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Free Credit Cards in Germany

Read our guide and find the perfect free credit card for your needs
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Free credit cards in Germany: Guide and recommendations

Credit cards are an extremely popular means of payment in Germany. There are currently more than 40 millions credit cards in Germany. Both as an expat in Germany or as a student, you may want to apply for a credit card. Credit cards grant you a credit line, allow you to pay online and withdraw money and they are also a useful tool to unlock free trials of your favorite sites such as Amazon or Netflix. 

Ideally, a credit card gives you more comfort. However, there are often hidden costs behind attractive offers. APR, cash withdrawal fees, yearly fee are all additional costs that you may have to pay to use your credit card. Sometimes you may want a free credit card number to use immediately online or a free virtual credit card you can pay with.

By applying for a free credit card you avoid unnecessary expenses and gain freedom (and time). 

That is why in this guide we recollected the most important info about Germany’s top free credit cards. Here we focus on three options for you: 

GIROMATCH.com regularly tests for you different financial products and tell you its impressions. Find more in our reviews' collection.

Which is Germany’s top free credit card?

There are many reasons why you may want to apply for a free credit card in Germany.

  • you are travelling to Germany and want to be sure that your card is accepted in the most sale ponts
  • you need a personal credit in order to finance your purchases
  • you are abroad and want to be sure that you can withdraw your money easily
  • you want to keep an eye on your expenses 
  • you are an online-shopper and you need a free credit card number
GIROMATCH tips
Our review process

These are our requirements for a good free credit card:

  • No yearly fee
  • Free cash withdrawals in Germany and abroad
  • Quick, simple and online application 
  • English speaking customer support 
  • Flexible requirements for your credit history 

Free credit cards with free bank account: Pay online without worries

If you are looking for a credit card in order to keep an eye on your purchases and save money, debit credit cards are a good option for you. Debit credit cards are linked to your checking account and usually issued together with your EC-card. The application process is quick and they are usually free of charge. This type of credit card allows you to pay or withdraw money directly from your bank account. Debit credit cards do not grant a proper credit line, since your checking account is charged with the amount of your purchases immediately.

Featuresn26 logo
N26 Mastercard-credit card
DKB Visa logo
DKB VISA-credit card
Card typeFree debit card with free bank accountFree debit card with free bank account
Cash withdrawal fee€ 0,- up to 3 cash withdrawals€ 0,-
Mobile PaymentsApple Pay, Google PayApple Pay, Google Pay
Balance checkerN26 StatisticsDKB Card Control
English customer supportYesNo
German residence requirementNoYes
Additional requirementsNo€700,- income or less than 28 years

1) N26 Mastercard debit credit card with free bank account

N26-Standard
Your Mobile Bank
Type: 
Virtual debit card
Provider:  
Mastercard
Yearly Fee: 
€ 0,-
APR: 
0,00 % APR
Google Pay LogoApple Pay LogoMastercard Logo
Result
3.6
10/2021
  • Open mobile current account in 8 minutes
  • Mastercard Debit credit card and Google Pay, Apple Pay
  • Use Cash26 network and withdraw money at 11,500 partner stores
  • Mobile banking: set savings goals, sort income and expenses, manage money better

N26 was the first big mobile bank in Germany. Its funders strived to fund a bank which is transparent and digital. With N26 you will experience a new way to manage your finances. Starting from the easy registration process, you will manage your account and apply for new products through a tap in the app. When you apply for a N26 Standard account, you will immediately get a Mastercard debit card. However, if you want a physical one, you will have to pay a one-time €10,- fee. N26 has already convinced more than 7 millions customers in 25 countries.

Tomorrow Holzkarte
Tomorrow credit card

No credit history in Germany? Don't worry

If you are a student and don't have a credit history in Germany, have a look at the sustainable Tomorrow Bank! They do not check your credit rating ("SCHUFA") when applying for a Tomorrow Now account.

2) DKB VISA-credit card with free bank account

DKB-Cash
Das kann Bank
Type: 
Debit Credit Card
Provider:  
VISA
Yearly Fee: 
€ 0,-
APR: 
0% APR
Google Pay LogoApple Pay LogoVISA Logo
Result
4.3
10/2021
  • No account management fees
  • Free debit card and DKB VISA card
  • Withdraw money abroad free of charge
  • Modern app, online banking, contactless payment, Apple Pay, Google Pay

DKB is one of Germany's top 20 banks. From 2001 DKB operates as mobile bank with no bank branches. Besides encouraging Germany's energy transition, DKB offers really competitive products for those who have a grasp of the German language. The DKB VISA credit card is the credit card with the most options and functions. It comes with a free checking account (condition: 700,- Euro monthly incoming payment) and has a credit line of 500,- Euro, which is granted immediately upon opening. The black credit card is an all-rounder. Payments at home and abroad, as well as cash withdrawals are free with the card. NFC, Google Pay and Apple Pay complete the offer.

Read our detailed DKB VISA Card test here (in German only)

Are you looking for a free virtual credit card that you can get in a few minutes?

Vivid
Let Your Money Grow
Type: 
Debit Credit Card
Provider:  
VISA
Yearly Fee: 
€ 0,-
APR: 
0%
Result
4.0
10/2021
  • Earn money by spending: Up to 25% cashback for purchases
  • Up to 15 free sub-accounts with IBAN
  • Free bank account with no credit history check (no SCHUFA)
  • Includes free brokerage account to invest in stocks or crypto-currencies
  • Free VISA credit card with luxurious metal look

With Vivid Money you can open a free bank account with a free virtual credit card. You can get your free VISA debit card in just 10 minutes. After applying to a free account online, you will get your free virtual credit card in the Vivid App, with a free credit card number to use online and a free cvv. All your card details are stored in the Vivid App where you can get notified in real time about your account activities. 

You can read our in-depth review of Vivid Money here (in English)

GIROMATCH tips
Do you need a free credit card number?

Get you free credit card number!

If you are wondering where to find your free credit card number, have a look at our article. Here you can find the credit card numbers of the most common credit card issuers:

Credit card's issuerVISAMastercard
Credit card number4513 2568 5876 08695191 7323 4397 5393
CVV or CVC593867
Expiration date09/202204/2023

Free credit cards with a credit line: Finance your purchases in the right way

If you are looking for a free credit card which grants you a proper credit line, you should opt for a charge or a revolving credit card. These are free credit cards "with money" that you can borrow for your purchases. Here we introduce our best options.

Charge credit cards can be linked to a checking account or can be issued independently together with their own account. When using a charge credit card, your checking account will be charged once a month with the total amount of your purchases. If you do not dispose of the money, your account will be overdrafted and you will pay an interest rate on the amount overdrafted. 

If you are looking for a flexible option, revolving credit cards allow you to pay your purchases back in installments. When paying with a revolving credit card, you can choose to pay your credit back in installments. Revolving credit cards are a good option if you dispose of regular income and a good credit score, since they are usually minimum requirements.

FeaturesAdvanzia Bank Logo
Advanzia no-fee Mastercard Gold
awa7-logo
awa7 VISA-credit card
Card typeFree revolving credit cardFree revolving credit card
Cash withdrawal fee€ 0,-€ 0,-
Starting credit limitUp to € 5.000,-Up to € 2.000,-
Max. credit limit€ 23.000,-€ 10.000,-
English customer supportNoPartially
German residence requirementNoNo
Annual Percentage Rate (APR) 19,94%16,90%
Extra featuresDiscounts for travels
Travel insurance
Online-shopping insurance
Discounts for energy providers
Sustainable banking

1) Advanzia Bank’s free Mastercard Gold with a credit line

Advanzia
The no-fee Mastercard Gold
Type: 
Revolving Credit Card
Provider:  
Mastercard
Yearly Fee: 
€ 0,-
APR: 
19,44% APR
Google Pay LogoApple Pay LogoMastercard Logo
Result
3.9
10/2021
  • No annual fee, no fees for cash withdrawals
  • No charge for use abroad
  • Credit limit starting from 100,- Euro up to 20.000,- Euro
  • Interest-free payment term for purchases
  • Free and personal customer service, 24/7

Advanzia’s no-fee Mastercard Gold is a revolving credit card. The expected credit limit for an initial application should be around 500,- to 1000,- Euro, but it dependents on your income and can be expanded later. The Advanzia no-fee Mastercard Gold is a good option, if you do not have a credit history in Germany (“SCHUFA”). Many banks will decline to give you credit if your credit history is empty. On the contrary, Advanzia Bank gives you a golden credit card.

Read our detailed Advanzia no-fee Mastercard Gold test here (in German only)

2) Awa7 VISA-credit card with a credit line

awa7
Every purchase gives you more air to breathe
Type: 
Revolving credit card
Provider:  
VISA
Yearly Fee: 
€ 0,-
APR: 
16,90% APR
Google Pay LogoApple Pay LogoVISA Logo
Result
4.1
10/2021
  • Sustainable VISA-credit card with credit line and installments function
  • Permanently without annual fee, withdraw money worldwide free of charge
  • Credit line: from € 1,500 - € 10,000
  • Good for the environment: trees are planted for every purchase
  • Credit rating: average to very good

If you like it sustainable, the VISA-awa7 revolving credit card is the perfect option for you. Awa7 plants trees for each 100,- Euro spent with your credit card. When paying in installments, awa7 charges you an 16,90% APR on your purchases’ amount. Additionally, with an awa7 credit card you are granted special discounts for sustainable energy providers, travel agencies and insurances.

Read our detailed awa7 test here (in German only)

How to apply for a free credit card in Germany

When applying for a free credit card there are some steps you have to go through. We explain the process step by step.

What card are you applying for?
Analyze your options

1. What type of card are you applying for?

Pay attention to what type of credit card you are applying for. Is it a revolving credit card with a full credit check, is it a debit credit card tied to a checking account, or is it a prepaid credit card with no credit check?

Tip: You can recognize a revolving credit card by an "installment facility," a "credit line" or a posted "debit interest p.a." Debit cards are directly noted as such on the card.

Checklist
Application process

2. Credit card application, personal data requirements and solvency examination

Every credit card application starts with providing some personal data. You must always provide information about your name, address and residence, as well as data such as date of birth. Depending on the credit card requirement, information on occupational status, net income or existing monthly expenses may also be necessary.

While personal information is required by law, as the bank must identify you, much of the information is individual bank criteria. This includes the consent to the SCHUFA clause. SCHUFA Holding A.G.is Germany’s leading credit agency. By giving your consent to the SCHUFA clause, the credit card issuer is allowed to query your data with the credit agency to gain insight into your creditworthiness.

Last steps
Last steps

3. (Online) Identification and credit card contract

In order to obtain a credit card, you must legally identify yourself. Identification is now done almost exclusively online for direct banks, credit cards without an account and mobile banks. To do this, you go through a 5-minute identification process with Video-Ident. For this step, you need a valid identification document such as your ID card or passport.

With some providers, such as DKB, you can also still identify yourself at a post office (Postident).

Credit-card-delivery
Credit card's delivery

4. Delivery of your free credit card

Most credit cards are still sent by post. After completed identification, this takes between 1 and 5 business days. Some issuers send you a second letter with your personal PIN.

Tip: With many mobile banks such as Tomorrow or Vivid Money you set your PIN online. You receive the card number digitally in your mobile banking app. So you have access to your credit card immediately after opening an account and can use it.

Which additional fees could incur for free credit cards

When applying for a free credit card, you have to pay attention to some additional fees you could be charged with. Despite having a zero annual maintenance fee, some credit cards are not completely free from any type of cost. In the following you will find a list of additional fees you have to check before you apply to your free credit card. 

FeePay attention to
Yearly feeDoes the credit card have a checking account or do you have to pay for one?
Is the card free only for the first year?
Is there a minimum monthly transaction?
Cash withdrawalsHow much do cash withdrawals cost abroad?
At which ATMs can you withdraw money in Germany?
Are free withdrawals limited?
Interest ratesWhat is the interest rate for your credit limit?
Can the limit be paid before costs are incurred?
Additional costsAre there any other charges when using additional services? 
Can you rescind the contract in case of changes in its terms and conditions?
Are online payments free? Can the card be used everywhere?

FAQs about free credit cards

Are free credit cards really free of costs?

Free credit cards are credit cards with a zero annual maintenance fee. However, this does not mean that they are completely free of costs. Remember that you could incur in additional charges, as interest rates, when applying for a revolving credit card.

How are interest rates calculated for revolving credit cards?

When using revolving credit cards you will pay an interest rate on the amount of your personal credit. For example, for a 1.000,- Euro credit limit with a 9,99% interest rate, you will pay 99,- Euro in fees to the bank annually.
Your interest rate is calculated according to your creditworthiness but keep in mind that interest on revolving credit cards are usually higher than interest rates for a normal personal loan.

Can I apply for a credit card with bad credit?

Getting a credit card with a bad credit rating is usually difficult, because due to the greater risk that the bank takes with the issuance of the card, a stricter credit check must also be carried out for your free credit card. In this case, prepaid credit cards could be an option, since the bank does not take any credit risk.

Where can I get a free credit card?

It is advisable to keep an eye on direct banks, as they often have free credit cards on offer. In particular, DKB Bank with its VISA card is a very good option.

How do free credit cards work?

The functioning depends on the type of credit card. Most free cards are so-called debit cards and can only be used if there is money in the respective linked current account. Free credit cards that work as prepaid, must first be loaded. The banks usually earn money through special offers or so-called cross-selling, by offering additional products over the term or adding services to the card.

Which free credit card is suitable for students?

For students, it is worth considering exactly what the card will be used for. Are you planning a semester abroad and need to withdraw money abroad? Then there are other requirements than for a credit card with which you only pay online. Here, perhaps a virtual credit card can suffice.
However, if you do not have bad credit, you can open a current account at any bank and add a free credit card. Make sure it's not a gold credit card or platinum credit card, as these often come with annual fees. Alternatively, we recommend prepaid credit cards.

Which is the best free credit card?

According to our tests, the best free credit card 2021 are DKB VISA- credit card with a free checking account or the Advanzia no-fee Mastercard Gold as a revolving credit card with a credit line.

How do free credit cards finance themselves?

Banks and credit card providers give out "free credit cards" because with these, only the most important functions are free. Let's do the math ourselves: A physical credit card costs between 0,30 Euro and 1,00 Euro to produce, and another 0,50 Euro for shipping. To open a new account costs the bank another 5,- to 10,- Euro for the identification, the SCHUFA query and the (mostly automated) work of creating the account.
A revolving credit card like the Advanzia or awa7 credit card are fee-free and "free" as long as the credit line is not used. However, once you use the installment facility you will pay an interest rate and the bank will earn on the interest you pay.

How to get a free virtual credit card?

A virtual credit card can be set up in just a few minutes. These are cards which contain the most important info as credit card number, CVV and expiration date. They can be used as normal credit cards and you can apply for them at your bank or your credit card issuer. Here we listed the best virtual credit cards for your stay in Germany.

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