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German bank accounts

- How to open up a bank account?
- Which bank to choose?
- Fees for ATM use  
- Acceptance of credit cards
- Currency  

How to open up a bank account?                                                

There are two basic types of accounts to choose from: Current / checking account "Girokonto" or Savings account "Sparbuch". For transactions as money transfers, for paying your bills and easily withdrawing money, you will need a "Girokonto". For students these are generally free of charge. All you need to open an account is your passport, Student Identity Card and the "Meldebehörde"-certificate (see Registration link to <Registration>).

Which bank to choose?

You might want to go for an account at a bank that also offers its service at your home country - in the case your parents want to transfer you money during your stay ;). For example Bank of America has a partnership with Deutsche Bank. You should also consider the availability of the bank. For example: Berliner Sparkasse provides a high number of free of charge ATM's at very convenient places as metro stations. Another appreciated bank concerning English speaking, international partnerships and ATM use (partner of Cash Group) is the Deutsche Bank.                         

For further information, please have a look at the article at justlanded.

Fees for ATM use                                     

Fees for ATM use differ from bank to bank. In general it can be said, that you will not pay any fees if you use ATM's of your house bank. Please ask your house bank or credit card provider in order to get accurate information.                                 

You will also find further information on this topic on this Toy Town Germany Blog or on the Lonely Planet Blog.
           
Acceptance of credit cards                                              

Credit cards are accepted in all major stores and in some grocery stores as REWE. Your bank will provide an Electronic-Cash-Card (EC-Card / debit card), which is well accepted. We recommend that you always keep some cash in your pocket, since you can't rely on electronic payment methods in smaller stores or restaurants s.o.                          

Currency                                          

The currency used in Germany is the Euro or also €. You can check the current exchange rate here and get familiar with the European bills and coins.