How can you open a commercial bank

Open a business account online: how does it work?

4 business account offers

1. Advantages of opening an online account

If a business account can be opened online, this will of course save time. After all, appointments in the branch are usually not available directly - and if you don't live in a big city, you may have to go a long way. In addition, the option of opening an online account increases the number of possible providers from which you as a founder and entrepreneur can choose. This applies in particular to online banks and fintechs that do not have a branch network and instead advertise with modern online accounts. However, you should also consider the disadvantages that can result from this. If your business relies on cash deposits and withdrawals, or you also need funding, other factors should have more of a influence on your business account choice.

What kind of business account do you need? We have selected business accounts for different requirements. These business accounts are suitable for founders and offer an excellent price / performance ratio.

Account offers for founders

2. Legal forms for opening an online account

The online opening of the account does not work for all providers and not for all legal forms.

The possibility of opening a business account online depends, among other things, on the legal form of your company. Depending on the legal form, you have to submit different documents when opening a business account. While the freelancer only needs to show his identity card or passport, the small business owner also needs his business registration and the registered businessman his extract from the commercial register.

If you open a business account for a GmbH, the application process is far more complex. Especially when the GmbH is in the process of being founded. You will need, for example, the identity cards of all shareholders, the partnership agreement signed by all shareholders and certified by a notary, including a list of shareholders, authorization to represent the managing director and, if applicable, powers of attorney.

Especially with corporations, not all banks offer a pure online opening of the business account. At Deutsche Bank, only small businesses and freelancers can currently open business accounts online. For all other legal forms, the account is only opened in the branch. At Commerzbank, the process of opening an account is generally online, but a business account for the GmbH in formation must be opened on site. Postbank, on the other hand, enables companies of all legal forms to open business accounts online.

The situation is also different for fintechs and online banks. N26 only allows freelancers or small businesses to open an account, whereas Fyrst and Triodos offer all legal forms the option of opening a business account online.

3. Open business account online: Provider

As part of our business account report, we have also analyzed 22 providers to determine whether the account can be opened online. The following table provides an overview of this. However, we did not differentiate between whether the online application was completed by Post-Ident or Video-Ident.

providersAccount opening online
bunqyes, all legal forms can use the online account opening
CommerzbankBasically yes, an on-site visit is required for a GmbH in formation, for example.
Deutsche BankOnly freelancers and small businesses can open the business account online, otherwise a branch
DKB bankonly possible for freelancers, very selective criteria
Ethics Bankyes, but UGs cannot open a business account
Fidoryes, all legal forms can use the online account opening
FYRSTyes, accounts for UGs or GmbHs can also be opened online
GRENKE Bankyes, all legal forms can use the online account opening
GLSyes, but not all legal forms; Companies have to prove that they are not for profit
Holviyes, all legal forms can open the business account online
HVBOnline application only for natural persons with more than 3 years of business activity, otherwise a branch
KontistOnline account opening only for individuals and freelancers
N26only individuals and freelancers can open the account online
NetbankGenerally no account openings for GbR, GmbH or UG - only freelancers, small businesses and e.K. can open the business account online
PentaIt is possible to open accounts online for all legal forms
Postbankyes, all legal forms can open the business account online
Revolutyes, all legal forms can open the business account online
Skatbankyes, all legal forms can open the business account online
Savings bankUsually no online account opening possible, route leads through the branch
TargobankOnline application for sole proprietors and freelancers possible. Otherwise opening in the branch.
TriodosAccount opening possible online for all legal forms
VolksbankOnline opening of the business account at most Volksbanks is not possible, the route leads through the branch

In our business account report, in addition to the aspects of which legal forms can open an account with the providers and whether the account can be opened online, we checked numerous other factors in detail. You can download the business account report free of charge.

4. Business account opening online: procedure

Before we explain the most important processes for opening a business account online, a very important tip: Make sure that you have considered all the important criteria when making your selection. We have created a checklist for you to help you choose a business account.

Checklist for choosing the optimal business account

Our checklist for choosing the best corporate account offers you:

  • All knockout criteria
  • All major costs and fees
  • Crucial services

This checklist will help you make a good decision.

Just 1 click to download!

Simply fill out the form below and you can download your desired template immediately.

Dates for the online opening

If you open a business account online, you will need to answer the following questions during the registration process:

  • Questions about your identity: full name, address, place of residence, email address and telephone number
  • Important documents for the secure identification of your company: Which documents these are in detail depends on the legal form.

Let's take the account opening for a GmbH as an example. As a rule, the managing director of the GmbH will open the business account online. The managing director enters the following data and documents online or uploads them to the registration page.

  • Personal data: name, date of birth, place of residence, contact details
  • Company name of the GmbH, company headquarters, contact details
  • company registration number
  • Extract from the commercial register from the beginning of the entry
  • Shareholder agreement and list of shareholders
  • Copies of the identity cards of all persons entered in the commercial register. As a rule, these are the shareholders.

Most banks also ask about the industry in which the applicant's company operates. This allows you to make initial assessments of creditworthiness, because some industries are rated positively, some negatively. The Ethik-Bank also evaluates industries according to ethical criteria and only offers a business account to selected industries.

Open a business account online - example

Open a business account online: is everything really online?

How strongly are the processes for opening a business account online actually digitized? Is the complete registration process mapped online? There are currently differences here.

  • At many banks you register online and enter your data in the appropriate input masks. At the end, a PDF document with your application to open will be created from this. You then send it by post - the so-called Post-Ident. You can find this procedure at many banks, for example at Targobank.
  • Online registration is possible, for example, at Postbank and Fintech Penta, and now also at Targobank. But here, too, a legitimation process is required - the so-called video ident.
  • During the registration process it can happen that the registration process is aborted when certain answers are given to the form questions. In these cases, the user receives a message that he has to register at a local branch.

Open a business account online: legitimation via Video-Ident or Post-Ident

When opening a purely digital business account, you legitimize yourself using the video identification process. The video identification process is a video chat in which you are identified by a neutral institution. You need a stable internet connection and a device with a camera. You need to have your identity card on hand, because the person you are talking to will check it by video during identification.

The Post-Ident procedure takes place offline in a Deutsche Post branch. If the bank with which you want to open your business account offers the Post-Ident procedure, you will receive a Post-Ident coupon with your PDF documents for opening an account. The employee in the post office needs it. You will also need your identity card or passport to be able to establish your identity securely.

A good choice: Depending on your requirements, we have selected different business accounts or current accounts, each of which offers an optimal price / performance ratio and is suitable for your start-up.

Business accounts for founders

5. Examples of online account opening

We consider the banks Commerzbank, Fyrst and N26 as examples of a pure online business account opening.

Online registration for the Commerzbank business account

At Commerzbank, the entire registration process is basically online and digital. In exceptional cases, the account is opened in the branch, for example at the GmbH in formation.

  • Online recording of all company data
  • Assignment of an order ID for queries.
  • Legitimization via video identification procedure.
  • Checking and sending of the registration data by email

To the Commerzbank business account

Open a business account online with Fyrst

Registration at Fyrst is also easy and straightforward.

  • Entering the personal data
  • Entering the company data (legal form)
  • Confirmation of registration
  • Video identification process
  • Receipt of the access data

To the Fyrst business account

Online opening of a business account at N26

At N26, only freelancers and small businesses can open a business account online. This is how the registration works.

  • Enter personal details
  • Confirmation of registration after confirmation email
  • Implementation of the video identification procedure

To the account of N26

6. Frequently asked questions: Open an account online

The self-employed person who wants to open a business account goes to the provider's website, selects the account and registers. In doing so, he provides data about himself and his company. The legal form determines the type and scope of the documents. It's easier with a freelancer than with a corporation. At the end there is the legitimation procedure via video-ident-procedure or post-ident-procedure.

That depends on the legitimation procedure. The video identification process is the fastest because the applicant is legitimized by video chat and a scan of the documents. As a rule, the applicant can use the video chat after the end of the video chat. With the Post-Ident procedure, on the other hand, it takes a few days.

There is the video ID procedure with which the applicant legitimizes himself via video chat. This method allows a business account to be opened quickly within an hour. With the Post-ID procedure, the documents are printed out online and sent to the post office. When the sender is posted, the post office official legitimizes the applicant's identity.

That depends on the legal form. A freelancer usually legitimizes himself with an identity card. A GmbH requires the notarial articles of association, the identity cards of the shareholders and managing directors as well as a trade license.

The bank usually decides on a case-by-case basis whether this is possible. If possible, the business account will probably be run on a credit basis. This means that overdrafts are not possible. Presumably the banks won't issue cards either.

7. Conclusion: online or in the branch?

In the course of digitization, more and more banks are offering the option of opening a business account online - in conjunction with Video-Ident. However, this does not work with all legal forms. Either because certain banks exclude certain legal forms from the outset, and on the other hand because a registration process cannot yet be mapped for a more complex legal form. Wherever it is already possible, the registration usually has to be ended offline, for example by sending the application by post with a simultaneous Post-Ident procedure. At most savings banks, Volksbanks and Raiffeisenbanks, the account opening still takes place in the local bank branch. So founders would do well to take a detailed look at the individual banks in order to make the right decision for the business account. Our current business account report will help you with this, for example.

Download the current business account report

Author: Für-Grü editors

As editor-in-chief, René Klein has been responsible for the content of the portal and all publications by Für-Grü for over 10 years. He is a regular interlocutor in other media and writes numerous external specialist articles on start-up topics. Before his time as editor-in-chief and co-founder of Für-Grü, he advised listed companies in the field of financial market communication.