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Best Bank Accounts for International Students in Germany [2023]

Everyone who is living in Germany needs a bank account, including international students. However, if you have a European banking card, you can survive, but having a current German account will always be an advantage. If you aren’t from the EU, you will have to open an account in a local bank.

Best banking accounts for international students in Germany:

  • Revolut
  • Norisbank
  • DKB
  • Bunq
  • Consorsbank
  • 1822direkt

Overall opening a student account in any German bank is a relatively easy process. But as in any other country, there are many different banks, and people get spoiled for choice.

From traditional banks to online fintech companies – almost all of them offer accounts for students, which are free in most cases.

Below we review some major banks in Germany which are offering special offers for international students.

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1. Revolut

Revolut has been my bank of choice since 2018. It’s the best bank you can find not only in Germany but in the entire Europe! Besides, it’s the fastest-growing digital bank with the widest range of features. For everyone who is traveling abroad, this is the best option. 

Revolut is based in the UK; hence, all its services run in English. Besides Germany and the UK, Revolut is available for everyone living in EEA countries, Switzerland, Australia, and since March 2020 in the US as well.

Their bank account and services are totally free. After you sign up for an account, they will send you your debit card anywhere you wish to.

If you once go traveling and pay in a different currency, they won’t charge additional fees for it, and they will also convert your money at the best possible rate (for you!).

Honestly, having a debit card and bank account with Revolut has been a massive help for me while living in Germany, but also while traveling all over the world. The main perks you get when getting a Revolut bank account: 

  • Free multicurrency, international bank account 
  • Free debit card – you pay only for a delivery
  • Credit card is optional
  • IBAN for Sepa transfers
  • Free money transfers 24/7 
  • Free multicurrency payments
  • Free withdrawals worldwide
  • Easy instant top-up
  • Instant transfers/payments
  • Fantastic app with a great user interface and simple navigation
  • Customer support via chat 24/7

If a standard free account isn’t enough for you, you can check their premium plans. Revolut has two premium tiers.

The first is called Premium, and it costs 7.99 EUR per month. The second is called Metal and costs 13.99 EUR. Paying this monthly price will get you a chick metal card.

Things to know:

Cash withdrawals in Germany and abroad

Withdrawing money from any ATM is free for up to 200 EUR per month; after that, it costs 2%.

Read our full review on Revolut.

https://russianvagabond.com/revolut-germany-review/

2. Norisbank

A student account from Norisbank is free and gives you a ton of benefits. Some of these include free cash withdrawals in Germany and abroad, a free credit card, Mastercard and girocard, and much more.

Norisbank is a part of the Deutsche Bank; hence, you can use their ATMs to take out cash but also ATMs of banks like Postbank, Commerzbank, and HypoVereinsbank.

Therefore, a student account from Norisbank features:

  • Free bank account
  • Mastercard debit card
  • Free cash withdrawals in Germany & EU (over 9,000 ATMs)
  • Free cash deposits
  • Maestro girocard
  • Overdraft and credit card
  • Free cashless payments in Germany & EU
  • Contactless payments
  • Free mobile app
  • Open an account online

With a card from Norisbank, you can easily deposit cash at any Deutsche Bank office or ATM.

Keep in mind that if you are older than 21, you might need to pay a monthly fee of 3,90 EUR. To avoid it, you must receive more than 500 EUR every month in your bank account.

3. DKB

DKB or Deutsche Kreditbank is a solid classical German bank with very attractive options for international students. In various German ratings for bank accounts, DKB was granted a first position.

By signing up for DKB, you will receive two cards: a European debit card and an international Visa card.

Unfortunately, they don’t offer a website in English, hope you speak some German or ask a friend to help you.

They have a free student account called DKB Girokonto checking account, where you will also receive a debit Visa card for international purchases.

DKB Girokonto account has:

  • Completely free bank account
  • Free online banking
  • Free VISA credit card
  • Free Visa card combined with ISIC* as addiction to the EU Maestro card
  • Interest paid on credit card balance (for active users)
  • Free worldwide cash withdrawals (for active users)
  • Zero foreign transaction costs (for active users)
  • Discount on membership in very popular gym McFit 15,00 EUR instead of 19,90 EUR
  • Free cash withdrawals and payments with Visa card in Germany, Europe, and worldwide
  • Numerous other discounts, e.g. shopping, entrance fees

*The ISIC is an international student card and guarantees you student discounts worldwide. You can even choose between a normal Visa card and a combination of Visa and ISIC.

With the DKB VISA card, you can withdraw money in all cash machines with a VISA Logo worldwide free of charge, regardless of the host bank of ATM.

The conditions for the DKB Girokonto are to have German residence (your student visa) and the age of at least 18 years old.

You can also apply for a Visa card with an integrated international student card ISIC; you will also need your matriculation certificate from the university.

Even after finishing your studies, DKB Girokonto account will be continued at no cost.

Sounds like DKB is a perfect deal but be aware that it doesn’t have any branches, this way, they save money to offer the best conditions for students.

If you need advice, you can contact customer support via email or phone. As at many other banks, you can open an account online, submit all documents, and receive your card via post.

Furthermore, depositing cash can be a bit difficult; they have few deposit ATM machines. However, it can be done at banks like Reisebank or Postbank or in many partner supermarkets.

At supermarkets, you will need to generate a special code in online banking beforehand and pay 1,5% of the sum you want to deposit.

In shops, you can withdraw 50 EUR to 300 EUR daily and also deposit 50 EUR to 999 EUR daily.

As a new customer, you need to have at least 700 EUR per month on your account in movement in order to use all the free features of the DKB. It is especially important in the first year of use.

Also read whether a foreigner can open a bank account in Germany and how to do it.

https://russianvagabond.com/can-a-foreigner-open-a-bank-account-in-germany/

4. Bunq

Bunq’s plans

Bunq is a relatively new banking concept founded in the Netherlands. They offer new generation banking; everything is online, simple, and fast.

You can use the card from Bunq in Germany, all European countries, and beyond. They operate in 5 languages, so there is no problem if you don’t speak German. 

Bunq offers:

  • Affordable bank accounts starting from free to 2,99 EUR per month
  • Cash withdrawals worldwide
  • Free SEPA transfers
  • Top up your balance for free
  • Interest paid on the card balance – 9x more than you get in other banks
  • Fantastic user interface and simple navigation
  • Instant transfers/payments
  • Quick card delivery

Choose between a free saving account, a cheap plan for just 2,99 EUR per month, or a premium for 8,99 EUR. With a premium account, you will get 25 sub-accounts, multiple debit cards including MasterCard and Maestro, and a travel card at no extra cost, all will be shipped to you.

They offer a 1-month free trial, during which you can test the product. 

Lastly, the bank account from Bunq is similar to what Revolut and N26 offer.

5. Consorsbank

Consorsbank has existed since 1994 and is well established direct bank in Germany. A bank account at Consorsbank is worthwhile for anyone in Germany, from students to self-employed or employees. 

The main reason for this is the affordability of the bank account and other financial services of the bank.

Consorsbank bank account and card provide:

  • Bank account with zero fees till the age of 28
  • Free debit Visa card
  • Free credit card
  • Free payments and withdrawals in Germany 
  • Free payments and withdrawals in EURO countries 
  • Bonus: As a new customer, you receive 50 EUR on your account!

Things to know:

Fees

Consorsbank provides free accounts and cards for people up to 28 years old. For someone over 28 years old, the account will be 100% free if their monthly turnover is a minimum of 700 EUR; otherwise, they pay just 4 EUR per month.

Cash withdrawal in Germany

You can withdraw cash for free starting from 50 EUR in Germany with the Visa card in all Visa ATMs. 

Cash withdrawal and payment abroad 

You can withdraw money for free in all EURO countries. For withdrawal in non-EURO countries, you pay a fee of 2,10% of the amount. Yet, this fee you will see across most banks.  

Payments with a Visa card are free in EURO countries as well.

Credit card

You have the option to get a credit card with Consorsbank; however, it’s more on the expensive side – you pay a 60 EUR yearly fee.

6. 1822direkt

Bank 1822direkt is a part of the well-known Sparkasse bank in Germany. At 1822direkt, students can select between three different options:

  • free online bank account
  • classic free bank account
  • premium bank account

In addition to the debit card, you can apply for a credit card. Moreover, the application and setup are made online, so you don’t have to spend time going to the branch. 1822direkt has minimal requirements for students, you just need to have an address in the country.

The bank account is free for everyone under 27 years old.

Free online bank account

  1. Free account management when with a monthly deposit over 0,01 EUR, otherwise affordable 1,90 EUR per month
  2. Including 4 free withdrawals from all Sparkasse ATMs in Germany (there are over 25,000 of them), plus 2,00 EUR per additional withdrawal. You can use free cash service in many supermarkets (e.g. Aldi Süd, Lidl, REWE, dm-drogerie, etc.)
  3. Free debit card
  4. Optional overdraft facility (creditworthiness required)

Classic free bank account

  1. Free account management when with a monthly deposit over 700 EUR, otherwise affordable 3,90 EUR per month
  2. Including 6 free withdrawals from all Sparkasse ATMs in Germany (there are over 25,000 of them), plus 2,00 EUR per additional withdrawal. You can use free cash service in many supermarkets (e.g. Aldi Süd, Lidl, REWE, dm-drogerie, etc.)
  3. Free debit and credit cards
  4. Overdraft facility: you will immediately receive a credit of 1,000 EUR at your disposal (creditworthiness required)

All accounts are manageable via online banking.

What does 1822direkt bank account offer for students?

  1. Free bank account for people under 27 years old
  2. Free cash withdrawals in over 25,000 ATMs across the country
  3. Free cash withdrawals abroad in the EUR zone
  4. You can choose between Visa or MasterCard
  5. You can get a credit card
  6. Transfers, standing orders, direct debits, and payments with the card are free of charge
  7. Google pay – pay with your phone
  8. You can use the current account payments within Europe and for transfers beyond
  9. If you move abroad, you can keep the account and continue to use it
  10. To keep your account free of charge (for people over 27 years old), you just need to do one single incoming transfer per month

Open a free bank acount online

The application is simple and made within minutes online. After that, you will confirm your identity via PostIdent-procedure, and your card will be on the way!

Are you a student in Germany and looking for the best credit card? Check out this article – we made a choice easier for you.

https://russianvagabond.com/best-credit-cards-in-germany-for-students/

Looking for the cheapest health insurance in Germany? Yes, I know how tight the budget of the student can be! That’s why I made a full in-depth article about the most affordable insurance in Germany!

Also read whether a foreigner can open a bank account in Germany and how to do it.

What do you need to consider before opening a bank account in Germany?

Your age

Some banks provide a bank account for students only under a certain age; most of them won’t register a person over 30 years old. Therefore, make sure you qualify as a student for the bank.

Also, note that if you are doing an internship or under training but still registered with a university, you will be considered a trainee student, and most banks provide the same benefits as for students.

If you are looking just for an option to pay online in Germany, we recommend having a look at virtual cards that everyone can get.

Benefits

Some banks provided added benefits for students, such as special conditions for credit of a credit card, or joining bonuses such as cash benefits. Keep a lookout for joining bonus offers.

Cost

Although most banks provide a free bank account for students and trainees, there may be some banks that have hidden costs such as transaction charges or withdrawal fees.

Always read the fine print or look out for such charges and ask just ask. Additionally, some banks will charge you account fees once you are no longer a student.

Therefore, make sure you cancel the bank account once you finish your studies or see if they have other conditions for a free account (e.g. deposit a regular monthly salary).

Cards

Which card do you actually get with the registration of the student account? All the banks provide an EC/Maestro Card, which is valid only within the EU.

Sometimes you can’t even purchase stuff online on international websites because they don’t have the option to pay with SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area), which the EU does.

Therefore I would recommend a bank that offers an international debit Visa or Mastercard in addition to the standard Maestro. It is also helpful for international travel.

Furthermore, all international students need health insurance in Germany. We made the selection of health insurance in Germany easier for students. As an international student, you have a wide range of insurance providers to pick from, but we compared the best of them in this article.

Also read: Best virtual cards for online payments in Germany and best credit cards for students in Germany.

https://russianvagabond.com/best-credit-cards-in-germany-for-students/

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