How to open a bank account in Germany for refugees from Ukraine?
As of March 20, the German Ministry of Internal Affairs announced the registration of 218,301 Ukrainians who had requested temporary protection status. Of course, this figure is much higher now. All these people now need to somehow integrate into the life of the host country, especially since Germany, like all members of the Eurozone, has promised to simplify their employment and provide social assistance. Of course, cooperation with the country's banking system is an integral part of such integration. In particular, opening current accounts with the receipt of plastic.
Germany has one of the most stable, convenient and powerful banking systems in Europe with over 36,000 branches and outlets. There is the main bank of the country - the Bundesbank, several state specials, and about 10 thousand commercial banks - both, in fact, German, and representatives of financial institutions of other states. Here is a link to a review brochure on the banking system of Germany with a list of all existing institutions.
Basic account: functions and opening procedure
There is a very interesting system of division into basic accounts (accounts) and commercial ones. Everyone living in the country, including our refugees, is entitled to a basic account (Basiskonto). It is characterized by minimal, but quite comfortable functionality:
• cash withdrawal / deposit,
• card payments,
• direct debit (salary, social assistance),
• long-term orders and transfers,
• storage of funds,
• payment for rent, utilities and more.
As for the overdraft, it is usually not included in the list of services, but you can agree with some banks (be prepared to increase the number of required documents to allow this possibility).
Important: a person can have only one basic account: if you have one, another bank has no right to open this type of account for you. First delete the previous record - then apply for a new one. The bank can also cancel your account if:
• You have not used it for more than two years in a row;
• You have opened another account with another financial institution;
• You have violated the general laws and regulations of the German Civil Code governing banking services, or committed a criminal offense against the bank, its employees or customers;
• You have not repaid the account maintenance costs for 3 months (€ 100 or more);
• It turned out that they were deceived when processing documents.
Such an account can be opened in one of the many banks, however, it is worth carefully comparing the proposals, because the commissions for its maintenance and operations are all different.
Opening a basic account can take place both in physical presence and online - check with the selected institution. To do this, you must submit:
• form (looks like this),
• passport or identity card (when submitting the form) OR, if you have registered as a refugee, the document issued to you at the registration center will be enough (in case of loss of your own documents, or if you have only an old-type Ukrainian passport, etc.).
The form can be found on the websites of banks or you will be issued it at the branch of the institution when applying. If you do not understand something in the form, terms of service of the bank due to lack of knowledge of English / German, contact an interpreter. The Consumer Protection Centers (Verbraucherzentralen) are responsible for providing translators and advising the public in Germany. Map of centers and contacts: https://www.verbraucherzentrale.de/beratung.
Permission to open a basic account is usually given 10 days after the application. If you have not been contacted after this deadline, you can contact the Federal Financial Supervision Authority (BaFin) by sending a form. The authority will initiate an inspection, which may require the bank to open an account for you. In general, they can refuse on the following:
• In the last 3 years, you have committed a crime related to your relationship with a banking institution or its employees;
• Last year, your account was closed due to illegal use or non-payment of commissions for more than three months (debt exceeds 100 euros);
• Insufficient identification of the applicant.
When you have been in Germany for some time, have a steady job, all the necessary documents, have been, in short, assimilated enough, you can open a regular bank account - the same as most Germans have. For it, real credit opportunities, and in general the list of services and freedoms is much wider.
• passport (mandatory biometrics),
• residence permit or settlement permit,
• registration certificate,
• salary certificate (depending on the type of account).
Special offers from German banks and savings banks for Ukrainians
Given the current circumstances in which Ukrainian refugees found themselves, several German banks announced significant preferences, both for opening accounts and servicing them, and in the field of customer service.
Remark! So far, you cannot put hryvnia cash with you in any German bank account. Exchangers also do not work with the hryvnia at the moment. We will be sure to let you know how the situation changes. BUT there are exchange options in other countries:
Poland - PKO Bank Polski (UAH 10,000 per person)
Hungary - OTP Bank (UAH 15,000 per transaction)
Moldova - OTP Bank (UAH 3,000 per day per person)
Romania - Banca Comercială Română (equivalent to 1,000 lei per person)
Slovakia - Tatra banka, head office in Bratislava, Tatracentrum shopping center, Hodžovo námestie (equivalent to 250 euros per person per day)
Austria - Raiffeisen bank and Erste Bank Oesterreich (EUR 500 per day)
at the rate of the National Bank of Ukraine, without commission.
Presentation of an identity card indicating citizenship is required.
Additionally. If dollars are taken out - German banks exchange them into euros, some do not even charge a fee for demonstrating a Ukrainian passport. Check on the spot, as there are no clarifications on the banks' websites at this time.
As for the payment of Ukrainian bank cards with the currency "hryvnia" anywhere, no concessions in the commissions for currency conversion are not yet provided.
Documents. Ukrainian identity card and all. You do not even need to confirm the official registration - just indicate in the questionnaire the address of temporary housing or something.
Account opening procedure. Contacts: https://www.deutsche-bank.de/pk.html.
Terms. Monthly fee canceled. The commission on transfers to Ukraine is not taken.
Documents. Opening a basic account requires a Ukrainian identity card. Official registration is also not required - specify the postal address of temporary residence.
Account opening procedure. Contacts: https://www.postbank.de/.
Terms. The commission for using the account is not charged. Payments to Ukraine are free.
Documents. Opening an account under a simplified procedure. At least a national identity card is required.
Account opening procedure. Contacts and conditions: https://www.commerzbank.com.
Ostdeutscher Sparkkassenverband (OSV)
Documents. Identity card with photo.
Account opening procedure. You will receive the contract and current account number immediately. Within two weeks, the PIN code is first sent to the Girocard, and in a few days - the card itself. Addresses of branches.
Terms. Booklet in Ukrainian with all information on conditions, opening procedures, etc.
Let us remind that the inclusion of Ukrainian refugees in the Hartz VI social security program, which provides for payments of about 400 euros per person per month since June 1, has been agreed. They can also be issued to an account opened in the selected bank. Here, by the way, is the application procedure and its sample.
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The simultaneous stay of visitors in the hotel lobby not more than one person per 10 square meters of serviceable area is allowed.
Persons can visit hotels and stay there (outside hotel room) only if they wear respirator or face mask (including homemade mask), so that the nose and mouth are covered.
Hotel guests are obliged to keep the 1.5 meters distance.
Online check-in making in advance is recommended to avoid queues at check-in to hotel.
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Self-serve is not allowed.