Best German banks – Comparison
Finding the best German bank is the most important task after moving to Germany. Without a German bank account it is impossible to rent out a flat, sign up for a mobile contract or even pay the electricity bill. Therefore doing some research and finding the best bank in Germany that matches your needs might take some time. Some of the points to consider are:
– Is it free of charge to open and maintain a bank account?
– Are money withdrawals from any ATM free of charge?
– Quality of online banking
– Service like 24/7 hotline
How to sign up for a German bank account
You will find information and ratings on the best German banks based on the points mentioned above. To sign up with a German bank account you needed to have a permanent address in Germany in the past. But luckily with DKB you can already sign up from abroad. But for any other German bank use the address of a friend who you completely trust, if you don’t have a place to live yet.
DKB is considered to be the best German online bank. As an almost exclusively online bank, all your transactions can be processed online with no need for branches around town. DKB does have a few branches around Germany, but as the web interface is easy to navigate and very fast, you will never miss the feeling of queuing up for hours just to transfer some money.
Another reason why DKB online banking is considered the best is that they offer a 24/7 emergency line. No matter if your credit card got stolen or if you lost your ec-card, DKB is very fast compared to traditional banks.
Why else is DKB considered the best German bank? Believe it or not, DKB Cash is one of the few German bank accounts that are completely free of charge, no matter whether you are a student, or you use it as your main account for your monthly salary – there are no set up fees and no monthly fees for your account. Furthermore, you will get a DKB Visa Card that is also completely free of charge.
Free money withdrawal worldwide with DKB Visa card
The biggest advantage of the DKB Visa Card is that you can withdraw money free of charge from any ATM worldwide. Most banks charge a fixed fee of approximately 5 Euros or up to 5% of the withdrawn money, but with the DKB Visa Card all your withdrawals are completely free of charge. This is very useful, as for example in Berlin you might not find too many ATMs around. And if you’ve signed up with, let’s say Sparkasse, you have to pay some fees to withdraw money from ATMs that are not operated by Sparkasse. So the DKB Visa Card will save you a lot of fees for withdrawing money, and will be priceless if you are a frequent traveller and don’t want to spend a fortune on ATM fees worldwide.
Best online interface
Another reason you should sign up for DKB Cash is that the online banking interface is very intuitive and fast. Even if you are not used to doing everything online yet, you will be able to understand and navigate the DKB website without problems. And furthermore, the level of service at DKB is outstanding. As mentioned before, there is a 24/7 emergency hotline (local Berlin landline instead of a very expensive 0900 service number) that can sort out any problem that might occur. For less urgent problems, there is a contact form online that the clients can use.
Continue reading here for even more detailed information on DKB Cash.
Comdirect is another German online bank that constantly rates among the best German banks. Similar to DKB, Comdirect is also an exclusive online bank that offers all services online only. Comdirect even offers new clients a welcome bonus of 50€, and under certain circumstances even up to 100€. In 2013, Comdirect came first on a comparison of 58 German banks, as the best bank in Germany.
Free sign up and no monthly cost
Signing up with Comdirect is also free of charge and no additional monthly fees occur, no matter what you use the account for. When opening an account with Comdirect you get a Girocard and a Visa Credit Card, also free of charge. With the Comdirect Visa Card, you can withdraw cash from any ATM in Germany and worldwide completely free of charge. Again, this is very useful if you live in a city like Berlin, where you will not find many ATMs around, or if you love to travel and don’t want to carry around traveler cheques or a large amount of cash.
The quality of the Comdirect online banking is comparable to DKB’s; everything a bank has to offer, you can do online. However, compared to DKB, the interface is not that intuitive, and the design looks like it needs a little refreshing. But this is nothing serious, just complaining on a high level. And last but not least, Comdirect offers a lot of useful services. You can search online for the next ATM that is free of charge if you use your Girocard, which is a very useful feature. The sign up process is very clearly structured and Comdirect even offers a useful banking App.
Traditional German banks
Of course there are also traditional German banks that have branches throughout Germany, such as Sparkasse and Hypovereinsbank. But signing up with one of these banks might bring some disadvantages and is therefore not recommended.
Disadvantages of traditional banks
First of all, their online websites are not as easy to use and intuitive as the ones from DKB or Comdirect. So if you are planning to do all your banking online, this is already a huge disadvantage of the more traditional banks. Also, signing up for a bank account with these banks is not something you can do easily online. You will need to go to one of their branches, which will mean a lot of waiting and German bureaucracy.
Another problem is that you will be charged for any withdrawal from an ATM that is not the bank’s own. So if you are signed up with Sparkasse, you will need to either search for an ATM from Sparkasse, or bite bullet and pay some huge and unneccesary fees for withdrawing money from another ATM.
No 24/7 service hotlines
And don’t forget, if you have problems and need help fast, you will need to go to their branch or hope that their customer service line is operating (most of them don’t offer 24/7 service).
Best German banks are online
So, as you can see, the best German banks are (almost) completely online services that adapted to their clients’ needs faster than the old, traditional banks. The biggest advantages of DKB or Comdirect are bank accounts and Visa Credit cards free of charge, and also free withdrawal of cash worldwide.