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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. See the best current cash bonus promotions here.

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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 BankCredit CardPrice  
American Express credit card GermanyAmerican Express – PaybackAmerican Express€0.00 / month
Germany credit cardsAmerican Express – Green CardAmerican Express€5.00 / month
Germany American Express Credit CardAmerican Express – Platinum CardAmerican Express€50.00 / month
American Express Germany BMWAmerican Express – BMW CardAmerican Express€1.67 / month
free mastercard gold in germanyTF BankMastercard Gold€0.00 / month
Free Mastercard Gold in GermanyAdvanzia BankMastercard Gold€0.00 / month
Free mastercard with N26 in GermanyN26Mastercard€0.00 / month
N26 metal bank account GermanyN26 MetalMastercard€16.90 / month
Germany mastercard norisbanknorisbankMastercard€0.00 / month
Mastercard BMW GermanyBMWMastercard€3.95 / month
without Schufa German mastercardVIABUY PrepaidMastercard (Prepaid)€19.90 / month
Prepaid Credit Card without SCHUFABlack&White PrepaidMastercard (Prepaid)€89.90 one-time fee
free VISA credit card GermanyVISA World CardVISA€0.00 / month
German visa credit card freeHanseatic GenialCardVISA€0.00 / month
Free Credit card GermanySantander 1plusVISA€0.00 / month
Visa Card GermanyDKBVISA€0.00 / month
German credit card VISAWüstenrot VISA GoldVISA€0.00 / month
Germany VISA free credit cardcomdirectVISA€0.00 / month
German VISA credit card freeDeutschland-KreditkarteVISA€0.00 / month
revolut credit card GermanyRevolutVISA€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. Apple Pay, Google Pay or 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

German Credit Cards abroad

Many German credit cards are perfect for traveling, others charge you fees. Always check for foreign transaction fees and foreign cash withdrawal fees. Transaction fees can be 1-2% of your purchase value, which the bank charges you for any foreign transactions. Foreign cash withdrawal fees can be a fixed amount, e.g. €5.00, or a percentage as well. We recommend to choose a credit card that does not charge you any of those fees, e.g. N26 or Advanzia Bank.

If you are wondering wether VISA, Mastercard, or American Express offers the best currency exchange rate, read our study of their Euro exchange rates here.

german banking accounts
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
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