How does an ATM work 3

withdraw money

Get money from ATMs of other banks

Josefine Lietzau
Expert for banking and credit as of February 22, 2021

Josefine Lietzau

Josefine Lietzau is an editor in the Bank & Investments team. During her studies in German and English, she worked for the editorial offices of the Green League, the Jüdische Zeitung and the Superillu. After completing her master's degree, Josefine Lietzau completed an internship at the online consumer portals Banktip and Posttip, where she then worked as an editor.

  • You often have to pay fees when you withdraw money, whether in Germany or another country.
  • How high the fees are and whether they are incurred at all depends on two points: which card you use and which ATMs you collect money from.
  • Your bank will decide whether it is cheaper to use the EC card or credit card abroad.
  • Check which ATM association your bank belongs to. You can find the information about this on the website of your bank.
  • Find out whether your bank offers free withdrawals via credit card or girocard.
  • Girocards (formerly: EC cards) with the V-Pay logo often only work in Europe.
  • You can use our current account calculator to find accounts with whose cards you can withdraw money free of charge in Germany, the Eurozone and all over the world.

To the current account calculator

There are sometimes almost ten logos of card systems on ATMs and hardly less on the girocard (formerly: EC card). From Maestro to Eufiserv, everything is included. But only if that Logos on card and machine match, you can really withdraw money.

Where can I withdraw money in Germany?

There are around 58,000 ATMs in Germany, most of which belong to the savings banks and Volksbanks. Most bank customers get money at every ATM, but this is not always free. Sometimes it can even get really expensive.

EC card (Girocard)

For many consumers, an EC card is part of the current account. Under “EC card”, however, there are usually no explanations in the bank's list of prices and services, because it is now officially called "Girocard".

Since the Girocard system is a purely German solution, the banks are expanding the cards with the international Maestro or V-Pay systems, which belong to Mastercard and Visa, respectively. That is why the symbol of one of the two international systems is also shown on the cards.

The rather unknown Cirrus logo can be found on some girocards. Cirrus is Mastercard's ATM brand. Consumers can usually use these cards to withdraw money from machines with the Cirrus and Maestro symbols. This is particularly important abroad.

In Germany, the machine operators determine the fees based on the girocard system. Above all, this is how customers can Withdraw money from your own bank for free. Thanks to different ATM networks, this is also possible with other banks. Customers of a savings bank or Volksbank therefore often withdraw money from other savings banks or Volksbanks free of charge or at least cheaper. The private banks have come together through the Cash Group and Cashpool associations.

ATM networks

providersATMsMembers
Savings Banks Networkabout 24,000Savings banks
Bankcard service networkabout 17,700Volksbanken, Raiffeisenbanken, Sparda-Banken, Ethik Bank, PSD-Banken
Cash Grouparound 9,000 (+ cash registers from 1,300 petrol stations)Unicredit Bank, Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, Postbank, subsidiaries of the banks mentioned
Cash poolaround 3,200Bankhaus Hafner, Bank for Social Economy, Bankhaus Bauer, Bankhaus CL Seeliger, Bankhaus Mayer, Bankhaus Gebr. Martin, Bankhaus J. Faisst, Private Bank Sperrer, Bankhaus Max Flessa, BBBank, Donner & Reuschel, Degussa Bank, Fürstlich Castell'sche Bank, Gabler -Saliter Bank, Berenberg, Merkur Privatbank, National-Bank, Pax-Bank, Santander, Sparda-Banken, Südwestbank, Targobank, Wüstenrot Bank, Oldenburgische Landesbank, Steyler Bank, Bankhaus Neelmeyer

Source: websites of the providers (as of February 2021)

At the checkouts of some supermarket chains and other shops, bank customers can also withdraw money with the Girocard when paying. However, the customers are not only interested in the Business hours bound, they also usually have to be for one Buy minimum amount. Depending on the supermarket, this is between 0 and 20 euros. Participating supermarkets are, for example, Aldi Süd, Edeka, Penny, Rewe, Netto, the Toom hardware store and the drugstore chain DM. In the meantime, even the minimum turnover has dropped at DM. If bank customers are not shopping in the supermarket and cannot find a machine from their bank or the association, they have to withdraw money elsewhere. And that can quickly become expensive because one statutory upper limit for fees is missing. Every Sparkasse or Volksbank, no matter how small, determines its payout fees itself.

The private banks had agreed on an upper limit of 1.95 euros. But in the meantime many banks have given up on this and are charging higher fees from foreign customers.

Exclusive ATM operators such as Cardpoint, IC Cash or Euronet also set their prices freely. With them, the costs depend, for example, on the location of the machine. For them, almost every customer is a foreign customer when he withdraws money with a Girocard.

Exceptions arise when banks work with such providers. For example, Postbank customers can withdraw money free of charge from Cardpoint machines. However, this agreement does not apply to the other members of the Cash Group.

In September 2016, the independent financial consultancy FMH determined an average value of 4.22 euros for withdrawals at third-party ATMs.

Nevertheless, you don't need to worry: the machine operators usually display the costs for the withdrawal. In this way, you can cancel the process in the event of unexpectedly high fees and look for another machine. However, the fees are sometimes displayed quite late, and consumers have often already entered their PIN and the amount of money.

Credit cards

In the case of credit cards, the card-issuing bank determines the amount of the fees. Consumers therefore either have to read the bank's list of prices and services or the fee information from the relevant current account in order to find out the withdrawal fees.

Branch banks in particular charge high fees if their customers withdraw money with their credit card. It usually doesn't matter whose ATM you use. Customers of some direct banks come with the credit card, on the other hand, free cash.

Some consumers usually only use their credit cards to shop online. If you want to withdraw money, however, you need the PIN, just like with the EC card.

According to the Association of German Banks, there are usually no fees for the private bank machines if customers of other banks withdraw money there with credit cards. However, it looks different with some savings banks: According to the German Savings Banks and Giro Association, Mastercard allows machine operators, unlike Visa, to take a direct customer fee. The banks can decide for themselves whether to use these regulations. At the Hamburger Sparkasse it is 4.75 euros, while the Berliner Sparkasse does not charge any separate fees. You can find these costs on the information stickers at the ATMs, in the price notices or in the price and service lists.

In addition, customers of some banks cannot withdraw money from ATMs at every Sparkasse or Volksbank with their Visa credit cards. The Sparkasse in Nienburg, for example, excludes the Visa card from Volkswagen Bank, Santander Consumer Bank, ING-Diba, DKB, Comdirect Bank and Targobank.

Usually this shouldn't be a problem. Although neither Mastercard nor Visa provide information on the number of ATMs that accept their credit cards; however, the cards work on most machines. If a Sparkasse or Volksbank does not accept the credit cards of a certain bank, the affected customers can still switch to numerous other ATMs. If that doesn't work either because there are no other banks on site, you can still withdraw in stores with the EC card.

Smartphone

In the meantime, customers of some banks can also withdraw money with their smartphone. For this purpose, banks such as the DKB, N26 or some Sparda banks work together with the company Barzahlen. To do this, you generate a barcode on your mobile phone and show it at the cash register of a participating retailer. Then you will get the desired amount of money. You don't have to go shopping in the store.

You can withdraw with your smartphone at fewer retailers than with the Girocard. However, at least nationwide coverage is ensured through supermarket chains such as Rewe, Penny and Real as well as the drugstore group DM.

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Where can I withdraw money abroad?

Foreign ATMs often offer the Withdrawal amount to be converted into euros. Absolutely do without it, the conversion makes the whole thing more expensive. The machine operators usually use a poorer exchange rate and charge additional fees.

When withdrawing money, there are different fees that depend on the card - EC or credit card. What both have in common, however, is that the banks have to convert euros into a foreign currency. They often use the Visa or Mastercard rate for this, and sometimes also the more expensive exchange rate. They can charge surcharges for these courses.

If you want to withdraw money with your card in a country within the European Economic Area with a currency other than the euro, there is another special feature: the banks must use the reference rate of the European Central Bank. But you can still add a premium to it, which can always be the same or it depends on the current rate of the currency. The banks write in their lists of prices and services how they handle the whole thing.

Since many banks always charge a minimum fee for withdrawals abroad, it is best to withdraw medium-sized amounts. Withdrawing small amounts more often quickly becomes too expensive.

Whether the credit card or the EC card is cheaper depends on the card in question. The fees can vary widely.

EC card

Outside of Germany, the international systems come into play, withdrawals are made via V-Pay and Maestro. One look at the card and the sticker on the ATM is enough to know whether your own card works at the machine.

V-Pay is considered to be the safer system as the data is stored on the chip. With Maestro, on the other hand, the data is on the magnetic strip.

However, V-Pay has one major disadvantage abroad: these cards do not work in all countries, since the data is only read out via the chip. In the meantime, however, the banks can have the cards activated with Visa, then they are even accepted at retailers and ATMs in the USA. Postbank, for example, did that. The prerequisite for this is that Visa cards are accepted and payment is made via chip and PIN.

Maestro, on the other hand, is accepted worldwide. This also applies to the Cirrus cards. The reason for this is that the data is stored on the magnetic stripe. However, bank customers with Cirrus giro cards cannot pay at cash registers abroad.

Sparkasse customers can look out for another sign on the ATM: Eufiserv, the association of European savings banks. If the cards and machines have the appropriate logo, nothing stands in the way of withdrawing money.

The Withdrawal cost determined by the card-issuing bank, usually a percentage of the turnover in connection with a minimum amount. This makes withdrawing smaller amounts particularly expensive. The costs are stated in the price announcements and lists of prices and services. The machines do not display them.

The situation is different with the fees that the machine operators also charge. Whether this is the case and how much the operator charges depends on the country and the bank.

EC cards cannot always be used immediately abroad, as the banks initially block them outside of Germany for security reasons. Therefore, you should ask your bank before you travel and have the card activated if necessary.

Enter your travel destination when you have your Girocard activated for use abroad. Otherwise, the bank may, for example, only release the euro area instead of Europe, in Great Britain, for example, you would be left without cash access in such a case.

Foreign fees Girocard

providers

Fees at

Withdraw in euros

Withdrawal fees

in foreign currency

Hamburger Sparkasse1%, at least € 4.951.25%, at least € 5
Raiffeisenbank Munich-South5 €5 €
Sparda Bank Ostbayern4,95 €4,95 €
Santander Bank1%, at least € 5.951%, at least € 5.95
ING5 €5 €
DKB1%, at least 10 €1%, at least 10 €
ConsorsbankMachine operator fees2.1% plus fees of the machine operator

Source: websites of the providers (as of February 18, 2021)

More on this in the current account guide

  • With the right checking account, you can save on fees and get good benefits.
  • Good accounts: DKB, ING

To the advisor

Credit cards

Also ask your bank whether you can use the credit card abroad. It could be blocked for security reasons, especially outside of Europe.

The card-issuing bank also determines the withdrawal fees outside of Germany. The costs are similar to those of the EC card: withdrawal and foreign currency fees.

also some machine operators charge additional fees, especially in non-European countries. These also apply if the card-issuing bank promises free withdrawals. As a rule, consumers do not get this money back. The only exceptions are some gold and platinum credit cards.

Foreign credit card charges

providers

Fees at

Withdraw in euros

Withdrawal fees

in foreign currency

Hamburger Sparkasse0 €1,25 %
Raiffeisenbank Munich-South2%, at least 5 €2%, at least 5 €
Sparda Bank Ostbayern2 €€ 2 plus 1.75% of sales
Santander Bank21%, at least € 5.25 / 3.5%, at least € 5.751%, at least € 5.25 / 3.5%, at least € 5.75
ING0 €1,75 %
DKB0 €

0 € / 2,2 %1

Consorsbank0 €32,1 %

1 depending on the customer status
2 depending on the account balance or whether the account is positive or negative
3 from 50 euros, including fees
Source: websites of the providers (as of February 18, 2021)

Whether consumers abroad can withdraw money more cheaply with the EC card or credit card depends on the fees charged by the respective bank. Some direct banks abroad do not charge withdrawal or foreign currency fees for credit cards, for example the Hanseatic Bank, Barclaycard and the DKB. The percentages and minimum amounts also vary.

Some banks work with partner banks abroad, and customers can use their ATMs to withdraw money more cheaply than customers of other financial institutions. Deutsche Bank works with Bank of America in the USA and with Barclays in Great Britain. Hypovereinsbank customers can withdraw money from the Unicredit Group's ATMs, for example at Bank Austria in Austria and Yapi Kredi in Turkey.

Exchange cash back into euros

Should you still after your trip Have cash left in a foreign currency, you have various options for exchanges. You can exchange the money at your bank. However, banks may only accept banknotes and not coins. Some banks do not offer the service or only for certain currencies. The Travel bank however, specializes in exchanging currencies and has many currencies in its program.

You can also get the money in a Exchange exchange To deceive. There are fees. Exchange exchanges in Germany may not accept rare currencies. It makes more sense with such currencies, they to be exchanged for euros directly in the holiday destination.

If it is only a small amount of cash and the effort is not worth it, you can use these so-called Donate remaining foreign currency as well. Find out beforehand whether the organization you have chosen also accepts foreign currencies in cash as a donation. For example, Welthungerhilfe and the Caritas facilities in Baden-Württemberg accepted such donations.

How do I claim back incorrectly debited money?

When withdrawing money, things can go wrong.Perhaps you will receive less money than you actually wanted or no money at all and the debit will still appear on your account. In such cases, contact your bank directly.

If you withdrew the money with your credit card, you can claim the turnover. You can find the necessary forms online or in a branch.

Find a cheap account with our checking account calculator

The Finanztip checking account calculator is based on data from banks provided by the service provider FinanceAds GmbH & Co. KG, Nuremberg (data protection information). We have filtered these with our parameters so that only banks available nationwide are displayed that offer a consumer-friendly current account according to the Finanztip criteria. The selection of banks with current accounts does not lay claim to a complete overview of the market. You can find the participating banks at the end of this article. We do not assume any liability for the correctness and topicality of the information provided here. We assume no liability for damage resulting from incorrect data or from using the computer.

The most important questions summarized

Where can I withdraw money in Germany?

There are around 58,000 ATMs in Germany, a large number of which belong to the savings banks and Volksbanks.

In Germany, the machine operators determine the fees when withdrawing with the Girocard. Above all, this is how customers can Withdraw money from your own bank for free. Thanks to different ATM networks, this is also possible with other banks. Customers of a savings bank or Volksbank can therefore often withdraw money from other savings banks or Volksbanks free of charge or at least cheaper. The private banks have come together through the Cash Group and Cashpool associations.
Your own bank determines the cost of credit cards.

To the table overview »

Where can I withdraw money abroad?

You can withdraw from the machines where you see the same logo that is printed on your card.
If you are in a country that uses a currency other than euros, you can convert your withdrawal amount into euros when you withdraw. Renounce it. Usually this is more expensive for you because a worse exchange rate is used.

Your bank usually uses the exchange rates of Mastercard and Visa, sometimes the exchange rate that is considered to be more expensive. They can charge surcharges for these courses.

How to withdraw money abroad cheaply »

How do I claim back incorrectly debited money?

When withdrawing money, things can go wrong. Perhaps you will receive less money than you actually wanted or no money at all and the debit will still appear on your account. In such cases, contact your bank directly.
If you withdrew the money with your credit card, you can claim the turnover. You can find the necessary forms online or in a branch.

More on this "

Josefine Lietzau

Josefine Lietzau

Josefine Lietzau is an editor in the Bank & Investments team. During her studies in German and English, she worked for the editorial offices of the Green League, the Jüdische Zeitung and the Superillu. After completing her master's degree, Josefine Lietzau completed an internship at the online consumer portals Banktip and Posttip, where she then worked as an editor.

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