In this article I am going to give you a Complete Review of Commerzbank. Is Commerzbank the best German bank account for you to open as an expat? I aim to tackle this question by critically analysing the features, services, and requirements of a Commerzbank account in Germany. By the end of this article, you will be able to decide if it is the right choice for you!
When you move to Germany as an expat, there are a lot of key decisions to make. If you are a student, you need to make choices related to your studies. If you are a working professional, you need to make choices about jobs. In the same way you evaluate options for accomodation. But one of the most important choices that people need to make right away is choosing a bank to open their accounts with.
Now this is a very important choice to make. As an expat you need to evaluate your choices carefully. However, I have spared you all the meticulous comparisons! In the light of this task, I have written this article where I review the services of Commerzbank. So once you read it, you can decide if it is the right choice for you to open a bank account.
- A Complete Review of Commerzbank – An Introduction
- Factors to consider before opening a Bank Account in Germany:
- Commerzbank Accounts – Options to choose from
- Who can open a Commerzbank Account?
- Complete Review of Commerzbank – Analysis of its features
- Complete Review of Commerzbank – Customer Support
- In conclusion
A Complete Review of Commerzbank – An Introduction
Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft is one of the major German commercial banks operating in domestic and foreign finance. The bank has its headquarters at Frankfurt am Main, and operates at an international level. As of 2019, Commerzbank was the second largest bank in Germany by the value of its balance sheet.
If you find yourself doing even a little research on German banks, you would definitely come across Commerzank. Of course you will, considering the bank is present in more than 50 countries around the world ! And it provides almost a third of Germany’s trade finance. In 2017, it handled 13 million customers in Germany and 5 million customers in Central and Eastern Europe.
However, choosing a bank in Germany is not just about choosing the most reputed one. First you should check the terms and conditions of opening the bank account with the bank. On the other hand, these terms should be suitable for your banking needs. I insist on this because the banking system in Germany (or most European countries) is a lot different than what you may have in your home country. Because of not learning these differences, you could be in for a mild surprise!
So there are always few factors you should consider before looking for a bank account in Germany.
Factors to consider before opening a Bank Account in Germany:
It is important to realize that the banking system in Germany is very different from what you could be used to. So let us get familiarized with the banking system in Germany by looking out for these factors in the bank you choose:
a) Kontoführungsgebühren – Literally translating to ‘Account Management Fees’. This is the fee you will be paying to the banks for keeping your money deposited in an account with them. The fee could be anywhere between 4€ to 8€ per month. However this could increase even more depending on regional factors. For instance, my Volksbank account was costing me 13€ in Hamburg.
b) Negative to Zero Interest – In most German banks you will not be recieving any interest on top of the money deposited by you. This was absolutely new to hear for me when I came from India, where there is always a positive interest. But for most European countries it is common to have zero or even negative interest to deposit your money in a bank account.
c) Cards – When availing a debit card or a credit card, you should see if the bank you choose provides Mastercard or VISA. Some German banks will issue cards by Vpay (domestic issuer) and this may not be accepted when you are travelling to other countries within Europe.
d) Customer Service – As an expat, you need to assure that the bank you choose provides the best customer service available. You could need assistance provided in English if you are new to Germany. So having that option is of course a benefit. With the rise of Fintech companies, most banks have good online banking facilities.
As we have seen the overall factors to be considered. We now move ahead with reviewing the specific features for Commerzbank.
Commerzbank Accounts – Options to choose from
Commerzbank provides different type of bank accounts to choose from, based on its features. Here is the list:
|Fee per month (€)
|Free Current Account (Kostenloses Girokonto)
|Free Current Account for Students (Startkonto)
|Classic Account (Klassik Konto)
- Free Current Account (Kostenloses Girokonto) – The most popular choice among many. Commerzbank offers a free of charge current account for individuals and partners.
- Free Current Account for Students (Startkonto) – This account is specialized for students & apprentices in Germany with a few additional benefits.
- Classic Account (Klassik Konto) – Personalized bank account that comes at a fee of €4.90 per month
- Premium Account (Premium Konto) – Personalized bank account that comes at a fee of €12.90 per month with additional benefits.
Who can open a Commerzbank Account?
The eligibility criteria to open a bank account with Commerzbank is not dramatic. The main condition is of course having a German Residential Address. Followed by that, your credit worthiness could be checked when you apply for a credit card.
The most important criteria to note here is Commerzbank accounts are for Private Individuals or partners. Business people & entrepreneurs cannot avail the services of Commerzbank through these accounts.
Complete Review of Commerzbank – Analysis of its features
Now that we have covered the options to choose from and the eligibility criteria, we move further to analyse the features of a Commerzbank Account. Typically, most expats in Germany would prefer to choose the Free Current Account plan. Because it does not make sense to pay money just to keep your money in a bank account. (especially for students)
Features of Commerzbank at a glance:
a) Kontoführungsgebühren – As we discussed before, the account management fee is one of the important criteria you should look out for. However, the good news with Commerzbank is you do not have to pay the account management fee with the Free Current Account (Kostenloses Girokonto). It must be remembered that there is a condition attached to this. You are exempt of account management fees only if you have an incoming deposit of €700 per month, to this account. If not you will have to pay a maintainence fee of €9.90 per months. However, this would not be a big issue for students as they would be receiving monthly incoming of €861 from their Blocked Account.
b) Cards – Another great feature of Commerzbank is the availability of cards. With your Free Current Account you will be issued a free Mastercard (debit). You can also apply for a credit card €29.90 per year. You can also make free card payments in Germany and within the Eurozone. The additional differences in the Classic Account is you get a Mastercard with contactless payment option. Similarly for Premium Account you can avail a VISA/Mastercard with contactless payment option.
c) ATM Withdrawals – Unlimited free cash withdrawals at Cash Group ATMs in Germany. Cash Group is a cooperation of the four largest German private banks. Namely Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, HypoVereinsbank, and Postbank. They mutually waive ATM usage fees for their customers.
Is it possible to use Commerzbank for free of cost?
In summary, yes! Provided you meet the necessary conditions:
- You are an individual using the bank account for Private purposes
- If you have a monthly incoming deposit of atleast 700€
- You manage your account completely digitally
All the above conditions are fairly easy to meet, therefore you can have a bank account with Commerzbank for FREE OF COST! This is obviously the biggest advantage for opening an account with Commerzbank.
- Zero account management fees
- Free cash withdrawal at ATMs
- Free Girocard / Mastercard
Complete Review of Commerzbank – Customer Support
I am writing about the Customer Support of Commerzbank under a separate title because it carries great significance in my opinion. Imagine you move to a foreign country. You are not yet fluent in the domestic language. The services offered by the bank could be great! But if the customer support is not upto the standard there is no point in going ahead with the bank.
Especially for expats, having good customer support with banks is important.
a) Language of Support – Commerzbank is a great option for expats who speak English because the bank offers customer support in both English & German. Even in branches of Commerzbank, personal assistance can be provided by clerks in the English language. It is of course recommended that you learn German, but to get started this is great!
b) Feasibility – 24-hour customer service is provided through a landline number. Commerzbank has more than 1200 branches in Germany.
c) Online Banking & Mobile App – Commerzbank also provides the service of ‘online banking’. You can manage your account from your web browser. And the advances in Fintech companies has also ensured that you can carry out all your banking activities from a simple app.
Commerzbank’s own Mobile application is very easy to use, and lets you carry out some advanced banking tasks. You can transfer funds, use your accounts for Mobile Payments, block your cards & more.
From my own personal experience, I can definitely say that Commerzbank has a very effective Customer Support system. The 24*7 landline assistance & the smooth functioning Commerzbank app are two great features that makes it very easy for you to manage your bank account.
In this article we have taken a look at the features of the Commerzbank Girokonto. We also checked the different types of services provided, the respective terms & conditions too. Finally I reviewed the Customer support features & digital banking facilities. Overall, it is fair to say that Commerzbank proves to be an excellent choice for you to open your bank account in Germany.
Let us summarise the advantages & disadvantages in short
- Completely FREE Current Account (free deposits, ATM withdrawals & transfers)
- Ease of Accessibility (1200+ branches)
- Excellent Customer Support in English & German
- Mobile App & Online Banking features
- Simple process to open your bank account
- 700€ incoming deposit requirement for FREE Current Account
- Foreign Currency fee for transfers & ATM Withdrawals
We can clearly see that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. In fact, the 700€ requirement for incoming deposits can also be easily met with Blocked Account money for students. Working professionals would definitely not have any issues with it. Overall, Commerzbank stands out as the best option for you to open a bank account in Germany!
Do you want to watch a video where I compare a few banks in detail? Check this out!