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Which is the best German credit card?

TOP 5 German Credit Cards

Generally, VISA and Mastercard credit cards are the most widely accepted cards in Germany (apart from debit cards). American Express is also accepted at major chains, but not at every shop.

The following credit cards have no annual or monthly fee. Contrary to many banks, these offers provide you with free credit cards and no obligation to use them. Simply click on the offer that interests you to learn more about the terms. Find out which cards support Apple Pay in Germany.

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 Credit CardBankPrice  
American Express credit card GermanyAmerican ExpressAmerican Express – Payback€0.00 / month
Germany credit cardsAmerican ExpressAmerican Express – Green Card€5.00 / month
Germany American Express Credit CardAmerican ExpressAmerican Express – Platinum Card€50.00 / month
American Express Germany BMWAmerican ExpressAmerican Express – BMW Card€1.67 / month
free mastercard gold in germanyMastercard GoldTF Bank€0.00 / month
Free Mastercard Gold in GermanyMastercard GoldAdvanzia Bank€0.00 / month
Free mastercard with N26 in GermanyMastercardN26€0.00 / month
N26 metal bank account GermanyMastercardN26 Metal€16.90 / month
Germany mastercard norisbankMastercardnorisbank€0.00 / month
Mastercard BMW GermanyMastercardBMW€3.95 / month
without Schufa German mastercardMastercard (Prepaid)VIABUY Prepaid€19.90 / month
Prepaid Credit Card without SCHUFAMastercard (Prepaid)Black&White Prepaid€89.90 one-time fee
free VISA credit card GermanyVISAVISA World Card€0.00 / month
German visa credit card freeVISAHanseatic GenialCard€0.00 / month
Free Credit card GermanyVISASantander€0.00 / month
Visa Card GermanyVISADKB€0.00 / month
Wüstenrot classic visa cardVISAWüstenrot VISA Classic€1.60 / month
Germany VISA free credit cardVISAcomdirect€0.00 / month
ADAC mobilkarte Germany goldVISAADAC Gold€8.25 / month
Germany Barclaycard creditVISABarclaycard€0.00 / month
A complete list of free German credit cards including Mastercard, VISA card, American Express.

Credit Cards in Germany

Germany is a “cash country”. Most day-to-day purchases are done in cash – even though other payment options are available. Germans just prefer the anonymity of the tangible transaction and do not like to make purchases on credit. However, the big department stores and supermarket chains offer all kinds of payment methods:

  • cash
  • debit card
  • credit card (mostly Mastercard and VISA)
  • mobile payment, e.g. Payback PAY

Credit cards are a good payment choice, because they are often completely free, are widely accepted, offer fast contactless payment (NFC), and can also be used online. We would like to explain to you which fees are relevant for German credit cards,  which providers are most widely accepted and we will also give you some German credit card recommendations.

Contactless credit card payment in Germany
See our recommendations.
notebook calculations German credit card

Is the credit card really free?

Many banks claim that their credit card is free, but you should first check the fine print before ordering one. Sometimes there might be no yearly credit card fee, but instead the bank will charge fees for cash withdrawals or for using the card abroad or when paying in foreign currencies.

In general, these are the potential fees you should compare and look out for (the German terms in parentheses):

  • Yearly credit card fee (Jahresgebühr)
  • Fees for usage in other countries (Auslandsgebühr)
  • Fees for foreign currencies (Fremdwährungsgebühr)
  • Fee for cash withdrawals (in or outside Germany) (Bargeldabhebungsgebühr)
  • Fee for a second card or a replacement when you lost your card (Ersatzkarte / Zweitkarte)
  • Interest rate for not paying your bill on time (effektiver Sollzins)

Additionally, many banks offer extra services especially for your credit card, such as travel insurance (Reiseversicherung) accident insurance (Unfallversicherung), luggage insurance (Gepäckversicherung), or payment protection insurance (Ratenschutzversicherung / Restkreditversicherung). Often these insurances are more expensive than if you got them separately, so please compare prices before booking any extra insurance options. Generally, a payment protection insurance is not commendable.

Credit Card Types and Billing Models in Germany

It is also good to know which type of credit card you are getting, as it determines your effective payment date. These are the four German credit card types:

  • Charge credit card: the most common type in Germany, which collects the amount you spent during the month and charges you after 30 days, basically giving you free credit for the month.
  • Prepaid credit card: The prepaid credit card is a card with a certain balance that you need to deposit beforehand. This balance determines how much you can spend with your card.
  • Debit credit card: In case of the debit credit card, your account is directly charged after you made a purchase. This works similarly to a regular debit card (Girokarte / EC-Karte), but you can use online and abroad, just like a charge credit card.
  • Revolving credit card: With the revolving credit card you can decide to pay your bill as a whole or by installments. However, the interest rate on the installments is usually quite high.
credit card types in Germany