or get a loan without having to dig to find how exactly they plan to screw you. with the German banks you get those petty fees, bit annoying OK, but fewer nasty surprises. what's worse in the end?

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Posted

 

well UK "free" banking is not without its drawbacks, nor is it ultimately free (they make a profit from this business). there are often exorbitant charges every time you make a little error, and lots of well camouflaged poor deals that take some effort to disentangle. you can hardly open a savings account or get a loan without having to dig to find how exactly they plan to screw you. with the German banks you get those petty fees, bit annoying OK, but fewer nasty surprises. what's worse in the end?

 

if there was a choice between monthly fees and surprise charges I would pick the monthly fee. but erm, poke around the Finance forum a bit, German banks aren't surprise-fee-free...

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Posted

 

My bank told me to keep quiet about it when I tried to change my account from private customer to self-employed.

Absolutely the best advice. I didn't in fact change anything. My last pay cheque went in in 2008 and then I simply started invoicing people.

 

I'm with the Haspa and have been for 10+ years, and I've been freelance (full-time) for the last 2.5 years. I actually brought the issue of account types up with my (deputy) bank manager the last time we met (to extend my overdraft no less) and he said "Not to worry, you don't need a business account, it's not that important as long as the money's coming in."

 

So my personal recommendation would be the Schanze branch of the Haspa (Schulterblatt) - the deputy bank manager there is a great chap.

 

And yes, I'd much rather pay up the 8.90 euros per month up front for an account at a bricks-and-mortar bank than get loads of extra charges and have everything handled by call staff online.

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Posted

^^^ €8.90 a month... GULP!

 

 

well UK "free" banking is not without its drawbacks, nor is it ultimately free (they make a profit from this business).

yes, but don't the german banks do this twice over? charge you for the pithy service they offer (it appears that many banks don't actually handle any cash and you get directed to the machines) and they use your money to make more money for themselves with the interest earnt.

 

i'll trot along this week and try to open a bog standard account and just make sure that money flows into on a regular basis.

 

is it possible to transfer, say €1000, from one of my accounts onto another in order to make it appear that i've got money going onto my account? or even pay in cash, then they wouldn't know from which account it had come.

 

nazi banks.

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Posted

I am freelance, and if you would care to take back your last ignorant and insulting comment, I'll gladly tell you where I have my free account at a normal bank.

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Posted

Look, the German banking system, while efficient, is woefully wrapped up in regulatory bureacracy (and mostly, risk-adversion).

 

Go over the border to Austria. Pick a bank. Open an account with €100. A week later pick up your card.

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Posted

what, the "nazi banks" comment.... bit toungue in cheek, fella. lighten up.

 

but for you i will remove it.

 

edit: too late to remove it. sorry.

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