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A Guide for Nigerian Expats: Opening Bank Accounts in Germany and Simplifying Remittances

25 Mar 2024


Whether you use your bank account for a money transfer from Germany to Nigeria, having a bank account in a foreign country like Germany is essential.    

Owing to its robust economy with a nominal GDP of 4.08 trillion (2022), a GDP Per Capita income of $48,718 (2022) and an expansive job market, several Nigerians are working in Germany. Since the trend of using cash is diminishing fast because financial matters have largely shifted to digital means, it accentuates the need to open a bank account.           

This blog will walk you through the steps to open a bank account in Germany and the different types of bank accounts there. It will also offer insights into the benefits and whether transferring funds back home through banks is viable or whether you should choose alternatives. 

What does Opening a Bank Account in Germany Entail for the Migrants and Natives?

If seen from the perspective of broader financial needs, having a bank account is the need of the day. Whether in Germany or elsewhere, certain financial matters make it paramount for you to have a bank account.              

This is one of the basic reasons that opening a bank account anywhere, including Germany, takes only a few simple steps and requires the provision of certain documents. 

The steps to open a bank account in Germany are explained below.    

Determine Your Financial Needs 

Only some banks and bank accounts are meant for you. Not only in Germany but in your native country, you will find several banks and account types. Therefore, the first step is to determine the exact financial needs for which you need to open a bank account. 

Some of these basic needs can be divided as follows:

Choose the Right Bank

After determining your exact needs, you must find the bank that corresponds to those needs. Remember that in Germany, different banks specialize in different services and products, although you will find many services and financial products offered by almost all German banks.

Some of the major banks in Germany are listed below.                            

Major German Banks

Some of the most popular and major banks in Germany are listed below.    

  • Deutsche Bank: One of Germany’s largest banks offering a large array of financial services and products with a global presence  
  • Commerzbank: Offering comprehensive services for retail, SME, and corporations
  • DZ Bank: Specializing in wholesale and investment banking
  • KfW Bank: Specializing in developmental finance to support government projects 
  •  ING-DiBa: Specializing in retail banking services with low fees for tech-savvy customers
  • Postbank: Specializing in typical banking services 
  • DKB (Deutsche Kreditbank AG): It is an online German bank offering low-cost banking services  
  • HypoVereinsbank (UniCredit Bank AG): Offering services in investment, banking, and asset management     
  • Volksbank: Volksbank and Raiffeisenbanken (VR Banks) are cooperative banks focusing on local communities
  • Sparkasse: It is a cluster of local savings banks

Gather the Documents Required

After determining your needs and choosing the bank from the list above, it is time to gather the required documents. Remember that different banks ask for different documents, but the following are the most common documents required to open a bank account in Germany. 

German Residents

The documents German residents are required to produce are:

  •  German ID or valid passport
  • Proof of address
  • Proof of income

Non-Residents

The documents non-residents are required to provide are:

  • Residence permit or passport with a valid visa
  • Proof of address
  • Financial statements or proof of income

Newcomers or Foreigners

The documents foreigners or newcomers are required to provide are:

  • Residence permit or passport with a valid visa
  • Address proof
  • Income proof or financial statements

As soon as you can provide the documents listed above, you are good to proceed with opening a bank account in Germany.

Let’s now walk through some of the major bank account types you can open in a German bank as a Nigerian migrant.

Major Bank Account Types in Germany

Some of the most popular bank accounts in Germany are listed below. But since you are working there as a Nigerian migrant and have to send money to Nigeria from Germany to offer financial support, you might not want to use any of the following accounts.  

Remember that the titles of these bank accounts are self-explanatory.

  • Current Account (Girokonto)
  • Savings Account (Sparkonto)
  • Student Account (Studentenkonto)
  • Youth Account (Jugendkonto)
  • Business Account (Geschaftskonto)
  • Online-Only Account (Onlinekonto)
  • Joint Account (Gemeinschaftskonto)
  • Foreign Currency Account (Wahrungskonto)
  • Fixed-Term Deposit Account (Festgeldkonto)
  • Junior Savings Account (Kinderkonto)
  • Premium or VIP Accounts
  • Charity or Social Impact Accounts
  •  Senior Accounts (Seniorenkonto)
  • Expatriate or Non-Resident Accounts
  • Green or Sustainable Accounts

Now the question is: why are so many bank accounts in so many German banks still unfit for your online money transfers to Nigeria from Germany?

Let’s find the answer.

Prime Reasons for Finding an Alternative to Banks to Transfer Funds Online 

Although banks cater to a large array of financial needs and have always been and seem to continue to do so in the foreseeable future, they need to improve when transferring funds online.

High Service Charges and Long Delivery Time

Banks take several days to deliver funds and charge high fees each time you transfer funds. So, given that the process is repetitive, you cannot afford to pay a high fee regularly, not when you have the alternative of ensuring easy and simple online money transfers back to Nigeria.

Uncompetitive Currency Exchange Rates

You will also get static or fixed currency exchange rates that are always uncompetitive. Remember that the currency exchange rates banks offer worldwide are fixed and uncompetitive.

However, you can also get a few benefits from having a bank account. These benefits include efficient management of funds, paying bills, depositing funds and making withdrawals. It also includes safekeeping, which means keeping your funds away while having easy and quick access through ATMs and so on.  

However, as stated earlier, any bank or bank account, for that matter, is simply not fit to transfer funds across borders for the reasons stated above.

Why Not Use Banks for Effective Financial Management and the Alternative to Transfer Funds Separately?

Remember that you have gone to Germany to earn a living and make online money transfer from Germany to Nigeria to offer financial support. So, distinguish opening a bank account in Germany from sending funds online.   

Instead, choose ACE Money Transfer for your online money transfers to Nigeria from Germany to get live and market-competitive currency exchange rates. It offers swift and safe delivery of funds and much more from just one stop in exchange for a bare minimum fee. In addition, you can enjoy the benefits of having a bank account in Germany after determining your exact financial needs. You can choose the right bank and then open the right bank account by following the simple steps explained above.   

FAQs

How to open a bank account in Germany?

It is fairly simple to open a bank account in Germany. First, determine what you need a bank account for; second, choose the right bank; third, choose the right bank account that corresponds to your needs; fourth, provide the necessary documents, and proceed with opening one.

What documents should be provided to open a bank account in Germany?

Different banks in Germany will ask you to provide different documents, which will vary based on your status. However, some of the most common documents required are your valid passport, residence permit, and proof of income.          

What are the top German banks?

Some of the top and best banks in Germany are Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, DZ Bank, KfW Bank, ING-DiBa, Postbank, DKB (Deutsche Kreditbank AG), Volksbank, Sparkasse, HypoVereinsbank (UniCredit Bank AG), and so on.                

What are the most common bank account types in Germany?

In Germany, the most common bank account types are current account, savings account, student account, youth account, and business account. The list further includes online-only accounts, joint accounts, foreign currency accounts, fixed-term deposit accounts, junior savings accounts, premium or VIP accounts, charity or social impact accounts, senior accounts, non-resident or expatriate accounts, and green or sustainable accounts.              

Is it financially prudent to send money online through banks?

No. It is not financially wise to send money online through banks because banks deliver funds in several days, charge a high fee, offer uncompetitive and fixed currency exchange rates, and charge for currency conversions. All of this can create a financial burden on you.

A wiser approach is to choose a globally recognized and reputable company like ACE Money Transfer.

Resources

·      German GDP

(GDP (current US$) - Germany | Data (worldbank.org)

·      German GDP Per Capita

(GDP per capita (current US$) - Germany | Data (worldbank.org)


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