Opening a German online bank account from abroad

How to open one when you don't live in Germany

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JSZ2009
Hi - help please! Does anyone know how to open a German on-line bank account without being based in Germany?
We want to set up the account to receive Euro payments by bank transfer for German customers to our website.
Do I need to visit German to open the account at a local branch?
Can anyone recommend a contact at a bank (english speaking) who could help.
What documents would we need?

Thanking you all in anticipation!

Jason
Manchester UK
LauKatOD
You could try ING, however anti-money laundering regulations require you to appear in Germany with your passport at a Post Office or somewhere that is appointed to help you to prove that you are who you say you are. The bank would provide you with a list of acceptable parties to review your documents.
lazybum
It's possible that a notarised copy of your passport would suffice.

I would recommend Deutsche Bank who's online banking is in English. They will also have a presence in the UK, so it might be possible to open a German account from a uk office? or atleast to present your documents there.
RainKing
You can get euro-denominated accounts from UK banks. Be warned, the German tax authorities can look into you German bank accounts and ask you to demonstrate you're declaring income for tax purposes.
dlinfoot
Hi, we opened euro accounts in England at barclays bank, it was quick and easy, europe customers can send (transfer)money(euros) into the account using the IBAN and swift codes as normal
Johnny English
Politely - ignore this post.

We do business online in Germany and the UK. You do NOT want to force your German customers to use IBAN numbers. Its an added pain in the arse and complication for them. German customers are shy creatures and scare easily. For example we also have a Sterling account here in Germany for convenience, but our UK customers would wet their knickers if forced to send money using an IBAN number to a foreign country.

You need a proper €uro account based in Germany, so that punters can pay using JUST the short account number and sort code, and into a German account. That will keep them much happier.

I think you may need to visit in person. I saw a recommendation to use Deutsche Bank here:

http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview/id/784503.html
dlinfoot
just to explain what a iban is: sort code and account number, not rocket science
Small Town Boy
It's about 30 digits long and is undertaken from a different section of the online banking interface. Most Germans have never heard of it or have ever used it. As a business, you cannot expect your customers to use it.
Johnny English
Yes, but for example, when making a payment from Sparkasse (#1 popular bank in Germany) the punter then has to switch from:

Inlands-Überweisung

to

Europa-Überweisung

It's a little bit more alien for them, and highlights the fact that your firm resides in a nasty foreign place and therefore not to be trusted.

It works, it functions, but you wanna avoid it. You want whatever makes the customer feel most cuddly. In cyberspace trust is EVERYTHING.
dlinfoot
The choice is there, UK or DE, Personally , I have never had a problem with customers using IBAN,
Johnny English
If serious about selling here, payments are the #1 single biggest pain in the arse as the Germans are allergic to credit cards. They are the work of the devil and not Catholic.

Options you wanna offer are something like:

Lastschriftverfahren
Zahlung gegen Vorkasse
Kreditkarte Online
Paypal
Nachnahme
Bitte rufen Sie mich an um eine Kreditkartenzahlung oder ELV vorzunehmen

That's roughly in order of typical usage. If selling clothing you *may* need to also offer an invoice with delivery option to compete (but that idea makes me shudder).
dlinfoot
I think you just scared jsz2009 off.
Callie
Before moving here we opened an account with Deutsche Bank on Unter den Linden (contact Nadine Balkow, she spoke pretty good English). But we did have to go there, present our passports and proof of address in England (utilities bills sufficed). The account is online, in English.
lazybum
Apart from anything else, a transfer from a German account to a German account is free.

If you have to send money to a UK account it costs €30 ish
Johnny English
If you have to send money to a UK account it costs €30 ish
I don't think that is true when using the IBAN numbers? I'm sure it has been discussed to death on other threads.
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