German Bank Vocabulary: 40 Words and Phrases to Help You Manage Your Money

In Germany, a bank account is necessary for everything, from paying your rent to paying monthly phone and internet bills.

So if you’re living, working or studying abroad in Germany, you’ll need to use German bank vocabulary.

In this post, you’ll learn 40 German words and phrases related to banking, using ATMs, making purchases and more. 

Even if you’ll just be visiting a bank or an ATM for a quick transaction while traveling, this vocabulary will come in handy! 


Managing a Bank Account


Many bank tellers in Germany speak English, but some may not. And banking in German can be a great opportunity to practice your language skills! 

Here are some useful words for opening and managing a bank account:

die Bankfiliale the bank branch Ich gehe zur Bankfiliale, um Geld abzuheben. (I'm going to the bank branch to withdraw money.)
das Bankkonto the bank account Ich möchte ein Bankkonto eröffnen. (I'd like to open a bank account.)
das Sparkonto the savings account Mein Sparkonto hilft mir, Geld für die Zukunft zu sparen. (My savings account helps me save money for the future.)
das Girokonto the checking/current account Mein Girokonto ist gratis. (My checking account is free.)
der Kontostand the account balance Kannst du mir meinen aktuellen Kontostand sagen? (Can you tell me my current account balance?)
die Zinsen  (plural)the interest Die Zinsen in Deutschland sind relativ niedrig. (The interest rates in Germany are fairly low.)
die Kontoführungsgebühr the account maintenance fee Die Kontoführungsgebühr wird monatlich von meinem Konto abgebucht. (The account maintenance fee is debited from my account monthly.)
die Überziehung the overdraft Die Überziehung des Kontos kann teuer werden. (An overdraft of your account can get expensive.)
das Formular  the form Bitte füllen Sie dieses Formular aus. (Please fill out this form.)
die Unterschrift  the signature Auf dem Formular fehlt Ihre Unterschrift. Bitte unterschreiben Sie hier. (The form is missing your signature. Please sign here.)
überweisen  to transfer Ich werde Geld von meinem Girokonto auf mein Sparkonto überweisen. (I'll transfer money from my checking account to my savings account.)
die Überweisung the transfer (noun) Ich kann eine Überweisung auf Ihr Girokonto vornehmen. (I can make a transfer into your checking account.)
abheben  to withdraw Kann ich bitte 200 Euro von meinem Konto abheben? (Can I please withdraw 200 euros from my account?)
die Abhebung the withdrawal (noun) Sie können nur eine Abhebung pro Tag vornehmen. (You can only make one withdrawal per day.)
einzahlen  to deposit Ich werde das Bargeld auf mein Konto einzahlen. (I'll deposit the cash into my account.)
die Einzahlung the deposit (noun) Kann ich eine Einzahlung auf mein Sparkonto machen? (Can I make a deposit into my savings account?)

In Germany, it’s essential to choose the right bank to handle your transactions. If you pick a bank that isn’t popularly used, you could end up paying heavy ATM withdrawal fees—I’m talking up to 50 euros a month!

The advisable banks to go for are Deutsche Bank, Sparkasse, Commerzbank, Citibank and Postbank. Picking any of these banks is a safe choice, as they’re always present in every major city in Germany.

Using an ATM


Here are some German phrases that you might need to use or understand when operating an ATM, or ein Geldautomat:

Wo ist das Geldautomat, bitte? Where's the ATM, please?
Bitte geben Sie Ihre Karte ein. Please insert your card.
Bitte geben Sie Ihre Geheimzahl ein. Please enter your PIN number.
Geld abheben Withdraw money
Geld einzahlen Deposit money
Geld überweisen Transfer money
Kontoauszug ausdrucken Print out the bank statement

Making Purchases


These words won’t just be useful when banking, but also any time you make a purchase in a German-speaking country: 

die Zahlungsart  the payment method Welche Zahlungsarten gibt es? (Which payment methods are available?)
das Bargeld the cash Zahlen Sie Bar oder mit Karte? (Are you paying with cash or card?)
die Kreditkarte the credit card Ich zahle mit Kreditkarte. (I'm paying by credit card.)
die EC Karte the debit card (EC cards are debit cards specific to Germany) Ich zahle am liebsten mit meiner EC karte. (I prefer to pay with my debit card.)
der Scheck the check Ich werde dir einen Scheck ausstellen, um die Rechnung zu bezahlen. (I'll write you a check to pay the bill.)
die Kasse the checkout/cash register Bitte zahlen Sie an der Kasse. (Please pay at the checkout counter.)
der Schalter the counter
(a specific, numbered counter at the bank or any public office)
Bitte gehen Sie zum Schalter Vier. (Please go to counter four.)
das Kleingeld  the small change Hätten Sie Kleingeld für 100 Euro, bitte? (Would you have change for 100 Euro, please?)

*Here hätten (would have) is used instead of haben (have) to sound more polite.
der Dauerauftrag  the standing order
(direct payments used to pay your monthly bills such as rent, electricity, phone and internet)
Ich möchte einen Dauerauftrag einrichten. (I'd like to arrange a standing order.)

It’s important to be aware that credit cards aren’t as widely accepted in Germany as they are in the USA or UK. There are many cafés and shops in Germany that still don’t accept them.

Debit cards are most often used in malls, shops, supermarkets and cafés, but there are plenty of places, especially in the town-side in Germany, that only accept cash.

For more vocabulary like this, you can head to FluentU and pick up more practical, everyday German expressions there. 

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Other Banking Terms


Here are some more terms that will likely come in handy if you’re living in or planning to move to a German-speaking country: 

die Schuld debt Ich habe Schulden bei der Bank. (I have debt with the bank.)
die Bankleitzahl bank identification/
code number
Wie lautet die Bankleitzahl? (What is the bank code number?)
die Internationale Bankkontonummer ( IBAN )International Bank Account Number Für internationale Banküberweisungen benötigen Sie Ihre Bankleitzahl und IBAN. (You'll need your bank ID and IBAN to make international bank transfers.)
der Kredit  loan

(The words Kredit and "credit" are false friends.)
Ich möchte einen Kredit bei der Bank aufnehmen. (I'd like to take out a loan with the bank.)
der Kreditgeber lender Der Kreditgeber bietet Kredite für verschiedene Zwecke an. (A lender offers loans for various purposes.)
der Kreditnehmer/die Kreditnehmerin (female) borrower (male/female) Welche Rechte habe ich als Kreditnehmer? (What rights do I have as a borrower?)
die Rückzahlung repayment Wie hoch ist die monatliche Rückzahlung? (How much are the monthly repayments?)
die Hypothek mortgage Wir haben eine Hypothek aufgenommen, um unser Haus zu finanzieren. (We took out a mortgage to finance our house.)


Learn this vocabulary, and it will pay off big time!

When you’re traveling through Germany or putting down your roots there, you’ll know exactly how to handle your day-to-day banking business.

Even if you’re not planning on banking in Germany, you’ll likely hear some of these terms in TV shows, movies, news broadcasts and on the streets in conversation. And now you’ll understand it! 

And One More Thing...

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