Are bank accounts free

30 free checking accounts in comparison

A year ago there were more than 70 free checking accounts, today there are 30. In March there were seven more free accounts.

Month after month we search the price and service directories and websites of almost 1,300 banks and savings banks in order to keep the prices up to date for you. For comparison: The Stiftung Warentest recently came up with around 20 accounts that cost nothing. That's simply because she only looks at 250 banks and their prices and fees.

There are two reasons why more and more banks are charging their free accounts with fees:

  1. Because of the low interest rates, the banks earn less and get the missing money from customers.
  2. Because of the negative interest rate of 0.5 percent, they fear that people could shift money to these accounts in order to save themselves penalty interest. And they themselves then pay the negative interest to the European Central Bank (ECB) for these customers.

Still, new vendors are popping into the market, luring customers with free accounts to sell them other things.

The three best free checking accounts

Before we present all of the free accounts in detail, we would like to introduce you to three accounts that have the most sympathy with Biallo & Team. Almost all of our employees use one of the three following accounts and have had excellent experiences with it.

DKB

The DKB Cash-Account is our most popular and has been in first place in the current account comparison for years with a rating of 4.9 out of 5.0 points. All banking as well as giro and credit cards are free of charge. The overdraft rate is always one of the lowest rates nationwide. Cash supply is free of charge worldwide via credit card, provided that at least 700 euros are credited to the account per month. Google Pay and Apple Pay complete the offer.

ING

The ING current account is actually only free of charge if you have received a payment of EUR 700 or more. But most people have that much, especially since this account can also be managed as a joint account and two people have to come up with this amount. Not only the entire banking system as well as two giro and credit cards are free. The cash supply is free of charge in the entire euro zone via the Visa card. Overdraft, installment and car loans are very cheap. The same goes for mortgage lending. Anyone who wants to invest money receives a free custody account, many ETFs and a robo-advisor. So: great banking and everything from a single source.

HVB

The HVB Plus Account can be managed both in the branch and online. We don't know of any other bank that gives a zero euro guarantee for five years. At over ten percent, the overdraft interest is significantly higher than that of the DKB or ING. This means that the HVB account does a little worse in our checking account test, but we still get a rating of 4.7 out of a possible 5 stars. So far, Hypovereinsbank has only offered Apple Pay.

Free online accounts compared

The following accounts are online accounts that are only managed via the Internet. There are no branches with on-site service. The customer contact takes place exclusively via the website, by email or chat. The resulting lower costs compared to the savings banks or cooperative banks are passed on to their customers by the direct banks in the form of particularly attractive conditions.

In the following overview you can see the best online accounts, sorted by rating. All details about these accounts can be found in our current account comparison. In the detailed information for each bank, you can also see how the rating is made.

Bank

Apple or Google Pay

Overdraft interest in%

Biallo test grade

DKB

Google Pay, Apple Pay

6,74

4,9

My bank

Google Pay, Apple Pay

7,25

4,9

C24

Google Pay, Apple Pay

6,99

4,8

1822 directly

Google Pay, Apple Pay

7,17

4,9

Edekabank1Google Pay, Apple Pay7,344,8
Fidor2Apple Pay, via Android: Fidor Pay8,504,7

N26

Google Pay, Apple Pay

8,90

4,8

Tomorrow

Google Pay, Apple Pay

No overdraft facility

4,7

Openbank

Google Pay, Apple Pay

No overdraft facility

4,7

Klarna3Google Pay, Apple PayNo overdraft facility4,8
VividGoogle Pay, Apple PayNo overdraft facility4,8

1 From March 1st, 2021 only for employees of the EDEKA Group.

2 Free of charge for more than ten transactions per month, otherwise 5.00 euros per month. Basic charge.

3 Currently only available for regular Klarna customers. Klarna plans to gradually offer this account to all customers after a test phase.

Free checking accounts compared with bonuses

In the following overview you can see the banks that reward a switch to their free account with a one-time welcome bonus, or that give you as the account holder a bonus if they recommend the account to others.

Since this premium is only paid once, you should only switch to this money house if you are really convinced of this offer.

Bank

bonus

condition

1822 directly

Up to € 150

Max 100 €

New customer bonus when opening a classic or premium current account

Bonus for a successful recommendation

DKB

25 € shopping voucher / 25 € cash bonus as a credit to the account

Successful recommendation

PSD Bank Munich

75 €

Starting credit with regular receipt of money

PSD Bank Nuremberg

50 €

100 €

Starting credit with regular receipt of money

Successful recommendation

Sparda-Bank Hessen

1,000 joy points


More joy points

New customer bonus, which corresponds to a value of 10 € and is donated to selected social projects in Hessen

Successful recommendation

Free accounts of national branch banks

The following supraregional banks offer a free current account as well as a branch in many German cities. This is particularly noteworthy, since a branch network naturally entails high costs that have to be generated through the products. More and more banks are currently closing branches in order to further reduce costs. Or they convert existing branches into self-service centers.

You can manage these free accounts in the branch and, of course, online. That means: You can get help from the employees in the branch if you have problems, use the bank statement printer or make transfers in the self-service area.

Bank / account

Apple or Google Pay

Overdraft interest in%

Biallo test grade

HypovereinbankApple Pay10,634,9
SantanderApple Pay, Google Pay8,054,6

Free regional bank accounts - sorted by zip code

In the following overview we present banks with free accounts that are at home in different regions of Germany. To make it easier for you to find your way around, we have sorted them by postcode. The PSD banks see themselves as direct banks, but with advice on site. That means: If you have any problems, you can of course go to the branch and get help there.

Like the PSD banks, the Sparda banks always cover a larger area, while the Volksbanks and Raiffeisenbanks in the respective region have a relatively dense network of branches with several branches.

Bank

Apple or Google Pay

Overdraft interest in%

BIallo test grade

Volksbank BraWo (Braunschweig / Wolfsburg)

Apple Pay

8,99

4,7

Volksbank Brandoberndorf

Apple Pay

8,00

4,9

PSD Rhine RuhrApple Pay7,534,8
Bank in the diocese of EssenApple Pay, Google Pay6,744,7

PSD Bank Hessen Thuringia

Apple Pay

7,25

4,8

Volksbank Dreieich

Apple Pay

9,49

4,8

Sparda Bank Hessen

X

9,50

4,6

Sparda Bank Southwest1

Apple Pay

11,40

4,5

Raiffeisenbank im Hochtaunus (My Bank)

Apple Pay, Google Pay

7,25

4,9

VR Bank Kitzingen

Apple Pay, Google Pay

8,90

5,0

PSD Nuremberg

Apple Pay

4,99

4,8

VR-Bank Niederbayern-Oberpfalz (My Bank)

Apple Pay

6,84

5,0

PSD Munich

Apple Pay

7,50

4,8

Rostock Volks- and Raiffeisenbank

Apple Pay

6,55

4,9

1 From 01.06.2021 € 6.00 per month Basic fee no longer free.

Free checking accounts for freelancers and self-employed

Some banks, but especially fintechs, use free checking accounts to attract new customers. With the exception of Fyrst, a Postbank brand, they are all relatively expensive when it comes to cash deposits and withdrawals and are therefore rather unsuitable for cash-based transactions.

 Bank

Free posting items

Cash withdrawals and deposits

Fyrst

50 a month

Cash withdrawals up to € 10,000 with the FYRST Card are free to credit institutions participating in the Cash Group, deposits at Postbank are free

Kontist

unlimited

Deposits not yet available,

Withdrawals: € 2.00 with the Visa Business Debit Card

N26

unlimited

Deposits: 100 free items, then 1.50% fee

Payouts: 3 withdrawals p. M. free, then € 2.00 per withdrawal

Revolut

5 free, then € 0.20

Deposits: k. A.
Payouts: up to € 200 p.p. M. free of charge, then 2.00%

A free account must meet these conditions

The consumer advocates named four conditions years ago, all of which (!!!) must be met so that a bank can advertise with a "free" account. These are:

  1. No monthly fee
  2. No specific receipt of money in euros, so that the monthly basic fee does not apply
  3. No costs for the Girocard (EC card)
  4. No costs for transfers

By the way: The Düsseldorf Regional Court prohibited a Sparda bank from North Rhine-Westphalia from advertising with a free current account, as the institute demanded a fee for the current card (Ref .: 38 O 68/16).

Nevertheless, banks advertise their "free" account, such as the PSD Bank BerlinBrandenburg. The monthly basic fee is only waived if there is an incoming payment of at least 1,000 euros. If not, € 5.00 per month is due for the Classic account.

Still, this account is great. Because the overdraft facility of 6.02 is just as exemplary as the free transfers and the Girocard. And where can you get a gold credit card for 50 euros a year?

There are even more than 40 such accounts for which the bank does not charge a monthly fee if a certain amount of money comes in regularly. Or that only bills the Girocard once a year. Or, or, or. The entire overview can be found in our guide to banks without account management fees.

These banks no longer offer a free account

ING

ING changed its terms and conditions for the current account in February 2020. Since then, it has required a monthly payment of at least 700 euros. If it does not come, 4.90 euros are due. Nevertheless, this account is one of the best in Germany and we have rated it 4.9 out of 5.0 stars. Because there are two free Girocards, two free Visa cards, all banking is free, as is the cash supply in the euro zone. Apple and Google Pay are offered. And the app is great too.

Why did ING change the terms?

At ING there was and is a considerable number of people who only closed the free account because of the free cash supply in the euro zone and who continue to use the old account at their bank or savings bank. Each cash withdrawal with the Visa card costs ING just under two euros, which it pays for your customers. And there it is - understandably - not understandable why they should do this for people who only take advantage of that without giving the bank the opportunity to earn money with these customers.

Commerzbank and Comdirect

The Commerzbank continues to advertise with the slogan "Free checking account" on their website.

But it is also so fair that it adds the condition for the exemption from fees to be legible: with a minimum incoming payment of 700 euros per month, otherwise 9.90 euros.

If you meet this condition, you can not only look forward to an excellent current account, but also receive an opening bonus of 50 euros after three months. However, since they charge a higher overdraft rate compared to the ING or DKB and the free cash supply is a bit worse, Commerzbank only has 4.6 out of 5.0 stars, which still makes it one of the top accounts. Above all, because it is present nationwide with local branches and you can get personal help with problems.

Since March 1st, 2021: The Comdirect, which is part of the Commerzbank, recently put a price tag on its checking account. Accordingly, the Comdirect current account is only free if the following conditions are met: monthly cash receipt of 700 euros, three payments via bank, credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay or at least one securities transaction. Otherwise there are account management fees of 4.90 euros per month.

Consorsbank

The Consorsbank also recently abolished its unconditionally free current account. As of March 27, there will only be no account management fees for new customers if the account receives 700 euros per month. Otherwise, four euros per month are due.

Savings banks

The savings banks have not offered a real free current account according to the strict requirements of the consumer advocates for a long time. The last one to give up was the Kreissparkasse Wiedenbrück in North Rhine-Westphalia. On October 1, 2019, after 70 years without fees, she gave up her free account and from then on took five euros per month for the private account.

Nevertheless, there are some savings banks where the online account costs next to nothing. The Ostsee Sparkasse in Rostock has a great online account with no basic fee. Only the transfer costs ten cents. The Sparkasse Mainz only bills the Girocard at 15 euros per year. The Kreissparkasse Ludwigsburg does a similar thing. Zero euros basic fee, only ten euros for the Girocard. The Sparkasse Karlsruhe doesn't ask for anything except a cash receipt of 1,500 euros per month. The GiroOnline account is also great District savings bank Reichenauthat costs nothing as long as 500 euros are received regularly. If not, 2.50 euros will be charged. That's not the world either.

Postbank

Postbank also has an (almost) free account. The comfort account is available free of charge, i.e. without a monthly basic fee, with a free credit card to choose from and free cash supply throughout the euro zone. Condition: a monthly payment of 3,000 euros. If you don't have it, you pay 10.90 euros a month.

Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank definitely does not have a free and also definitely not an almost free account. The so-called AktivKonto currently costs 6.90 euros per month and the price of 13.90 euros for the premium account includes up to two free golden credit cards.

Targobank

The Targobank is also a recommendation for people on a tight budget. Because if you can show a monthly incoming payment of 600 euros alone or with your partner, the account does not cost anything. And if not? Then 3.95 euros is not a lot of money either. Or?

Norisbank

Since January 27, 2021, Norisbank has required a monthly minimum incoming payment of 500 euros. However, only from new customers. If this does not come, a monthly fee of EUR 3.90 is due - which is still within the limits of the advantages that the Norisbank's top current account otherwise offers.

Open a free current account in four steps

  1. The customer applies for an account with the new bank A.
  2. This now has two working days to contact the previous bank B.
  3. Bank B is now obliged to send a list of all transfers, standing orders and direct debits to the customer and the new bank within five business days.
  4. Bank A now has five days to set up the account. The account change should be done after twelve working days.

By the way: Exchange service costs are only permitted with prior agreement. Services such as the transmission of data to the new credit institution should be free of charge.




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