You are allowed to transfer money in and out of Germany, however movements in excess of €12,500 need to be reported to the Bundesbank (http://www.bundesbank.de/index.en.php). You will also need to check the restrictions of the country of origin/destination of funds.

Performing a bank transaction is relatively timely and easy.

EU banking regulation requires every bank to provide its customers with an IBAN (International Bank Account Number) and a SWIFT/BIC (Bank Identifier Code). Use of these codes allow for transactions in the EU to be handled as if they are domestic. International transaction fees, however, will incur (approximately €20 / US$45 per transaction).

Receiving Money

When receiving funds, you will need to provide the sender with your account name, number, Bank name, IBAN code and SWIFT code.

Transferring Money

When sending money from overseas, you need to quote your IBAN and BIC. To do this, quote the IBAN in the account number field of the payment order.

The details required for money transactions (Überweisungen) are:

  • Account name (Kontoinhaber)
  • Account number (Kontonummer)
  • Name of bank (Bank)
  • IBAN (IBAN)
  • Swift code (Swift Code)
  • Amount (Summe)
  • Reason for transaction (Verwendungszweck).

You will be able to make your international payments both online and directly from the bank clerk. Some banks will require online international fund transactions to be setup, so consult your bank.

Alternatives to Banks

Western Union

Western Union has three branches in Berlin at Ostbahnhof, Zoo and Friedrichstraße train stations, and also allows money transfers to be made via their website.

These transfers are almost instant, but the service fees charged by Western Union are comparatively high, and sending small amounts of money may see up to 10% of your funds evaporate in commissions.

You should be very careful about conducting international transactions using Western Union for the import and/or export of goods, as fraud is common.

Paypal

Paypal is an extremely efficient way of transferring money online, and allows payments to be made to most international countries via credit card, cheque or direct deposit. It is free to send payments, however to receive transfers the fee is 2.9% of the total amount, + 0.30 USD. For larger amounts, the transfer fees are slightly lower. Note also that Paypal levies an additional 2.5% surcharge on all international currency exchange rates.

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