Opening a bank account

If you are staying in Germany for a longer period of time, it is helpful to open a giro account (checking account). With a giro account, you can transfer payments for your rent, for example, or have your salary transferred from your employer – checks or cash payments are unusual for these purposes in Germany. With the bank card (the so called EC-card) you can also pay in many shops. Credit cards are less common in Germany.

You can withdraw money from your account at automated tellers offered by your bank or their partners anywhere in Germany. This service is free of charge unless you are using an automated teller that is run by a different bank.

To open a giro account, you need:

    your passport
    a certificate stating that you are participating in a German course or a certificate of enrollment (your student ID card is not enough)
    your tenancy agreement

Almost all banks offer free accounts for students, but sometimes there is an age limit. However, there are differences in conditions (e.g. interest rate or overdraft credit).

As long as you are still enrolled as a student, you can use a free account. At some banks (e.g. the "Sparkasse"), there is no age limit.

If you cannot get an account for student conditions any more, you should compare the prices of different banks. Accounts with limited service are especially cheap and sometimes even free of charge; many fees are also reduced for online banking.

Banks in Bochum

It is advisable to pick a bank near your school or your apartment. The following banks, among others, have branches in Bochum:

    Sparkasse Bochum
    Deutsche Bank
    Dresdner Bank
    Sparda Bank

Sparkasse, Postbank, and Volksbank have branches in the Uni-Center. Sparda Bank and Sparkasse have automated tellers on the Ruhr-Universität campus.

Some advice about your account

    If you lose your bank card, call your bank immediately to have your card "blocked". Every bank has a 24 hour phone service for this purpose.
    Please remember to close your account before returning to your home country.
    You can find technical terms and explanations related to payments at http://www.daad.de/deutschland/deutschland/leben-in-deutschland/04659.en.html (english) or at http://www.zahlungsverkehrsfragen.de/frameset.html (german)

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