Living in Germany but your German is not yet on C2 level? No worries, a few bank accounts speak English (or even more languages), have not basic fees, come with a Visa & Mastercard and offer free ATM withdrawals. Don’t believe it? Then read on.
First things first: All of them are online banks. But in a pandemic you can’t go to a branch bank anyway. And I – being with an online bank (DKB) now for 11 years – can simply say: It’s much better customer service when I can call or email them from home, instead of going to their branch, take a number and wait.
Still here? Then let’s take a look at each bank first, and below you will find a neat comparison table summing up the main things.
1. Bitwala: Unlimited free withdrawals + Bitcoin wallet
I could not really believe the offer – it is by far the cheapest, plus perfect if you are also intro cryptocurrencies (or want to be).
Basically everything at Bitwala is free: Opening the account, running the account, a Mastercard, withdrawing money (as often as you want, worldwide), paying with the card.
And on top, you get a Bitcoin and Ethereum wallet, and access to a trading area where you can buy or sell these cryptocurrencies (finally something with fees: 1%)
A little minus: No Google or Apple Pay is working yet.
2. Tomorrow: Climate-friendly / offset CO2 emissions
Care for our world and our climate? Then Tomorrow allows you to do that even with your bank account: With their revenues they finance climate-friendly projects in renewable energy, organic agriculture, microcredits.
And they also have a free plan: With the basic account, you have no monthly fees, a Visa card (incl. feeless payments worldwide) and 3 free cash withdrawals per month.
Google Pay is available but Apple Pay is not.
3. Insha: Features for Muslims + Speaks Turkish
Insha aims to help both people with links to Turkey and/or people who practise Islam.
Besides English and German, the account offers also support in Turkish, and money transfers to Turkey are both convenient and cheap (starting from €4 for a transfer up to €500).
The Insha app includes a Zakat calculator, a Qibla finder and a search for nearby mosques.
The account comes with a Mastercard incl. free payments in the Eurozone (+Sweden), and 3 free ATM withdrawals in Germany.
Unfortunately, both Google and Apple Pay are not possible.
4. N26: English, Spanish, French, Italian
The most multilingual account, and by now a “classic” one too: N26 was the first app-only account in Germany, starting in 2014. And none of the other speaks more languages: N26 offers support in 5!
Besides, they are the only one offering both Google and Apple Pay.
Remaining features are solid: free account keeping, a Mastercard (with no payment fees) – and cash withdrawals are also unlimited in Germany via Cash26: Instead to an ATM you go to one of their partner shops (e.g. Rewe + Penny supermarkets), show a barcode from your N26 app and get paid.
For details, check my long-term review of N26 here.
(Note: This is not necessarily a complete list of German bank accounts with English support. More might have appeared since this article was written.)
|Language support||English, German||English, German||English, Turkish, German||English, French, Spanish, Italian, German|
|Features||Bitcoin+ETH wallet, trading||Climate-friendly: offset CO2 emissions||Zakat calculator, Qibla finder,|
Easy money transfer to Turkey
|Support in many languages|
|Paying with card||free||free||€ & SEK: free,|
other currencies: 1.2%
|Cash withdrawals at ATMs||free||3/month in €: free,|
more/other currencies: 1.5%
|3/month in DE: free,|
more/other countries: €2-€5
|3/month in DE: free,|
with Cash26: free
|Top up||SEPA transfer: free, send+sell BTC/ETH: 1%||SEPA transfer: free||SEPA transfer: free||SEPA transfer: free,|
|Post ident||❌||as an exception||❌||✅|
How to open an account?
Click on the account you are interested in – if the page is in German, find the language switch to English somewhere above. For most banks, you can enter your mobile phone number and then get sent a download link to your phone to get their app.
The banks are required to identify you – and since they are online banks and have no branches, they will do this with a video chat on your phone. Have your documents (e.g. ID or passport prepared).
And a proof of your residence. It
- must not be older than 3 months
- contain your full name and address
- can be a bill for water, electricity, internet, gas etc.
- or an Anmeldung / Meldebestätigung
Feel free to ask in the comments. 🙂
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