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Opening a bank account

All banks in Germany, even private ones, are subject to state control. The major banks are the Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, and Dresdner Bank, as well as the Sparkasse in Bremen, and the Postbank. Opening times differ from one bank to another but are usually open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Tuesdays and Thursdays to 6 p.m. They often close at lunchtime from 1 to 2.30 p.m.

In order to open a bank account you need to produce a valid passport. Non-EU citizens have to produce a valid visa, or a residence permit that will last at least 6 months longer. You may wish to open a "Girokonto" (current or checking account), which allows money deposits and withdrawals, as well as money transfer transactions and automated deduction of regular payments such as rent and insurance contributions. Please note that a "Giro" account does not pay interest on your money. In addition you may consider opening a savings account.

For students, bank accounts are free of service charges. Present your student card ("Immatrikulationsbescheinigung") to prove your status when you open a bank account. If you cannot certify your enrolment, just sign up as a regular client. You may change your status as soon as your student card is available. The bank deducts basic service fees from regular clients on a monthly basis.