Best Business Bank Account for Self-Employed & Freelancers 🇩🇪 [2023]

by | Jan 22, 2023 | Banking & Finances in Germany

Home 9 Banking & Finances in Germany 9 Best Business Bank Account for Self-Employed & Freelancers 🇩🇪 [2023]

Germany is one of the most appropriate and popular choices for freelancers and self-employed businesses in European countries, one of the reasons is its easy freelancer visa for foreigners. Holding a freelancer visa in Germany could allow a foreigner to legally live, work, and earn while entertaining other facilities offered by the German lifestyle. 

Short Comparison of the Best Business Banks Account in Germany

Services OfferedQontoFYRSTN26KontistHolvi
English Customer Service⛔️
Account CostPaidFreeFreeFreePaid
Monthly Transactions3050Unlimited10Unlimited
Withdrawal Charges1 EuroFree3 Free Monthly Withdrawals2 Euros2.5% fee 
International transactions fee1% fee per transactionNA1% fee per transactionNANA
App Compatibility (Android & iOS)BothBothBothBothBoth
Business Card 21Virtual Debit Master cardVirtual only1

Before we get into the details, let’s have a quick sneak at our options if you are looking for best business accounts in Germany for freelancers and self-employed is best for you:

Freelancing and Self-employment in Germany

A freelancer earn through exercising independently in the free profession allowed by law in Germany. A freelancer is not full-time or part-employed and does not function as a business or a partnership.

The German Income Tax Act and the Partnership companies Act, the free professions that can be exercised by freelancers independently are these: translators, pilots, dentists, physiotherapists, journalists, interpreters, image reporters, economists, advisory bodies, accountants, naturopaths, engineers, trade chemists, notaries, lawyers, dentists, doctors, teachers, educators, lecturers, writers, scientists, and artists. 

While if you employ the help of other technically trained workers to exercise your independent free profession, you are not categorized as a freelancer now, it is called self-employment, according to German law.

Now, if you have got yourself a freelancer’s visa in Germany, let’s move towards the next most important step to manage your business; Opening a bank account..!!

Importance of Opening a Separate Business Bank Account for your Freelancer or Self-employed Business in Germany

For a foreigner, working as a freelancer or self-employed in Germany, it is not compulsory to open a separate bank account in Germany, you can manage your finances via international banking through the current bank account of your home country.

But why would you like to pay a tremendous amount as a fee for international banking?

It is also possible that your current account, in your home country, would not allow you to utilize it as a business account…

 It is recommended to have a separate business account in Germany, which can be beneficial to you, for the year-end declaration of taxes and other transactions in Germany. 

If you keep the same bank account for private and business expenses, it could be difficult for you to manage the transparency of private and business expenses and transactions.

Some business accounts in Germany offer optional services like invoice sending, payment receiving, salary payouts, and tax calculations, which you cannot avail of while managing your finances with a private account.

Let’s learn about opening a business account in Germany

Beware !! Not all Country’s Passport is accepted by German Fintech Banks. 

If you want to open a bank account in any of the German Fintech Bank accounts, then beware that they don’t accept all Passports. For example, Pakistani is not accepted by many Fintech banks like N26, FRYST. So it is recommended to first inquire from your selected bank if they accept the passport of your country or not. Then start the registration process, because if they reject your application afterward then they will negatively impact your SCHUFA score.

If you are rejected by Fintech banks then you either go for traditional banks or try Business Banks account from Wise and Revolut

How to Open a Business Bank account in Germany?

It’s quite simple to open a business bank account in Germany.

For Freelancers (Freiberufler)

If you are a freelancer working independently, you would need your passport, German or European residence permit, identity card, and your official registered address (Anmeldung) registration certificate issued by the residential registration office.

For Self-Employed (Trade Person)

If you are self-employed in Germany, you need to show your business registration

(Gewerbeanmeldung) issued by the trade office (Gewerbeamt) along with your identity card, Official registered address in Germany (Anmeldung), and German Tax ID Number (Steuer-ID).

For a Corporation of Business Partnership (Personengesellschaften)

The required documents for opening a business bank account for your corporation or partnership business are; Your ID or passport, Business registration (Gewerbeanmeldung), Terms of association (Gesellschaftervertrag), shareholders list (Gesellschafterliste), Commercial registration (Handelsregisterauszug), shareholders’ account authorization (Kontovollmachten fur Gesellschafter).

Some additional documents that may be required by a few banks are; your business registration, SCHUFA or credit score, bank statement of your private account, income proof, or pay slips for your last three months

Types of Business Bank Accounts in Germany

Business bank accounts are classified into 3 types:

  • Direct Banks (Direkt-Banks)
  • Traditional Banks
  • Mobile or Fintech Banks

Direct Banks (Direkt-Banks)

  • Serves customers by telephone, online, or mail services
  • No maintained branches of the bank
  • 24 hours available services
  • Advanced safety standards
  • No opening or closing hours
  • Free additional customer services 
  • Lower costs

Names of Top Direct Banks in Germany

Traditional Banks (Filialbank)

  • A traditional banking institution with a proper network and infrastructure of branches
  • Branches are available in every large city and town in Germany
  • Offers more advanced customer service
  • Terms and conditions more suitable for foreigners working as freelancers or self-employed in Germany

Names of popular traditional banks in Germany

Mobile or Fintech Banks (Mobile-Bank)

  • Popularly known as M-Banking 
  • More convenient for transactions and other services
  • Offers lesser reliability on cash
  • You can manage your account feasibly using a smartphone anywhere
  • No dependency on the opening and closing hours of banks
  • Eco-friendly and safe banking, with almost zero paper dependency 
  • Suitable for freelancers or self-employed ex-pats in Germany

Name of Fintech mobile banks in Germany that offers a free business account for freelancers:

Do Banks Charge a Fee to Manage Business Accounts?

Yes..!! It’s not always free. The charged fees are dependent upon the additional services you are entertaining from your business bank account. 

Additional services such as opening foreign currency accounts, making regular cash deposits, and withdrawals, EC, or business cards for business partners can cost you an additional fee.

Do Banks Charge a Fee to Manage Business Accounts?

Yes..!! It’s not always free. The charged fees are dependent upon the additional services you are entertaining from your business bank account. 

Additional services such as opening foreign currency accounts, making regular cash deposits, and withdrawals, EC, or business cards for business partners can cost you an additional fee. 

What is the Normal Account Management Fee for Business Customers In Germany?

The usual account management fee ranges between zeros to ninety Euros per month.

Is a Business Bank Account Legally Required?

No, there is no legal requirement for freelancers and self-employed foreigners to have a separate business bank account, except for corporations.

Can I Manage my Business With My Normal Bank Account in Germany?

Yes, you can use your current account, until your monthly transactions are not too high. 

But it is advised to start your business with a business bank account; to avoid the hassle of switching your business account at a later stage, as it can burden you with an additional cost. You will have to change your bank details with your all clients and customers, which can be quite bickering.

Can I Open a Business Bank Account in Germany, while being outside Germany?

Direktbank allows customers to open a business bank account from outside the country if they have all the required documents for opening a bank account.

Most Famous Banks for Freelancers and Self-employed in Germany

Learn about some of the most popular banks appropriate for a foreigner to open a business bank account as a freelancer or self-employed in Germany.

Qonto

Qonto is basically French digital banking, serving in Germany with German IBAN. The main focus of the services of Qonto is on small businesses and freelancers. It is the first digital bank for business, having expanded service in many European countries.

Qonto Business accounts for freelancers in germany

Pros

Accepts all legal business forms, very feasible for freelancers and self-employed.
‘FYRST Base’ offers free bank account services to freelancers and self-employed.
For other legal forms such as; GmbH, UG, GbR (corporations or partnerships), monthly fees is only 6 Euros per month
‘FYRST Complete’ premium account only costs a fee of 10 Euros per month.
Offers a free debit card and 50 free transactions per month.
You can withdraw money from ATMs anywhere in Germany.

Cons

⛔️ Services are available only in the German language. 

FYRST

FYRST, a new business-dedicated German digital bank formed by two major banks Postbank and Deutsche Bank in Germany. It offers its premium services only in the German language.

Fryst Business accounts for self employemnt in germany

Pros

Provide services for all legal business forms such as freelancers, UG, and GmbH.
Offers various monthly plans depending on business size, starting from 9 Euros per month up to 249 Euros per month.
Allows 30 to 1,000 monthly transactions, depending on your selected business plan.
Provides a free MasterCard/ Debit card to every account holder.
Supports Google Pay & Apple Pay
Offers excellent customer service, available via chat email, or phone calls available 24/7.
Feasible banking services are available in English, German, Spanish, Italian, and French.

Cons

⛔️ Charge 2% foreign currency fees
⛔️ Charge 1% as ATM withdrawal fees
⛔️ No cash deposit is possible
⛔️ No offered customer service of live chat
⛔️ Monthly account fees start from 9 Euros per month

N26

N26, is a well-known and leading digital bank in Germany, that offers normal bank accounts as well as a business bank account for freelancers and self-employed clients. It was founded in 2013 in Berlin and now is one of the largest mobile banks in Europe.

n26 Business accounts for self employemnt in germany

Pros

The account opening costs no charges or fees.
Provides a free virtual MasterCard debit card to customers.
Offers free monthly unlimited transaction
Services available in English, and many other languages 
Supports Google Pay and Apple Pay

 

Cons

⛔️ Business bank account services at N26 are only available for freelancers and self-employed and not for corporations and partnership businesses.
⛔️ On ATM cash withdrawal, N26 charges 1.7%foreign currency fees
⛔️ Physical debit card costs 10 Euros one-time fees

Kontist

Kontist is a famous Berlin Based banking service that offers instant online account openings only in 9 minutes. It offers dedicated services exclusively for self-employed and freelancers in Germany. It offers 100% digital bank account service with a small fee for premium features.

kontist Business accounts for freelancers in germany

Pros

Service at Kontist is 100% without paper
Supports Google Pay and Apple Pay
Charge no monthly account fee
✅ Services are available online in English and other languages

Cons

⛔️  Charge 2 Euros monthly as account maintenance fees if you are having the transactions of less than 300 Euros in a month
⛔️  Charge 1.7% foreign currency fees
⛔️  Charge 2 Euros ATM cash withdrawal fee
⛔️  Charge 29 Euros per year on non-virtual debit Visa card

Holvi

Holvi is famous Finland based entirely digital bank, engaged in serving for business bank accounts. The business bank accounts services are available for 9 Euros per month and can be upgraded to avail premium features.

holvi Business accounts for freelancers in germany

Pros

✅  Accepts all major legal business forms, such as freelancers, GmbH, and UG.
✅  Holvi Lite account cost only 9 Euros per month, upgraded service and extra features can be avail for 15 Euros per month.
✅  Extra feature includes 3 debit cards.
✅  Holvi Lite account offers one free debit card
✅  Unlimited free transactions
✅  Online banking app available in the English language also.
✅  Supported by Google Pay and Apple Pay

Cons

⛔️  Account charges of 9-15 Euros every month
⛔️  2.5% fee charge on cash withdrawal every time

What are the Criteria to Select the Best Bank for Opening a Business Bank Account in Germany?

You can look for the following features while selecting a bank for opening your business bank account in Germany:

  • Account management fees cost by banks for business bank accounts
  • Transactions cost (cash withdrawal and cash deposit)
  • Offer a free Debit card/MasterCard or not
  • Number of free transactions offered 
  • Easy terms and conditions for opening a business account, for a foreigner
  • Customer services offered in other languages other than German
  • Interest rate
  • German IBAN available or not
  • Online management of accounts (payments, invoices, transactions) 
  • Last but not least, Cash back rewards

Bottom line

There are several finest banks in Germany that offers excellent services for freelancers and self-employed business bank account. For a foreigner in Germany, opening a business bank account is a task that requires proper research and information about the pros and cons of the services, a bank is offering. You should figure out all business bank account management services and charges of a bank, before selecting it to manage your earnings through freelancing or self-employed work in Germany. It depends on your requirements, pick the one that suits you best..!!

⚠️ In our articles, we use affiliate links from our affiliate partners. If you click these links and purchase a service or a product then we may earn a small commission, without any extra cost to you. This way, we stay motivated and bring you all you need to know about Germany. 

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