All over the world Germany is perceived as a very modern and leading country when it comes to technology, sustainability, and education. As one of the biggest industrial nations in the world you should have in mind, as a foreigner, that Germany and the Germans mainly use cash as a payment method. This is quite bizarre considering today’s modern payment methods and some of the world’s most famous fintech start-ups having their headquarters in Germany. Obviously Germans don’t live in the stone age, especially in bigger cities you’ll be able to pay a lot of things by card, especially in big supermarkets, shopping malls and so on, but as soon as it comes to markets, nightlife, restaurants, you will be better off carrying some of those fine Euros with you.
It can be a problem for you to have a foreign bank account, maybe even containing your money in a different currency. Why is that a problem? Well, in order to carry cash around, you will need to pick it up at an ATM somewhere, and as a student with a limited budget, the fees and currency exchange rates can get quite annoying and hurtful for your wallet. Therefore we suggest two main solutions:
1. You get yourself a bank account in your home country that has good partnerships
including free money withdrawals with German banks. If you do that, bear in mind that the German partner bank should have as many ATMs as possible because just because you can withdraw money free of fees from one bank does not mean that this will work for all of them.
2. The second option you have is getting yourself a German or even better:
An international bank account, for example N26 or Revolut. The German bank account option is probably a little bit more complicated because you need to provide a lot of documents (which you can find in the Berlin banking section of our website). Getting one of the fintech start-up banks is probably the best option, especially because they are targeting students like you that travel a lot and frequently need to convert currencies and use different banks to get cash. That being said, make sure you have an EU phone number otherwise you will not be able to access your account (we learned that the hard way!).
If you have any other questions, worries or whatsoever, the EIS team is here to support you and help you to get through the tough parts of relocation. Just check out ou website and reach out to us.
By Leon Mathey.