7th July, 2020
How to pay rent in Germany with a UK bank account
Perhaps you’re planning a move overseas, or living in Germany, for now or for good? Or maybe you intend to study abroad for a short period of time or to take up the opportunity to work in Germany? Discover the best ways to pay rent in Germany using a UK bank account.
Getting a bank account set up in your new country is one of the most important things to do when you move abroad. With so much else to consider, however, it can easily start to slip down the to-do list. So, if you need to pay rent to a foreign account, our guide can help.
Why would you pay rent from a UK bank account?
There are countless reasons why you might need to use an existing UK bank account to pay rent in Germany. Perhaps you’re starting an overseas college course or internship, and you’ve managed to secure short-term accommodation in advance. Even if you’re an expat moving to Germany on a permanent basis, delays with setting up a new German bank account could mean you need to pay your first month’s rent from a UK bank.
How to pay rent in Germany with a UK bank account
If you do find yourself needing to pay rent in Germany from a UK bank account, there are a variety of options available to you. Which you choose will depend on a number of factors, including currency transfer fees and how quickly you need the payment to clear.
Option 1: Standard overseas bank transfer
If you choose to select a bank to transfer money from the UK to Germany, you have opted for a secure method. High-street banks in the UK are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), so you know your money is being dealt with securely. Overseas transfers are also usually easy to set up from a UK bank and can be often be sorted either in branch or online.
The most common type of international bank transfer is a SWIFT transfer, although it’s worth keeping in mind that these can take up to four working days to clear. You’ll also need to check with your bank for information on fees and any limits around how much money you can send at any one time. Banks can charge fees of up to £25.*
Option 2: Online international money transfer service
Online transfer services can often give you the power to move money overseas using a real-time exchange rate. These online services are usually a quick option, too, with some smaller transfers taking as little as a few hours to complete. With so many options to consider, it’s worth doing plenty of research to find a service you can really trust.
The international transfer service PagoFX by Santander is specifically designed to offer secure and low cost overseas transfers at the tap of a button, using any UK debit card, and there’s no need to be a Santander customer. PagoFX offers the real time exchange rate – similar to rates found in public sources like Google, Reuters or Bloomberg – and low, transparent fees, making it easy to move your money abroad without the risk of incurring hidden fees down the line. PagoFX can also be quicker than a traditional SWIFT transfer. Payments can arrive as fast as within minutes, if sent on a business day before cut-off time. PagoFX processes transactions the same day, unless the transaction is submitted after the cut-off point (which means after a given time, your payment will be processed the next business day). For Germany, the cut-off point for transfers from the UK is 2.30pm GMT. Cut-off points vary by currency, please see here for more information)
You can use PagoFX to make secure, low cost money transfers and payments from the UK to a German account, such as your property owner’s account. As it’s backed by Santander, one of Europe’s biggest banks, you can use the service with confidence knowing your money is protected by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Download PagoFX today from the Google Play Store or the App Store, or sign up online in minutes at pagofx.com.
We’ve outlined the most popular options for sending money abroad here but there are lots of services available. For a full picture of the international payments market you can read our article here.
Opening a German bank account from the UK
If you’d prefer to open a German bank account before you start paying rent there, it is sometimes possible to set one up from the UK. To do this, you’ll typically need the following documentation:
● A valid passport
● Visa documentation (if required)
● A copy of your Meldebescheinigung or Anmeldebestätigung (German proof of address)
● Proof of employment and salary information OR proof that you’re an overseas student.
Exactly what you’ll need is dependent on the type of account you choose to open and the bank you opt for. It will also depend on whether you plan to verify your account online, or if you’ll be submitting your documents in branch.
How much does it cost to rent in Germany?
Like anywhere else in the world, how much rent you can expect to pay depends entirely on your choice of location and the type of property you lease. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in a large city like Munich or Cologne is typically somewhere around €700-800 (£626-715) per month**, not including bills. If you have a stricter budget, try looking in suburban areas outside of the city centre. Just a few miles and a short commute can make a significant difference. You can visit sites such as Medici Living, Just Landed and Nestpick to help find your new home.
What do I need to rent a property in Germany?
Renting in Germany as an expat is relatively straightforward, although there are a few important documents you’ll need to provide before the process can get underway:
● Photo ID, such as a valid passport
● Any visa documentation or residency permits (as required)
● Proof of employment and salary information
● A copy of your Schufa (a German credit report)
You’ll need to provide proof of residency in Germany before you apply for a Schufa. If this isn’t possible, it’s recommended to inform your letting agent of your situation as early in the process as you can.
Finding a place to rent overseas can be a daunting experience – and that’s before you’ve even considered how you’re going to pay your rent. In reality, the process of renting in Germany isn’t that much different to the UK. The most important thing is to plan ahead and work out the financial logistics as early as possible.
**Figures correct as of 4 June 2020, Source: Google.com