Best English Speaking Banks in Germany + Pros & Cons [2022]

by | May 4, 2022 | Banking & Finances in Germany

Home 9 Banking & Finances in Germany 9 Best English Speaking Banks in Germany + Pros & Cons [2022]
Among all the other things a foreigner can have problems with while adjusting in Germany, banking (arguably) tops the list because of its implication in the succeeding affairs. Even if you have not currently moved in the country, it is recommended to begin researching on the bank you want to trust in order to ensure financial security and subsequently, a seamless transition over to Germany.

Why Do You Need a Bank Account in Germany?

If you are new to Germany, it is likely that you do not have a registered address, or a residence permit just yet. Therefore, while you are going through your banking options, it is important to choose a bank that offers you their services on the basis of a foreign passport.

You are going to need a bank account for the following reasons and more:

      To pay your rent

      To receive your salary

      To register for electricity and other utilities

      To register for internet

      To register for a phone plan

      To get your liability insurance

      To shop online

Quick Comparison Between Some Expat-Friendly English Speaking Banks

 N26Vivid MoneyCommerzbankBunqTomorrow BankDeutsche Bank
Banking SystemOnlineOnlineOnline and in-branchOnlineOnlineOnline and in-branch
English language SupportPartiallyPartially
Monthly Fee⛔️⛔️Only with min €700 monthly Cash-inMinimum €33 €5.9€
Free Debit CardsVirtual Debit MastercardVisa DebitEC Girocard & Virtual Debit cardVisa Debit MastercardVisa DebitEC card
Credit Cards⛔️⛔️⛔️⛔️⛔️
Free Cash - WithdrawalsUp to 3x a monthUp to €200 / monthAt Cash Group ATMs10 Free withdrawals€2 per withdrawalAt Cash Group ATMs
Apple and Google PayApple Pay
Investment Options⛔️⛔️
Foreign Currency Fee⛔️⛔️⛔️
Available SupportChat & EmailChat & EmailPhone, Email & in personChat & EmailPhone, Email & chatPhone, Email, Online Contact form

Assessment Criteria for Choosing the Best Bank in Germany:

When it comes to banking providers in Germany, there is no shortage of options. However, among those thousand different options, only a handful of them stand as smart ones for expats and English speakers.

We have compiled a few features that prove significant and must be taken into consideration while searching for the bank that suits you.

When it comes to banking providers in Germany, there is no shortage of options. However, among those thousand different options, only a handful of them stand as smart ones for expats and English speakers.

We have compiled a few features that prove significant and must be taken into consideration while searching for the bank that suits you.

Monthly Charges

A few years ago, it was almost a fantasy to expect a bank to offer you its services for free in Germany. It was probably the cost of supportive customer service that came with it. However, since the swift shifting of most of the bank affairs towards the online system, this has become quite possible. It is important to thoroughly read the bank’s policy and look for any additional fees. Even if there is a fee, you should contact them to ask for what services are they charging in exchange for it.

Banking Cards

You might get a little confused while sorting through the types of cards banks in Germany offer. There are two different types of banking cards that have their own pros and cons.

Debit Cards (GiroKarte/EC Karte): These cards are directly linked to your checking or current bank account. Some of them work for both online and offline payments, while others are only accepted offline.

Credit Cards:  These cards come with a monthly limit for spending. At the end of the month, the spent money is directly detracted from your bank account and incase, your account does not have enough fund, your balance will be labeled as ‘overdraft’, which you will have to pay with high interest.

Language of Communication

The biggest hurdle you could face while moving into Germany is the gap in communication due to language differences. And since the role of banking in daily affairs has already been established above, the language they operate in should be taken into account before you make your choice.

Online Banking or Physical Bank

Although mobile banking has quite easily taken over the system of branch offices, there are still a number of banks that are operating offline. Both the banking systems are big on benefits and provide distinguishable ones, hence we recommend you reflect on what option will prove more comfortable for you and go with it.

Sign-up Process

Whether it is mobile banking or a branch office system, the sign-up process sometimes proves just as exhausting. Especially when you are given a long list of documents to produce, and you haven’t even properly settled down in the country. When choosing a suitable bank, you should look into some important things before signing up. These include minimum deposit limit, minimum balance limit, citizenship restriction, residency requirements and etc.

Cash Withdrawal

Despite the provision of banking cards by different banks, cash still remains a necessity in your wallet. Only a limited number of restaurants, cafes and malls accept cards. The biggest downside to banking in Germany is that some banks even charge separate ATM fees if you don’t get the cash out from the same bank, while some also allow free withdrawal from their partner ATMs. However, there is also a limit to how many times you can use the ATM before they start charging.

Expat Services

If you have a family at home, we recommend you open your account in a bank that offers international fund transfers at cheap rates.

Best English Speaking Banks in Germany

In this section, we will take you through the top-ranked banks that offer most of their services in English along with many other benefits that come with them

N26

Founded in 2013, Number26 has easily established its name as the best mobile bank across Europe. The reason for its popularity among the expats is its entire operation runs in the English language. From video chat verification to international fund transfer, N26 has gained its reputation as being the first bank to be completely virtual. It has no offline branch offices across the country.

It also allows you to open an account without an official residential address in Germany. There are no hidden fees, and you can sign up online within a few minutes – precisely 8 minutes!

In a span of a few years, N26 has managed to digitize the banking system with its clean and easily navigable mobile application.

best English bank n26 germany
Pros
100% in English
Easy verification process
Allow opening an account without official German address
✅ No Monthly fee
✅ Fast and affordable international transfers
✅ No Exchange fee on card payments for any currency
✅ Up to three free ATM cash withdrawals
✅ Free Maestro card
✅ Free Master Credit card
✅ 24/7 Realtime customer support
Cons
⛔️ Does not offer GiroCard
⛔️ Limited free Mastercard withdrawals
⛔️ No offline branch services
⛔️ One-time fee for physical debit Mastercard
⛔️  1.7% fees on cash withdrawals outside Germany
⛔️ Certain country nationalities not accepted

Vivid Money

Vivid money bank is a runner-up bank to N26 and currently competing to become the best. This bank is based in Berlin and is one of the best mobile banks when it comes to banking, investing, and organizing your savings or spending for free.

There is an additional feature for creating investment portfolios along with your bank account. You can also open multiple sub-accounts in your name which could help you organize your expenses efficiently.

best English bank vivid bank germany
Pros
✅ 24/7 Customer support with real representative
✅ Efficient usability of the phone application
✅ Quick sign-up process
✅ 100% free bank account set up
✅ Free metal Visa debit card
✅ Trading and investment functionality
✅ Extensive cashback program
✅ Trade of over 50 Crypto coins
✅ Tax return feature

 

Cons

⛔️ No Branch offices
⛔️ No Real credit card
⛔️ Limited free cash withdrawals per month
⛔️ Additional fee for a premium bank account
⛔️ No customer support over phone
⛔️ No Cashbacks from foreign countries

 

Commerzbank

It is the second-largest bank in Germany. Contrary to the above two banks, Commerzbank is a branch bank that caters to online banking as well. It has been rated #1 in Germany year after year. It has a website that offers only some parts in English, its mobile application and customer support currently operate in English. In branch space, they usually have at least one English speaker among them who is there to attend to the queries of the foreigners.

Along with a conventional bank account, Commerzbank also offers other banking options including, a securities account, loans, investments, and more. It is certainly the best option if you are planning on staying in Germany for long term.

best English bank commerzbank germany
Pros
✅ 500+ branches in the country
✅ Free virtual Mastercard debit card
✅ Free Girocard
✅ Easy to use phone application
✅ Apple and Google pay
✅ Available for all nationalities
✅ No Monthly fee for students under 27 years old
✅ Free withdrawals from Cash Group ATMs

 

Cons
⛔️Sign-up process in German
⛔️9.90 euro monthly fee if your deposit < 700 euro per month
⛔️Annual fee of 39.90 euro for credit card
⛔️Fee of 1.95% of withdrawal amount for other ATMs
⛔️Registered German address required
⛔️Limited functionality of the EC card

 

Bunq

Another mobile banking service running in the competition with a handful of benefits and a little to no drawbacks. Bunq offers customer services in more than five languages (including, English) and has a distinct source of support known as “Bunq Together”. The sign-up process of the mobile application is quite simple and can be completed in a few minutes. It also offers a travel card for a one-off setup fee.

The best part about this online banking system is that it offers both a free debit and credit card, making all sorts of spendings entirely flexible. Just like N26, it also allows you to make fast and affordable international transfers.

best English bank bunq bank germany
Pros
✅ Services in 7 languages
✅ Intuitive mobile application
✅ Free debit Mastercard and Maestro
✅ Up to 10 free ATM withdrawals per month
✅ Travel card
✅ Efficient sign-up process
✅ Multicurrency accounts with local IBAN numbers
✅ Allows bank account opening without German address

 

Cons
⛔️No offline branches
⛔️No customer support via phone
⛔️Minimum 3 euros monthly fee

Tomorrow Bank

This mobile bank was founded in 2017. A unique feature of this bank is that it uses the customer money for sustainable projects and protecting the forests. Up till now, the bank has invested more than 44,000,000 euros into renewable energies and 11,000,000 euros into social housing.

Looking at its conventional features, Tomorrow bank offers a free Visa debit card that can be used to make global payments and is fully recyclable. With its user-friendly mobile application interface, you can easily manage your daily banking needs and transfer money as well. The sign-up process of the bank does not require a registered German address.

best English bank Tomorrow bank germany
Pros
✅ Services in English
✅ Free Visa debit card
✅ Apple and Google pay
✅ Multiple sub-accounts
✅ Efficient sign-up process
✅ Does not require German address

 

Cons
⛔️No branch offices
⛔️No free accounts
⛔️2 Euros per ATM cash withdrawal
⛔️No real credit card
⛔️No GiroCard
⛔️Not available in certain nationalities

 

Deutsche Bank

Another online banking service, Deutsche Bank, despite supporting only a few operations in English, has surely built its reputation among the top 7 expat-friendly banks. It also follows the conventional system of banking and has around 1,680 branches in Germany.

You will find most of the written documents from the bank in German, but their online services are mostly available in the English language. In branch offices, they usually have some English-speaking staff members that are readily available to assist the customers. To make it easier for you, Deutsche bank also has an online tool to help you find your nearest branch.

best English bank deutsche bank germany
Pros
✅ Online banking services
✅ In-branch services
✅ Many branches across the country
✅ Good banking features
✅ Free ATM cash withdrawals from cash groups
✅ Free EC Card

 

Cons
⛔️Inconvenient sign-up process
⛔️Monthly fee of 5.90 euros
⛔️Extra charges for cash withdrawal from ATM of other cash groups
⛔️Annual fee of 39 euros for debit Visa or Mastercard
⛔️Requires Registered German address

 

German Banks for Expat Students

One thing that is a must-have for securing your visa for Germany is a Blocked Account or Sperrkonto. A blocked account is especially handy for students, trainees, or job seekers. You usually need to have a Blocked Account before you apply for a German visa since the German embassy or immigration office asks you to show it as financial proof which would show that you can afford your life in Germany.

A blocked account is a bank account that blocks your funds while you are living in Germany so that you will not be able to access all the funds at once; instead, the fund is transferred into your standard German bank account in the form of a monthly stipend. It is basically the staggered access to your funds blocked by the German authorities in order to indirectly manage your finances to ensure that you can sustain your life throughout your stay.

As of 1st January 2021, it is established by the German embassy that you need at least to have 10,332 euros in your Blocked Account when applying for the visa. From this amount, you will receive over 800 Euros every month for a year.

Link to the Topic
Best Blocked Account In Germany? [Detailed Guide with Steps]

You will find a number of banks across the country that support a Blocked Account. However, the account in Fintiba bank is most likely to be approved by German embassies and immigration offices worldwide. It is highly secure and runs through an online banking system, making the sign-up process easy and efficient. A Blocked Account with Fintiba charges 89 euros to set up with a monthly fee of 4.90 euros. This is by far the best rate offered by a bank in exchange for their exemplary services.

Compare the German Banks yourself

We can understand that sometimes, people want to do their own comparison. There are a number of platforms in Germany where you can compare different services. We can name two for you, one is Tarif Check for Financial stuff like Banks & Insurances. The other one is Verivox. Here is the tool where you can compare banks using TarifCheck

Conclusion

While choosing a bank, it is important to consider its fee and if it’s worth the services they are offering in exchange. Choosing a bank for their services may look trouble-some at first, but we are hopeful that this comprehensive comparison between some banks ranked preferable by the expats who are quite satisfied with their services, will prove helpful. You can get further information about the bank of your choice from their respective websites.

⚠️ 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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