When moving to or setting up a business in Germany it becomes necessary to open a bank account. In order to open an account with a German bank you will be required to provide the following documents: a valid ID (usually passport), a certificate of residency that can be obtained with the local Residence Registration Office (Einwohnermeldeamt), a payment statement, required for some types of accounts and the work permit.
The most popular type of German bank account is the current account (Girokonto), also known as a checking account. With this type of account you will be able to make many financial transactions, such as receiving the salary or paying the bills. You can use the Girokonto account for money transfers, to withdraw money by using an EC-card that will usually be issued when opening the bank account; you can set up bill payments by direct debit so the money will be automatically withheld from the bank account at the desired date. You can also access your current account through online banking. Overdrafts are usually issued after the first six months.
The German savings accounts (Sparbuch) are best suited for people looking to put money aside because the interest rate is good for this type of account. Once you have set up your savings account a passbook will be handed to you in order deposit money.
Other types of German bank accounts are the instant access savings accounts (Tagesgeldkonto) and securities accounts (depot).
You can open a bank account in Germany by simply going to the bank, although setting up an appointment is advisable. Banks have their own rules about the documentation a person must present upon opening the bank account. First of all you must present your ID, but an employment contract or a payment statement could also be required. If you want an overdraft you must also present a credit history, but if you have just come to Germany it won’t be possible for the first half year to request an overdraft, as German banks will observe if any money is put into the bank account in the first 6 months.
In order to open a German bank account online, the procedure begins with accessing the bank’s website and looking for the application form (Privatekunden Girokonto). Once you have filled in the form with all required information you must select the options that will be activated for your bank account, such as overdrafts. After the form has been filled you must print it and go to any post office of Deutsche Post with it, with an ID and the residential registration form (Anmeldebescheinigung) and send the request to the bank. In a few days you will receive an answer to your application.
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