Does your bank charge account fees? Then you should now carefully compare whether a change is worth it. We’ll show you where there are still free checking accounts in Germany. Even with a credit card, daily money – and a starting credit of up to 150 euros.

With an inflation rate of 2.2 percent for April 2024, every euro still counts. We’ll show you how easy it is to get your finances under control if you know the right tricks – and the best comparison calculators.

We work with you to compare the prices for bank accounts and credit cards and, based on our tariff comparisons and independent financial tests, find providers with the best price-performance ratio in each category. And the money saved is then increased! We’ll show you how to invest your money where it will bring the best interest and returns.

For years, fees at many banks were negligible. Until recently. Because in times when banks are losing their revenue due to low interest rates, many institutions have started to adjust the fee screw. And current account owners feel this: According to calculations by the consumer portal Biallo, a customer who makes five transfers per month at a self-service machine and withdraws their money with a debit card pays an average of up to just under 80 euros per year.

But there is a remedy for this. Although the range of free checking accounts is becoming increasingly thinner, they still exist. Particularly exciting: In order to attract customers, some institutions even pay a bonus for opening a new account or grant starting credit. FOCUS online provides an overview of the most attractive bonuses for new customers when they open a free checking account.

If you receive monthly payments of 700 euros or more, the Commerzbank account is free of charge, otherwise you pay 9.90 euros. You can withdraw cash at 7,000 Cash Group ATMs with your free Girocard, and you can make cash deposits at Commerzbank ATMs. You can easily manage your account on the go using online and mobile banking. There are 550 Commerzbank branches across Germany that you can contact with any questions or requests.

Good to know: Cash deposits and withdrawals at the counter cost 1.50 euros per transaction. With the Girocard you can withdraw money from ATMs at your own institution and within the Cash Group free of charge; at other banks and abroad it costs 1% turnover and a minimum fee of 5.98 euros. If you pay for goods and services in foreign currency with Girocard, you will be charged one percent of the turnover, a fee of at least 1.50 euros in EU countries with a foreign currency and at least 2.50 euros in non-EU countries. In addition, there is a currency conversion fee of 0.59 percent for EEA currencies.

Now to the Commerzbank offer

For new customers, the Comdirect checking account is initially available free of charge for six months. It then remains free if one of these three conditions are met: 700 euros monthly minimum payment or three payments via Apple Pay or Google Pay per month (with the bank card (Visa debit card) or Visa credit card) or a trade/securities savings plan -Execution per month. Even if you are under 28 and are a student, school pupil, trainee or intern, the account remains free. If it is different, a monthly fee of 4.90 euros or 58.80 euros annually will apply. You will receive a Visa debit card free of charge, and a Girocard for one month is optionally available. With the Girocard you can withdraw cash free of charge in Germany from Cashgroup ATMs (Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, HypoVereinsbank and Postbank) as well as from Shell gas stations and supermarkets, as often as you like. With the Visa debit card you can withdraw cash free of charge three times a month from all ATMs with a Visa symbol in Germany and worldwide. Each additional transaction costs 4.90 euros. For payments outside the euro area, a foreign transaction fee of 1.75 percent applies. When you open a current account, you will receive a free daily money PLUS account with a daily money interest rate of 3.5 percent p.a. a. with an investment of up to one million euros for three months. The standard conditions of 0.75 percent interest income then apply, and the Tagesgeld PLUS account is permanently free.

Good to know: With the Barzahlen/viacash app function, you can withdraw cash free of charge three times a month (Extra model five times) per month and deposit cash free of charge three times per calendar year – from the fourth transaction (Extra model from the sixth) onwards a fee of 4.90 euros each. With the Cash Plus option or the Current Account Plus option, you can withdraw or deposit money as often as you like.

Now to the Comdirect offer

The 1822direkt-Bank is a subsidiary of Frankfurter Sparkasse mbH. For opening a classic account you will receive a bonus of 50 euros. The classic account is free if the incoming money is at least 700 euros per month, otherwise you pay 3.90 euros per month. You can withdraw cash free of charge up to six times a month from over 25,000 Sparkasse ATMs with the 1822direkt Sparkasse Card; the Girocard is optionally available for six euros per year. When you open a current account, a current account with a current promotional interest rate of 3.3 percent per annum is automatically set up.

Good to know: If you pay for goods or services with your credit card in EEA foreign currency or third country currency, 1.75 percent of the turnover will be charged as a fee. If you take the debit card, which can be booked optionally for six euros per year, you will be charged 1.75 percent of your sales, at least 1.50 euros. If you withdraw money with the 1822direkt debit card, you can make 6 withdrawals per month free of charge within Germany (subsequently two euros per transaction). You don’t pay a fee in the euro area; when withdrawing in a foreign currency abroad, you pay one percent of the turnover, at least six euros. With the Visa card you pay two percent of the turnover domestically, at least 5.11 euros, no fee in the euro area, 1.75 percent of the turnover in EEA and foreign currencies. If you withdraw with your credit card at the counter, it always costs three percent of the transaction, at least 5.11 euros and an additional 1.75 percent for foreign currency.

Now to the 1822direkt offer

The account is permanently free if your salary is 700 euros or if you are under 28 years old, otherwise it costs 4.90 euros per month from the 3rd month after opening the account. With the associated Visa debit card you can withdraw cash for free in the euro zone (minimum withdrawal amount 50 euros) and the interest rate is less than eleven percent. Credit card transactions, just like those with a Girocard, are billed after just a few days. Outside the Eurozone, a foreign transaction fee also applies when withdrawing cash.

You will also receive the bonus if you open your first checking account directly as a “Future checking account”. Please note, however, that the credit does not apply to activating the so-called sustainability extension of an existing account. The reward will be transferred directly to your new account. The offer applies to everyone who has not had a current account or future current account with ING in the last twelve months.

Good to know: A Girocard for the account is optionally available for 0.99 euros per month. The minimum withdrawal amount is 50 euros; in foreign currencies, a further 1.99 percent foreign transaction fee applies

Now to the ING offer

The Visa DirectCard is a debit card from BBBank and is only available in conjunction with a checking account from the cooperative bank. Up to the age of 30, the debit card and the young account are free of charge, as long as receipts such as training allowances, salary/remuneration are made through the account from the start of training or the start of a career. From the age of 31, the cost model changes, then the debit card costs 18 euros per year, a monthly fee of 2.95 euros is charged for the checking account and a checking card costs an additional 11.95 euros per year, a total of 65.35 euros annual costs. Paying in euros and foreign currencies is possible free of charge worldwide, cash withdrawals from ATMs are free of charge 36 times per billing year, after which 1.50 euros are due per withdrawal.

Good to know: Younger people can also open accounts and cards at BBBank branches.

Now for the BBBank offer

Santander Bank offers a whopping 150 euros welcome bonus to all new customers who open a checking account. There are no account management fees for the BestGiro account and no minimum incoming funds are required. You will also receive a free Visa debit card with which you can withdraw cash free of charge at Santander counters and ATMs and those of CashPool partner banks. At other banks, a withdrawal costs 3.95 euros per transaction, this also applies to foreign currency. You also have the option to cash out up to 200 euros at a selection of retailers. When paying in foreign currency, 1.5 percent of the amount is due. A debit card is available for an extra 12 euros per year, and the free BestCard Basic is also available as a real credit card.

Good to know: The CashPool partner banks include around 2,800 financial institutions such as BBBank, Degussa Bank, National-Bank, Oldenburgische Landesbank, Santander Consumer Bank, Sparda-Banken, Targobank as well as other regional private banks such as Südwestbank, Steller Ethik-Bank, Pax-Bank, Flessabank,sperrer-Privatbank and more.

Now to the Santander offer

No convincing offer for you? Get an overview of other current accounts in the FOCUS online comparison:

Browse through our various offers now and secure numerous discounts and vouchers from well-known finance, tax and insurance providers.

If you can’t wait and want to get your finances even further in shape today, you can read all the tips in our six-part series here.