Bringing in cash
When travelling to Germany you may only bring cash in an amount equal to €10,000. Check on the exact regulations with the German Embassy or a consulate in your country before leaving.
Foreign currency exchange
Foreign currency cannot be exchanged immediately for euros in every bank. You should therefore plan a delay of two or three days for foreign exchange.Exchanging foreign cash into euros is possible immediately in travel banks, for example in airports.
In Germany you can pay cash with coins and banknotes (euros) or without cash using Eurocheque (EC) and credit cards. Transactions such as wage and rent transfers, use of credit cards and so on are generally carried out via a bank account.
You can pay using the EC card in most businesses and petrol stations. However, many people in Germany use cash to pay in stores and restaurants. Payment by credit card is not possible everywhere in Germany.
If you wish to stay for a longer period in Germany, you need a bank account (Girokonto or checking account).
Your wages are paid via the checking account without cash. You can receive or request the following services from the bank:
withdraw cash and pay for goods with a debit card (EC card);
use online banking; order transfers; set up repeat transfers for regularly occurring payments such as rent and utilities for your home;
authorise direct debit for amounts that are due regularly, e.g. phone and electrical; pay with a credit card; draw on a line of credit from the bank (requires prior contract).
Transfers from your account to another in Germany are executed immediately or in a few business days. You can use the transfer forms or ATMs at your bank, or online banking to order transfers.
You can find additional useful information here if you would like to open a bank account.
You can withdraw cash from ATMs using your EC card with a PIN code 24 hours a day. You will receive the PIN by mail from your bank after you have opened your bank account. There is normally no fee to withdraw money from your own bank's ATMs. Withdrawals from ATMs of other banks may give rise to a fee, which is displayed next to the ATM or on the screen.
Line of credit
With a line of credit you can overdraw your checking account up to a specified amount, usually equal to up to three months' income. The line of credit is granted by your bank upon request, once regular wage payments have been made to the bank account. The bank charges higher interest for use of this line of credit.