There are many different banks and building societies in Germany offering a massive range of financial products and services. Perhaps the most basic and widely-used service – the current account – can be the most important. By paying a high level of interest when your account is in credit, or by charging fees if you become overdrawn, your current account can have a significant positive or negative impact on your money. Any extras, incentives, or simply the level of customer service that comes with your account will similarly affect your everyday experiences as you work, bank, and spend.

With this in mind, it’s obviously important to choose the best possible current account for you, taking into consideration what you need and what the various accounts have to offer.

Before you decide on a current account, the first thing to do is to have a clear idea of your situation and priorities; these will vary from person to person depending on your age, how much you earn, the way you spend, whether you’re saving up for something special and whether your finances are fairly stable from month to month.

For example, if you or the person you’re opening an account for is under 16 years of age, you might want to consider an account that has a cash card instead of a debit card and thus avoids the possibility of becoming overdrawn. However, you can’t use cash cards outside the UK, so they’re not ideal for those who frequently travel abroad.

If you work and receive payments from other countries, you could even avoid the ravages of exchange rates by opening a UK account to hold money in Euro or another currency of your choice.

You might decide that you want to manage your insurance (for items as wide-ranging as mobile phones and laptops, cars, home and travel) along with your current account [] and those options are available too. Or perhaps you’re just not a fan of filing and you’re tired of all those bits of paper – statements, deposit books, receipts and so on, that seem to be bound up with your account, in which case you could switch to online or telephone banking and feel better about your impact on the environment at the same time.

When it comes to current accounts, there’s certainly a lot of choices, but plenty of advice is available to help you make the right decision including many free online resources which will allow you to make a straightforward comparison of the features of different accounts, or you can arrange to see a financial advisor at your bank or Citizens’ Advice Bureau and take advantage of their superior knowledge.

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