Open business account in Germany

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Open a business bank account in germany

How do I open a business bank account in Germany?

A business account allows you to separate your private and professional financial matters. It’s not required of freelancers and self-employed persons to have separate accounts for their enterprises, but once your turnover starts growing, it’s convenient to keep tabs on your spendings in a transparent way. 

Although opening a bank account in Germany is not particularly difficult when you’re an individual client and all you need is a basic saving/current account, things get of course slightly more complicated when it comes to opening one tied to your business. 

How to open bank account in Germany

In this guide, we will go through available options and try to help you find the right bank. We will also touch on specific needs - the different options available to self-employed individuals, freelancers, as well as for smaller and bigger businesses.

To begin with, here is a summary of banks offering various business accounts: 

  • N26 is one of the popular banks among young professionals and internationals in Germany, due to their simple interface and online banking, with a mobile app and possibility of having push notifications turned on. Freelancers and self-employed can get a free account with several perks: cashback options, a 3D-secured Mastercard to pay with free of charge worldwide for your business expenses, and an option to tag and organise your expenses to get a better overview of your finances. What’s important is that you can only register the account under your own name - it is not suitable for “real” businesses. You also cannot have two accounts with N26 at the same time, but you can ask for a second, Maestro, card, which then will be used to pay for your personal expenses and separate these transactions. The account is free of charge, and you can get it with a residence permit in one of these countries: Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland. You can also go for the Metal account, which includes a bunch of perks: health insurance for travels, free worldwide withdrawals, lifestyle insurance, phone insurance, prizes and an account that can be subdivided, all that for a monthly fee below 20 Eur. 
     
  • Penta offers a German IBAN and a current account, with a debit Mastercard included, real-time spending overview, subdivision of your account, expenses management, and automated accounting, as well as custom categories for transactions. You can try their account for free for 2 months, and they are able to get it open for you within 48-hours. What’s interesting is that they offer team banking - allowing bigger companies with more employees to directly share access to finances and skip the time-consuming reimbursement process. And you get as many cards with that account as you want. Their services are available in German, English and Italian. 
     
  • Holvi: Holvi is a Finland based startup with a payment institution licence and owned by BBVA that slowly becomes the preferred choice for independent professionals wanting to open a business bank account in Germany. Their core strength is the combination, in one software, the  banking, invoicing and bookkeeping features. Holvi streamlines the invoices, saves your receipts, and gives you a Mastercard for your professional expenses. It is a good choice for smaller businesses and self-employed people. Their offer starts with no fees. 
     
  • Netbank: Netbank is another option for the self-employed and small business owners. The issue with this bank is that their website is not available in English and so it’s best to get some help from a German speaker when opening the account. They also have options for better management of your expenses, and some features are free of charge, but the account costs monthly (relatively low). You get a Mastercard debit card, and can use a virtual and a prepaid credit card as well. 
     
  • Deutsche Bank: Deutsche Bank's business bank accounts are tailored for the needs of various businesses and professions - there’s something special for you, whether you’re a handyman, a craftsperson, a doctor, or an accountant, or maybe sell real estate? Their business accounts start with 10 EUR monthly fees, and they include a debit card, a credit card with a premium version, digital banking and multi banking online, and low fees on transactions, as well as free cash withdrawals from over 50.000 ATMs around the world. 
     
  • Deutsche Skatbank: If you need a low cost and low maintenance business bank account in Germany, the Deutsche Skatbank could be the right choice. The fees depend on the type of business and the amount of money deposited on your account, and vary from 0 euros to 10 euros per month. With Skatbank, you can open the account using an online form and then send the required documents by post. And withdrawals are free from 17.600 Raiffeisenbank Volksbank ATM machines. 
     
  • Postbank: one of the most respected and largest banks in Germany, you can apply online for a business account free of charge for the first 6 months, with a VISA business card, secure online banking and many offers from partners tailored for small businesses. With a sufficiently high credit rating, you may get automatically approved for business financing so you can stay afloat in the slow months. They also have an interesting offer for online businesses: an affiliate program that could enable you to monetize your website with advertisements. And the accounting services coming with this offer are free of charge.
  • Commerzbank is one of the old, established players in Germany. It is a bank with good reputation and a wide network of branches and cash machines, which offers businesses an account free of charge for the first 6 months and a 100 EUR bonus for opening it. Their basic girocard (debit card) is free of charge, and you can get a premium credit and debit card on top of it, for a monthly or yearly fee. You can start an application form online and then you have an option to get verified by your phone. 
     
  • Fyrst is a German digital bank that offers accounts free of charge to self-employed and freelancers, and for a small fee for incorporated businesses of all kinds. Their service is only in German, though - but you get free withdrawals from over 10.000 machines around Germany, instant transfers and customer support via phone or email

Non-resident business account in Germany

Is it possible to open a Non-resident business account in Germany?

The opening of a business account will require different documents, depending on the size and nature of your enterprise, as well as your nationality. For European citizens, the process is often rather easy. You will need to bring with you:

  • European ID card or passport
  • Official registered address in Germany (Anmeldung)
  • German Tax ID number (Steuer-ID)

What’s also good to know, is that in Germany there are also more modern ways of identifying you as a client while opening an account - they’re called PostIdent and VideoIdent. The former happens in your local Deutsche Post branch, where you can show up with your identity card, or passport, and ask the clerk to do the procedure. In case of the latter method, you have an option to get called on your laptop or mobile phone (a device with a camera essentially) and be verified by an employee of the bank. Make sure you have your identity documents at hand!

It makes sense to have one if you’re interested in faster bank transfer to other German accounts and if you value safety of your banking - Germans have a good reputation in that. If you don’t plan to obtain the above documents or conduct a lot of business with German clients/counterparts, it might be best to get a business virtual bank account instead, such as the one offered by B2B Pay. This makes a lot of sense if you also need it to be a multi currency account. 

The reasons why virtual bank accounts are a great option for freelancers, self-employed, online retailers and for owners of marketplace businesses are the following:

  • They give you a free European IBAN, also for businesses run by non-residents
  • You have an ability to send and receive money within the EU
  • The sign up is free of charge
  • Our multi currency account is also free of charge
  • There’s no need to attach invoices to international payments (depends on your specific case)

Overall, a B2B Pay business virtual bank account can enable international businesses to easily operate in the EU without having to prepare paperwork traditionally associated with the opening of such an account.

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How to select free business bank account in Germany

The best options for having a free business bank account in Germany

The best free business bank account in Germany

In order to find the perfect bank for your business in Germany, you need to find the offer that fits the size of your operation and how you structured your business. Some banks in Germany don't even offer business bank accounts. Generally speaking the offers are designed for main groups of entrepreneurs:

Self-employed persons and freelancers with low revenues and a small number of transactions

In fact, traditional banks in Germany do not traditionally cater to the self-employed and many individuals running a business open a secondary personal account and operate from it. However, there are new options available for freelancers, such as Holvi and NetBank. Even without it, you can still work with a normal current account. To open such an account, you only need a proof of your identity in most cases. Only once your business starts bringing high revenue, you will be asked to open a secondary business account. 

The best free business bank account in Germany

Registered businesspeople (eingetragene Kaufmann – e.K.), Partnerships (Personengesellschaften), corporations (GmbH, UG or AG) 

These entities must provide a series of additional documents in order to open a bank account. For registered businesspeople, this will be most commonly a certificate of incorporation and extract from the commercial register. For partnerships, you need to bring documents proving the identity of all your partners, along with the articles of association (Gesellschaftsvertrag). Founders of GmbH, UG or AG must submit proofs of identity, the list of shareholders (Gesellschafterliste) and articles of association (Gesellschaftervertrag) and certificates of incorporation (Gründungsurkunden). The exact documents will depend on the bank of your choice. 

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How to open a bank account in Europe

We have a few guides to guide you through the process of opening a bank account in multiple European countries and explaining why a virtual bank account with B2B Pay may be a better alternative if you are transferring money outside of Europe and taking advantage of a better rate.



How to open a bank account overseas

We have a few guides to guide you through the process of opening a bank account in multiple countries all over the world and explaining why a virtual bank account with B2B Pay may be a better alternative if you are transferring money outside of Europe and taking advantage of a better rate.


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