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Money Transfers in Germany
There are several different options available for processing an international money transfer for individuals located in Germany who need to either send or receive money. This is often a quick and painless task, thanks to the absence of international transaction restrictions.
The most important aspect of your international transfer will be ensuring that you have adequately prepared everything in advance, as well as carefully assessing the various different methods available. Once you have decided on the most suitable option, transactions to and from a German account are usually straightforward and quick. Paying attention to the quality of service and how much value you will be getting for your money is a key aspect of this decision process, and you should be certain that you can trust and rely on the financial intermediary taking care of your transfer.
Processing an International Bank Transfer
Making a bank transfer to a German account, known as a “Girokonto” is arguably the simplest choice for sending money to Germany on a regular basis. The main obstacle, however, is the initial process of setting up a German account if you are not yet living in Germany or if you hope to set up an account from overseas. This is because German banks usually require proof of address in Germany, with registration of residence with the German authorities (Einwohnermeldeamt).
As a result, making a bank transfer in the early stages of living in Germany is not always possible, however ATMs are widely available in Germany and cash dispensers extend their services to withdrawals from foreign bank accounts. You should be aware of any fees which you will be charged for making international withdrawals in Germany.
Managing Your Cheques in Germany
Issuing a bank cheque is another great and secure option for transferring money, and cheques can prove to be a an extremely helpful resource for early payments which you many need to make once arriving in Germany such as accommodation costs. The main drawback is the lengthy process of shipping or delivering a cheque, as well as the waiting time required for your cheque to be processed by your bank.
Associated Fees for International Transactions
It is common for bank accounts in Germany to be fee-based, and there are a wide variety of options starting from just a couple of Euros per month for the most basic accounts. It may be difficult to find a free bank account, and you may find that making international transfers or using other banking services will end up actually costing a lot more when using a free account rather than an account with a monthly fee. Therefore it is helpful to check the applicable fees and restrictions offered by different banks for international transfers and banker's drafts by thoroughly shopping around in order to find the best bank for you.
For people moving to Germany from another EU-country, a very useful but temporary option would be to keep using their foreign bank account until a more permanent and suitable situation with a German bank account has been established.
Once you have your bank account set-up and running, another great and easy option for transferring money abroad or receiving money in Germany is to go through a company who offer international money transfer services. Most money transfer companies will process your transaction online, which also means that using a specialized price comparison website will help you find the best possible rates available. Charges incurred are typically matched up with the applicable foreign exchange rate.
These companies providing money transfers will offer a fee for their services which is not directly compared to the fees your bank would charge you. Their base rates are set on the amount you will be transferring rather than directly competing against the costs of an international transfer set out by your bank.
German Cross-border Cash Controls
There are no restrictions associated with the amount of cash you may carry across the German border. When entering or leaving Germany with €10,000 or more in cash, you are however required to declare this information to the German customer authorities (Zoll) with an EU Cash Declaration Form. Cash covers not only currency, but also any other negotiable instruments such as cheques, and failure to correctly declare this information to customs may result in your cash being seized.