Young women stand at an ATM in Berlin

Your first to-do in Berlin: Opening a bank account

You've just arrived in Berlin and want to get started right away. But where do you actually start in this urban jungle? One of the most important things is clearly to open a bank account. You need one to rent a flat or a house, to enter into a mobile phone contract, to receive your salary, to withdraw money or to do other kinds of banking transactions and begin contracts.

Types of bank accounts

In Germany there are two types of bank accounts. The Girokonto, which corresponds to the current account, and the Sparkonto, which you may know as the deposit account. With the German Girokonto, however, it is usually not possible to pay via cheque. When opening a Girokonto you usually get a girocard, the German version of a debit card. With it, you can withdraw money from a cash machine. Current account balances do not earn interest.

Money that is not needed for current payment transactions can be held in a deposit account or call deposit account. This is often opened in combination with a current account.


The savings banks boast Germany's largest cash machines (ATM) network  

In Germany, people still often shop with cash, even though the COVID pandemic has increased the popularity of card payments. In Berlin you will find a Berliner Sparkasse ATM at nearly every corner. In some shops you can only pay with your girocard or credit card above a certain amount, so you should always have some cash with you. The Berliner Sparkasse ATMs can be operated in various languages.

Young man takes money from an ATM in Berlin at night

Getting started with your bank account

Sending and saving money has never been easier. Keep your money safe with online banking and the Sparkasse app. Enjoy excellent conditions, a wide variety of services and even expert advice at your Berliner Sparkasse.


How do I open a bank account in German

To open your bank account, you need several documents:


The Girokonto at Berliner Sparkasse

Berliner Sparkasse is the largest regional bank in Berlin and specialises in covering the needs of expats. In 2020, 11 per cent of all online account openings took place in English. The account includes up-to-date online banking, the free Sparkassen app, use of Germany's largest ATM network and expert financial advice via chat, video or telephone or in person at one of the approximately 80 branches in the city.

Entrance area of the Berliner Sparkassen branch at Alexanderplatz Berlin.

If you come from a country in the European Union, you can open your bank account with Berliner Sparkasse online in just a few steps.


Open a current account online in three steps

  1. Online application
    Enter your data into the online application form.
  2. Verification
    Verify yourself in a few minutes with a valid ID card or passport via video ident on your computer, tablet or mobile phone.
  3. Receive your Sparkassen-Card (debit card)
    All done! Just a few days later, you will get your Sparkassen-Card (debit card) and all the information about your account. You will receive your access information for online banking and your Sparkassen-Card separately in the post.


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