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opening german bank account
Thread poster: wasatchm
wasatchm
English
Oct 25, 2006

hi,

I am located in the united states and have one client in germany that I need to receive EURO payment from. I currently have no german bank account. the client would like to make 2 deposits a month into my bank account. my question is "HOW DO I GO ABOUT OPENING A GERMAN BANK ACCOUNT AS A NON-RESIDENT?" do I need to have a business license in the united states or germany (I have get to encorporate in the united states but will soon)? any idea what german banks would be most willing to assist me and provide me with detailed requirements? is there any advantage to having a business license (U.S.) before I seek to open a german bank account. this account would be strickly for deposits from this client only (I have no other german clients and probably won't add any more in the near future). this client is business licensed in germany.

all comments are much appreciated. thanks BA


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Inga Jakobi  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:44
Member (2006)
Chinese to German
+ ...
some banks do have offices abroad Oct 26, 2006

Hi,
I don't know if you can open a bank account in Germany without having a residence permit and all those permissions, but maybe you can choose one bank that has an office in the US (e.g. http://tools.deutsche-bank.de/cc/locationsfinder/en/welcome2.do, click on "Atlanta" to see the contact details) and contact them for more details.
I hope this is of any help!
Regards,
Inga

[Bearbeitet am 2006-10-26 06:31]


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 12:44
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
In any case open only a private account Oct 26, 2006

because business accounts are rather expensive.
When I opened an account in Germany a chose a business account and had to pay 8 Euro every month. I opened it when visiting, and I had to sign lots of documents! One year later I didn't need it anymore, because EU-transfer became common.
Any bank from the EU will do, it does not have to be a German bank account.

cheers
Heinrich


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:44
German to English
AML rules Oct 26, 2006

You will have to be physically present to open your bank account, as in all EU countries (and many others) because of the "know your customer" anti-money laundering rules. Banks generally also have specific additional identity verification requirements for non-EU residents. So if you're not planning to visit Germany (or another EU country), don't bother about a bank account here.

I should also point out that an account whose only transactions will be 2 inpayments per month (and presumably the subsequent transfer of the funds to the United States) is going to look rather suspicious to the bank.

Opening an account here as a business account would be even more difficult because of the documentation required (and the official translations of that documentation). You would also require references from a prime-rated bank in your own country. Just don't bother...


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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:44
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
PayPal Oct 26, 2006

Could you not use PayPal? I accept Euros into my UK PayPal account.
Admittedly it means your German customer will have to have a PayPal account too, or at least be prepared to pay you by credit card.

[Edited at 2006-10-26 09:08]


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Matt Baird
Germany
Local time: 11:44
German to English
Unless law has changed, opening account from the states is possible Oct 26, 2006

Speaking from experience, it is possible to open account without being in Germany. I did this with Deutsche Bank a little over two years ago. It took some time an effort (notarizing documents and signatures at the local consulate), but in the end was completely worth the cost (notarization was the highest expense).

I originally contacted Deutsche Bank in the States, who directed me to an office for international customers in Frankfurt. They sent me a letter (in English) outlining what I needed to do to open the account.

I highly recommend opening the account. It makes it so much easier to receive payments from all EU countries and you get the full amount of your invoice wired into the account (no wire transfer fees as with an international wire transfer or Paypal - this alone has made it worthwhile due to easier bookkeeping). I simply then wire money to my account in the states when necessary, something I can initiate online and the costs for each wire transfer are reasonable.

If you want the details of who I dealt with in Frankfurt, contact me directly and I'll pass that information on to you.

Hope this helps!

Best,
Matt


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wasatchm
English
TOPIC STARTER
followup Deutsche bank account Oct 26, 2006

hi,

I did receive an email response back from Deutsche bank regarding a non resident account. I was told I must provide 3 documents (passport, proof of notify address, proof of business address). I was also told the documents MUST BE VERIFIED by a notary republic or deutsche bank brank. can anyone tell me exactly what that means "MUST BE VERIFIED". if I provide them with an official government documents (or copy of any official government document) isn't it already verified. I'm assuming it already is. and the "NOTIFY ADDRESS" is just proof or residence isn't it? would an official federal or state tax document work for that? I am not currently a business (I'm self employed) but do plan on getting a business license soon (which would also be the same address as my notify address or residence. I'm assuming that as long as I provided an official copy of my business license that would also suffice.
could someone tell me if I am on the right track here or if a notary republic verification is something more (I live in the united states). thanks for the help BA


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wasatchm
English
TOPIC STARTER
German Bank Hypo Vereinsbank Oct 26, 2006

Hi,

thanks for all the responses. I did also receive a response back from HYPO Verinsbank regarding a non resident account. they required much the same documents as the deutsche bank. however, they said them documents must be translated in german and certified in the united states (where I live). any idea where I would get these documents (passport and proof of U.S. residency) translated into german. do I just take them to a certified translator or should the state I live in (utah, USA) have employees that translate these type of documents. I'm gonna follow up with deutsche bank and hopefully get an account there (without translating any documents). however, If that doesn't happen for some reason them hopefully I will have all the necessary information to get an account opened at Hypo Vereinsbank.
all responses are much appreciated. BA


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Ania Grajek  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 12:44
German to Polish
+ ...
Citibank? Oct 30, 2006

Hi,

Maybe you could try Citibank? They have their branch in Germany.

Cheers,
Ania


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:44
German to English
+ ...
Citibank Oct 30, 2006

Ania Grajek wrote:

Maybe you could try Citibank? They have their branch in Germany.


FWIW, Citibank Germany doesn't offer business accounts at all (according to my branch), and is not particularly friendly to customers who don't receive a regular salary in their accounts.

Marc


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:44
English to German
+ ...
Same experience with Citibank Oct 30, 2006

Marc is right.

FWIW, Citibank Germany doesn't offer business accounts at all (according to my branch), and is not particularly friendly to customers who don't receive a regular salary in their accounts.

Well, they were friendly to me, but wouldn't even give me an overdraft facility on my private account...

Citibank has two business entities in Germany: the branches belong to Citibank Privatkunden AG, which is indeed targeting retail accounts only. Citibank AG only deals with large corporations and institutional investors.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Darin Fitzpatrick  Identity Verified
United States
Member (2006)
German to English
Why open the account in Germany? Oct 31, 2006

I have not opened a German bank account, although most of my clients are European and I live in the US. I have not found it to be necessary or worth the effort.

I recently have been requesting payment via Moneybookers because their fees are much lower than bank transfers or PayPal. (See other forums for possible issues with Moneybookers - although my experience has been good so far, others have had issues.)

Do you really need the German bank account?

P.S. If you need documents translated into German, try posting a job here! There are plenty of folks to help you out.


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Hvatum
German to English
Still around? Sep 20, 2007

Matthew Baird wrote:

Speaking from experience, it is possible to open account without being in Germany. I did this with Deutsche Bank a little over two years ago. It took some time an effort (notarizing documents and signatures at the local consulate), but in the end was completely worth the cost (notarization was the highest expense).

I originally contacted Deutsche Bank in the States, who directed me to an office for international customers in Frankfurt. They sent me a letter (in English) outlining what I needed to do to open the account.

I highly recommend opening the account. It makes it so much easier to receive payments from all EU countries and you get the full amount of your invoice wired into the account (no wire transfer fees as with an international wire transfer or Paypal - this alone has made it worthwhile due to easier bookkeeping). I simply then wire money to my account in the states when necessary, something I can initiate online and the costs for each wire transfer are reasonable.

If you want the details of who I dealt with in Frankfurt, contact me directly and I'll pass that information on to you.

Hope this helps!

Best,
Matt



Sounds really interesting, I'm not a translator, but I do need to open a bank account in Germany. I've been trying for awhile now so if you're still around Matt I'd really appreciate your help!

I've lost SO much business because I don't have a German bank account...


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gruftiam
English to German
German banks account lack of success Feb 12, 2008

In spite of trying to follow all of the advice from here and other sources, i have been unable to open a German bank account. I am becoming increasingly frustrated.

In my city (Boston) Citibank has been opening offices left and right. I thought they might be able to help me, considering how often I see their banks when I am in Leipzig and the vicinity. But in spite of my going and speaking to the branch manager, I am told that it is impossible.

If anyone has any contact in Germany or the United States who could help facilitate my obtaining such an account, please send me their contact information. English is the preferred language. email is the preferred method of contact. Other languages (German, French, Chinese) are available, as are other contact methods (postal mail, telephone, fax, shortwave radio) and I can also contact in person in Boston, and possibly New York (Though I would not want to take a business trip to NYC unless I was SURE I was going to be successful. I might also be going to Vienna within the next six months.

In the meantime, I am keeping my Euros in cash. It makes me nervous to have cash lying around.


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