5 Best Banks for Freelancers in Germany- the Ultimate 2021 Guide

You are a freelancer or self-employed, and you are looking for the best bank in Germany for freelancers? Look no further. We have compared the best banks for business, targeting specifically freelancers and small businesses in Germany. 

You no longer have to pay horrendous fees to traditional private banks and deal with their non-digital slow services. The fintech industry has revolutionized banking for business. So sit back and choose the best bank for freelancers in Germany catering to your needs.

Related Guide: Are you also looking for a private bank account? Check out our article Best German Banks For English Speakers

Quick Comparison Of The Best Banks for Freelancers in Germany

If you are short on time, and just want an answer. Here are the best banks for freelancers in Germany:

  1. Kontist – great for all solo-freelancers.
  2. Fyrst – for German speakers, who handle a lot of cash.
  3. N26 – the cheapest business bank account, without specific perks for freelancers.
  4. Qonto – for freelancers, who travel a lot.
  5. Holvi – for freelancers, who work with partners or in small teams.

 KontistFyrstN26QontoHolvi
English Website & Supportpro checkx iconpro checkpro checkpro check
No Monthly Feepro checkpro checkpro check€9€6
Free Payment CardVirtual Debit Visa CardEC Girocard & Visa Credit CardVirtual Debit MastercardDebit MastercardDebit Mastercard
No. of Free Transactionsunlimited50unlimited30500
Accounting Integrationwith Premiumwith Premiumx iconpro checkpro check
Apple & Google Paypro checkx iconpro checkpro checkx icon
Cash Withdrawal Fee€2free at Cash Group ATMsfree 3x a month€12,5%
Foreign Currency Fee1,7%1,85%1,7%2%2%
Online or Branch BankOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineOnline

3 reasons why you should open a business bank account in Germany

As a freelancer, you are not required by law to have a business bank account. Only legal entities such as a GmbH or a UG are required to have a business account (Geschäftskonto). However, we absolutely recommend having a business account as a freelancer! Here is why:

1. Separation of professional and personal finances

When running your own business or a self-employed side hustle, it is essential that you separate your earnings, investments, and spendings from day one. Why? For your own good. You can hand out your business account number to clients and transfer a fixed amount to your private account, like your salary. This way, you will have a clear overview and understanding of your finances.

Drawing of a laptop and mobile phone

2. Taxes and Accounting

The separation saves you a lot of time and hassle at the end of the year. Each year you will have to declare your taxes in Germany and provide your accounting sheets to the finance office (Finanzamt). Now imagine having your private expenses mixed in – I predict chaos and inefficiency. As an add-on, some of the best business bank accounts in Germany automatically calculate your taxes and offer you the option to send invoices straight from your online banking. That is what I call efficiency and convenience. 

3. Terms and conditions of banks

By now, I hope you already understand the benefits of opening your separate business account. However, there is more. You might be violating your bank’s terms and conditions by using your private checking account for professional purposes, such as client payments.

Most private checking accounts (Privatkonto) are, as implied by their name, only for private use. 

What Are the Best Banks for Freelancers in Germany?

Here are our top picks for the best banks and business accounts for freelancers in Germany.

1. Kontist

Screenshot of Kontist Homepage
Source: Kontist

Kontist offers banking exclusively for solo freelancers and self-employed in Germany. Its founders and the team have mostly been self-employed and freelancers beforehand. It was founded in 2016 and has partnered with the licensed solarisBank, specializing in digital companies. 

Kontist offers a 100% digital free bank account for freelancers, some handy add-ons for a small premium fee, and tax handling for your business. Their webpage, app, and customer service are available in German and English. 

Kontist homepage showing different business accounts
Source: Kontist

Kontist Benefits:

✅ Online account opening in 9 minutes
✅ No monthly account fee (9 euros / month for Premium)
✅ Full real-time control via the user-friendly app
✅ 100% paperless
✅ Unlimited free SEPA transfers
✅ Google & Apple Pay
✅ No SCHUFA credit check
✅ English website, live-chat and customer service
✅ 500-5.000 euros possible overdraft

Kontist Drawbacks:

⛔️ 29 euros / year for physical Visa debit card 
⛔️ 1,7% foreign currency fees
⛔️ 2 euros ATM cash withdrawal fee + 1,7% foreign currency fees
⛔️ no cash deposits possible

Add-ons for Kontist Duo (12 euros / month):

✅ Free Visa debit card
✅ Real-time tax calculation on transactions
✅ Photograph and save your receipts with the app
✅ Integrated accounting with unlimited invoices
✅ Integrated book-keeping via lexoffice 

Open your Kontist business account now and immediately start banking online.

2. Fyrst

Fyrst homepage
Source: Fyrst – translated to English by Chrome

Fyrst is the new startup from Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest private bank. Deutsche Bank launched Fyrst in 2019, targeting freelancers and small businesses in Germany. It is a direct mobile bank with the reliability and branch network of a big traditional bank. It directly won the Finance Award 2020 for Best Business Account App.

Fyrst offers two different accounts, the free BASE account and the COMPLETE account for 10 euros per month. However, it is only available in German, and just like the big private banks, its pricing structure is not very transparent on its homepage. For details, you can have a look at the full price list in German

Fyrst homepage showing different business accounts
Source: Fyrst – translated to English by Google

Fyrst Benefits:

✅ Online account opening in 7 minutes (for German IDs)
✅ No monthly account fee for freelancers
✅ Full real-time control via the user-friendly app
✅ Free Fyrst Debit girocard 
✅ NEW: Free Visa Business credit card
✅ Possibility for Instant Payment transfers
✅ Free ATM cash withdrawals at more than 7.000 Cash Group ATMs
✅ Cash Deposit possible at all Postbank & Post branches
(❗️0,6% fee, minimum deposit amount 5 euros)
✅ Free sub-accounts to organize your finances better
✅ Possibility for customer-friendly loans
✅ Possibility to integrate sevDesk accounting software

Fyrst Drawbacks:

⛔️ VideoIdent for account opening currently only available with a German ID
⛔️ Only German website, app and customer service
⛔️ 1,85% foreign currency fees
⛔️ Only 50 free paperless transactions 

Add-ons for Fyrst Complete (10 euros / month):

✅ Includes a digital assistant to create offers, invoices and payment reminders 
✅ 75 free paperless transactions 

Open your Fyrst business account now and immediately start banking online.

3. N26 Business

N26 Business Bank Account Homepage Screenshot
Source: N26

Unlike all other banks in this comparison, N26 also offers private checking accounts. It was founded in 2013 in Berlin and has since become the largest mobile bank in Europe. Its strength lies in international banking, as it offers free worldwide payments. 

N26 offers four different business accounts, ranging from free to 16,90 euros per month. The paid accounts include travel insurance and other perks. All services are available in English, French, Spanish, Italian, and German. However, N26 does not have any accounting or invoicing add-ons specifically for freelancers. 

N26 Business Account Options
Source: N26

❗️ Important to know: Currently, N26 does not allow you to have a private and business account with them.

N26 Benefits:

✅ Online account opening in a few minutes
✅ No monthly account fee 
✅ Full real-time control via the user-friendly app
✅ Free virtual business debit Mastercard 
✅ 100% paperless
✅ Unlimited free SEPA transfers
✅ Free worldwide payments (no foreign currency fees)
✅ Up to 3 free Euro ATM cash withdrawals / month
(after that 2 euros / withdrawal)
✅ Free unlimited cash withdrawals & deposits at selected retail stores via CASH26
✅ 0,1% cashback on all purchases
✅ English website, live-chat and customer service
✅ Overdraft possible 

N26 Drawbacks: 

⛔️ 1,7% foreign currency fees on ATM cash withdrawal 
⛔️ No accounting integration
⛔️ One-time 10 euros fee for physical debit Mastercard

Add-ons for N26 Business Mertal (16,90 euros / month):

✅ Up to 8 free ATM cash withdrawals in Germany
✅ Unlimited free ATM cash withdrawals in other currencies
✅ Shared sub-accounts with up to 10 other N26 users
✅ Dedicated N26 Metal customer service line
✅ Included Allianz travel insurance 
✅ Car rental & phone insurance
✅ 0,5% cashback on any purchases

Open your N26 business account now and immediately start banking online.

4. Qonto

Screenshor of Qonto Homepage
Source: Qonto

Qonto is a French licensed digital banking service focusing on freelancers and small companies. The Fintech neobank was founded in 2016 and operates in several European countries. Their services are available in French, English, Italian, Spanish and German. 

Qonto does not offer a free business bank account. It offers three different types of bank accounts for freelancers ranging from 9 to 39 euros per month.

Screenshot of Qonto pricing
Source: Qonto

Qonto Solo Benefits:

✅ Online account opening in 10 minutes
✅ Full real-time control via the user-friendly app
✅ Free Debit Mastercard 
✅ 100% paperless
✅ Photograph and save your receipts with the app
✅ VAT taxes are automatically recognized
✅ Possibility to connect your accounting software
✅ English website and customer service
✅ Overdraft up to 20.000 euros (card limit) / month
✅ Basic travel insurance included
✅ Apple & Google Pay

Qonto Solo Drawbacks:

⛔️ 9 euros monthly account fee
⛔️ only 30 free SEPA transactions / month
(after that 0,5 euros / transaction)
⛔️ 2% foreign currency fees
⛔️ 1% ATM cash withdrawal fee 
⛔️ no live-chat
⛔️ no cash deposits possible

Open your Qonto business account now and immediately start banking online.

5. Holvi

Holvi homepage
Source: Holvi

Holvi is a Finish fintech licensed digital banking service focusing on freelancers, self-employed and small businesses. It was founded by an international team in 2011 and operates across Europe.

Holvi offers a 100% digital bank account for business, and tax and book-keeping features. Holvi no longer has a free bank account, instead, the Starter account costs now 6 euros per month. Their webpage, app, and customer service are available in Finnish, German, and English. 

Holvi Business Bank Account Pricing
Source: Holvi

Holvi Benefits:

✅ Online account opening in a few minutes
✅ Full real-time control via the user-friendly app
✅ Free Holvi Business Mastercard (3 euros / months for additional card)
✅ 100% paperless
✅ Unlimited free SEPA transfers
✅ Photograph and save your receipts with the app
✅ English website, live-chat and customer service
✅ Create and send 3 invoices / months 

Holvi Drawbacks:

⛔️ 2% foreign currency fees
⛔️ 2,5% ATM cash withdrawal fee (2% for Holvi Grower)
⛔️ No overdraft possibility
⛔️ No cash deposits possible
⛔️ 6 euros monthly fee

Add-ons for Holvi Grower (12 euros / month):

✅ Unlimited creation and sending of professional invoices
✅ Unlimited e-invoicing
✅ 3 Holvi Business Mastercards

Open your Holvi business account now and immediately start banking online.

Conclusion

The business banking market is very exciting. As you can see with this comparison, there are several best banks for freelancers in Germany. Fintech companies dominate the market, offering specialized value. We have summarized which business account suits what purpose best, so you can choose based on your needs.

Kontist – best business bank account for all solo-freelancers.
Fyrst – best business bank account for German speakers, who handle a lot of cash.
N26 – the cheapest business bank account in Germany, without add-ons for freelancers.
Qonto – best business bank account for freelancers, who travel a lot.
Holvi – best business bank account for freelancers, who work with partners or in small teams.
 

We wish you happy banking and an even happier business!

💡 Good to know: The providers of the convenient online ID verification via a video call do not always support the passports of all nationalities. In that case, you will have to go to your local post office and identify yourself there via PostIdent.