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Banks & Taxes in Germany
Money Transfer in Germany
Although cash is a common method of payment in Germany, bank transfers are equally important and the significance of online payments is constantly increasing. Our Relocation Guide tells you all about the topic, from bank transfers within Germany to currency exchange.
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Bank transfers are the most common way of sending money within Germany and the EU. Usually you pay your rent and receive your monthly wages via bank transfer. Possibly you’ll also have to transfer money to your family back home. If you are planning to stay in Germany for a while, you should definitely think about opening a bank account. Depending on your age, monthly income and the type of account you choose, a simple bank account in Germany is mostly free of charge. Since the introduction of the Single Euro Payments Area in 2014, transfers within the EU/EEA should also be free of charge.
If you need to transfer money to non-EU countries, the fees applied by banks may differ. International money orders may come with substantial service charges. Sometimes, your local bank may not even be able to tell you the final fee for sending money from Germany. However, if you want to transfer or even wire cash on a regular basis, don’t throw away a considerable percentage every time you do so. Inform yourself about the regulations, fees and restrictions of different banks.
If you want to send your money from a German bank, you should make inquiries at large international banks that have branch offices in the country you will be sending money to. It might even be possible for a spouse to access a shared bank account from abroad. Ask a customer service representative at an international banking company about this. Transferring the money from Germany will probably be easier and cheaper than wiring the sum.
Peer-to-Peer Banking/Online Services
Online payment in general is becoming increasingly popular, not only with regards to online shopping. Within the past years the possibilities for paying online or transferring money online have developed rapidly. The prerequisite for such methods of payment is that the sender and recipient — no matter where they live — need to have an account with the same online service. Bear in mind that, depending on the provider, a transfer can take several days if you do not already have the sum available in your online account.
A new and cheaper form of transnational money transfer is peer-to-peer-banking. The key is that no official bank is involved in the transfer and currency exchange process, which makes the transfer around 80% cheaper than with a normal bank. You do still need a bank account or credit card to be able to use the service. Some online payment services also operate as online banks. They issue debit cards as well, which can be an easy way to literally get your hands on the money. Check out and compare the following services to find out if they suit your needs:
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Cash Transfer in Germany
If you don’t have a bank account, you still have the option of sending money back home through a cash transfer. There are a number of money transfer services with offices all over the world. Sending money from Germany via one of these companies is fairly quick and easy. Usually, you just have to find the nearest office, complete a form, pay the desired amount, show your ID, and write down the code you receive.
With this unique code, the recipient of your money transfer from Germany can withdraw the sum at any company office abroad. Those services are usually subject to higher commissions. The fees consist of a certain percentage of the sum itself as well as an unfavorable exchange rate for foreign currencies. Moreover, you depend on the company’s branch offices. Money transfer companies often run branch offices at the airports and central stations of Germany’s major cities, but they may not be available in rural areas at all.
For more details, please see the websites of these popular money transfer services:
After arriving in Germany, you should avoid exchanging hard cash if you can. The fees involved can be higher than those for just withdrawing a larger sum from an ATM .You can exchange euros for the most popular foreign currencies (and vice versa) at almost any bank. So, a currency exchange in Germany that involves British pounds, US dollars, Swiss francs, or Japanese yen shouldn’t be a problem. Less popular currencies may only be accepted at airports and international banking companies in major cities.
Independent exchange offices tend to have the highest fees. When you are traveling, try to gather information beforehand about whether it is better to exchange money at the airport of your destination or at home. If you want to bring some local currency, please be aware of Germany’s import and customs regulations: You may not enter the country with more than 10,000 EUR in cash (regardless of whether it’s euros or any other currency or any other easily convertible assets) without declaring it at customs.