A Complete Guide For Students: Comparing and Analyzing all Credit Cards for Students in Germany and helping you to choose the Best Credit Cards in Germany for FREE!
- Advantages of owning Credit Cards in Germany:
- Best FREE Credit Cards in Germany – What are the parameters?
- Best FREE Credit Cards in Germany – My Suggestions
- Credit Cards in Germay – How Do I use ?
- IN SUMMARY – Use your Credit Cards in Germany Wisely!
Honestly Credit Cards are great! Where I come from, there is a lot of taboo surrounding the idea of a credit card. It often reminds people of ‘scam’ ‘debt’ ‘risk’ and so on. But these are just misconceptions that people tend to develop based on a few poor examples.
Credit cards, when rightly used with proper knowledge can be a great tool for us to manage our finances. Especially if you are a student, having access to a credit card is just benificial in so many ways. ‘Freedom’ ‘Flexibility’ ‘Independence’ how do these words sound? These are the words that should be associated with Credit Cards!
Advantages of owning Credit Cards in Germany:
- Ease of Managing Cash Flow : While making a purchase with a credit card, you are able to manage your finances better. You don’t have to make payments right away. And when you do make your payments at full, within the due date you also avoid any interest.
- Emergency Fund : It is very important to have access to an emergency fund to sustain for a few months in case there is a sudden need. A credit card gives you access to such funds apart from your personal savings.
- Good credit score : A credit card helps you build up good credit score. If your credit history is full of timely payments such as your credit card dues, your credit score will increase. This comes in handy in times you need to avail credit in the future.
Best FREE Credit Cards in Germany – What are the parameters?
In this section of the Article I am going to give you a few credit card recommendations that you as a student in Germany should consider. Before going into details, it is necessary to take a look at the parameters we use to rate the credit cards. So here are the basis on which we make the selections:
Parameters for Choosing the Best Credit Cards in Germany
a) No Yearly Fee
First, we narrow our options down to free credit cards only. Because paying money to use your own money absolutely doesn’t make sense, especially for students. So we only take those cards into consideration which do not require any yearly fees. There are a good number of options for a free credit card in Germany, but free usually means there is going to be charges in other areas. This is why it is important that you read this article thoroughly.
b) Foreign Currency Transaction Fee
This is very important. As a student, cutting down costs anywhere is absolutely necessary. One such area where you can cut down costs is when you do transactions in a foreign currency. This comes in handy especially when you are visiting a foreign country with a different currency. For example, with your student visa you can travel to countries like Turkey, Denmark, UK etc. When you are purchasing in these countries through a credit card, you will essentially be paying foreign currency fees. That is why you need to look out for the free/lowest cost on foreign transactions.
c) Withdrawal Fee
The worst of all fees. I personally am not a fan of withdrawal fees because you are paying money to take money that belongs to you! I try to keep my cash transactions at the very least exactly because of this. However, you sometimes need cash to make a few transactions and there is no two ways around that. So in order to minimise the expenses during withdrawal, we look for the cheapest option.
d) Rewards and Other Benefits
The coolest part of having a credit card! Rewards and benefits! Especially if the issuer is a recently launched or a new entrant. Benefits and rewards are usually in the form of Sign Up Bonuses, Cashback on payments, travel benefits, vouchers etc. Hence we look out for these rewards as much as possible.
Now we have covered up these parameters, let us take a look at the best credit cards I would suggest you to take in Germany. So if you are looking to broaden your options, keep scrolling!
Best FREE Credit Cards in Germany – My Suggestions
1. Advanzia Gold Mastercard (Gebuhenfrei Mastercard Gold)
In terms of my recommendation, Advanzia Mastercard gold would be the first one I suggest for any beginner in Germany.
About Advanzia :
Advanzia is a European Digital Bank founded in the year 2005, in Luxembourg. Advanzia’s services in Germany mainly specializes in Credit Cards and Payment Solutions. Located in Munsbach, Luxembourg Advanzia has upto 88% of their users located in Germany. Their credit card services also extend to other countries like France, Austria and Spain.
Advanzia’s Credit Card in Germany :
Advanzia issues the Gebuhenfrei Mastercard Gold in Germany. Gebuhenfrei Mastercard literally transaltes to Free of Charge Mastercard. That pretty much sums up the benefits of this card!
Let us get into more detail. Here are the features of the Advanzia Gebuhenfrei Mastercard Gold:
- No Yearly Fee – A Yearly fee or Annual Fee is a fee that you sometimes have to pay to the issuer so that you can remain as a cardholder. However, there is NO YEARLY FEE with the Advanzia Gebuhenfrei Mastercard Gold. Even applying for the card does not cost you anything, so it is a great feature!
- Foreign Currency Transaction Fee : When you make a purchase in a foreign region that uses a different currency than your country, you will be charged a foregin currency transaction fee. With this card however, there is no such fee charged whatsoever.
- ATM Withdrawal Fee : Again, absolutely free of cost. You can withdraw ATMs from across the world without paying a fee on it.
- Benefits and Rewards : 25€ Referral Bonus! Upto 7 weeks of interest-free payment, Free 24 hours Customer Service, 5% travel credit, 5% reimbursement on rental cars.
2. AMEX Payback
About Amex Payback :
After acquiring Payback and Loyalty Partner GmbH, Amex launched its AMEX PAYBACK CREDIT CARDS in Germany.
Features of AMEX Payback Credit Cards :
- No Yearly Fee – Similar to Advanzia, AMEX Payback also offers its card for free of annual charges
- Foreign Currency Transaction – But here is the catch. There is a 2% charge on foreign transactions. Therefore it is not advisable to make payments in other currencies through this card.
- Withdrawal Fee – Another drawback here is the 4% fee on withdrawals from ATMs for a minimum amount of 5 Euros. Therefore it I absolutely advise against using this card for Cash withdrawals.
- Benefits and Rewards : Some of the best features with the AMEX PAYBACK are the rewards and benefits they offer. They offer 20€ sign up bonus.
Payback Loyalty Points – It does not matter if the money is spent at a partner company or not, you will recieve 1 Payback Loyalty point for every 2 Euros spent. 100 Loyalty points are worth 1 €. The best aspect of this whole cashback feature is that you are able to conver these points into money and transfer it to your Girokonto / Current Account.
Return Policy : 90 days return policy for purchases within 30€ to 300€
Customer Support – Free 24*7 customer support on phone, Free second card and no billing charges.
Free Shipping – Free Shipping on qualified purchases
Yes! Amazon Prime has its own credit card! But there are a few conditions to get around, and maybe that is why it is not as common among students in Germany. You need a Prime Membership and a good Credit History to be able to sign up for this card. But let us take a look at its features.
Features of Amazon Prime Visa Card :
- Yearly Fee – Amazon Prime Visa card offers a free-of-charge card but it only applies for those who have a Prime Membership. If you do not have a Prime Membership, you will have to pay 20€ per Year.
- Foreign Currency Transaction Fee – The Amazon Visa Card is not advisable to use for foreign currency transactions as it has a 1.75% charges.
- Withdrawal Fee – There is a 3% withdrawal fee charged and the minimum amount for withdrawal is 7,50€. I would not advise you to use this card for cash withdrawals too (I know!)
- Benefits and Rewards – Just like Amex Payback, Amazon Visa has its best features in rewards and benefits.
a) 3 % off on any purchase on Amazon – Regardless of what purchase you make, you will get 3% off so that is a great deal.
b) 0.5 % cashback converted into Amazon points – However, you cannot use this to convert back into cash. It is still a good deal as amazon points come in handy if you want to regularly purchase things online.
Credit Cards in Germay – How Do I use ?
As I mentioned earlier, I have used all these cards personally. And all three are great options, when used rightly. I personally find it convnenient to have different credit cards for different purposes. It makes sense when you think about it!
For example, I ONLY use the Advanzia Gold card to withdraw cash at ATMs, because other options have withdrawal fees. In general I try to limit my cash transactions, but whenever I need to I stick with my Advanzia Gold card. When you travel to a country that does not use the EURO, limit your spending to Advanzia as there is no foreign transaction fee.
Similary, when I need to shop on Amazon I always use the Amazon Prime Visa card. It would be stupid not to use it! For every purchase that I make through the Amazon Prime Visa card, I get 3% off. Again the cashbacks for the purchases I make gets converted to Amazon points, so it is overall the best option for online shopping.
The only scenario where AMEX Payback card makes sense is to make your regular purchases. As AMEX Payback is the one option that enables you to access the payback rewards as direct cash. I use it for most of my regular spending in everyday life.
IN SUMMARY – Use your Credit Cards in Germany Wisely!
It does not make sense to single out one of these options and decide that it is the ONLY best credit card to use in Germany. Credit Cards are multi-functional. And you should make your decisions based on the context in which you use the card. I have explained it in the following video too!
Do you prefer to watch a video on this instead? Check out the detailed comparison on my YouTube channel.