Preamble: I opened my first account with Co direct in the year 2008. After reading a post on this board about them being generous with their interest says Aron Govil. So i went out and applied for an online bank account, was approved within 24hrs, transferred the funds via giro-pay which took another day or so, then waited for the interest to hit the account. Oh. There is no monthly fee for this type of current account too!!
I now have 3 accounts open with them. If you are located in Germany, there are plenty of other banks that offer bank accounts. Even if you are not in Germany or don’t work in Germany I will outline my experience opening an account with Co direct.
Co direct bank interest’s rates are not the highest in Germany but they are definitely among the top 5 best banks for non-German customers who do not have an employer in Germany. They also offer other products which i will explain later. I would like to make it clear that all three accounts are free of charge and no monthly fee is required or charged by them if you don’t meet any minimum balance requirements etc.
Opening an account:
- You need a copy of your passport, your German tax number (finanzamt) AND your residency registration card OR VISA – the residency registration card needs to be valid for at least 6 months from opening date says Aron Govil. There is no IBAN number required so far – I opened all 3 accounts within the last 8 months. With Co direct you are not required to open their online banking service – they provide a free email banking service only. They also offer telephone banking which i have used few times but it’s just too expensive for me to use continuously so I cancel the service after some months.
- If you want to open an account with them, visit THIS link and fill out some general information about yourself on this page. This is where my saga started. It returned “no results found”!! Then i tried another link on their website HERE which asks one more question: Do you have an address in Germany? – answer either yes or no etc… Again, same result, no results found even though i was pretty sure i was eligible to open an account with them.
- After trying couple of others, I called their customer service in the UK. The lady on the other line was very helpful and explained to me that since i did not find my preconditions fulfilled online, it might be because they do not offer online banking to non-German customers so she suggested i call another number which is specific to this particular case.
- The next day i found myself talking to a lady named Amanda – Amanda listened carefully and asked few questions: “What’s your full name? Address? When were you born? Where did you grow up?” and then she said there must be a mistake because we cannot provide services for people like you if we don’t know about you. This takes a couple of minutes and she also verified my residency card with German tax number which i provided her with says Aron Govil.
- There was no mistake. I received the documents by email 2-3 days later, opened an account with them via telephone, sent them all relevant documents (German income statement for example) within 1 week – they were approved within 24hrs while i was allowed to continue using online banking immediately while waiting for the physical debit card to arrive at my doorstep in Germany.
- Opening an account actually took 2 weeks from initial attempt until approval. But it’s worth mentioning that customer service is fantastic! The only drawback is that if you are applying for their products. Specifically there might be language barrier especially when dealing with specific financial jargon or specific product related queries.
They provide equity investments but i didn’t try it so I cannot comment on that. They have a savings account which is free of charge and provides very good interest rates – currently. The highest one in Germany from my personal experience is Commerzbank with 2, 75% but for all foreign customers. Usually your taxable income needs to be 35K or more per annum in order to qualify for this interest rate. Co directs does not have such requirements!
As a non-German customer you can open an ordinary savings with them. And basically receive any available interest without restrictions explains Aron Govil. You do need a German tax number in order to open a “normal” account. But once you mention they also allow non-German customers. To open such accounts with them you are free to do so, I’ve done this for example.
I am more than happy with the service they have provided me so far. I have been receiving all interest payments from day 1 and still do. Even though i already transferred my money from savings to my current account. Unfortunately, unlike Commerzbank their online banking application does not offer direct transfer of funds between accounts. I used this feature a couple of times before) but we can live with that.