5 Best Banks for Freelancers in Germany [Ultimate 2022 Guide]

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by Yvonne

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Updated

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 free option for all freelancers, with additional tax services.
  2. Finom – free account with great add-ons for freelancers.
  3. N26 – free business bank account, without specific perks for freelancers.
  4. Qonto – for freelancers and small companies.
  5. Commerzbank – great for personal branch service and cash deposits.

 KontistFinomN26QontoCommerzbank
English Website & Supportpro checkpro checkpro checkpro checkWebsite no,
Support yes
No Monthly Feepro checkpro checkpro check€9from €9,90
Free Payment CardVirtual Debit Visa CardDebit Visa CardVirtual Debit MastercardDebit MastercardDebit Girocard
No. of Free Transactionsunlimited50unlimited3010
Accounting Integrationwith Premiumpro checkx iconpro checkx icon
Apple & Google Paypro checkpro checkpro checkpro checkx icon
Cash Withdrawal Fee€2€2free 3x a month€1€1
Foreign Currency Fee1,7%none1,7%2%not possible
Online or Branch BankOnlineOnlineOnlineOnlineBranch

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

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 Account comparison
Source: Kontist

Kontist Benefits:

✅ Online account opening in 9 minutes
✅ No monthly account fee
✅ 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. Finom

Finom Homepage
Source: Finom

Finom is a German/French fintech licensed digital banking service focusing on freelancers, self-employed and small businesses. It was founded by an international team in 2019 and operates in Germany and France.

Finom offers a 100% digital solution that combines bank account for business, invoicing, and accounting features. Finom offers a free bank account, as well as three paid versions with increasing user numbers. Their webpage, app, and customer service are available in German and English. 

Finom Account comparison
Source: Finom

Finom Benefits:

✅ Online account opening in a few minutes
✅ Full real-time control via the user-friendly app
✅ Free Finom Business Visa debit card
✅ 100% paperless
✅ 50 free SEPA transfers
✅ Cash withdrawal possible up to 10.000 euros within Europe
✅ English website and customer service
✅ Invoicing included
✅ Accounting integrations possible

Finom Drawbacks:

⛔️ No free cash withdrawal on free plan
⛔️ 2 euros per ATM cash withdrawal
⛔️ No overdraft possibility
⛔️ No cash deposits possible

Add-ons for Finom Start (7 euros / month):

✅ 2 Users & Visa Cards
✅ 100 free SEPA transfers
✅ 5 free cash withdrawals per card
✅ 2% Cashback

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

3. N26 Business

N26 Business Homepage
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 comparison
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 Metal (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

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.

Qonto Price Model for Freelancers
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 0,4 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. Commerzbank

Homepage of Commerzbank Business Bank accounts
Source: Commerzbank translated by Google

Commerzbank has been voted Germany’s best branch bank for four consecutive years. It is the most modern of the traditional branches. They offer three different business bank accounts, for freelancers, self-employed and Start-Up founders. The monthly price ranges from 9,90 euros to 24,90 euros. However, currently, Commerzbank offers the first six months for free for the Classic Business account.

The website and sign-up process are in German only, however, the online and mobile banking app is available in English and it is a great option for anyone wishing for branch access and unlimited cash withdrawals and deposits.

Commerzbank Classic Benefits:

✅ Online account opening in 10 minutes
✅ Full real-time control via the user-friendly app
✅ Free Debit Girocard
✅ English online banking and customer service
✅ Overdraft possibilities
✅ Credit and loan possibilities
✅ Personal contact at local branch
✅ Unlimited cash withdrawals at Cash-Group ATMs
✅ Cash deposits possible at Commerzbank ATMs

Commerzbank Classic Drawbacks:

⛔️ 9,90 euros monthly account fee (currently first 6 months for free)
⛔️ Only 10 free SEPA transactions / month
(after that 0,15 euros / transaction)
⛔️ No accounting integration
⛔️ 1 euro fee for cash withdrawals or deposits

Open your Commerzbank business account now and immediately start banking online. When using Chrome as a browser you can right-click and select ‘Translate to English’ to sign up in English.

Conclusion

The business banking market is very exciting. As you can see from 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 with bookkeeping integration and tax services.
Finom – best free business bank account for freelancers, with bookkeeping and invoicing options.
N26 – the free business bank account in Germany, without add-ons for freelancers.
Qonto – business bank account for freelancers with accounting integration.
Commerzbank – business bank account with branch access at a traditional bank.

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.

📣 This article contains affiliate links. When you click on the links of products we mention in this article and purchase it we will receive a small commission. It will not make any difference to you in price, however, it allows us to keep Simple Germany alive and striving.

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About the Author
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Yvonne was born and raised in Germany and has lived in the United States, France, and Spain. She understands the struggle of settling in a new home and is happy to share simple services and tips on how things are done in her home country, to help expats get their German experience started.