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I'm an EU citizen currently working in Germany. I have a bank account there, but when my contract ends, I'll probably migrate to other country, but it's likely I'd return there after some time.

I could close my bank account and move all the money abroad, but international money transfers are bound with provisions, and the German bank account could be useful for me anyway. Is it possible for me to keep the bank account in Germany?

The Postbank in which I have my account requires me to give my address in Germany, and sends there correspondence, so after leaving, it would become problematic. It costs also much money, if I don't have regular incoming bank transfers, so it's certainly not a good choice for such eventuality.

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    Call them up and state your problem. Ask them what are their options for you. Ask the bank first. – DumbCoder Sep 26 '13 at 14:55
  • @DumbCoder I've once contacted them and received incorrect information, so I would more trust experience-based opinion here. And every bank will say how good he is, but the reality may be far from their promises. – Danubian Sailor Sep 26 '13 at 16:56
  • Why would the bank give you incorrect information ?? Where did you corroborate from ? And every bank will say how good he is -> Where did this come from ? Is it regarding the money transfer thing ? You say you have a German bank account, that is why I mentioned ask them how they would send their statements if you move abroad and still keep the account. – DumbCoder Sep 26 '13 at 19:39
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    @DumbCoder Why would the bank give you incorrect information? Perhaps because customer reps don't know about complex cases. Maybe if you ask for information in writing they would get someone more competent to verify it and you will have something tangible to work with further down the line but it has happened to me several times to receive false information orally. It's only later, when trying to act upon this information (get a refund, make an insurance claim, whatever) that you get some letter informing you that what you were promised is in fact impossible. – Relaxed Mar 7 '14 at 21:02
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I know little that is specific about German bank accounts. However I have lived in Canada for seventeen years and kept a British bank account for all that time. The bank has happily mailed statements to Canada, and I've been able to do banking by internet, phone and mail, as well as use the account on my occasional returns. I doubt that the German system is significantly different.

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I know some people who have kept Sparkasse accounts while living abroad. It's not free (a few euros each month) but it's not particularly difficult.

BUT these people all had an address in Germany (registered as Zweitwohnsitz, with a family member that could keep the mail). I don't know if it is a legal or practical requirement but that's the way many people do it.

EDIT: A quick websearch brings up some informal sources suggesting that Sparkassen are particularly friendly to opening bank accounts without official registration as a resident so it might be worth exploring further.

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    Yes, but it's about 10 Euro a month, I think, if you don't have the constant income. Not cheap if you have only a few thousand. For millionaires it's another story... – Danubian Sailor Oct 13 '14 at 10:23
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    Actually I do not live in germany (emigrated to Poland over the border) and I have accounts with Deutsche Bank and Sparkasse in germany, so a german mailing address and reisdence is NOT required. – TomTom Jan 3 at 8:58
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Have you tried DKB Bank in Germany? They allow you to create a non-resident bank account and online. You simply need to visit their website, fill in the application and submit. Within a few days, they email you to request ver documents upon which you get an account. It has a free visa card to enable you withdrawl world wide. Here is the source http://www.thekonsulthub.com/how-tos/how-to-open-a-germany-non-resident-bank-account-with-dkb/

  • Yes, I've tried. I've resent the document and since 2 years I've got no feedback... – Danubian Sailor Feb 23 '15 at 7:00
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I don't really know about non residents but here is a lot of business info and banking >> http://www.confiduss.com/en/jurisdictions/germany/business/bank-account-opening/

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DKB is currently not really an option anymore if you don't live in Germany (with an official address).

N26 is a modern online bank that offers an interesting possibility. You can open the account online, without German residency. You do need a temporary German address to receive their bank card, but that's the only thing the company ever sends. So you can use a friend's address or even the address of a hotel or other temporary location.

  • Why exactly is DKB "currently not really an option anymore"? Does this hold for just the mentionned problem, or in general? – glglgl Jan 2 at 19:54
  • Thanks. i updated the answer to clarify this a bit more. – fifi finance Jan 3 at 20:18
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I'd like to add that since 2016, any German bank that offers accounts to private customers has to offer at least a basic (minimal) private account to anyone who legally stays in the EU (see Jedermann-Konto).

A residency/address in Germany is not required (even homeless people with no residential address anywhere do have the right to such a bank account).
Of course, the bank may charge (higher) postage fees if the postal address is outside Germany.


As for the fees, many banks charge monthly fees, but there are banks that waive these fees if they have sufficient money incoming every month (or every quarter) to that account. As this incoming money doesn't need to stay there, some money automatically circulating between two such accounts at different banks may be a good strategy - and this is not sneakingh through a loophole, my bank officially recommended such a setup to me.

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Postbank as well as other banks offer more services than just the Girokonto bank account that you get your salary in and you use for bank transfers and stuff. While the Girokonto is usually free if you have a minimum income (which differs from bank to bank, usually around 1k EUR per month), the savings accounts are free.

Traditionally named Sparbuch, those now come with different names depending on the bank. In Postbank, they are called Sparcard and are now represented by a plastic card. You can use it to get bank statements out of a machine, and you can put money on it. I think (not sure about that) you can even transfer money onto those somehow from.

I have one of those which got converted from the traditional Sparbuch that I had as a kid, which I found years later in a drawer. It has some 5 Euros on it and I just left it there. Every once in a while they send me a statement because I can't remember the PIN.

It might be worth exploring that option with your bank. When leaving Germany, you could open one of those in your Postbank, move all your money there and close the Girokonto. It will give some very low interest, but it lets you keep the money in Germany, produce interest and it's covered by Einlagensicherung, so if the bank goes bankrupt it's protected.

In addtion, I would advise you go to go a couple of other banks as well and ask to talk to English-speaking people. Those would probably be in the city-center branches rather than in a small town. Explain your situation and tell them you are going to reopen a Girokonto with them once you are back, but you want to keep money in Germany in a way that is accessible. Maybe take a German friend or colleague if you feel the bank will take advantage of you.

Also, talk to the finance/accounting (Buchhaltung or Rechnungswesen) people or HR in your company and ask their advice.

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    And a bit off-topic, but it might be worth cross-posting this on Expatriates – simbabque Aug 12 '15 at 7:24

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