Banking Terms for Foreigner in Germany

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1 year ago
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For those who have recently moved, or plan on moving soon, to Germany, priority number one is setting up a bank account. With the abundance of money-related technology available today, having a local bank account may seem like a luxury, but in reality, is a necessity. To avoid future headaches and hassles, choosing a popular German bank will allow for stress-free bill payments. Since there’s no way of getting around it, it’s best to learn commonly used German banking terminology in order to prevent confusion or potentially bad decisions.

 The best banks to choose from are Deutsche Bank, Sparkasse, Commerzbank, Citibank, and Postbank as they all boast locations in every major German city. When first opening up an account, expect a familiar process of identity verification and countless forms to ensue. Even if you initially experience a banking experience with staffers fluent in English, it’s likely you’ll eventually encounter other monetary related scenarios where these common financial practices and terms will come in handy.

 Opening a bank account

 The biggest hurdle in securing your bank account is simply walking into one of the aforementioned banks and consulting with a staff member. Working up the courage to do so can feel impossible, but knowing common phrases helps alleviate any initial stress. Below you’ll find a typical banking scenario and terminology that will help the process go smoothly.

 Ich möchte ein Konto eröffnen = I would like to open an account.

 This obvious starting point helps to begin a dialogue with staff at the bank and hopefully reveals to them that you're going to need some translation help. The following is an important distinction to make up front as well:

 Sparkonto = Savings account

 Girokonto = Checking account

 Now that you’ve clarified your needs to the clerk, it’s likely they’ll use the following phrase:

 Bitte füllen Sie dieses Formular aus. = Please fill out this form.

 Followed promptly with:

 Bitte unterschreiben Sie hier. = Please sign here.

 Any credible bank should have translation services available or at the very least a contract available in English. It’s highly recommended that you are more certain about what you’re signing than just understanding these highlighted phrases. However, at the very least, you’ll be able to get the ball rolling.

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Using an ATM

 Accessing your funds is absolutely essential, but shouldn’t require trips to the bank every time you need some cash. Knowing these common ATM phrases will be extremely helpful and convenient for future use.

 Bitte geben Sie Ihre Karte ein. = Please insert your card

 Bitte geben Sie Ihre Geheimzahl ein. = Please enter your PIN (Personal Identification Number)

 Geld abheben = Withdraw money

 Geld einzahlen = Deposit money

 Geld überweisen = Transfer money

 Kontoauszug ausdrucken = Print bank statement
  The logistics of operating an ATM should feel very familiar. Once comfortable with the language on the screen, you’ll have no problem getting to your money whenever you need it.

 Payment Methods

 Almost all transactions are accompanied with three possible payment options:

             Bargeld = cash

             Kreditkarte = credit card

             EC Karte = debit card

 Many places in Germany do not accept credit cards, so it’s very important that you ask the following before making any purchases:

             Welche Zahlungsarten gibt es? = Which payment options are available?

 It cannot be stressed enough to ask this question before you buy an item or dine out and find yourself in a very uncomfortable situation. It’s best to always have a debit card or cash handy in case this mistake occurs.


German Banking Glossary

 While all the aforementioned scenarios and phrases are helpful and will surely arise in your daily life, they certainly do not cover all necessary terminology. Study the following list to ensure that you’re covered for anything that life throws at you.

 Bank = die Bank

 Bank account = das Bankkonto

 Bank balance = der Kontostand

 Bank book = das Bankbuch

 Bank charges = die Bankgebühren

 Bank draft = die Bankratte

 Bank loan = das Bankdarlehen

 Bank manager = der Filialleiter

 Bank note = der Geldschein

 Bank rate = der Diskontsatz

 Bank statement = der Bankauszug

 Bank transfer = die Banküberweisung

 Bounced check = der geplatzer Scheck

 Check = der Scheck

 Check book = das Scheckbuch

 Credit balance = das Guthaben

 Credit card = die Kreditkarte

 Credit facilities = die Darlehensmöglichkeiten

 Current account = das Girokonto

 Debit = das Soll

 Debit balance = der Soll-Saldo

 Deposit = die Einzahlung

 Deposit account = das Einlagenkonto

 Direct debit = die Abbuchung

 Exchange Bureau = die Wechselstube

 Exchange rate = der Wechselkurs

 Fiscal/tax code = die Abgabenordung

 Fixed rate = die feste Rate

 Interest rate = der Zinssatz

 Joint account = das gemeinsames Konto

 Non-resident account = das Ausländerkonto

 Overdraft = die Kontoüberziehung

 Payment slip = der Einzahlungsschein

 Share = die Aktie

 Shareholder = der Aktieninhaber

 Standing order = der Dauerauftrag

 Take out a mortgage = eine Hypothek aufnehmen

 Travelers’ check = der Reisescheck

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