If you plan to work or live in Berlin, having a German bank account becomes mandatory. Without one you will not be able to receive your salary, rent an apartment or get a postpaid mobile phone. Fortunately, opening a bank account is usually simple and fast.
Below you will find the steps required to open a bank account in many different banks. Keep in mind that there are many other banks not included in the list below and that choosing a bank is a very personal matter, so that decision is at your discretion.
These banks have physical branches where you may visit and open your bank account.
Simply go to an agency with your passport and proof of residence (the document you receive after your address registration) and one of the managers will take care of everything for you (German speaking skills are not required :P). After you sign up the contract, you will need to wait some days until your account becomes active.
Sidenote: I've been using Deutsche Bank as my primary bank account and I've only had positive experiences with it. The "customer area" in their website is also available in English, so I can do almost everything I need online. In the rare cases when I had questions, my emails were always (!!) responded within minutes.
If you are a Deutsche Bank client you can withdraw money from your account without paying any fees if you use ATMs of any of the following banks belonging to Cash Group: Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, Postbank or HVB (HypoVerinsbank). It is also possible to use different ATMs, but usually there is a fee ranging from €3,50 to €4,50.
Deutsche bank is the only physical bank that offers a large part of its services in English, but some of the correspondence is still in German.
These banks are different from other banks, as there are no physical branches, so you can do everything online. Using such banks, one gets argubaly better technological benefits.
N26 is often recommended because you can open an account even before your Anmeldung. Opening a bank account here is usually fast and easy. You can sign up for an account here and then follow the website instructions to create your bank account. You will also need a smartphone, a passport and a German address to activate your bank account. It offers 100% of its banking experience in English.
ING-DiBa AG is a subsidiary of the Dutch multinational ING Group. It's also an online bank with no physical branches. Opening an account costs nothing but it may take from one to two weeks. The bank offers a Giro and Visa card with no yearly fees. You can use your VISA card to withdraw for free in any European country. If you have a partner they can also have extra cards for. Interested? Start here.