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ATMs in Germany: Fees, limits and info for Germany travel

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Germany, where the lush Black Forest meets bustling metropolises like Berlin to rich historical culture to the incredible nightlife. Let’s get you ready for your stay in the beautiful Germany. In this article, we guide you through using ATMs in Germany, provide tips to avoid fees, save your money for other experiences and help you travel on a budget in Germany.

Also read: Ultimate guide on how to save money for travelling in 2024 and Ultimate guide on how to travel on a budget in 2024.

ATMs in Germany and its uniqueness

Germany has a large ATM network. There are about 95,000 ATMs throughout the country. They are mainly run by a combination of large domestic banks, foreign banks, smaller private banks, local and co-operative banks. Germany also has ATMs run by independent ATM operators.

The ATM network run by banks in Germany is quite unique. A big brand bank runs its operations in different parts of Germany through its independent entities. For e.g. Volksbank is a major bank in Germany. But in Baden area, it is run via VR-Bank Baden. Similarly in Mannheim , it is run as VR Bank Rhein-Neckar eG . So you will see the same logo but the names of the banks and their ATMs might be different.

Where can I find ATMs in Germany?

Simply put, ATM withdrawals in Germany will require some sort of planning. Here’s why.

If you plan to explore vibrant cities like Berlin, then it’s easy. ATMs in tourist hotspots and big cities such as Hamburg or Munich are as common as sand on the beach. But, if you plan on getting lost near the serene landscapes of the Black Forest, small Bavarian villages, little towns, and the countryside of Germany, you’ll want to plan your cash withdrawals. In towns, there are a handful in the city centre. In the countryside, you may find one local ATM if you’re lucky but in most likely cases, none.

Here are some spots where you’ll likely find them:

  • Airports
  • Major train stations
  • Shopping malls
  • Main shopping streets
  • Around town squares
  • Entertainment districts
  • Larger ski resorts

However, plan in advance if you are going to any of these:

  • Villages
  • Tourist attractions far away from everything (like visiting a farm)
  • Religious or remote historic places
  • Bus stops
  • Touristic spots in the Mountains

Cash or Card in Germany?

Since 2002, Germany’s official currency is the Euro (€). Euro is also the only locally accepted currency. You cannot use other currencies like US dollars or Pounds. There’s a small exception near the Swiss border where Swiss Francs are cool and accepted by the local shops. But remember, you’ll still get your change in good old Euros.

Also read: Can I withdraw US dollars or euros abroad from an ATM?

Germany is a cash-card combination country for tourists and foreigners.

You will need cash for:

Don’t believe anyone who says you can only use plastic in Germany. Unless you’re sticking to big cities, just eating at fancy places, and not doing anything local.

In cities, a lot of local shops and some restaurants have minimum spending limits like €20. So if you want to buy items worth less than that, you are likely to need cash.

Further, if you’re heading to quiet areas in Germany, like staying at a farm in Bärental, taking a local bus around the beatiful Donau area, or eating at a small restaurant in the Alps, chances are high they won’t take cards. The waiter might even say, “We don’t accept cards at all.” So, if you want to explore the less busy parts of Germany, make sure to bring some cash. In some little villages, you might only be able to pay with a local debit card, so having cash is super important.

You can swipe your card at:

In larger areas in Germany, like Colonge, Munich or Berlin its easy to to use your card for most transactions.

You can swipe your card at restaurants, book a hotel or hostel, hop on public buses, or buy tickets. You can handle many transactions with a card, from grabbing snacks to shopping (remember the minimum spending limit). However, it’s wise to keep some cash on hand.

Also read: 10 best free, unique travel apps for travelling in India. and 11 best free, unique travel apps for international travel 2024.

Are German ATMs open 24/7?

Yes and no. In bigger cities, ATMs are still open around 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

In Germany, you will see a lot of ATMs inside the bank foyers. These are typically open only from 6 am to 10 pm. Why? Because of many robberies and thefts especially in remote areas. So plan your cash withdrawal accordingly. At such ATMs, if the bank branch is closed, you may need to insert your card at the entrance for the door to open to the ATM.

Do German ATMs accept foreign debit and credit cards?

In general, yes. All major bank ATMs in Germany readily accept foreign debit or credit cards.

However, some regional banks such as “Volksbank Heuberg” or “Sparkasse Oder-Spree” may limit acceptance to only German or European debit cards. The reasons for such distinctions are many –security restrictions, small operations, not equipped to communicate with global bank servers or others. If you face a situation like this, the ATM interface will tell you that it doesn’t accept your type of card.

So don’t worry if your card doesn’t work at one ATM in Germany. Do try at another ATM of the same bank if that’s the cheapest one. If you still don’t have luck at 3-4 ATMs of the same bank, then you can be pretty sure you’re card won’t work at any ATM of that bank. In that case, try a different card or a different ATM altogether.

What types of foreign cards work?

German ATMs usually welcome cards with the logos of Visa, Mastercard, Cirrus, Plus. Some ATMs may accept JCB, UnionPay, Diners, Amex, Discover, but they’re less common.

Please note that German ATMs use chip-and-pin cards. So if your bank card does not have a chip and pin, ensure you get a new one ordered before you visit Germany.

The very German Girocard! Wait, what's that?

The Girocard, also known as the “EC Karte,” is a part of the German banking Girocard system. It is similar to a debit card in its functions, but the German banking system calls them a Girocard. Banks enhance these cards with international functions like Maestro or V-Pay, affiliated with Mastercard and Visa, respectively. You might spot these symbols on the card. If a cashier or a bank ever asks you to use your, “Zahlen Sie mit Ihrer Girokarte?” don’t be puzzled – just hand over your debit card; it’s pretty much the same thing.

Navigating German ATMs – Do they work the same like in any other country?

German ATMs are equipped with modern tech. They function similarly to ATMs in other European countries, USA or Australia. The screen will give you options like:

  • Choose language
  • Choose type of account
  • Enter your amount
  • Enter your PIN
  • “With Conversion” or “Accept Conversion” versus “Without Conversion” or “Decline Conversion” 
  • Confirm your transaction

And voila, your cash is dispensed!

But wait, don’t forget to take your card. Because ATMs in Germany vary on this. Some will give you your card first and then cash and some will give you your cash first and then let you take your card out of the machine.

How do I find an ATM in Germany?

In Germany, ATMs don’t always scream “ATM”, especially in rural spots. Locally, they go by “Geldautomat” or “Bankautomat.” Also, Google Maps might not list all of them as “ATM.” So typing in the words “Geldautomat” or “Bankautomat” on the maps ensures you won’t miss finding them. If you’re old school, ask a local “Hello, where’s a Geldautomat nearby” or “Hallo, wo ist der nächste Geldautomat?”

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Withdrawal Limit at German ATMs

As of today, German ATMs have varying maximum withdrawal limits per transaction, ranging from €500 to €2000. The reasons behind these limits include:

  • The amount of cash available in the ATM, particularly in regions with limited cash requirements
  • The location of the ATM, with rural areas, often imposing lower limits for security reasons
  • Your card – If you have a withdrawal limit on your card

The good news is that ATMs in Germany give you the flexibility to choose the denominations in which you receive their money, whether in larger notes like €50 or smaller ones like €10. In addition, there is typically no restriction on the number of withdrawals per day (as long as you don’t have withdrawal limits on your account). So, feel free to press that button multiple times based on your cash requirements.

Popular banks with ATMs in Germany

The most renowned German ATMs belong to these banks:

  • Sparkasse
  • Volksbank
  • Landesbank
  • Commerzbank
  • ING-diBa
  • Postbank

You’ll also encounter ATMs named Euronet, Cashzone, Travelex, FreeCash, MoneyMachine, etc. in Germany. These are not operated by a German bank, they are operated by independent ATM operators.

Global ATM Alliance in Germany

Global ATM Alliance is a partnership among many international banks collaborating to offer their customers free cash withdrawals at all partner banks. Many banks in the US, UK, Europe, Australia, and Latin America are part of the Global ATM Alliance.

Deutsche Bank is the one German bank member of Global ATM Alliance. If your bank card is from another member of the Global ATM Alliance, you can withdraw money from Deutsche Bank ATM in Germany where Deutsche Bank ATM will not charge you fees.

Check if you’re bank is part of the Global ATM Alliance here and you might be able to avoid ATM fees in Germany using their ATMs.

However, please note that you may still incur other fees from your own bank such as foreign transaction fees or cash advance fees so reconfirm with your bank.

Card PIN type

German ATMs accept both 4 and 6-digit PINs. For transactions under €50, a PIN is often not required, but for larger transactions, the PIN is necessary.

Language at German ATMs

The default language of ATMs in Germany (no points for guessing) is German! (Hallo, Guten Morgen!). But the ATMs do typically offer an option to switch the language to English or French. If you do not understand any of these 3 languages, not to worry. Just use the app Google Translate and open its camera function – the camera can directly translate the ATM’s text to your preferred language, on your phone, live!

ATM fees in Germany

When you use an ATM in another country, you might face four types of fees:

  1. Fees from the ATM itself, like the ATM usage fee and currency conversion fee
  2. Fees from your bank, such as the foreign transaction fee and currency conversion fee (forex markup fee)

In Germany, ATM fees can be anywhere from €0 to €7.5. Depending on where you are, there could be even more fees! Paying extra just to get your own money can add up, so it’s smart to check and pick ATMs that charge less or no fees for cash withdrawals. You can easily find such ATMs using the ATM Fee Saver mobile app!

Also read: ATM fees abroad: All charges to use cards at ATMs abroad detailed.

Find free ATMs in Germany with ATM Fee Saver

ATM Fee Saver is the first mobile app that helps you find ATMs with low-fees or no-fees when you’re taking out money abroad.
In the app, you can see ATMs in Germany, check their fees and withdrawal limits. Use the app’s calculator to figure out the fees for the cash you want. After picking an ATM, use the navigator to find the quickest way from where you are. The app has info for almost 40 countries, including Germany.

Download ATM Fee Saver now or login online.

atms in germany atm fee saver

Best ways to avoid high fees at ATMs in Germany

In Germany, if you have a foreign card, you can avoid ATM fees with some easy tricks. Here’s how:

  1. Use ATMs that don’t charge fees in the country for your type of card.
  2. Find fee-free or low-fee ATMs with the ATM Fee Saver mobile app.
  3. When at the ATM, choose “Decline Conversion” or “Without Conversion.”
  4. If you can, get a fee-free card from home.

There are even more ways to do this. Check out our detailed article: Withdrawing cash abroad? 9 best ways to save foreign ATM fees, for more helpful information.

Are ATMs in Germany safe and can I carry cash safely?

Generally, yes. However, it’s advisable to withdraw cash during daylight hours and always be aware of your surroundings. For more information on this topic, check out these articles:

Top 8 things to avoid while traveling abroad.
Top 8 things not to do when traveling abroad.

Can I carry cash safely in Germany while traveling?

Incidents of mugging, threats or robberies in Germany are rare. So, it’s usually safe to carry cash in Germany while travelling. But here are some general precautions to follow:

  • If you withdraw a significant amount, avoid doing so in busy areas
  • Avoid carrying a large amount of cash on a long journey or a walk going through empty streets.
  • If you need a substantial amount of cash, do so closer to the time when you need to use the cash and from the closest ATM (which is either fee free or has the lowest fee, of course!)

Also, don’t forget to follow these safety tips while you’re on the go:

  1. Never carry all your cash in one wallet or pocket, distribute it.
  2. Get practical money belts or security pouches to securely store your cash.
  3. Don’t flaunt how much cash you have to the world.
  4. If you’re dining alone, don’t leave your wallet (or bag) unattended if you go the restroom.
  5. If you don’t have a bag, try putting your wallet in your front pocket instead of the back.
  6. In busy and touristy areas, wear your backpack in front and keep your bag/wallet close to you. Use security locks for backpacks if possible.

Know the German payment lingo

Here are a few German phrases and their meanings to help you:

  • Möchten Sie mit der Karte zahlen? — Do you want to pay with the card?
  • Möchten Sie mit Bargeld zahlen? — Want to pay with cash?
  • Ist das Ihre Kreditkarte oder Ihr Bankkärtle? — Is that your credit card or your bank card (debit card)?
  • Zahlen sie mit Ihrer Girokarte? — Are you paying with your debit card?
  • Ich bräuchte Ihren PIN bitte. — Can I have your PIN, please?
  • Geldautomat o Bankomat — ATM
  • Ich möchte gern mit Karte zahlen — I’d like to pay with my card
  • Ich möchte gern mit Bargeld zahlen — I’d like to pay with cash

FAQs

Are there Bitcoin ATMs in Germany?

As of today, there are approximately 70 Bitcoin ATMs in Germany, located in cities such as Dortmund, Cologne, and Frankfurt am Main. Additionally, new branches are emerging in major cities like Munich, Mainz, Dresden, Hamburg, and Berlin.

Are US, UK, Europe, Australia and other credit cards accepted in Germany?

Absolutely! You can usually use credit cards from the US, UK, Europe, Australia, and other countries at ATMs in Germany. Most ATMs accept major cards like Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. Just look for the symbols on the ATMs – they’ll show you which cards are accepted.

It’s smart to tell your bank you’re traveling and check if your card works at ATMs, especially in smaller places. But in general, you should be able to get cash with your card at many ATMs.

Make sure your cards have a chip-and-PIN, and a 4-digit or 6-digit PIN for a smooth transaction.

Can I withdraw cash in Germany fee-free?

The answer is yes and no. Some banks advertise zero fees for certain European cards and a handful or foreign cards in certain areas in Germany, but it’s not entirely clear which cards qualify and where exactly, so it’s crucial to locate ATMs with the lowest fees.

Moreover, ATMs may charge you extra if you choose to “Accept Conversion” offered by the ATM. Always choose “Decline Conversion” or “Without Conversion” to avoid these additional charges.

Also, your bank might charge you extra fees for using your card outside your home country, especially if you’re not from Europe. So, it’s a good idea to have a card from your home country that either doesn’t have fees or has low fees when you travel to Germany

Any Bank of America ATMs in Germany?

There are no Bank of America ATMs in Germany. But Bank of America is part of the Global ATM Alliance and one of the other partner banks in this alliance is Germany’s Deutsche Bank. So you can use your BOA card at Deutsche Bank ATM to avoid BoA’s ATM usage fee and also Deutsche Bank ATM’s ATM Access Fee. However, please note – Bank of America may charge you a currency conversion fee which is unavoidable in this case.

Any Citibank ATMs in Germany?

No, there are no Citibank ATMs in Germany.

Any Barclays Bank ATMs in Germany?

There are only two Barclays bank ATM in Germany. The first one is in Frankfurt am Main and the other Barclays bank ATM is located in Hamburg.

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