Are you a freelancer or a self-employed in Germany looking for a bank account?
There is a distinction between a natural person (freelancer or self-employed) to a business entity (e.g., UG, GmbH etc). A freelancer such as English language teachers, translators, software consultant and self-employed such as eBay sellers etc.
Many banks offer a private bank account for freelancers or Self-employed for personal use, however, they do not provide for professional or business use.
Why a separate bank account for freelancer or Self-employed
1. Separation of personal and professional use
It is always advisable to have a separate bank account for personal and professional expenditure. In your professional bank account, you can receive payments from your clients and make business expenses. Then each month, transfer a fixed amount to your personal account for your personal expenses, just like you would for your salary.
This will keep your business and personal expenses separate and lets you keep track of them.
2. Terms and conditions of Banks
Have you been using your private bank account for your freelancer or self-employed income? It is most likely that you are violating the terms and conditions of the bank by using your personal account for business purposes. Banks distinguish between a private account and a business account. Most bank accounts allow use only for private purposes (Privatkonto) under their terms and conditions. This means, if you are a freelancer or self-employed, you can still open a bank and use it as the personal account as long as it is only personal expenditure, but the account may not be used for professional reasons, i.e. receive money from clients, pay contractors etc.
The banks do not strictly enforce this principle, so if you are a freelancer with a single or small number of income sources, with little or no business expenditure, then you might not be checked. However, if you have multiple clients and make a number of transactions each month, it is highly advisable to have a separate account so that you do not violate the terms and conditions of the bank account. It is very important if you are a trader who is selling on eBay or other perform self-employment activity as such large number of transaction activity is sure to lead suspicion by the banks.
3. Taxes and Books of account
Self-employed and traders in Germany are subject to a requirement of maintaining a simple balance sheet of account and have such evidence at least for a period of 10 years. It is also highly advisable to consider a separation of the private and business spending in terms of the concept of business spending a little more comprehensive. Having a separate account makes it easy to provide proof of income and expenditure incurred due to business activity when filing the tax returns and also prepare a Profit statement.
If you are self-employed who has to charges VAT, then maintaining a separate bank account is highly recommended. Keep a fixed percentage of your income in your professional account to factor in the taxes you will have to pay to the Finanzamt at the end of the year (or quarterly depending on if you have given an auto debit).
Free bank account for freelancers and Self-employed
There are not many banks with offer free bank account for freelancer or self-employed for business activity. However, there are a few which offer such bank accounts.
1. N26 Business Account
N26 (previously Number 26) has a new service for the freelancers and self-employed open to a natural person (i.e., not a business entity). It provides you all the benefits of a business account, including a Master Card for your business expenses. You can additionally use it for your personal account using a Maestro card also available for you. N26 provides a quick and hassle-free account opening procedure which is especially advantageous to newcomers in Germany.
Advantages of N26 Business Account
- Free business account
- English Language website and service
- Free Business Master Card with 0.1% Cashback on all business purchases
- Free transactions using Master Card in any currency (no exchange rate markup)
- 5 Free cash withdrawal in Germany
- Free additional Maestro Card for personal use
- Easy Account opening for Newcomers to Germany
- English Language service
This bank arguably is one of the best bank accounts and also provides a lot of additional services. However, it is limited for a select list of professionals (Notary, Lawyers, Insolvency practitioner, Tax consultant, Auditors, Chartered Accountants, Health professionals and pharmacists, House and property managers). If you are a freelancer in from one of those professions you can apply for a bank account here.
Advantages of DKB-business account
- Free bank account
- Free DKB-VISA-business-card and debit cards, including add-on cards
- Interest on balances up to 300,000 euros on the business credit account
- Interest on credit balances on the Internet account
- worldwide free cash withdrawal with the DKB-VISA Business Card
- Free account statement and credit card statements monthly by post
- Read more
Open a DKB-business account
Free Bank account for a Legal Entity
Penta aims to make opening bank account easier for startups and other legal entities. Partnered with solarisBank, Penta provides a full-fledged German bank account which is regulated by BaFin Germany and the deposit is protected by the European Deposit Guarantee Fund. However, the bank account is only available if you are a registered business entity and not for a natural person. It also helps you in the legal process of incorporating your company (founding a UG or GmbH) so you can deposit your share capital online in minutes and get it confirmed in 48 hours.
- Free Business bank account for Legal Entity
- Incorporating a company
- 10 free SEPA outgoing transactions
- Free MasterCard
Open a Penta Business account
Other Business Bank accounts
If you are looking for a bank account in a physical branch, here are some of the cheap bank accounts for freelancer or self-employed for business activity.
1. Commerzbank Klassik Business account
The Business account (Geschäftskonto) allows both natural person and legal entity (registered company) to open a business account.
- € 6.90 euros per month payment
- Individual Electronic Banking solutions for automated and time-saving to manage your payments
- SEPA check – Adaptation your payments to the uniform standards in Europe
- Attractive welcome bonus at opening a business account online for new customers
- Check here for more information
2. HypoVeriensbank Konto 4 Business
A Classic business account with perfectly matched value for money.
- € 9 euros per month payment
- Low transaction charges
- Access to bank branch for cash deposit
- Check here for more information