If you are undergoing a process of getting your business incorporated in Germany, you will clearly also need to open a corporate account. It is quite difficult to deal with this on your own, as it is necessary to compare the offers of many banking institutions working with the corporate accounts (Geschäftskonto). We have already done this for you, and we are ready to offer a professional advice to determine the bank that would suit your tasks best.
If your decision about opening a corporate account in a German bank is urgent, please do not hesitate to contact us for a comprehensive urgent advice by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Along the way, our company is ready to conduct legal and advisory support of the procedure for obtaining a residence permit in Germany on the basis of setting up a business or financial sovereignty. We will help you get a D category national visa in a short period of time. You will find more details on our services in the end of this article.
Who Needs a Corporate Bank Account in Germany?
A commercial or corporate bank account is an account that businessmen and business owners usually open regardless of their private bank account when they are incorporating a business. All the money transactions of a company or an individual entrepreneur are carried out via such a bank account. If the chosen legal corporate form requires it, the share capital (Stammkapital) is also paid into the corporate account. In order to open it, you can use the branch network of the bank you chose or, if you chose a digital bank, this can be done in its official website or online banking application.
So, a corporate account is a bank account for enterprises via which financial transactions are carried out. Most importantly, a business account is needed to deposit the shareholders’ equity (Stammkapital) before registering the company with the Commercial Register and the Registration Court.
Corporate accounts are mandatory for such legal corporate forms as AG, GmbH and UG (simplified GmbH form). Individual entrepreneurs, partnerships and freelancers who can do without special services do not need a corporate account. Special services include direct debit transactions, corporate loans and cheap credit cards. Maintenance of a current corporate account can be significantly more expensive compared to a private account maintenance. However, an additional account can prove beneficial in many business matters.
It is important: Please remember, if you register a GmbH or UG company, it must have a commercial bank account.
If you are an individual entrepreneur (trader) or a freelancer with a relatively small number of business operations, it is not always advisable to create a separate account, as this can entail respective costs. However, once your transactions reach a certain number, or you establish a partnership or a corporation, a business account may even become mandatory. This is the only way to separate your company’s payments from your personal ones in order to be able to track them.
Opening a business account makes perfect sense and is actually advisable even for small partnerships (GbR) because the tax office (Finanzamt) gets access to your account to analyze your payments. If you use your private bank account for commercial purposes, you will have to disclose your private payment transactions to the tax authorities.
Corporate Account Opening with a German Bank – Differences from a Private Account
There is no fundamental difference between a private and a corporate bank account because they serve the same purpose. However, the difference between private and corporate accounts is transaction fees. Commercial accounts have higher fees compared to private accounts. Business accounts also allow you to set up a direct payment or an instant bank transfer for your customers.
Converting a private account into a business one is theoretically possible, but it should be well thought-out in advance. Transactions that were effected before you opened your business may turn out to be too confusing. Therefore, it is better for entrepreneurs to incorporate their own business with a new account designed for business operations.
Should I open my business account before or after the appointment with a notary?
It is important to understand the sequence of what should be done and when. When is it necessary to open a bank account for my company, before coming to the notary’s or after? This depends on the legal corporate form you choose. Companies that must be registered with the Commercial Register (Handelsregister), require a notarized registration certificate to open an account. After opening a commercial account, it is important that you send the notary a receipt for the share capital payment, so that they could confirm it and send it over to the Commercial Register.
Corporate Account Opening with a German Bank – A List of Necessary Documents
Documents required for opening a corporate account with a German bank may largely vary depending on the legal corporate form of your business:
- If you are an individual entrepreneur (Einzelunternehmen), you only need your ID card to open a corporate account. If they see it necessary, banks may also request the confirmation of your trade license. But by the moment of opening their account, businessmen usually do not have it yet, so the license should be sent over later.
- Freelancers (Freiberufler) also need their ID only.
- Registered entrepreneurs (eingetragene Kaufmann ( e.K.) must present their registration certificate and then submit an extract from the Commercial Register, and a trade license.
- Partnerships (Personengesellschaften), such as oHG or GbR, must provide passports of all partners and the Articles of Association (Gesellschaftsvertrag). In the case of oHG, they must also provide a list of partners (Gesellschafterliste), an extract from the Commercial Register (Handelsregister) and, if necessary, a trade license (Gewerbeschein).
- GbRs are not required to register their business if they are exclusively freelancers. In some cases, the trade license must be submitted to the bank at a later date.
- As for corporations, banks usually require more documents. The founders of GmbH, UG or AG must provide not just the founders’ passports, the list of shareholders (Gesellschafterliste) and the Articles of Association (Gesellschaftervertrag), but also the registration certificate (Gründungsurkunden). If necessary, the bank will also request a trade license (Gewerbeschein). In this case, it should be provided after the company is incorporated.
Since the companies that must be included in the Commercial Register (AG, GmbH, UG, eK, oHG) are still under incorporation (in Gründung» — iG) at the time of opening a commercial account, and entries to the Register can only be made after the share capital (Stammkapital) is paid, the account opening is always subject to reservation. An extract from the Handelsregister Registry must be filed after the company account opening.
When you incorporate a company, you will still need an Authorization for Account Access for the company Directors, Founders, or Donee of a Power of Attorney. So, you should think about it in advance as of which co-owners would have access to the account, and prepare the appropriate Powers of Attorney.
Different banks may require different paperwork. When we provide a corporate account opening service, we are sure to advise our clients and give a list of all the documents required by a particular bank. Here is the list of documents that are usually requested:
- Application to open an account with a German bank;
- Copy of your travel document including the pages with your photo and signature. The copy must be notarized.
- Utility bill or a statement of your private account with a bank can be presented as proof of your address of residence. Such documents must not be issued later than three months before the application filing;
- Copy of the company’s Articles of Association certified by a notary;
- Copy of the Registration Certificate certified by a notary;
- Copy of the Power of Attorney in the Director’s name;
- If a company has been established six months ago and more, you will also need to provide a copy of the Certificate of Good Standing certified by a notary.
This list of documents is not complete. Depending on the legal corporate form, banks may require additional documents, or rather copies of them certified by a notary.
Corporate Account Opening with a German Bank – Should You Attend an Appointment at the Bank in Person?
While some banks require the presence of all authorized representatives, in most cases the presence of the company’s CEO is sufficient. It is necessary to have the appropriate Powers of Attorney if there are shareholders or authorized persons. If the newly-established company has several founders, then at least one of them must be present. Others can simply provide their Powers of Attorney and copies of their personal documents.
If the company has a single founder, and he is the CEO, it would be impossible to open a corporate account without his presence in person, sending a Power of Attorney in exchange.
If you are opening an online bank account, you must also use the PostIdent or VideoIdent procedures yourself and you cannot be represented by anyone else.
Using the relatively up-to-date procedures of PostIdent and VideoIdent, you can confirm your identity to open an account without coming to the bank in person. These procedures are often used by the direct banks if you cannot come to the banker in person, for example, if you live abroad.
In order to complete the PostIdent procedure, you must visit a Deutsche Post office having your identity document with you. The officer behind the counter will carry out your identification.
The VideoIdent process can be effected completely remotely using a laptop with a webcam or smartphone. You just use your mobile device to make a video call to the bank, during which you need to hold your identification document (passport) in front of the camera. The customer service agent will check your data.
How Much Time Does It Take to Open a Corporate Account with a German Bank?
It depends entirely on where you are opening your account, and what the legal corporate form of your company is. In the case of branch banks, verification of your documents does not usually take much time as the papers can be reviewed and verified directly on the spot. So, the term is 1 day.
Opening an online bank account can take up to two days, depending on the legal corporate form of your company and the documents that need to be verified.
Corporate Account Opening with a German Bank – An AND of an OR Account?
If your company needs a commercial bank account that both its CEO and one of the founders can access, it can be managed as a joint account. In this case, you should choose between an AND and an OR account. For an AND account, each transaction must be approved by all account holders, but this procedure is not very practical in your day-to-day work. That is why many entrepreneurs choose the OR account. Here, anyone who has access to the account can manage it and has the right to make transactions.
Opening an account with a German bank is always difficult for a foreigner. Bank employees check foreigners for money laundering.
Corporate Account Opening with a German Bank – The Cost of Service and the Procedure
Our company, with the assistance of our German partners, offers a convenient turnkey service of opening a corporate account with a German bank. The cost of this service starts from 1000 EUR, depending on the legal corporate form of your company and the number of founders.
For our clients, the whole procedure consists of the following steps:
- Emailing us to:email@example.com and getting the first consultation.
- Making a service contract with us and paying a fee for it via a bank transfer, payment card transactions or electronic payment in Webmoney, Western Union or Paypal systems.
- Preparing and collecting all the necessary documents.
- Making an appointment and coming to the bank’s branch together with a representative of our partners for opening the account.
Most often, our clients choose a comprehensive service called the Turnkey Company Incorporation in Germany. It includes the stage of opening a corporate account. You can learn more about this service from the following article.
We are also ready to help you with obtaining a residence permit in Germany on the basis of opening a business. You can find all the details here.
To get your first consultation or start the process of opening a corporate account with a German bank, do not hesitate to email us to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who Needs to Open a Corporate Bank Account in Germany?
Corporate accounts are opened by all newly established legal entities in Germany: joint stock companies (AG), Limited Liability Companies (GmbH and UG which is the simplified form of GmbH). It is to this account that the share capital is credited, and then this account will be used to perform all the financial transactions. Partnerships, freelancers and individual entrepreneurs are not required to open a corporate bank account unless they need special services in the form of direct debit transactions and corporate loans. A corporate account of a German company must be opened with a German bank.
When Should I Open a Corporate Account, Before or After my Meeting with a Notary?
The order of steps to be made when incorporating a company in Germany depends on the chosen legal corporate form. If a company is to be registered with the Commercial Register, to open a corporate account, the German bank will require the provision of a company registration certificate from the notary. Accordingly, you will first need to come to the notary and sign the incorporation documents. As soon as the corporate account is opened, and the share capital is paid, you must send the statement of account to your notary, so that they send the documents over to the court for your data to be entered in the Commercial Register.
What Documents Are Required to Open a Corporate Account with a German Bank?
The following documents are usually presented depending on the form of business: Individual entrepreneurs: travel document, trade license.
Freelancers: travel document only.
Eingetragene Kaufmann entrepreneurs: registration certificate and extract from the Commercial Register.
Partnerships: Articles of Association and identity cards of all partners, extract from the Commercial Register, trade license.
Limited liability company and joint stock company: participants’ passports, list of founders, Articles of Association, registration certificate, trade license.