A paperwork-less guide on how to open a German bank account without an address made possible with N26 mobile bank.
We relocated to Berlin in what now seems like an eternity ago. And as with many expats living abroad, we too faced several challenges adjusting to our new life in Germany. One of the many challenges we faced was opening a local bank account and gathering all the necessary paperwork.
This guide covers how to effortlessly open a German bank account without all the fuss that comes along with the bureaucracy.
It also includes an honest review which we hope will answer any questions you may have about the N26 mobile bank.
Important Note: N26 is accepting new clients again! If you’re looking to open a German bank account without Anmeldung, you can also do so with Revolut and Monese. And if you need a German IBAN, bunq is also a great option too.
Moving to Berlin
After wandering between the UK and Germany, we finally decided to call Berlin our home. Not only is Berlin centrally located in Europe, it was also voted the second most innovative city in the world.
Living in this energetic city really fuels our creativity and drives us even more now that we’ve embarked on our new expat and travel blogging journey. We’re also excited to use Berlin as our base, while we continue to explore the rest of the world.
Surprisingly, it’s also quite an affordable city to live in if you’re an expat. We didn’t realise this until after we settled into our new home abroad.
If you’re planning to move abroad or perhaps you’re intrigued to know what monthly expenses cost, check out our Cost of Living in Berlin guide to find out more.
And if you want to know what the pros and cons are living in London vs Berlin, we’ve written a detailed guide to help you make up your mind.
But let’s not get distracted. Relocating isn’t as simple as pointing your finger on a map and getting on a plane. It requires a lot of planning, sometimes months in advance.
There are also various things to consider such as how to open a bank account when arriving in your new home. A local bank account is essential if you need to pay expenses, receive international transfers and get paid.
Luckily, there are several options available to you if you want to discover how to open a German bank account without Anmeldung. Or even the need to provide a schufa (credit report). So without further ado, let’s dive right in.
Traditional Bank Accounts in Germany
Traditional banks in Germany offer various types of bank accounts to suit every need under the sun. There are literally hundreds of banks that we can’t possibly mention them all here.
Simply put, you could open a standard cheque account with Deutsche Bank, Postbank or Commerzbank and receive a debit card. These checking accounts are also referred to as a Eurocheque-Karte, EC-Karte or girocard.
But these banks generally require several documents which you may not initially have after stepping off the plane. One document in particular is called Anmeldung, which simply confirms your address and that you are a registered resident of the city. You can read more about that in our How to Effortlessly Get Anmeldung in 3 Easy Steps Guide.
We didn’t have Anmeldung when we arrived in Germany so we couldn’t open a bank account at a traditional bank. That’s why we decided to go mobile and haven’t looked back since.
Related Guide: If you’ve just moved to Germany, you’ll probably want to know how to sign up for electricity when moving into a new apartment. Read our comprehensive Electricity Providers in Germany guide to compare prices and find the best deal.
What is a Mobile Bank
A mobile bank, also commonly referred to as a direct bank, is a bank that offers its services remotely. Its services are accessed via online or telephone banking, ATMs or, in our case, an app on your mobile device.
In other words, it doesn’t have any branches where you can walk into to ask for assistance. Everything is done in-app which means they can significantly reduce their costs. And by doing so, they can offer their clients the same benefits of having a bank account, but with zero fees.
We first discovered this method of banking when we arrived in Europe. It’s now our preferred way of banking and N26 is just one of several mobile banks we use. Now, let’s get to that N26 bank review!
Banking with N26: An Honest Review
N26 is one of the first mobile banks to launch in Europe. The allure of being the first mobile bank to market was probably the reason we decided to try N26. Or maybe it was their marketing campaigns littered across the city. Beats us!
Either way, N26 offer a free basic current account with a debit Mastercard. It’s a really easy way to open a German bank account, and the cool part is that you don’t need Anmeldung. Also, no schufa required.
They also offer premium accounts which include fancy-looking cards and perks such as discounts, insurance and dedicated customer support. But we didn’t need all of that, so we settled for the free basic option which we felt was more than sufficient for our banking needs. You can always upgrade your account later if you wish.
Bear in mind that the N26 card is not an EC card (current or checking account). It’s not necessary to get an EC card in Germany as most merchants accept a regular debit or credit card. But it’s always a good idea to carry cash in case they insist on an EC card.
Save Me For Later
How to Open a German Bank Account with N26
Opening an account is simple and you don’t need Anmeldung to do so. Simply download the N26 app, follow the instructions and you should receive your N26 bank card in the post. Delivery may take a couple of weeks if you don’t opt for express delivery.
What You Need to Open an N26 Bank Account
- 8 Minutes (we did it in 5)
- Your Best Selfie Pose
- Residential Address (for delivery of your debit card)
- No Anmeldung Required
- No Schufa Required
You can deliver your bank card to a relative or friend’s address if you don’t already have your own residence. Remember to ask for their permission first before ordering your N26 card.
If you live in Germany, don’t forget to put their name and surname on the delivery instruction. Apartments have names instead of numbers on the doors.
Related Guide: There will come a time when you will need Anmeldung – no matter how much you try to delay it. It’s notoriously difficult to rent an apartment or flat in Berlin nowadays. So if you need temporary accommodation that allows Anmeldung to get your foot in the door (literally!), then read our 15 Apartment Hotels in Berlin With Anmeldung guide.
Registration on the N26 App
The registration process is straightforward, but N26 take security very seriously.
If you are verified via video call, they may request you to make a few declarations. The most common one is to state that you are not acting in someone else’s capacity.
Our advice? Just act cool, play along and you’ll be done in no time. The agents are usually super friendly and ask these questions to ensure the safe keeping of your money.
What are the Benefits of an N26 Account
You get several great benefits when you open an N26 account. You can expect the following perks from the N26 free basic account:
- European IBAN (International Bank Account Number)
- N26 Mastercard
- Free Monthly ATM withdrawals (up to 5)
- Free Payments in Any Currency
- Foreign Currency Transfers
- Secure Online Banking
Is My Money Safe with N26
Absolutely! The Compensation Scheme of German Banks guarantees every N26 bank account up to €100,000.00. So don’t worry. Your money is safe.
N26 Customer Service: What You Can Expect
We couldn’t possibly write an honest N26 bank review without mentioning customer service. After all, a bank without any branches relies heavily on its in-app support to keep its clients happy.
It’s no secret that most mobile banks will fall short in one department or another. And customer service is the usual culprit. A quick look on social media platforms and you’ll almost certainly find a complaint about N26 and their customer service.
It’s true that you may have to wait a little longer for an agent at the end of the month and the N26 app tends to lag when chatting to support. But we can only speak from our own experience and honestly, customer service at N26 has been nothing short of exemplary.
The Impact of BREXIT on N26
With BREXIT done and dusted, N26 announced that they’re pulling out of the UK. So if you’ve already opened an N26 bank account in the UK, unfortunately it will be closed by 15 April 2020.
Although BREXIT won’t let you open an account in the UK, you can still open an N26 bank account in 22 European Union countries. See, it’s not all doom and gloom in the end.
So, if you’re thinking of moving abroad and need a German bank account, simply download the N26 app and follow the easy steps in this guide.
And there you have it! Our honest N26 bank review and guide on how to open a German bank account without Anmeldung. So go on, forget the fuss and open your account today.
Other Ways to Open a German Bank Account
If you aren’t sold on N26 bank or perhaps you’d like to explore and review other mobile banks, you have options. Lots of them!
Out of the endless list of mobile banks on the market, Monese, Revolut and Vivid also let you open a bank account in Germany without Anmeldung. And if you care about reducing your impact on the planet, there’s also bunq mobile bank which even helps you reduce CO2.
Wise is also a great option if you want to send your money abroad.
Anmeldung Done the Simple and Easy Way
You’ll eventually require an Anmeldung for various essential reasons.
Renting an apartment in Germany, applying for jobs, setting up a utilities account, filing your German tax return or accessing consular services, are just few instances you’ll need Anmeldung.
But don’t despair! We reveal how to effortlessly get Anmeldung in our 3 Easy Step Guide. You’ll first need to rent an apartment that offers Anmeldung though.
Yes, we won’t lie – getting Anmeldung and renting an apartment can be a chicken and egg situation. How are new expats arriving in Germany supposed to get one or the other if you need one of them to get started?
We’ve been there, done that and have a simple solution for you – rent a short term apartment in Germany that offers Anmeldung. They’re usually more expensive compared to renting a long term apartment. But it’s a temporary solution that will allow you to get your foot in the door (literally!).
You can easily rent apartments that offer Anmeldung on Homelike. They have apartments in Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart, Munich, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt.
The benefit of renting with Homelike is that it’s as easy as booking a hotel. This means that you won’t need to submit a long list of documents (including SCHUFA) to rent an apartment in Germany. All the apartments come fully furnished and some are even deposit-free and pet-friendly too! And the cherry on top? You get customer service in English!
Are you relocating to Germany? If you are and have come across other issues you need help with, check out our Moving to Germany guides.
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