A Geman business account or company account is a separate checking account that entrepreneurs can use to post business incoming and outgoing payments in the name of the company. This avoids mixing private and business incoming and outgoing payments in the same account.
Almost every bank provides separate accounts for freelancers and entrepreneurs. The conditions for self-employed persons often differ significantly from the conditions for private checking accounts. In this way, the bank takes into account the fact that freelancers and entrepreneurs have different account requirements.
Cost comparison for business accounts
Compared to private checking accounts, there are relatively few accounts in the business account area where both money transfers are free and there is no monthly account maintenance fee.
Account costs are primarily determined by three cost components that need to be compared:
- Account maintenance fees per month,
- fees per transfer, and
- Fees for credit card use,
- interest on an overdraft facility (“Kontoüberziehung”) if possible, and
- Fees for cash withdrawals.
Fees vary widely depending on the account offering. In some cases, differences in cost types are difficult to compare even when there are multiple business account plans offered by the same bank. Generally, the higher the monthly fee paid, the lower are usually fees for individual transactions or cash withdrawals, and the higher are various services offered by banks.
Since the total costs are not easily apparent to an individual without lengthy research, we make them transparent for you in our business account comparison calculator.
German Business account services in comparison
The services offered by the individual accounts are similarly diverse as the cost structures for business accounts. All providers listed by us in our business account comparison allow deposits and withdrawals to the account bw. SEPA direct debit mandates and transfers, as well as online management of the account.
Other services depend on the accounts. Important services available depending on the business account offered include.
- A mobile application for account management,
- credit cards & checking cards offered,
- a customer support service by phone or chat,
- the possibility of overdraft,
- the offer of other typical banking products,
- the additional features, such as accounting integrations, account overview, billing tools, etc…,
- mobile payment option, for example, via Apple Pay,
- the ability to create accounts for co-managers or employees, and
- a multilingual website, app or terms and conditions.
Likewise, some banks offer face-to-face advice in a branch, while others rely entirely on online and/or telephone advice for their business customers.
When do you need a German business account?
Generally, opening a business account is recommended as soon as a company is established. Corporate accounts make sense for anyone who runs their own business.
Corporations, such as AGs and GmbHs, even require a business account for incorporation. In general, a separate business account makes sense for every business in order to separate private expenses from business expenses.
Self-employed persons and freelancers, on the other hand, do not always have to have their own business account. However, current accounts for private individuals often do not allow the use for business purposes. A separate business account does incur additional costs, but these are usually offset by the benefits. For example, the separation of private account activities from business ones allows to significantly simplify the cooperation with the tax advisor. The tax return is much easier to complete. The flow of funds in the business is also much easier to record.
In summary, it is therefore advisable for anyone in Germany who pursues a commercial activity to open a business account.
Finding the right business account for your needs
Not every business account is suitable for all commercial ventures. Even for a self-employed person, different accounts can be a good choice depending on the size and type of activity. Bank services and cost structures vary, so it pays to compare rates and services before you open an account. For example, if you only run a business with a small scale, a free account from a direct bank is an interesting option.
If, on the other hand, you run an online store, for example, you have various offers to choose from. If the online store has already reached a certain size, so that many bookings are to be processed, a provider with corresponding volume discounts is worthwhile. Payment options such as direct debit or instant bank transfer should definitely be possible. For a limited liability company, it is important to narrow down the necessary services before opening an account. Some banks also have attractive offers for this type of company. Therefore, this business account comparison specifically addresses the number of bookings (transactions) that the company plans per month.
How do business accounts differ from the classic checking account?
The functions of a business account differ only slightly from those of a private account. From your business account, you transfer money, initiate direct debits and set up standing orders. You use your EC or checking card to withdraw money from ATMs. Cashless payments are also possible with these cards. If you have checks deposited to your account or make cash deposits, these work in the same way as with a private checking account.
If you have a credit card issued for your account, you can also use it to withdraw money from ATMs outside the euro zone. You use the credit card for cashless payments primarily in countries with foreign currencies. You can also pay for business expenses or purchases on the Internet in your company’s name and on your company’s account with a corporate credit card.
There is often a big difference between classic current accounts and business accounts when it comes to advice from the bank. Corporate customers are a lucrative clientele that many banks court. However, they are also a target group that requires intensive advice and has special needs. Many banks have recognized this and offer a special corporate customer service.