Bank AccountCopyright: RWTH Aachen
General information on bank accounts
General information on bank accounts
In order to open an account you need to take your passport or identity card and the certifi-cate of address registration (from the city address registration office) to the bank. In cases where your stay is too short to have your address registered, the Sparkasse will consider opening an account without the address registration certificate. In this case you will need a letter from your institute confirming your status as a visitor at RWTH.
As a student you can ask to be exempted from bank charges or make use of special student conditions. This does not happen automatically, but you must apply for it. In order to do this, you need to present the proof of your student status to the bank every semester. Always ask about charges for opening a bank account or running the account before making your deci-sion.
Banks sometimes include an overdraft facility with your accounts without asking beforehand. Monthly payments of a grant or money transfers from home are enough to qualify you for an overdraft. You should consider carefully if you really need an overdraft facility as it involves a high rate of interest and can lead to debt.
Basic terms and conditions
- Current Account - Girokonto
To open a current account is necessary for almost all kinds of money transactions. Rents or other regular costs are normally paid by standing orders or debit notices.
- Standing Order and Debit Notice - Dauerauftrag und Lastschrift
Standing orders and debit notices are very useful for paying regular bills like rent or phone or electricity bills.
- Automated Teller machines (ATM) - Geldautomat
Automated teller machines (ATM) can be found at any bank throughout the city. You can draw your money at any ATM but it’s better to draw it at the ATMs of your bank or one of their associated partners to prevent extra-transaction fees.
- Eurocheque Card - EC Karte
If you have an Eurocheque card and a Personal Identification Number (PIN), you can with-draw money from an ATM and use the card to pay in shops. If you lose the card, you can have the card "blocked" by phoning a special number around the clock (see below: Loss of bank cards).
- Overdraft facility/credit cards - Dispositionskredit
An overdraft facility allows you to overdraw your account up to a certain limit set by the bank, i.e. your account is in debt (minus).
- Home-banking/online banking
Many banks offer their customers the opportunity to run their accounts (transfers, state-ments, etc.) from home using the computer and an internet connection.
- Cash Card - Geld Karte
The cash card is a bank card with a chip on it that can be loaded at terminals. You have to
hold a current account at a bank it you want to use this electronic purse.
Do not sign anything that you do not understand! If you have already signed you still have 14 days to cancel the contract!
Loss of bank cards
In case of loss of bank cards, you must inform your bank immediately and ask them to block
the cards. There is a telephone service you can use if you need to block your cards outside
the normal banking hours. After getting your cards blocked, you need to apply for replacement
cards. This often incurs a fee and you need to take your passport with you.
The telephone number for blocking EC cards is 01805/ 021 021 (14 Ct./Min., mobile tariff can
You can use credit cards such as Eurocard, VISA and so on to pay with instead of cash. You
will receive a bill for your credit card payments at the end of the month and the money will be
withdrawn directly from your current account. If there is not enough money in your current
account to meet your credit card bills, your account will be overdrawn. Please watch out for
this – being overdrawn incurs 10%-20% interest.
If you opened a current account and posses an Eurocheque card, there’s no need to
take along a bigger amount of cash, for you will find ATMs all over Aachen and in any
other bigger city in Germany.