If you plan to move to Germany, knowing how the banking system works is helpful. You will have to deal with money nearly everyday, so knowing what you're getting into is advised. Some knowledge of the banks and ways to transfer money to Germany before you move can help make your arrival go as smoothly as possible.
Formerly the Deutsche Mark, Germany's current currency is the Euro, which was adopted in 1999. $1 USD is equal to .69939 Euros. Remember this when changing your money and budgeting for the move.
Like American banks, most German banks offer a range of services, from simple banking to help with investment. You can also exchange currencies, buy insurance, purchase stocks, and more at most banks. Before you choose a bank, make sure it has all the services you need, as some offer more than others. You will see some familiar banks, such as JP Morgan and CitiBank, but there are several local banks as well.
You should open an account as soon as you arrive. To do so in Germany, you simply need your passport and the money you wish to deposit. You can also transfer money from your U.S. account to your new one in Germany, but it will likely take a few weeks to go through. For this reason, many people wish to keep their U.S. bank open at first, at least until they transfer money to Germany successfully. Just remember that you will need to report any money transfer over 12,500 to the Deutsche Bundesbank, which is the central bank of Germany.
When your account is opened, you will receive a Eurocard, which can be used like a debit card. You can withdraw cash with it from ATMs and also pay for items with it at most stores. If you like the idea of a debit card in Germany but don't want to wait to open a bank first to get one, there is another option.
You can obtain a prepaid debit card online, have it sent to yourself at your current address, and then add money to it using your U.S.
Unlike some countries, Germany heavily relies on its banks. Therefore, it's important to open an account as soon as you arrive. Learning a little about the banking system and how to transfer money to Germany before you move can help smooth the process and lessen stress.