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A Guide to Banking in Germany: Opening Your First Account as a Nigerian

14 May 2024


The robust German economy with a nominal GDP of $4.08 trillion and a GDP Per Capita income of $48,718 is pretty intriguing for the people of Nigeria who travel to Germany for work, earn and send money to Nigeria from Germany to offer financial aid back home.

But do you think it is as simple as the preceding lines make it sound?

Hold your horses!

The reference is not in finding jobs, which is as simple as it is, thanks to the German economy.

It is about the steps you must take when you land in Germany as a migrant.

One of the first and essential steps is to open a bank account in Germany, which this blog aims to guide you through.

Details of Opening a Bank Account in Germany as a Nigerian Migrant

Opening a bank account in Germany is a simple process but may not be as simple as you may find it in your native country. One particular difference is that Germans are wary of walk-ins. This means that you cannot simply walk into a bank in Germany randomly and request the opening of an account.

You may be accustomed to this in Nigeria, and this is how you normally open a bank account in most developing countries.

But in Germany, you must make an appointment with the concerned bank to open an account.

However, before you try to open a bank account in Germany, have you thought about the need? Do you want to open one to send money online to Nigeria from Germany?

Or are there other reasons?

Before you learn the two basic steps for opening a bank account in Germany, you need to know the documents you require to open an account. After all, regardless of the need, you will be required to produce certain documents at the end of the day.

What Documents do German Banks Require to Open a Bank Account in Germany?

Germany has a solid financial landscape, meaning there is no shortage of financial institutions, including banks. This is one reason why Germany’s financial landscape is considered one of the most trustworthy in the world.

The documents required, therefore, may vary given the large number of banks, but some of the most common documents required to open a bank account are listed below.

·       Your valid ID, such as your passport or ID card

·       Proof of address, including a utility bill (not older than 3 months) or rental or mortgage documents

·       Residency documents such as your visa or work permit

·       Proof of income or employment

·       Proof of enrolment at a German university for a student bank account

·       Documents about your business for business accounts

Most Common Bank Account Types in Germany

In Germany, innumerable banks specialize in different services through their specialized bank account types. However, the most common bank account types remain the same as elsewhere, including in your native country, Nigeria.

Take a look below.

Current Account or Checking Account (Girokonto)

This is the most common bank account type you can open in any German bank. As a Nigerian migrant, you can easily open a checking or current account provided you can produce the required documents and meet other essential account opening conditions.

Savings Account (Sparkonto)

As the name suggests, this is a typical savings account, similar to the one you have in your native country. These accounts offer interest payments on top of the principal amount you have deposited according to the terms and conditions mutually agreed upon by you and the bank.

It may seem odd that, despite the presence of so many banks in Germany, only these two account types are discussed here.

But then ask yourself what either of these two account types cannot help you with, including a money transfer from Germany to Nigeria.

Let’s now discuss some of the benefits of having a bank account in Germany as a Nigerian Migrant.

What are the Benefits of Having a Bank Account in Germany?

Opening a bank account in a developed country like Germany comes naturally because the trend of digital financing is rising. Whether you open a bank account to get the benefits listed below or not, you will have to open one.

But if you do, you will get the following benefits as an additional bonus.

A Bank Account Keeps Your Money Safe

Have you ever noticed that when you have money in your wallet, you fall prey to impulsive buying and spending on things you least need?

Well, think about it from now on if you haven’t yet!

Therefore, keeping money in a bank account prevents unnecessarily excessive spending and keeps your funds safe.

Efficient and Effective Financial Management

A bank account allows you to manage your financials more effectively. You can pay your utility bills, rent, fees, and so on using your bank account. A bank account helps you keep an eye on how much you earn, how much you spend, and when.

Although you can easily enjoy these benefits, beware of the risks and challenges banks face in their financial operations.

Read More: What Are the Biggest Risks for Banks & Their Solutions?

Bank Accounts Offer You Liquidity as well as Safety

While your funds are safe in a bank account, it offers high liquidity.

Well, think of it this way.

You do not have your funds; they are in your bank account, right? But what does it take to visit your nearest ATM and withdraw cash? Or what will it take to make a payment online or pay bills?

A bank account, therefore, offers you a fine blend of liquidity and safety at the same time.

Earn Additional Cash as Profit

Saving money in a savings account will help you earn a profit, which will help you multiply your income and cash automatically without adding extra cash from your side.

However, the amount of interest you earn in a savings account depends on what interest rate a particular bank offers you, the quantum of deposited money, and the terms and conditions mutually agreed upon between you and your bank.

Get Banking Benefits from German Banks and Remittance Benefits from ACE Money Transfer

No matter how advanced banks in Germany or elsewhere become, they are not the right fit to transfer funds across borders because of several challenges, such as fees, delivery time, and other issues.

What is the alternative? Do you wonder then, and justifiably so?

Well, the simple answer is to make money transfer from Germany to Nigeria with ACE Money Transfer because the firm offers you live and market-competitive currency exchange rates and delivers your funds at a lightning pace, which adds to the safety and security of your funds.

Furthermore, the firm will charge you a low fee, a small percentage of the amount you send back home. Surprisingly, this fee is only applicable when the amount being transferred reaches a certain threshold below which you will likely enjoy as many fee-free transfers back to Nigeria from Germany as possible!

FAQs

Why is opening a bank account essential in Germany?

Opening a bank account in Germany or any other developed country is essential because the trend of using cash is diminishing fast. People are drawn to using digital money to manage finances, for which having a bank account is the first step.

What do I need to consider before opening an account?

Before you open a bank account in Germany, you need to consider two things deeply. First, you need to determine your exact financial needs. Once you have determined your needs, you will have to search the financial market to find the right bank that corresponds to them and open an account in it.

What are some of the most common bank account types in Germany that I can easily open?

Despite being one of the largest financial markets in the world with several banks, the most common bank account types you can open in most German banks are the currency or checking account and the savings account, which offer benefits similar to those of other savings or checking accounts elsewhere in the world.

Is it acceptable to transfer remittances through banks?

Transferring funds across borders with banks is not an ideal proposition. The reasons are many. Banks deliver funds in several days, charge high fees, and involve commuting hazards that incur costs. In addition, banks will charge you extra for currency conversions.

What is the best alternative to banks for online money transfers?

The best alternative to banks for sending money online is ACE Money Transfer because the firm charges a low fee and delivers funds in a few hours. It also offers you live and market-competitive currency exchange rates. In addition, its services are available 24/7 in over 100 countries worldwide.

Resource(s)

·      Germany’s GDP

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

·      Germany’s GDP Per Capita

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


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