German account with residence abroad?

If you are a german living and working abroad, you have no chance to get a bank account (current account) at most german banks. This becomes a problem at the latest if you want to buy or already own a property in germany, because banks, energy suppliers etc. Have to deal with the german bank account. Often require a german bank account for the collection of loan installments, progress payments, etc.. Here too we have solutions and can offer our customers normal current accounts – at normal costs/terms and conditions – at normal german banks.

Current account with foreign residence shutterstock 747373468

Foreign bank account: sepa direct debit mandate?!

Actually, the collection of loan installments, incidental expenses advance payments, etc. Should be. Also work with a foreign account. This applies at least if it is a bank account within the so-called sepa area. SEPA area and it concerns payments in euro. SEPA (single euro payments area) is an agreement/provision that u.A. Prohibits the "discrimination" of IBAN's. Accordingly, german banks etc. For example also accept a bank account in the netherlands or switzerland (also belongs to the sepa area). In practice, unfortunately, this does not always work and so many "non-residents" are looking for a german bank connection.

SEPA participants are: the EU countries (even if the euro is not the national currency there), iceland, liechtenstein, norway, switzerland, monaco, san marino, andorra, vatican city state and great britain (however, restricted since the brexit).

Why do banks have such a hard time with a current account for non-residents??

Apart from the fact that german banks have pretty much slept through the topic of online banking, there are quite banal reasons for the rejection. First of all, german banks are already afraid of the legal situation. If you live in switzerland, for example, the question is whether german or swiss consumer law applies to you. If a bank comes to the conclusion that foreign law applies, that's the end of it. No german bank will play along (not even if you live in the EU, because consumer law is not uniform in the EU – contrary to what is often assumed).

After the legal problems comes the topic of "money laundering". The banks fear that they cannot reliably check the legitimacy of the account holder if the account holder is resident abroad and set up accounts for fake identities, which are then used to transfer funds from "dubious origins" to germany or out of germany to foreign countries. In addition, people are afraid of the amount of work involved, for example, in proving the origin of credits from abroad. The issue of money laundering is also the reason why some banks – e.G. ING or comdirect – cancel already existing accounts in case of a stay abroad (especially in case of a residence in the USA).

However, the frequent reason for refusal when opening an account is very banal: the legitimation check is usually only possible in person in a branch or in the context of the so called "checkout". "Postident procedure" possible. However, the latter is practically impossible with a residence abroad (postident = deutsche post).

What solutions can we offer?

On the subject of bank accounts for foreign taxpayers/foreigners (banker's german!) we have various options. The easiest way is to finance a property in germany through us. In this case, the lending banks always offer a free of charge or. Inexpensive current account. This is uncomplicated, because the so-called "online credit banks" are not available. Legitimation check (= the sticking point when opening an account for non-residents) is already done anyway in the context of real estate financing.

If you do not (yet) have any specific financing requirements, the choice of banks from the o.G. Reasons extremely limited. You then need to find a bank where the entire account opening process incl. Legitimation check done online. However, german banks generally have a hard time with this. Here one should if necessary. On the so-called. "Neo-banks" set, because their processes run per se completely online. Here, for example, is the N26 with its free basic account AND a DE-IBAN (!) quite far ahead (as sog. The basic account should be completely sufficient for a "house account"). However, since N26 has just been reprimanded once again in terms of anti-money laundering, it remains to be seen how long it will still be possible to open an account with a foreign resident. Some of our customers have opened an account there and reported that this is relatively easy and possible within one day (incl. Legitimation check). These were mainly customers with residence in switzerland. How the N26 proceeds with other countries of residence is currently not known to us (we would be grateful for feedbach!).

In the following current account comparison, banks that do not offer a current account for "non-residents" also appear. Simply select the N26 and find out about its terms and conditions directly there.

Tip: if you live in switzerland, austria, luxembourg, netherlands or belgium, the account of comdirekt (part of commerzbank) would be feasible.

We are happy to help our customers and prospective customers in matters of bank accounts in germany.