Opening a German online bank account from abroad

93 posts in this topic

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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

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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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Swift transfers from Germany to the UK are free, but apparently some UK banks charge to receive these payments.

 

Swift transfers from the UK to Germany should be free, but most banks charge – even Nationwide, usually the Good Guy, charges a breathtaking £30.

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This thread seems to be getting bogged down in detail and going nowhere. I wrote, possibly in another thread, that I think it's possible to open an account online and that a permanent address in Germany is not necessarily a pre-condition. In fact I've just checked with one random bank and the application clearly asks which country you're living in and what you're address is. It clearly does not preclude an account being held by somebody living outside of Germany. That doesn't mean that it won't be neccessary at some point to appear personally at the bank and to provide valid evidence of identity. AFAIA the bank is obliged by law to see this documentation but not necessarily at the time the account is opened.

My suggestion to avoid distracting complications would be that you PM me, telling me how you'll wish to use the account so we can be certain you get what you're looking for and then I either point you in the right direction or, if necessary, we hook up by phone, log onto the same site and I talk you through it; or I simply say sorry, too complicated, can't help.

In recent years I've assisted at least 6 people to open accounts, both online and standard branch, because it was their intention to purchase a property in Germany and I was advising them in connection with the sale. In no case did these people have addresses in Germany at the time. In the last case the guy lived in the west of England, didn't proceed with the sale, and now uses the account for his occasional visits.

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This thread seems to be getting bogged down in detail and going nowhere.

Sorry to hear it doesn't meet with your approval.

 

 

My suggestion to avoid distracting complications would be that you PM me

Here's a better idea: DON'T send a PM, but instead publish everything on this thread, so that it can be of use to other people in the future. Is that not the entire point of a chat forum?

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Hey W-Spittle. If you look at the original post it said:

 

 

We want to set up the account to receive Euro payments by bank transfer for German customers to our website.

Thus you will see that most of the posts deal with why the OP wants to avoid for example a UK based €uro account, or to avoid high possible transfer charges, and even include other German payment options he may wish to consider for his website business.

 

Just 'cos your brain works in a fixed linear fashion don't diss others for being more open minded. It's hardly like we veered off randomly.

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Hey W-Spittle. If you look at the original post it said:

Thus you will see that most of the posts deal with why the OP wants to avoid for example a UK based €uro account, or to avoid high possible transfer charges, and even include other German payment options he may wish to consider for his website business.

Just 'cos your brain works in a fixed linear fashion don't diss others for being more open minded. It's hardly like we veered off randomly.

As usual it seems that Johhny English is spoiling for a tussle but that's his business.

 

This is what I see in my fixed linear fashion as being the defining element of the post.

 

<< Does anyone know how to open a German on-line bank account without being based in Germany?

 

I don't see it as my business or aim to determine what he wants to do with the account, and neither do I see it as helpful or constructive to discuss problems and complications that for me don't yet exist, as what I see as the core of the request hadn't at the that I responded, been answered.

 

Have a good day.

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