The Best Credit Cards in Berlin – Overview
Getting a credit card in Berlin is one of the first tasks you should take care of.
But how to find the best credit card in Berlin?
There are so many credit cards issued by different banks and with different costs and loyalty programs that it is easy to lose overview.
But with our help you will find the best credit card for your current situation and needs.
See our recommendations based on costs and service for each credit card.
Debit Card or Credit Card
You might have heard already that banks suffer from very low interest rates in the last years.
So in order to make up for the losses many banks started to charge for their bank accounts.
Others went a down a different route and started to charge for their previously free of charge credit cards a monthly fee.
So right now if you sign up with any German bank you will most likely get a Visa or Mastercard Debit card instead of a real Visa/Mastercard Credit Card.
In theory those Debit Cards work very similar to a Credit Card but with some important differences.
First of all, instead of using your Credit Card and getting a bill at the end of the month a Debit Card will always charge your bank account the moment you make a purchase.
And secondly, and more importantly for all frequent travellers, you will run into problems with hotels and car rentals around the world with a Debit Card as they do not accept them at check-in or rental as a security deposit.
So in order to not run into this problem abroad we can only recommend that you sign up for a real Credit Card in Germany.
Luckily we have great free of charge alternative – Barclays. Keep reading for more information.
The best and only completely free of charge Credit Card here in our comparison is the Barclays Visa Credit Card.
Signing up for a Barclays Credit Card is as easy as it gets.
Just follow our link to their website and go through their signup-process.
Once you have applied for your Barclays Credit Card make sure that you log in either on their website or in the app and change your financial plan to repaying 100% of the amount outstanding (otherwise they will charge you a fee).
With the free Barclays Credit Card you can also withdraw money worldwide free of charge (as always make sure to avoid those ATMs that charge a special ATM fee which no bank will reimburse).
Furthermore you can pay in any foreign currency without being charged any fee.
And the cherry on top of the cake is that there are sometimes special promotions like a 50€ signup bonus for the Barclays Card.
Of course you can add the Barclays Credit Card to your Apple Pay and Google Pay account.
As the Barclays Credit Card does not come connected to a Debit/Savings account you need to connect your German bank account with your Barclays Credit Card when signing up.
That also means you can only sign up for the free credit card once you have a German bank account and German address.
When opening a DKB cash account (current account) you will automatically get a free Visa Debit Card.
As explained above a Visa Debit Card works slightly different to a Visa Credit Card.
With the debit card your account will be charged the moment you purchase something, while with a credit card all purchases are charged together at the end of the month.
Also we heard in the past that some hotels and car rentals do not accept debit cards so if you are a frequent traveller we highly recommend the upgrade and get a real Visa credit card for just 2,49€ a month on top of your debit card.
DKB has won several tests in leading German consumer magazines as best (direct) bank and that not for no reason.
Here are some of the biggest plus points for signing up with DKB for a credit card:
- Get cash out for free at any ATM worldwide as “Aktivkunde”
- Extra safety thanks to ‘Verified by Visa’
- One of the cheapest way to get a real credit card for just 2,49€/month
These all are reasons why the DKB Visa Credit Card is widely referred to as the best credit card in Berlin.
Especially the point that you can get cash without any fees at any ATM in Berlin comes in very handy.
Usually if you sign up with a traditional bank you can only get out cash at their branches or their own ATMs.
But unfortunately Berlin is missing a dense net of ATMs, so with your DKB Visa credit card you don’t have to worry about that.
Worth mentioning is also the fact that the DKB credit card can be connected with Apple and Google Pay without any problems.
Another very good choice for a credit card is the Visa Credit Card issued by Postbank.
Especially as DKB has rejected some applications in the past Postbank is a very good alternative.
The best way to get a free Visa Credit Card is to sign up for a Postbank Giro plus and opt in for the free Visa Credit Card.
This Visa Credit Card is free, as mentioned, but only for the first year.
If you want to keep it for another year the yearly costs are 29€, which is still ok compared to many other banks.
If you want more information about the current account (Postbank Giro plus) that comes with the credit card continue reading here.
In the past we heard that comdirect is not as strict as DKB to accept people with lower monthly income when applying for a credit card.
So if you are rejected by DKB our fourth choice would be Comdirect.
When signing up for a current account with comdirect you will automatically get a free debit card and free Visa Debit card.
If you need a real credit card you need to pay 1,90€ a month and you will get a Visa credit card straight away with all advantages.
- Withdraw cash at any ATM for free worldwide with their Visa credit card
- Current account and debit card free of charge
- No minimum monthly income required for free of charge current account
As mentioned before Berlin does not have too many ATMs around so you will thank us later when you are running out of cash and are on the search for the nearest ATM.
Any money withdraw is for free no matter to which bank that ATM belongs to with your Comdirect Visa credit card.
Recently started in Germany N26 brings online banking to your computer and Smartphone.
N26 is one of the few German banks that still offers a completely free of charge virtual Mastercard debit card with their bank account.
So at N26 you will not get a “real” credit card with your account but a Mastercard debit card which is very similar.
But the main difference is that the Mastercard debit card will charge your account the moment you pay something instead of only once a month.
So why do we mention N26 here? Well because N26 is the only bank account in Germany where you can do all your banking in English.
With the basic bank account at N26 you can withdraw money up to 3x a month free of any charge in Germany.
For all frequent travellers the better option will be the N26 You account which let’s you withdraw money for free worldwide.
However, with even the basic account you can pay in foreign currencies free of any charges.
This feature makes the N26 credit card a great option for any frequent traveler.
Signing up for a N26 Mastercard is as easy as it gets.
The whole process is only and without sending around any papers. Oh and what is especially awesome the whole signup process is in English!
Overview Best Credit Cards Berlin
|Signup from abroad||No||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Monthly cost Credit Card||0€||2,49€||0€ first year|
29€ yearly afterwards
|1,90€||Only Debit Card right now|
|Bank account fees||Does not include bank account||0€ for Aktivkunden (700€ monthly transaction volume)||4,85€||0€||0€|
|Free withdrawals worldwide||Yes||Yes||No||Yes, ATMs with Visa Sign||Yes|
|Foreign transaction fee||No||No||Yes, 1,85%||Yes, 1,75%||No|
Paying with your Credit Card
Anybody coming from countries like the US or Brazil will be shocked to find out how difficult it is to pay in shops with your credit card.
You might think Germany is a very modern country, but when it comes to paying with credit cards it is really far behind.
Basically no major supermarket or fast food chain accepted payments by credit card in Germany until recently.
The situation was even worse in Berlin where not even the most expensive restaurants accepted credit cards.
But since corona came around Germans started to prefer paying by (credit) card instead of cash and now you can pay almos anywhere with your credit card.
Visa/Mastercard credit card vs debit card
We already explained the difference between a Visa/Mastercard credit card and debit card above, but this is really important.
That is why we will explain it again in detail so that you know what to do.
A real credit card usually works something like this.
Your bank issues this credit card and at the end of the month all of your purchases that you have done with your credit card will be charged to your savings/checkings account.
That means during the month you get more or less a free loan by the bank and only at the end of the month you need to pay for the purchases.
With a Visa/Mastercard debit card your savings/checkings account will be charged the second you make this purchase.
This means no free loans anymore and you need to make sure that you have money to buy the things in your account.
Because if you do not and your savings/checkings account goes into overdraft the banks will charge you some heavy interest rates of 8% and above.
And also one thing you need to realise with your Visa/Mastercard debit card is that some Hotels or car rentals do not accept them.
So make sure that you always have at least one real credit card in your name to avoid problem while traveling.
Now that we have covered credit cards in Germany in detail continue reaing about the best banks in Berlin.
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Table of Contents of this Article
- The Best Credit Cards in Berlin – Overview