Opening a bank account in Germany - what's best?

55 posts in this topic

On 15/3/2017, 09:21:18, Krieg said:

If you do not have a data plan on your phone then you wouldn't want to open an account with a bank that it is 100% online

 

I don't see why having an account at a direct bank (the technical term for online-only banks) would require having a data plan or even a smartphone. I have always done my online banking at home, on a PC. I must admit that to date, I haven't felt the urge to do an Überweisung while riding the U-Bahn.

 

Even if one wants to use the bank's smartphone apps, there's no need to have a data plan. The bank apps work just as well over wi-fi, pretty  much like all other apps do.

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1 hour ago, yourkeau said:

Well, all Sparkasse banks have totally independent finances, i.e. Sparkasse Bayreuth is not responsible for financial problems of Sparkasse Gunzenhausen. In smaller towns/villages they have the best ATM network

 

They may have an extensive ATM network but they charge you for using the ATMs of other banks. I prefer my online-only accounts which allow me to use any ATM of any bank and of any Sparkasse.

 

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and the highest number of branches.

 

And thus, the highest monthly costs for maintaining all this infrastructure and for paying all the employees that staff it. Who do you think pays for all this? The tooth fairy? No wonder their conditions suck.

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We were talking about N26 for which you only have a couple of free ATM transactions a month. If you want to do more that 2 or 3 transactions a month then you have to do it in supermarkets for which you need your Smartphone, their app and potentially an Internet connection.

Of course we all know that you can do everything from home. There is even people who refuse e-Banking at all and still do everything manually. But we were discussing NEW things in the market and if you do not want them then do not open an account in those banks because it wouldn't makese sense to you.

It is like discussing NFC payments and you saying I do not need them because I can use my EC-Card. It is all OK, you do not want them but it does not mean that other ones do not want them either and the ones who want NFC payments would need and NFC-enabled smartphone.

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So the basic argument for using Sparkasse is "people have used them since they were a kid". I've picked my nose since I was a kid but it doesn't mean it's a good habit.

 

For the cash machines argument, sorry but this is BS. With accounts like ING Diba you can withdraw cash free from any Visa cash machine, i.e. every bank's ATMs, without paying a fee. The only time I've been stuck and had to use a Sparkasse ATM is in ski resorts or the middle of the Black Forest.  

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Last time friends visited to me and had some US dollars in cash. It appeared that the only bank who could do that was Sparkasse (apart from Reisebank ripoff). They however charged quite a hefty fee because I was not a customer. Otherwise that would have been free.

 

While online banks are good, I do not support the idea that brick and mortar banks should be abandoned.

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9 hours ago, chickenmadras said:

So the basic argument for using Sparkasse is "people have used them since they were a kid".

It wasn't an "argument" as in me trying to convince people to sign up with Sparkasse. It was to explain why many Germans are using them. And usually the accounts for children and young adults/students are free of most charges. Online banking didn't really exist when most Germans were young.

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Fair enough...it's another "Germans don't like change" topic isn't it. 

My local Volksbank actually has an ad campaign with the slogan "wir sind die Guten". I wish I worked in marketing for those guys. I could do my work in one hour and spend the rest of the day on TT :D

 

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2 hours ago, chickenmadras said:

Fair enough...it's another "Germans don't like change" topic isn't it. 

My local Volksbank actually has an ad campaign with the slogan "wir sind die Guten". I wish I worked in marketing for those guys. I could do my work in one hour and spend the rest of the day on TT :D

 

 

I wouldn't say that Germans don't like change when it comes to banks (or anything else that will demonstrably save them money, for that matter). If you look at the figures, Germany has the largest number of direct banks in Europe and the largest number of clients. By far.

 

That said, lots of people simply won't change their banking habits, just like they won't change any of their other habits. This is particularly true among the older and the less educated, who prefer to stick to whatever they are familiar with, even if its woefully outdated (like those bank statement printers that some people religiously visit once a month to print their statements, instead of just getting them online).

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6 hours ago, Joe-K said:

That said, lots of people simply won't change their banking habits, just like they won't change any of their other habits.

I´d have closed down my account with Santanderbank a long time ago if it wasn´t too much of a hassle to move all the direct debit orders to another bank. I have no idea who I gave them debit order authorisation to and would have to check account statement for at least a whole year. Much too lazy for that.

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What is the procedure here ?

I just open a new account with another bank and wait for the new bank to contact me which standing orders are to be transferred with the new one ?

Afterwards safely close the account with the old bank ?

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Some banks have contracted FinTechs like this one: https://www.finreach.com/switch-kits/

to do the changeover digitally, i.e. once you have opened the new account, the new bank sends you login data to the FinTech's website, you give the FinTech access to your old online bank account, and they then go through your transactions for the past year (well, actually the past 13 months, so that they're sure to catch all transactions) and:

  1. take a look at all incoming transactions and see whether they recur periodically, e.g. your salary, and then contact the person/institution these incoming amounts hailed from and tell them your new account number, 
  2. contact all the institutions that had direct debits (= Lastschriften) on that account and tell them you new account, and
  3. create new standing orders (= Daueraufträge) from our new account to replace your old Daueraufträge.

If you don't want to give anybody access to your old online account, or if your old account isn't online, you can also take the folder with your old paper Kontoauszüge for the past 13 months to the new bank and they will then manually go through your Kontoauszüge and recreate them for your new account.

 

Other banks contact the old bank directly and ask for that data: http://www.faz.net/aktuell/finanzen/meine-finanzen/sparen-und-geld-anlegen/girokonto-der-kontowechsel-wird-einfacher-14433979.html

 

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Piggybacking on this thread to ask a few questions.

  • What is the difference between a girokonto and sparkonto? I am looking for an account to get my salary and for online/atm/card payments
  • I see some banks offer both a giro card and a master/visa card. Is this something necessary, or will a visa/master debit card be sufficient?
  • From what I have read, online banks will need a SCHUFA score, since I have only just moved to Germany, I guess this rules them out for me. I don't have a work contract yet, but will hopefully get one soon. Will the physical banks be ready to open an account for me before I get a contract? My wife already works here, so if nothing else works, is it possible for me to be added as a joint account holder in her existing account, and get my own card?
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15 hours ago, thebeautifulgame said:

What is the difference between a girokonto and sparkonto? I am looking for an account to get my salary and for online/atm/card payments

Only a girokonto will allow you online/card payments.

 

15 hours ago, thebeautifulgame said:

I see some banks offer both a giro card and a master/visa card. Is this something necessary, or will a visa/master debit card be sufficient?

They are complementary. Not all shops accept credit cards (as they have to pay fees for those transaction) and debit cards will not be accepted in some instances (e. g. car rentals, online-shopping).

15 hours ago, thebeautifulgame said:

From what I have read, online banks will need a SCHUFA score, since I have only just moved to Germany, I guess this rules them out for me.

Not necessarily. Try e. g. DKB or N26. They will initially give you a very low overdraft facitily though.

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