Opening a bank account

If you stay in Germany for more than two months, you will need to open a current account for your money transfer. Your monthly payment will be transferred directly to this account. A debit card (EC or Electronic Cash card) will be issued, with which you can withdraw money and pay in shops and restaurants. Many shops, cafes, and restaurants accept debit card payments, but this practice is not as common as in other countries, i.e., the US. Credit cards are even less popular. Withdrawing money at an ATM is free at branches of your bank or banks in the “Cash Group” association of banks. However, using ATMs at other banks will incur additional costs. You can also withdraw money in many supermarkets with no additional costs when purchasing items above a minimum price of 10 € (e.g. at REWE; however, this amount may vary).

To open a bank account, you will need:

  • the certificate of registration from the Residents’ Registration Office
  • your passport
  • in some cases, banks may require a residence permit

Close to the institute, at Venloer Straße 628 (Bickendorf), you will find a branch of Sparkasse KölnBonn, where most employees speak English. You can alternatively choose from banks with an English service, such as N26.

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