You will soon become an expert at international banking transactions…
Before you leave the US contact your bank and/or credit card company to let them know that you will be studying abroad – where and for how long.
Your ATM card is linked to the Plus or Cirrus systems, your card will work in thousands of cash machines throughout the country. The advantage to using your American ATM card is that you will be assessed the wholesale exchange rate that applies to large foreign currency transactions. Be sure to check with your bank about using your ATM card in Germany and about any fees that might be assessed. That said, have other sources of money in case your ATM card does not work.
You can use most credit cards in Germany but they must be in your name, as it appears on your passport. Visa and MasterCard are more widely accepted than American Express , but AmEx Offices can assist you with cashing US checks. Credit card cash advances are considered loans, so interest is charged from the day the advance is made. Before you depart, check with your card company for more information on what services you’ll have where, what fees are involved and what to do if you lose your card.
Travelers checks can be helpful in case your wallet is lost or stolen, but are not recommended for everyday use.
Banks are open around 8:30 am to 4 pm. They are typically closed on Saturdays and Sundays. We do not recommend trying to open a bank account in Germany since you will only be there a few short weeks.
If you find yourself in dire straits, the State Department can help your family transfer money to you (provided you are a US citizen). For further information about this service, check with the State Department.