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?

There are many options for you to open a business bank account in Germany but it is not an easy process and there are procedures to follow. There are also options to open a free business bank account in Germany. We will talk about various options in this article and help you find the right bank for you and your business needs. We will touch on specific needs such as bank account in Germany for the self-employed, business bank account in Germany for freelancers, business bank account for freelancers, legal and for small and medium sized businesses as well.

First, let's see a summary of options to open a business bank account in Germany and then dive into the details.

  • N26 offers a simple yet effective bank account for businesses. It's mostly app based, but you can also use N26 from a desktop browser. It comes with a MasterCard. Great if you want to keep things simple.
  • Penta offers a German IBAN and current account, with a debit Mastercard included, real-time spending overview and custom categories for transactions.
  • Holvi: Holvi is a Finland based banking startup owned by BBVA that is slowly becoming the choice for independent professionals looking to open a business bank account in Germany. Their core feature is that they combine in one software the power of a bank, invoicing and bookkeeping so you don't ever have to leave the software to conduct business. Fees are low and it is one of the easiest options to sign up for.
  • netbank: Netbank is an excellent option for the self-employed and small business owner. They have a basic and a premium option available. Their basic accounts is free for the first 15 transactions which is plenty for many self-employed or freelancers. After that fees are surprisingly low. Opening an account is easy.
  • Deutsche Bank: Deutsche Bank's business bank account has a low cost option with attractive discounts that includes a debit card, credit bank, digital banking and a low initial fee that can be waived if you hold a minimum of 5000 euros in your business bank account in Germany.
  • Deutsche Skatbank: If you need a low cost and low maintenance business bank account in Germany, the Deutsche Skatbank has a good option. It is possible to have the account for free for the first 3 months and 10 euros a month fee after that. If you hold 500 euros minimum balance, the account is free. They also have some of the lowest fees for obtaining business credit in the market.
  • Postbank: one of the most respected and largest banks in Germany, you can apply online for a business account with free management fee for the first 6 months, 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 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.

Non-resident business account in Germany

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

As a non-resident of Germany, even if you are from a European country or from North America, there are business procedures to get a non-resident business bank account in Germany. This means that you will be required to meet some standards such as having a tax ID, residence and other important minimum requirements that are likely to make it impossible to operate a business bank account in Germany unless if you have the cash to do so.

Moreover, there will be additional requirements since it is hard to prove credit history, international invoices are likely to cause problems and with traditional banks unwilling to take the risks, most likely it will be impossible to sign up.

This is unfortunate as freelancers from other European Union states, small ecommerce retailers and those with Amazon marketplace businesses have a hard time getting paid. For example, if you want to have an Amazon marketplace account in Germany, you are required to have a bank account with a German IBAN to get paid for security reasons which can be a hassle.

For most, the smartest option is to find an online business banking partner that offers a business virtual bank account such as B2B Pay especially if you can get a virtual multicurrency account which means you can get paid and hold money in multiple currencies.

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

  • Free European IBAN for non resident businesses
  • Ability to send and receive money within the EU and bank to your home country's bank account
  • Free sign up
  • Free multicurrency account
  • 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 the hassle typically associated with the process. Signup is easy.

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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

If you want to find the perfect bank for your business in Germany it will largely depend on 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 broken down into three main types:

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

This is an interesting topic because traditional banks in Germany do not traditionally cater to the self-employed and many individuals with a business interest prefer to open a secondary personal account and operate from it. However, as listed before there are new options available for freelancers such as Holvi and NetBank. You can still work with a normal current account.

Self-employed with a business with your name on it

This is the case where you have your self employment has become a business to the point that you are being flagged in your bank and being offered business loans for example. In this case, the freelance option such as Holvi is a good option but it depends on volume.

If you have a legal entity such as UG, GmbH, AG or even American business entities, it is possible to do business banking in Germany too.

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Banks that offer free business accounts in Germany

A short list of free business bank accounts in Germany

DAB Bank

DAB Bank is an online bank that is located in Bavaria, more specifically in Munich. They are a fully fledged operational bank and have been offering business bank account in Germany since 2014 including all services typically offered by traditional banks such as investments, financing, debit and credit cards, overdraft and mobile accessibility.

A few details about the DAB Bank business account in Germany

  • ATM card: it is possible to use the DAB Bank debit card anywhere in the world and if you are in Germany it is possible to obtain a DAB Girocard and withdrawal cash from all ATMs from the CashGroup. Abroad you can use UniCredit Group ATMs for free.
  • Overdraft: the initial overdraft limit is 500 euros with a possibility to increase this limit to up to 25 thousand euros upon signup but that will depend on your credit rating, demonstrable creditworthiness, income and longevity.
  • How to open an account with DAB Bank: the entire process starts over the internet. You must do an ID check by visiting a Deutsche Post branch and asking for a PostIdent procedure.

Deutsche Skatbank

This is an online bank that is owned by the Volksbank Altenburger Land. One of the main advantages of having a business bank account in Germany with the Deutsche Skatbank is that your account will be interconnected with the German Volksbank and Raiffeisenbank which means you will be able to take advantage of their infrastructure.

In order to open an account with them here are the minimum requirements:

  • Address in Germany
  • 500 euros a month in revenue
  • You must be a legal person or self-employed entrepreneur

They have an option for UG and Ltd businesses, but these are not free.

Here are the advantages of having a free Deutsche Skatbank account in Germany

  • Free banking
  • Prepaid card
  • Bank card
  • Free cash withdrawals
  • Credit line

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