Ministry of Labour, Social, Family Affairs and Integration

Bank Account & Taxes Setting Up a Bank Account

In Germany, salary payments and many other transactions of everyday life (rent, insurances, phone bills) are handled cash-free through a bank account.

Setting Up a Bas – Hamburg Welcome Portal

There are branch-based banks and direct banks. Branch-based banks operate subsidiaries in Hamburg and throughout Germany, where staff members are available for personal contact to customers. An initial overview of numerous Hamburg-based bank institutes can be found in the Hamburg Business Directory (available in German only). On the contrary, direct banks do not maintain any local offices. An account with a direct bank can therefore be opened and managed online only (online account). 

Some banks offer bank accounts that are free of charge under certain conditions, while others demand an account maintenance fee. Thus, it is recommended to ask more than one bank institution for their actual account types and any fees that may be charged so that one can compare the different offers with each other. 

In order to use your bank account in everyday life, you will receive an electronic chip card. Utilising this card and the corresponding pin number you can make cashless payments in most shops and restaurants. Furthermore you can withdraw money free of charge from your bank’s cash machines (when using cash dispensers from other banks usually a withdrawals fee will be charged).

Required Documents

Before opening a bank account, the bank needs to check your identity. Therefore you will be asked to submit the following documents:

  • a valid ID card or passport,
  • a registration certificate stating your current residence in Germany and
  • for some banks and / or account types: a pay statement from your employer and your residence permit.

Please note:
Normally, setting up a bank account is a personal affair and can’t be done by third persons. (Exception: persons with parental responsibility filling in for underaged children)

Loss or Robbery

Upon loss or robbery, you should immediately block your bank card to prevent misuse by third parties. Therefore the free blocking emergency call 116 116 can be reached around the clock when required (please dial +49 116 116 or +49 (0)30 40 50 40 if you are abroad at the time of the call). For blocking the lost card, please keep your account number / IBAN and the bank code / BIC (or at least the name of the bank as an alternative) ready.