Open a non-resident bank account in Germany

Bank account in Germany for non-resident

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bcaptain78
I live in USA (US Citizen) and I’m looking to open a bank account in Germany and deposit about 5K Euros into a CD (term deposit). I’m planning on flying to Germany to get this done.

Which banks in Germany offer free accounts, if any? Which ones have the best CD rates? What is the best way to approach this? Since I don’t live in Germany, what type of documents will they need to do this? I searched through topics, but couldn’t find the answers to these questions. Thank you!!!
john g.
I know this is not a great answer, bcaptain: but why on earth do you want to go to the expense of coming to Germany to open a small account??? Don´t wish to be rude - please don´t think I am being...just curious! ( By the way, maybe also none of my business...ok )!
featherlight
You would normally need to be resident in Germany to have a bank account. And preferably have money going into it regularly. You may find it difficult to find a bank willing to entertain you. Has to do with the avoidance of money laundering...
YorkshireLad6
Rubbish. You don't need to be a resident at all, and neither do you need to move money into or out of it.

Only last evening I was talking to a friend in the USA who recently opened a completely free and non-commital account with DKB from across the water. He completed an online application form, had his identity formally confirmed by a local (US) bank, and had a short telephone interview to explain why he needed the account. He plans to use it and the free EC and credit cards it provides to use on infrequent trips to Germany. There are neither charges for running the account nor for the cards. My friend moved accounts from a similar one with 1822direkt who have now started charging.

Further free accounts can be found at www.gebührenfreies-girokonto.de although some of them are more stringent in their conditions. This useful website is run by our friend and fellow TT member Olaf43
bcaptain78
John G - I understand the question but I'll be traveling to Germany anyway, so I figured why not do this while I'm there! The idea is to start up with a smaller amount (cash in Euros that I currently have on hands) and keep adding to it. In today's economy it's good to have assets in different currencies.

JorkshireLad6 - DKB sounds like a great option. I'll call them next week. Hopefully I'll be able to talk to an English Speaking Rep. Also, does Germany have something like FDIC here in the States? Are deposits insured? I noticed that the Bank of Scotland has some great rates on CDs. Since they are operating in Germany would they also be covered by some type of federal insurance if something like that even exists there?

Sorry guys that I'm asking all these questions :-)
HEM
Hopefully I'll be able to talk to an English Speaking Rep.
The chances of this are not going to be very high.
MiNi79
Deutsche bank has monthly fees, sadly, so if you find a better deal, go there, obviously. And if YL6 said that you can open an account from overseas, then that would obviously be great.

However, what I heard from my DB rep is that someone only needs to be in the country to sign up for an account at Deutsche Bank, that you do not need a permanent address here, (all statements will be online) and they can send your cards overseas. Also, all your money will be covered, up to somewhere in the millions of euros amount. (Don't remember it because I certainly was beyond my limit!) But it's not just 100,000 covered, as in the U.S.
PandaMunich
Deposit insurance:


  • Bank of Scotland: only allows accounts for German residents, is an Internet bank, i.e. no branches, so you would additionally need a normal German bank account, e.g. at DKB. Deposit insurance: part of the UK guarantee funds, i.e. they guarantee up to 85,000 GBP, i.e. about 100,000€.

  • DKB: if you open their free bank account, DKB-Cash, they don't want to see you in one of their branches to the extent that they don't even list branch addresses on their web site. They are part of the German guarantee funds for public banks since it's a daughter company of the BayernLB, the Bavarian state bank. This means that all deposits are guranteed without limit, i.e. you can deposit as much as you like with them and get it all back should the bank fail. No German state or public bank has ever failed.

  • Deutsche Bank: part of the guarantee funds of German private banks, 850 million € are guaranteed per customer. Some smaller German private banks have folded in the past 50 years, but the customers always got their money back.
IvoMV
I might be interested in doing the opposite in the U.S. - I'm going there for some weeks and have wondered if I would like to perhaps have a bank account there. I could then have an account in USD to use with Paypal and other things. Depending on the costs associated with it, might be worth it (even though I doubt it is worth the trouble).

I doubt they will want to let me, and probably there isn't much benefit from it anyway.

Ivo.
nulunu
In today's economy it's good to have assets in different currencies.
if that's your main aim, why not get a euro account in the US? it's a bit of a niche product, but surely available.

I noticed that the Bank of Scotland has some great rates on CDs.
may not last though, if you want good rates you may need to switch bank every year. the way these accounts usually work is attract people with good rate and after a while quietly switch to mediocre rates, hoping most people aren't bothered to switch away. in your case opening new accounts every year may not be practical.
notdeadyet
Rubbish. You don't need to be a resident at all, and neither do you need to move money into or out of it.

Only last evening I was talking to a friend in the USA who recently opened a completely free and non-commital account with DKB from across the water. He completed an online application form, had his identity formally confirmed by a local (US) bank, and had a short telephone interview to explain why he needed the account. He plans to use it and the free EC and credit cards it provides to use on infrequent trips to Germany. There are neither charges for running the account nor for the cards. My friend moved accounts from a similar one with 1822direkt who have now started charging.

Further free accounts can be found at www.gebührenfreies-girokonto.de although some of them are more stringent in their conditions. This useful website is run by our friend and fellow TT member Olaf43
Before I actually became a German resident (in the 90's) I was travelling to Germany on business frequently, and opened an account with Commerzbank as a non-resident so I could get a mobile phone. It wasn't easy, and they didn't want to do it, but eventually I found a naive new employee who opened the account for me. At the time, I don't think there was any specific law against it, but being as risk-adverse as the Germans tend to be, I suspect that just didn't want any headaches.

If location doesn't matter, you can open a non-resident account at any laCaixa bank in Spain in 15 minutes with your passport and not much else. Easy to use Online banking offering virtually any banking function in 7 languages, visa debit card, the works. €30 per year in fees to maintain the account. You can use the card anywhere, for purchases, ATMs, and even for online purchases. I used it extensively in the US last year without any problems whatsoever.
YorkshireLad6
At the time, I don't think there was any specific law against it, but being as risk-adverse as the Germans tend to be, I suspect that just didn't want any headaches.
There still is no law against it. Any bank can take any customer from anywhere. They are, however, required to perform due diligence that the customer officially exists (to prevent fraud) and of course will perform creditworthiness checks if there is any risk they may loan (give the ability to borrow) money (which includes issuing credit or EC cards). Of course, some banks will also look at the likely use the customer will make of their bank services to be sure they can earn money from them (and this may include the provision of loan facilities).

The bottom line is that any bank can take anyone as customer, but there are legal checks they must make, there are no legal prohibitions, and they may have their own determination as to which customers they actually want.
bcaptain78
Thanks guys as always for your help. I decided to go with Deutsche Bank. I have already contacted them and they confirmed that I can open and account there. They seem to be the best option for me and I also don’t mind paying a small monthly fee to have an account with them. I feel that it will be much more continent for me to just walk into a branch, set everything up and be done with it.
mattiej
Topics merged by admin
Does anyone have a good recommendation for a bank that will accept someone who is a non resident? I'm Australian and I have a 1 year visa at the moment...DiBa and DKB are out I'm guessing as I'm not an EU national. Any others that people have had success with?

Thanks!
DG800
Why should DKB be out? I'm non resident (though EU national - but I don't think that makes any difference) and I just successfully opened an account with
them. You just need to go to a German Post Office once (for PostIdent) and provide them with some proof that the address you give as your own really is your address of primary residence. A utility bill or some document from another bank will be enough.

Cheers,

Vale
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