There are thousands of different bank accounts and even more offerings of credit cards. Some are “generalists”, others are specifically designed for a certain target group.
And there are “combinations”, just like the DKB: One of the best free checking accounts in Germany and with the DKB Visa Card an outstanding companion on journeys or at a permanent center of life abroad.
On this page, you will learn all important facts that you should know for using the DKB account in Germany, in the USA, as well as on journeys!
Upfront: The conditions
- free online checking account
- free credit card with credit line (Visa Card)
- free debit card (V Pay Card)
- worldwide free cash withdrawals
- optionally further banking products, like savings account, loan, depot possible
- free account opening via webcam and passport possible
including free delivery of the bank documents and cards to the USA!
You can find the details on this page. For action-takers, here is the link to go directly to the bank ► www.dkb.de/privatkunden/dkb_cash.
I. Examples of how others use the DKB account
Account for journeys
Silvi and Peter love to go on vacation with their two children to the USA. They have already visited 11 states and every year, one or two are added.
Always with them: the DKB Visa Card of Peter, because he can withdraw cash free of charge everywhere he wants. He has even taken advantage of the refund possibility of the local ATM fees.
Moreover, Peter uses the Visa Card to consign deposits for car rentals and hotels.
For this, he transfers more money to the credit card account at the DKB in order to increase the credit line.
Next year, he says that he will let the salary be transferred to the DKB account, because then he gets an overdraft facility and at the same time credit card line up to 3 times the salary. That is sufficient for their USA vacations and one could save the previous charging of the Visa Card.
Possible as a pure vacation account, but the DKB is more than that
Additionally, Peter has opened a junior account (DKB Cash u18) for his oldest son Lukas. Thus Lukas has his own free DKB Visa Card.
At the beginning of the vacation, the spending money is simply transferred by an internal transfer from his parents’ online banking and Lukas can go shopping. He can never spend more money than his parents have previously transferred. This is a great security and Mom Silvi is pleased.
The first use took place in Wawa, when he bought sandwiches for himself and his little sister.
Next year, for the student exchange or the school trip, he will, of course, take his DKB Visa Card with him.
Junior Visa Card ideal for school trips
Gerda and Alfred live since some years in a beautiful house in Cape Coral, southwest Florida. Due to its pleasant climate, good infrastructure and the security, they have chosen this region for their retirement.
Both receive monthly payments by the German Pension Insurance. This would also pay on a US bank account, but due to the high transfer costs, there would be too much lost, says Alfred.
They have decided to use the DKB joint account, in which each account holder gets his/her own Visa Card.
They withdraw their retirement payments in cash at the ATM of their local bank in Florida. Sometimes, they deposit something on their US bank account right away.
The withdrawals using the DKB Visa Card as well as cash deposits on the checking account are both free of charge and therefore much cheaper than an international transfer, says Gerda with a smile.
Clever: withdrawing is free of charge at the ATM, instead of expensive international transfer
Main Checking Account
Manfred wants to immigrate to the USA. For this, he takes part at the Greencard raffle.
He knows that he needs quite some capital in order to build his new life in the “country of unlimited possibilities”. Therefore, he has organized his finances and also opened the DKB account.
With this, he killed three birds with one shot, says the humble Swabian:
- I have an account at a bank that I can use without problems after emigrating (a place of residence abroad is not unusual for the DKB).
- I can save money with a good interest rate for my emigration (DKB Visa Sparen).
- I can continue to use the credit card in the USA, without having to pay attention to costs and fees.
Thanks to his salary payments, he has a high credit line on the Visa Card. With this, he saves double, says Manfred winking, as all card transactions are interest-free until the monthly settlement.
He has already managed to use the savings rate for the emigration automatically on the second Visa Card, as there is good interest for balance on the credit card account.
Anybody, who uses the first Visa Card regularly, can get a second one free of charge. Manfred is using this cleverly as a savings account.
Moreover, there are absolutely no fees for managing his account in Germany: transfers within the Euro-zone are free, standing orders and debit entries too. Neither do charges of the DKB apply for the withdrawing of cash at foreign ATMs.
Use as main bank through the internet is possible
Moni is customer at another bank. More out of habit reasons – not because of the conditions – she openly admits. Nevertheless, she has opened a secondary account at the DKB, because of a recommendation of a good friend.
It does not cost her anything, but includes many advantages. One of it is the emergency service of the DKB.
The experiences are of her friend, as his credit card disappeared on a journey to the USA. Whether he has lost is or whether it was stolen, she does not know.
Anyway, her friend was in financial distress. The only credit card he had was gone. How should he continue his journey?
At the DKB, there is the service of an emergency card.
That means: DKB customers receive a card by Visa USA within 48 hours, which is linked to the credit card account in Germany. This way, the journey can financially continue. This service is also free of charge!
At longer stays abroad, it is even possible to send an original DKB Visa Card with a courier service to an address of your wish in the USA or in another country abroad.
This is meaningful, as the emergency card is only valid for a limited time and without chip, not all features of the normal credit card are available.
Emergency card is shipped free of charge within 48 hours
II. Tip: How to use the DKB especially clever!
2 Visa Cards
As in the example of Manfred that you may have already read, there is the possibility to get a second Visa Card free of charge per account holder.
Only requirement: The first Visa Card must be already in use.
That this is meaningful, is explained through the following picture:
Withdrawing cash at an ATM is free of charge worldwide! Most people know this and it is also the most frequent reason, because somebody becomes a DKB customer.
The price list does not know any limitation in this point. You can withdraw cash at foreign ATMs as often as you want. The DKB will never charge you any fee for this.
However, please use this condition meaningfully. Do not withdraw Euros/Dollars 10 every day, but instead Euros/Dollars 140 per week in order to keep this great condition.
This point is indeed even better than it first appears!
The DKB refunds foreign fees at cash withdrawals and we know that they apply regularly in the USA. How the refund works, you can read here.
There is indeed a catch at the DKB account. However, this catch applies to at least 99.5 % of all credit cards: foreign currency fee at abroad card payments!
In the price list, you can find this point at “Auslandseinsatzentgelt” (Foreign Transaction Fee). It is 1.75 % of the card transaction.
However, you can circumvent this fee simply by withdrawing cash and paying with it. This is not always possible on journeys, but in many cases it is.
III. How does the DKB earn money?
Until this point, one could only read about what is free of charge … but the bank also has to earn money in order to offer all this, doesn´t it?
Yes, correct. The DKB can earn from you through four points:
Your checking account is in the red
Therefore, you are using the overdraft facility and the bank earns from the loan interest.
In contrast to a pure credit card loan, the overdraft interest is low at the DKB.
Do not forget: There is no loan interest on the credit card. All card transactions are interest-free until the monthly settlement with the checking account. Loan interest will only apply, if you do not have enough balance on your checking account.
At the point “overdraft interest”, the bank only earns from every third customer, but there are quite some “permanent ones”.
You use the credit card for payments in a foreign currency
If you pay with the DKB Visa Card in US-Dollars or other currencies but Euros, then the foreign transaction fee applies. This is common in banking.
How you can circumvent this in many cases, you were able to read some paragraphs above. 🙂
You use further services (products)
The free DKB checking account is virtually an entry product in order to become a customer of the DKB – however, the conditions are absolutely great since more than 15 years.
For many customers, this is and will be the only DKB product.
Others may open a securities account later on (rather less probable, if you are taxable in the USA), a fixed money account or use a loan.
The DKB finances consumers and real estate loans. Although for this, a salary payment in Germany is necessary or the real estate that should be financed must be in Germany.
The bank can earn most money in the loan area.
You use the Giro- and/or Visa Card for cashless payments
In the Euro-zone, payments with the Girocard and with the Visa Card are free of charge for you. This applies to all banks with Euro-accounts!
However, it is no secret that the merchant must pay a transaction fee for your payment. The payment provider, the card company and of course the account-holding institution are earning from this – therefore also the DKB!
If you want to do something good to the DKB, then pay a lot of things cashless with the cards!
IV. How many customers does the DKB have in the USA?
Understandably, the DKB does not reveal exact numbers. Estimations assume a five-digit number. Tendency is rising!
More and more account openings by German expatriates
Whether you are eligible for an account opening, you can learn from this table:
|This breakdown is based on our experiences and what readers of our “mother-portal” DeutschesKonto.ORG have communicated. This is no official statement of the bank. It may be different in single cases.|
In Germany, the DKB has more than 3 million customers, whereas most are checking account customers.
“Apply now for the account DKB-Cash”
… the worldwide most attractive account!
V. Become a customer: How to open the account
Go to the website of the DKB
The orange button “Go directly to the bank” directly forwards you to the offering page of the DKB or you can enter directly the process of account opening by clicking on the following link ► Open account application.
Fill the online application
Start by filling the online application. You will need about 5 minutes for this.
If you are uncertain about some entry fields, then you can use this help/explanation.
Send the online application
The online application is sent online. It is not necessary to print and sign or sending further documents.
If the DKB should need anything else, it will contact you via e-mail.
Depend on the current rush, you will receive an e-mail from the bank within some minutes up to several days with the invitation to start the legitimating procedure.
As a rule, this should be the WebID procedure, in which you hold your face and ID-card or passport during the video chat into the webcam.
If you should mistakenly get proposed the PostIdent-procedure, then ask the bank to send you the link for the WebID-procedure. Alternatively, one can make the legitimating through a bank or a notary in some countries.
Access data for the online banking, cards and getting tips
In the following 1 to 3 weeks, you receive your account number, your access data for online banking, as well as your PINs in several letters.
The delivery to the USA is free of charge for you!
Here again the direct link to the bank ► www.dkb.de/privatkunden/dkb_cash.
Questions about the clever usage or the account opening?
I would be pleased to answer your questions through the comments box at the end of the page. You are also welcome to add your experiences to postings.
I am a thrilled DKB customer since 2004. The DKB Visa Card is my constant companion on USA trips. I am glad to help other people to start their DKB adventure. The DKB account bears the potential to enhance your financial life a) by lowering the costs and b) by making the use more convenient.
Pictures: Eisenhans & Jakub Krechowicz (both fotolia.com)