26 Feb 2012


As promised, here is the article on the best possibility to save your money in Germany.

What is Tagesgeldkonto?
It took me some time until I understood this concept, but once I learned about it and read online about it, it becomes quite clear. This is a savings account with full money availability and with higher interest rate than a normal Sparkonto

Differences with other offers 
A normal savings account will limit your liquidity, i.e. it will freeze almost all your money. Postbank for example offers you the possibility to withdraw only 2.000 Euro per month from your savings account.  A Tagelsgeldkonto has not limits on withdrawal - all your money are immediately (within 2-3 working days because of the bank transfer time) available. 

Furthermore, the best Tagesgeld banks offer 2,7% - 2,75% annual interest rate. Normal savings accounts offer you a lot less, around 2%. 

Festgeldkonto, on the other hand is a deposit account, in which you completely freeze your money for a given period. It offers higher interest rates: up to 3-4% per year. Generally, the longer the period you choose, the higher the interest. My opinion is that it is not worth the risk to have no liquidity for an additional 0,25% more than a Tagesgeldkonto.

Things to consider
When you are choosing a Tagesgeld bank, look how often the interest is paid: annual or quarterly Zinsgutschrift. This would be important if you invest higher amounts, as you can benefit from the interest effect. Also look at the Einlagesicherung: up to what amount your money will be guaranteed in case of a bank default. Most banks in Germany are members of special security organizations and guarantee up to 1 or even 250 Million Euro per customer. If you have 250 Million Euro in the bank, you should not be reading this blog for financial advice :)

I have been using the Bank of Scotland since 2-3 years and I am so far very satisfied. They have annual interest rate payment and one of the highest interest rates out there: 2,7%. I have tried various other banks that for a short period were offering more than that, but after the initial money gathering round, they have not been able to keep their rates higher than the Bank of Scotland.

Questions? Leave a comment

25 Feb 2012

Opening a bank account

The normal bank account in Germany is called a Girokonto. There are several types, according to the banks you look at. Normally, if you open an account at bank with physical point of sales, there will be fees for the account. Those fees can go up to 5-10 Euro per month! Naturally, to an East-European like me this sounds crazy: as a bank client, they should be happy to have me!

Exception for the fees: students and people who deposit more than 1000-1200 Euro per month in the account. You can just receive your salary in this account and thus avoid those stupid fees.

How to open it?
You will definitely need your Meldebescheinigung for this plus a copy of your ID document. If you already have a job offer, it will help to also bring your work contract with you to show them that you are reliable.

With all those documents, just go to the closest bank and ask them for a Girokonto. Before selecting a bank, consider the following: does the bank have an ATM near your place and near your working place? If you withdraw cash from another bank or banking group, there are fees up to 10 Euro per withdrawal. The most widespread banks are Sparkasse, Postbank, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank.

I would not recommend any of them! Try to get an account at DKB (Deutsche Kredit Bank). There are no fees whatsoever and you get a free VISA debit-credit card with which you can withdraw cash anywhere in the world (incl. Germany) for free! They also give you interest on both the normal Girokonto and on the VISA amount that you have! No other bank will give you interest rates on a Girokonto.

They are not easy though: I tried 3 times until they accepted me. In the end I managed to sneak in through the Lufthansa Miles and More programme

Internet Banking
This is the awesome feature that eventually will close the physical banks. Almost every bank in Germany offers it free of charge. You can pay your invoices (Rechnungen) and transfer money in every EU country without paying a cent! Make sure you register for this at your bank of choice.
For every transaction you will need to use a TAN number for increased security. A list of 100 TAN numbers will arrive separately from your username and password. Some banks like Postbank also offer mobile TAN: you get this special number on you mobile phone. Unfortunately, DKB does not yet offer this.

Next article will be about the best possibility to save your money, the Tagesgeldkonto!

Questions? Just ask below

22 Feb 2012

Gas pricing

If you drive a car in Germany, you know how much gas costs here: around 1,5-1,6 Euro per liter. I don't need to tell you that this is quite high, when we know that countries with higher living standard, like Switzerland, have cheaper prices. 

Why so expensive?
The first component is the Produkteinstandpreis, or the price at which the petrol is bought at the Rotterdam stock exchange. This is 56 cent. The next one is the Deckungsbeitrag, or the surcharge for the oil companies to be able to cover their costs: 10,8 cent per liter. This also includes their profit! Then comes the energy tax (including the ecology tax), which is 65 cent. According to the experts, as this is measured by the liter and not by the price, the German state is not profiting from a higher price. The total collected sum is 40 Billion Euro per year...I would call that a good profit. The last part is the VAT, 19% or 25 cent. 

According to Bild, there is a facebook group asking consumers not to visit a gas station on 1st March. Allegedly, the group (or event?) already has 500.000 fans. I could not find this group on facebook, otherwise I would immediately join it!
On second thought, Big Oil has the lowest share of the price! It is against the government tax that we should unite.

This is the commuting allowance, literally: the money that you get per kilometer (30 cent) on the distance between home and work. ADAC and the Taxpayer Union (TU) have asked the government to increase this allowance, as it is becoming obsolete with the constantly increasing gas price. The TU calculated the yearly cost for an average driver (50km to work, 220 days per year): 4466 Euro, while the allowance sums up to 3300 Euro! The overall car spending could reach 53 cent per kilometer.

The answer from the government is NO. Of course, Germany now needs money for Greece. Dear readers, tighten your belts in Germany so that our Greek neighbours can be saved...

What do you think?