A paperwork-less guide on how to open a bank account in Germany without an "Anmeldung".
We recently relocated to Berlin and one of the challenges we faced was opening a local bank account and gathering all the necessary paperwork it required. This guide covers how to effortlessly open a bank account without all the fuss that comes along with the paperwork.
Moving to Berlin
After wandering between the UK and Germany, we finally decided to call Berlin our home. Not only is Berlin in the centre of Europe, it was also recently voted the second most innovative city in the world. The energy from the city feeds our creativity and we're looking forward to using the city as a base as we continue to explore the European continent and the rest of the world.
Relocating isn't as simple as pointing your finger on a map and getting on a plane. It requires a lot of planning, sometimes months in advance. There are also various things to consider such as opening a bank account when arriving in your new home. A local bank account is essential if you need to pay expenses, receive international transfers and get paid.
Traditional Bank Accounts in Germany
What is a Mobile Bank?
A mobile bank or a direct bank as it is commonly referred to, is a bank that offers its services remotely such as via an app on your mobile device. In other words, it doesn't have any branches where you can walk into to ask for assistance. Everything is done in-app which means they can significantly reduce their costs and offer their clients the same benefits of having a bank account but with zero fees.
We first discovered this method of banking when we arrived in Europe. It is now our preferred way of banking, and N26 is one of the mobile banks we use on a regular basis.
Banking with N26
N26 is one of the first mobile banks to launch in Europe and offers a free basic current account with a debit Mastercard. They have various other premium subscription based accounts that offer fancier looking cards and add-ons such as travel benefits, insurance and priority customer support. We settled for the free basic option which was more than sufficient, but you can always upgrade your account at a later stage. Bare in mind that the N26 card is not accepted as an "EC" card. We don't believe it is necessary to get an "EC" card as most service providers accept a regular debit or credit card. But it is always a good idea to carry cash in case they insist on an "EC" card.
What do I need to open an N26 account?
Opening an account is simple and you don't need an "Anmeldung" to do so. All you have to do is download the N26 app, follow the instructions and you should receive your N26 bank card in the post within a couple of weeks if you don't opt for express delivery. Here's what you'll need:
Bank cards can be delivered to a relative's or friend's address if you don't already have your own place of residence. Just ask for their permission before ordering your N26 card. If you live in Germany, don't forget to put their name and surname on the delivery instruction as apartments have names instead of numbers on the doors.
The registration process is straightforward, but N26 take security very seriously. If you are verified via video call, they may request you to make a few declarations such as stating that you are not acting in someone else's capacity.
What are the benefits of having an N26 account?
Is my money safe with N26?
Absolutely! Every N26 bank account is guaranteed up to EUR100,000.00 by the Compensation Scheme of German Banks. So don't worry, your money is protected.
Now you too can bank like a pro in Germany
So there you have it, a guide on how to open a bank account without an "Anmeldung". Ultimately, you'll eventually require an "Anmeldung" for various essential things such as renting an apartment, setting up a utilities account, getting internet access for your home, and accessing consular services. But don't despair. We'll cover how to effortlessly get an "Anmeldung" in another blog post in the near future.
Are you relocating to Germany? Trying to learn German too? We experimented on ourselves and used Duolingo to learn German for 4 months before we arrived. Read our experience on how effective Duolingo is for learning a language to see if it is worth your while.
If you are and have come across other issues you need help with when moving to Germany, let us know by leaving a comment below and we will try our best to help you.
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We're Michael & Chloe!
An adventure travel couple from South Africa. We've hiked up mountains, dived the depths of the ocean, free-fell through the sky and finally walked down the aisle together. We love exploring the adventurous outdoors and discover hidden gems. Our dream is to inspire others to travel more consciously and responsibly while having an adventure of a lifetime.