As a private customer and holder of a German bank account, you will be provided with an an EC card (Debit Card). You will receive this card with a corresponding 4-digit PIN number. This card will allow you to withdraw cash from the majority of cash machines in Germany and Europe.
You will be able to withdraw money from ATM’s from your own bank or associated institutions for free, whereas cash machines from other institutions will generally charge you a fee, which will be stated on the ATM screen before you complete your withdrawal.
You will be allowed to pay with your EC card at numerous shops, businesses and petrol stations in Germany, you will simply have to provide your PIN or a signature. You will additionally be able to view statements for your account at any ATM you wish.
If you decide that you would like to have a German credit card, you will most likely need to pay a yearly fee to your credit card company. You will need to select a bank account from which your monthly balances will be paid, and you will have to set up a standing order payment through which the credit card company will regularly debit payments from your account.
You will be able to withdraw money from an ATM with your card, but fees will most likely be high. We therefore recommend that before you sign on to a credit card scheme, you carefully consider your options.
*Be aware that some banks may be reluctant to issue credit cards to foreigners who have just arrived to Germany. If a credit card will be a necessity for you, we advise you to ensure that you already possess a credit card before you leave your country of origin. Alternatively, we advise that you check whether your current bank has a branch in Germany which may issue you a card.
Cash cards (Geldkarten) are stored-value cards which are used in Germany. They operate as offline smart cards that can be loaded with electronic money at specific terminals. You will need a checking account to use this system. You will be able to use your Geldkarte for small-sum payment such as vending machines, public transportation, or parking tickets. These are prepaid cards, and you can transfer funds onto the card using an ATM or Geldkarte charging machine.
For further information on these cards please visit: https://www.geldkarte.de .