Your current account

Having a bank account is essential in Germany! A normal account is called a “current account (Girokonto)”. This way people can transfer money to you – your employer for example – and you can for example pay your bills or send money to friends and relatives. You can also withdraw cash from cash machines. Your bank will provide you with an “debit card (EC-Karte)” to do this. You can pay with your debit card (EC-Karte) in most shops and restaurants.

The basic account (Basiskonto) is a particularly simple type of current account (Girokonto). Everybody has the right to get a basic account. It offers you all the typical functions of a current account (Girokonto) and is particularly suitable for refugees. More information on the basic account (Basiskonto) can be found here in 7 languages:

You can open a current account (Girokonto) or a basic account (Basiskonto) at the Hamburger Sparkasse (Haspa), the Hamburger Volksbank or Commerzbank. Children, pupils, students and trainees/apprentices are usually eligible for a free account. In all other cases, account management fees are usually payable.

Some banks, for example the Consorsbank, the Deutsche Kreditbank (DKB) and the Oldenburgische Landesbank, offer free online basic accounts (Basiskonto) for anyone.

You can also compare the terms offered by other banks here: (basic account (Basiskonto)) and (current account (Girokonto)).

Accounts for Ukrainian refugees

Hamburger Sparkasse (Haspa) offers refugees from Ukraine a basic account (Basiskonto) free of charge for 6 months. After that, fees apply. A passport or identity card is required to open an account. You do not need to be registered with the Hanseatic City of Hamburg, have another residence title (Aufenthaltstitel) or a tolerated stay (Duldung).
You can open an account at 7 Haspa branches. You can find the contact details here:

Further information can be found here:




If you have opened a basic account (Basiskonto) with Haspa, you can also exchange hryvnia for euros there. You can do this at this branch: Haspa Branch City, Großer Burstah 6
You can exchange up to 10000 Hryvnia, which is about 300 €. Minors cannot exchange money.

At Deutsche Bank, the basic account (Basiskonto) for refugees from Ukraine is free of charge for 1 year. After that, fees will also be charged. You must be of legal age to open such an account at Deutsche Bank. Identity documents in Cyrillic must be translated and notarised. Deutsche Bank also needs an address where you can be contacted in Germany and information on where you pay taxes. You can enquire about opening an account at any branch. You can search for branches here:

Opening the account

To open a current account (Girokonto), you must first arrange an appointment either by phone or in person at the bank you have chosen. Ask which documents you have to bring with you to open your new account. At the appointment, you will usually be required to submit proof of identity – for example your identity card (ID) or passport.

If you only want to open a basic account (Basiskonto), a residence document (for example a proof of arrival (Ankunftsnachweis), a permission to remain while the asylum decision is pending (Aufenthaltsgestattung) or a temporary suspension of deportation (Duldung)) that proves your identity is sufficient. If you do not speak German or English, please bring someone with you who can translate for you.

Oftentimes, it is possible to open an account online.

Withdrawing cash

If you have opened a current account (Girokonto) and the bank has sent you a debit card (EC-Karte) with a PIN, you are able to withdraw cash from cash machines. You can find cash machines in your area here:

Always try to withdraw from cash machines belonging to your bank! Otherwise, you may have to deal with expensive fees. On many cash machines it is also possible to change the language.

Put your card in the card slot, then enter your PIN number and choose the amount you would like to withdraw. Please remember to make sure that no one else can find out your PIN! Generally, your card will be returned first, followed by the cash.

If you make a mistake, stay calm. No matter what happens – if the cash machine did not dispense any money or you left your cash in the machine – please report the incident to the bank immediately. In most cases it is possible to resolve the problem at the bank and you will still receive your money.

Last Updated: 01.01.2023