German money

Money makes the world go round so before going abroad it’s a good idea to look into the currency of your chosen destination.

Germany is a member of the European Union (EU) and the Eurozone. Including Germany, there are 17 nations in the Eurozone which you can travel between without having to exchange your funds.

Coins start with the 1 cent piece and end with the 2 Euro piece whilst notes can be found in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Euro denominations.

Whilst the denomination side of Euros remains the same throughout the Eurozone the face side image varies from country to country.

Although currencies like Sterling can be changed into Euros at currency exchange kiosks at airports and banks (among other places) transferring your funds at the right time can make a huge difference. Getting the best exchange rate possible can save you money and help your global transition so if you’re emigrating it’s strongly recommended that you seek advice from a trusted currency broker. A good one to use is:


If your stay in Germany is going to be of some duration you may want to open up a German bank account.

In Germany banks are private institutions but savings banks (Sparkassen) are run by local public authorities. Both offer a wide selection of services, including online banking, but as services and charges vary it’s always best to shop around. You could also manage your finances with a Postbank account. All post offices have Postbank counters from which money can be withdrawn.

The opening times of banks vary according to their size and location but many are open from 9-4 Monday to Friday.

An expat hoping to open a German bank account will be pleased to learn that the process is relatively easy. As proof of a German address is commonly asked for (along with your identity documents) you may find it even more straightforward if you register at the Einwohnermeldeamt.

In Germany a current or checking account is known as a Girokonto and it’s the most common type of account in the country.

With a Girokonto account you can pay in, withdraw and transfer money, set up standing orders and make direct debit payments.

As is the case in many countries, German overdraft facilities (Dispositionskredit) usually have high interest rates and the amount of credit you are eligible to receive depends largely on your income.

Savings accounts, known as Sparbuch in German, are another popular type of account. Although they offer a much better interest rate than a Girokonto account the services which come with them are more limited and accessing your money can be more difficult.

In Germany EuroCheque cards are usually issued with a bank account. EC cards give you the option of withdrawing money when in Germany and when in many other European countries. When the withdrawals are from your own bank they are free but the majority of other banks will charge a fee.

Some bank cards from other nations will work in EC machines so make sure to check with your home bank whether yours will.

Although credit cards are not as popular in Germany as they are in many other nations Mastercard/Visa/Eurocard are the types of credit card most commonly used.

International money transfers

In Germany international money transfers can be slow, taking up to several weeks if they involve non-affiliated banks. They can also be costly depending on the method with which you transfer your funds.

By far the most cost-effective and convenient way of making international money transfers is to use a reputable currency broker like TorFX.