Geldscheine und Münzen

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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.

Payments

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.

Bank account

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.

EC card

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.

Opening a bank account

Banks can charge various fees, such as for account management or for every transfer. There are other types of account in addition to the checking account (Girokonto). It is worth making comparisons when choosing a bank. To select the right account for you, we recommend a personal consultation with several banks.

When you have chosen a bank and want to open an account, you will need the following documents:

passport/residency permit
work permit
registration certificate for your place of residence
depending on the account type, a wage slip from your employer

With these documents, you can request a checking account and an EC card from the bank of your choice.
These questions might help you during your consultation to select a bank:

• How much are the account management fees?
• Does the account pay interest?
• How much interest?
• Can I set up repeat payments?
• Is a specific minimum monthly amount required to be paid in to the checking account?
• Is it possible to set up a line of credit to overdraw the checking account? If so, how high is this credit line?
• What is the interest rate for the credit line?
• Can I designate another authorised party to the account (such as a spouse)?
• Is it possible to withdraw money immediately after opening the account?
• Where is it possible to withdraw money at no cost?
• Can I request a credit card? If so, when would I receive it?

You have chosen your bank? The Rhineland-Palatinate Welcome Center is happy to assist you in opening your bank account.

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