Money & Banks
In Germany, you can pay with either coins and banknotes (euros) or cashless using Eurocheque (EC) and credit cards. Transactions such as wage and rent transfers or the use of credit cards are carried out via your bank account.
You can pay by EC card in most businesses and petrol stations. However, a lot of people in Germany are paying cash in shops and restaurants. Payment via credit card is not possible everywhere.
Bringing cash with you
When travelling to Germany, you may only bring cash equal to the amount of 10,000 euros. Check on the exact regulations before your arrival.
Foreign currency cannot be exchanged immediately for euros in every bank. Therefore, inform yourself about waiting periods. For an immediate change of foreign currency into euros, you can use travel banks – at airports, for example.
If you wish to stay in Germany for an extended period, you will need a bank account (checking account or Girokonto). Your wages are paid cashless via this checking account. You can arrange the following services with your bank: Payments and cash withdrawal via debit card (EC card); use online banking; make bank transfers; set up a standing order for e.g. rent; authorise regular deductions for e.g. phone and electricity; pay with credit card; draw on a line of credit from the bank (requires prior contact). Transfers within Germany are executed either immediately or within a few business days. For this service, you can use your bank‘s transfer forms, ATMs or online banking.
Using your EC card enables you to withdraw cash from ATMs anytime. You will receive the PIN from your bank by mail after you have opened your bank account. There is no fee applying to money withdrawals from your own bank's ATMs. Withdrawals from other bank’s ATMs charge a fee which is displayed next to the machine or on its screen.
How to open a bank account
Banks can charge various fees, e.g. for managing your account or carrying out transfers to accounts outside Europe. There are other types of accounts next to the checking account. To select the most suitable one for you, we recommend a personal consultation with several banks.
If you have chosen a bank and want to open an account, you will need the following documents:
- Passport and residency permit
- Registration certificate for your place of residence
- Depending on your type of account: a wage statement from your employer
- With these documents, you can request a checking account and an EC card from your bank of choice.
The following questions may be useful when consulting banks to choose an account:
- How much are the account management fees?
- Does the account pay interest?
- How much is this interest?
- Can I set up standing orders?
- Is there a specific minimum amount of money to be paid into the account monthly?
- Is it possible to set up a line of credit to overdraw the checking account? If so, how high is this credit line?
- What is the interest rate for the credit line?
- Can I designate another authorised person to the account (such as a spouse?)
- Is it possible to withdraw money immediately after opening the account?
- Where can I withdraw money for free?
- Can I apply for a credit card? If so, when would I receive it?
You have decided for a bank? The Rhineland-Palatinate Welcome Center is happy to assist you with opening your bank account.