Germany is a European country with a stable economy, high-income level, excellent social conditions, and accurate work of various institutions and departments for many decades. It is not surprising that the country is attractive to foreign investors.
If you start a business or decide to work as a freelancer in Germany, it is worth opening a separate corporate account so that your finances are divided. If your company is a limited liability company, a separate corporate account is required by the law.
How to choose a bank for opening an account?
When choosing a bank, you should pay attention to conditions such as:
- Bank reliability and reputation;
- Account opening and maintenance costs;
- Additional conditions and services offered by the bank.
Banks often offer additional services when opening a corporate account. An important role in choosing a bank can be played by such options as:
- interest payable in case of overspending on the account;
- credit cards and EU cards;
- the presence of branches and ATMs of the bank in your city;
- the possibility of obtaining a loan for business development.
Business development loans are issued by special development banks. If you are planning to apply for a business development loan on more favorable terms than conventional loans, you should find out if the bank you are interested in assists in obtaining this kind of loan. It is because applications to development banks are submitted precisely through the bank where your corporate account is maintained.
Types of banks in Germany
For you to be able to determine which bank is right for you, below is a brief description of the main types of banks in Germany.
Private German banks
Choosing one of the privately-owned popular German banks can be a smart choice for foreigners. These banks have more experience with foreign clients as well as with foreign banks.
Private banking institutions usually offer the following accounts:
- Girokonto is a free basic account with a linked debit card and a mobile account can be opened. It is usually free for the initial period of use.
- BestKonto or Premiumkonto is a premium account that offers a Mastercard Gold credit card and international health insurance options for a monthly subscription.
Sparkassen are savings banks owned by public shareholders such as cities or communities. They are very popular with German residents. You will find Sparkassen branches in major German cities. These include institutions such as BerlinerSparkasse, Stadtsparkasse Munich, and Frankfurter Sparkasse.
Volksbanken / Raiffeisenbanken
These banking cooperatives and credit unions constitute the third pillar of German banking. They open a range of checking accounts, including a basic one that offers free banking, debit card payments, money transfers, and online banking (provided a separate account is set up for this with Volksbank). Cooperative banks are popular with those who prefer a more general approach to banking and savings. As in the case of Sparkassen, you must have a residence in Germany to open an account.
The German economy is an attractive destination for banks from all over the world. In this country, you can find local branches of many international banks. The advantage of international banking is that you can open a bank account from your home country and transfer the account to a German branch before moving to Germany for permanent residence.
Opening a corporate bank account
The procedure for opening an account in different banks is very similar. After you have decided at what bank you will open a corporate account, you must apply to open an account with your company.
The mandatory package of documents includes the following:
- passport of the company founder, director, or account manager;
- confirmation of the address of registration of the director or manager;
- constituent documents of the company.
Besides, when registering a corporate account abroad, a credit institution may require an extract from other banks, if the owner of the company or director has already opened an account with another bank. The company has the right to request other documents confirming the actual location of the company, for example, utility bills at the legal address specified in the documentation. It should also be remembered that opening a corporate account in Germany is possible only with the personal participation of the director of the company.
After checking the submitted documents and completing internal approval procedures, the bank approves the opening of a corporate account.