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germany Travel Guide

Credit cards, changing money & banks in Germany

Credit cards in Germany have a low level of usage compared to other European countries; most Germans prefer to pay in cash. The most common credit cards are the worldwide recognized Eurocard / Mastercard and Visa with which you can make regular monthly payments like rent, telephone and utilities; however credit cards are not accepted in all shops. If you want a credit card in Germany, you need a bank account from which your monthly balance will be pay, although many Banks in Germany that formed part of the “Cash Group” offer free cash removals at their ATMs.

In Germany there are many ways to change money, the most advisable way is to change money at a bank, but you can find a lot of currency exchange desks at any airport or train station. Many people also prefer to change money using the ATM card (in Germany, ATM is known as Bankomat) for its transaction’s speed.

The Banking System in Germany is universal. There are four largest private banks (Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, Dresdner Bank and Hypo-Vereinsbank.) and many public banks localized in almost every town. Lately, a lot of banks in Germany have begun offering online banking services; you can make many transactions quickly just entering to the bank’s website. The inconvenient of online transactions is that you can be victim of electronic fraud, so it is prudent to keep your transaction ticket.

If you are going to stay a long time in Germany, it is advisable to open a bank account; the most common form of account is a checking or current account (Girokonto), with this type of account you can make a lot of financial transactions such as transfer of wages, rent and electricity payments among others. Other account that you can open is a saving account (Sparbuch) with which you can obtain better rate of interest although this type of account can not substitute for checking account.

To open a bank account you need your valid passport or some other form of identification, your resident permit and the initial amount.
Banking hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., some banks may also open on Saturdays.

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