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Updated: 2023-09-12 | Duration: 13 min.

Which blocked account providers are accepted and secure for a (student) visa in Germany?

The complete list with a comparison focused on banking models and protection level (2023)

"Which blocked accounts are officially recognized for the visa by the Foreign Office?"

"What is the best and most secure blocked account for Germany?"

"Which blocked account provider is the cheapest?"

"And what are the differences between the various providers (especially Fintiba, Coracle, Expatrio)?"

These are the questions we at MyGermanUniversity repeatedly receive from international students and German universities. And rightly so: because the blocked account market is almost impossible to keep track of for outsiders! There are two main reasons for this: 

  1. Students now have a choice of a good dozen providers in Germany and abroad, after Fintiba 💰​​​​​ became the first provider to enable the digital opening of a blocked account in 2017 (until then, this was only possible offline via Deutsche Bank). The providers differ in a number of factors, in particular, the banking model and security (deposit protection, technical infrastructure), the range of additional services (health insurance, travel insurance, etc.), and the pricing model.

  2. On the other hand, the German Foreign Office has no longer provided a list of providers since the scandal surrounding the blocked account provider BAM in 2021. However, German embassies continue to name individual providers - without presenting a complete list or addressing the differences.

It is difficult for international students to find the right blocked account for them. Mainly because they come across a large number of affiliate sites or influencers during their Internet research that only advertise the provider from which they receive a commission - without going into the possible risks of the respective banking models and naming alternatives.

 

As MyGermanUniversity, we have therefore set ourselves the goal of publishing a complete list of all providers and comparing them on the basis of characteristics that are as objective as possible.
 

To do this, our team conducted careful research, within the framework of which we held talks with industry experts who explained the banking models to us. Moreover, we sought out discussions with all blocked account providers. We wanted to find out firsthand what makes a good blocked account and what differentiates the providers. We also wanted to give each provider the opportunity to explain their model and clarify any unanswered questions.

 

Before we get into the topic, a few notes are necessary:

  • Accuracy of the information: Despite our diligent research, we cannot guarantee the completeness of the list or the accuracy of the information. If any information about the providers is missing or requires correction, we are grateful for a note by email

  • Disclaimer: This article is for general information only and cannot replace your own research. We, therefore, exclude any liability. As with any other financial product, everyone should inform themselves before choosing a provider.

  • Objectivity: We have tried to make our approach as objective and transparent as possible. Nevertheless, the choices we use to compare providers remain subjective to a certain extent. Everyone is free to come to a different decision.

  • Partnership: Even though, in principle, all of the providers mentioned are accepted by the German Foreign Office for the visa procedure, we recommend only one blocked account provider so far: Fintiba. With all other providers, there are drawbacks in terms of security level (the lack of deposit protection for escrow accounts), global availability, service scope or customer satisfaction (Trustpilot score). The links to Fintiba 💰 in this article are so-called affiliate links (you can easily recognize them by the 💰 symbol following). We receive a small commission when someone clicks on the link and makes a purchase.

List of all online blocked account providers for international students in Germany

In a hurry? Here are the results in brief!  The complete list (including offline providers) and explanations of the comparison criteria and sorting can be found below. 

No.

Provider
(Location)

 

Availability
 

Banking Model

German
Deposit Protection

Security
Level

Link

Trustpilot Score (6M)

**** 

Price for 1 year

1)

Fintiba 🇩🇪
(Germany)

💰

    🌎 *

German partner bank

✅

🟢

more
info
💰

Excellent
(4.6)

€147.80

2)

Expatrio 🇩🇪
(Germany)

    🌎 *

Belgian partner bank with German branch

❌ but Belgian deposit
security

🟢

more
info

Poor
(2.7)

€109.00

3) 

ICICI 🇮🇳
(India)

India only

own British bank with German branch

❌ but British deposit
protection

🟢

more
info

--

€150.00

4)

Kotak Mahindra 🇮🇳 (India)

India only

Own Indian banking license

❌ but Indian deposit-
assurance


***

more
info

Bad
(1.4)

estimated €150-200
**

5)

RemitX 🇮🇳
(India)

India only

Escrow model with lawyer in Germany

✅

🟡

more
info

--

€149.00

6)

AllyWays 🇩🇪
(Germany)

    🌎 *

Escrow model with payment service provider in France

❌

🟡

more
info

--

€99.00

7)

Coracle 🇩🇪
(Germany)

    🌎 *

Escrow model with payment service provider in France

❌

🟡

more
info

Excellent
(4.9)

€99.00

8)

Edubao 🇩🇪
(Germany)

    🌎 *

Escrow model with payment service provider in France

❌

🟡

more
info

(no scores)

€149.00

9)

DropMoney 🇪🇸 (Spain)

    🌎 *

Escrow model with payment service provider in France

❌

🟡

more
info

--

€130.00

10)

Studely 🇫🇷 (France)

    🌎 *

Escrow model with payment service provider in France

❌

🟡

more
info

(no scores)

€116.70

11)

DDAccount 🇨🇳
(China)

China only

(no info)

❌

(no info)

more
info

--

€147.8

* There may be exceptions for individual countries (e.g. USA or high risk countries).
** Kotak Mahindra charges a fee per transaction.
*** Statutory deposit insurance for Indian banks covers only a part of the blocked account amount.
**** last 6 months (until August 21, 2023)

The sorting within the list comes from the following criteria (in the order mentioned): banking model, deposit protection, security level, availability, provider name, and Trustpilot score.

Our recommendation: The best in comparison (Fintiba)

The market leader Fintiba performs best in our comparison. This is because Fintiba is the only provider to offer the blocked account at a German bank with German deposit protection. Fintiba is also the best provider overall in terms of expertise (years since launch, number of customers) and speed (instant blocking confirmation option via credit card; account activation) and one of the best in customer satisfaction (Trustpilot score).

Why do we recommend Fintiba? 🤔

🥇 Market leader with the most extensive experience: more than 200,000 customers since 2017
🏦 Direct connection to German partner bank (Sutor Bank)
🛡️ Fully protected by the German Deposit Protection
🌎 Worldwide availability (with a few exceptions, including the USA) 

More info about Germany's #1 Blocked Account

Go to Fintiba 💰

💰 = We receive a small commission for Fintiba products sold through this link. However, this does not result in any additional costs for the customer

What you should know in advance about the blocked account

Why the blocked account is the best solution for your visa application

If you want to study in Germany as an international student and you come from a non-EU country that requires a visa, you have to apply for a student visa or a student applicant visa. You must prove that you have sufficient financial means to cover your stay in Germany.
 

For this purpose, the blocked account is the generally accepted standard solution for proof of financial means and is - as a matter of fact - accepted by all (local exceptions may apply) German embassies (based on the General Administrative Regulation on the Residence Act of October 26, 2009, §16.0.8.1). Some foreign embassies, e.g., the German embassy in Colombia, even accept other proofs of financial means (such as the declaration of commitment) only in justified exceptional cases (source). 

 

In fact, the blocked account is the most convenient solution for German embassies abroad and for you because it is fast, secure, and binding. With other proofs of financing - such as the bank guarantee - the embassy has discretionary powers, which can lead to the rejection of your visa application. In addition, the opening of a blocked account can now be done quickly and easily digitally. Whereas in the past you had to visit the German mission abroad (embassy, consulate) in person to have your documents for opening a blocked account at Deutsche Bank certified in paper form, today you can open the account online in a few minutes.

How the blocked account works

How does the blocked account work? You transfer a fixed sum in advance (currently 11,208 euros for one year or 934 per month) to an account from which the money may only be transferred for a specific purpose (living expenses during your studies) and in fixed tranches. That's why it is called a "blocked account"!

 

If you would like to learn about the subject of blocked accounts in a more detailed way, then take a look at this comprehensive guide. Among others, there you will find answers to the questions like:

  • How to withdraw the money from the Blocked Account?
  • Is it free to have a Blocked Account?
  • Do I need a Blocked Account every year?
  • How should I open a Blocked Account?
  • When should I open the Account?
  • How long does it take to open an Account?
  • How can I transfer the money to the Account?
  • Can I get my money back if my visa is rejected?
  • How should I close the Blocked Account?
  • What are the alternatives to the Blocked Account?
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Further Reading

Blocked Account: An Overview

Which blocked account providers are accepted by the German Foreign Office?

Until the BAM! scandal came to light in the summer of 2021, the Federal Foreign Office published a list of providers on its website who, to its knowledge, offered blocked accounts throughout Germany.

 

The last published version of July 15, 2021 (source) looked like this:

Since the version of 23 July 2021, this list has been offline. The German Foreign Office writes that the list is "currently being reviewed" (source).

According to various sources, the German financial supervisory authority BaFIN is conducting a review process of the individual blocked account providers. It is unclear when the review will be completed and with what result.

 

Despite that, numerous German embassies continue to name individual providers. However, these mentions should be treated with caution: The lists are consistently incomplete and do not represent a recommendation on the part of the embassy.

 

In principle, all blocked account providers we researched are suitable for visa applications and accepted by the German Foreign Office (local restrictions may apply). 

Why the German Foreign Office has not published an official list since 2021: The scandal surrounding the blocked account provider BAM!

In the summer of 2021, a scandal involving the blocked account provider BAM - Bundesweites Anlagenmanagement UG (Berlin/Hamburg) shook the scene: some 500 international students had been unable to make any withdrawals since June 2021. (cf. Der SPIEGEL, July 17, 2021 and July 22, 2021; Der Tagesspiegel, July 30, 2021). This is because BAM had illegally stored the funds on its own account at Aareal Bank in Wiesbaden instead of opening separate blocked accounts under the students' names as required. The funds were thus not protected. 


Due to this "unauthorized deposit business," the German financial supervisory authority BaFIN prohibited BAM from operating in July 2021. However, it took weeks for those affected to get their money back. The Federal Foreign Office had to put up with criticism from the Federal Association of Foreign Students (BAS) e.V., among others, for not having adequately monitored the blocked account providers.

What differentiates the blocked account providers

Anyone who has ever taken a look at the websites of blocked account providers will notice: almost every provider claims to have the simplest, fastest, and best solution. 

 

However, in fact, providers differ considerably - especially in terms of how secure and transparent the blocked account solution is. From discussions with the respective providers and industry experts, we have identified the most important criteria that we consider essential for choosing the right provider.

A

Transparency 🔎

Do you know where your blocked account will be, who is involved, and whether your money is safe?

Before you transfer more than 10,000 euros somewhere, you surely want to know where your blocked account will be, don't you? 

 

  • Is it a bank in Germany (with German IBAN) or a bank abroad? 

  • Is the account opened directly for you? Or are any foreign payment providers or lawyers interposed as trustees? 

  • Is your money secured by the deposit protection there? Or do you have to hope that the worst-case scenario never happens?

 

These questions are really fundamental. It is all the more surprising how carelessly most providers deal with them. Even with large providers, you sometimes have to delve deep into the privacy policy, read the FAQ, or search around on some support pages to get an answer. And with some of them, the answer is not even clear.

 

Our tip: You can recognize trustworthy providers by the fact that they inform you transparently before registration about the bank where your blocked account will be, whether you will receive a German IBAN, and whether it is protected by deposit protection.

 

Conversely, it's not a good sign if you have to search for a long time to find this basic information!

B

Banking Model 🏦


Will your account be opened directly with a bank or through a trustee ("escrow model")?

There are two different banking models for the blocked account: 

 

1) Directly at a bank

 

With this solution, your blocked account is opened directly at a bank - either in Germany or abroad. Depending on the banking system, your account will enjoy the full protection of the deposit insurance. You will get your money back even in case of insolvency, theft, fraud...).

 

✅ Blocked account provider with German deposit guarantee

  • Fintiba 💰: 🇩🇪 German Bank with German deposit protection 

→ highest safety level 🟢
 

 

✅ Blocked account provider with non-German, but European deposit protection

→ comparably high safety level 🟢
 

 

☑️ Blocked Account Provider with Non-European Deposit Guarantee 

  • Kotak Mahindra: 🇮🇳 Indian bank with Indian deposit protection

→ High to medium security level (depending on local law) 🟢 🟡

 

 

2) Escrow model

In this solution, the providers involve a trustee between you and the bank, who opens a so-called escrow account for you and keeps it separate from his own assets. In the escrow account, you are NOT the owner of the account, but the trustee is. The relationship between the trustee and you (as owner and trustor) is regulated by an additional contract.
 

→ lower security level 🟡

Used by the following service providers:

  • worldwide: AllyWays, Coracle, Edubao, DropMoney, Studely
  • only in India: RemitX
  • only in China: DDKonto

 

RemitX (India) interposes a German law firm as a trustee (see the Terms & Conditions). 


All other blocked account providers with escrow accounts use one online payment service provider:

These are not banks, but so-called payment institutions / e-money institutions (in Germany: "ZAG institutions"), which are NOT subject to statutory deposit protection. 

C

Safety 🛡️

Is your money in the blocked account protected by German deposit protection in case of an emergency?

Anyone who entrusts their money to a bank does so in order to keep it safe there. However, many people forget: 

Banks can also go bankrupt or become victims of criminal acts. 

Germany has a very robust and regulated financial system, yet there have been a number of banks and payment service providers that have gone bankrupt here recently:

  • 2021: Bankruptcy of Greensill Bank in Bremen (Germany)

  • 2023: Bankruptcy of North Channel Bank (Mainz / Germany) 

  • 2023: Bankruptcy of Neobank Ruuky (Hamburg /Germany), which acted as a payment service provider (so-called e-money agent) for a Belgian banking partner PPS EU SA.

 

Even major international banks can get into trouble:

Let Germany's deposit protection safeguard your money (up to €100 000)

Even though bank bankruptcies are still very rare in Germany, it is reassuring to know that your money is safe. This is because your deposit is protected for up to 100,000 euros by the statutory deposit protection, which is mandatory for all banks.

 

There is a separate law for this (Deposit Guarantee Act), which also stipulates that everything is automatic in this case: 

  • You will receive your money back no later than seven working days after the Federal Institute has determined that you are entitled to compensation.

  • You do NOT have to apply to the deposit protection system for this. 

For more information on statutory deposit insurance at BaFIN.

✅ Blocked account providers with German deposit protection

  • Fintiba💰: 🇩🇪 German Bank with German deposit protection
  • RemitX (available only in India 🇮🇳): Escrow model with lawyer in Germany

→ highest safety level 🟢

 

The following comparable deposit insurance schemes exist in Europe:
 


Further information on deposit insurance in the EU and worldwide can also be found at the Deposit Insurance Portal (in German).

✅ Blocked account provider of non-German but European deposit protection

→ comparably high safety level 🟢

 â˜‘️ Blocked Account Provider with Non-European Deposit Guarantee

  • Kotak Mahindra: 🇮🇳 Indian bank with Indian deposit protection

→ Medium to highest security level (depends on local law) 🟢 🟡

❌ Blocked Account providers with NO Deposit Protection 

  • worldwide: AllyWays, Coracle, Edubao, DropMoney, Studely
  • only in China: DDKonto

→ lower security level 🟡

D

More criteria

Other differences between blocked account providers

In addition, there are at least a number of other criteria according to which providers differ.

 

 

Criteria

Options

Location
of the company

in Germany

abroad

Availability

worldwide

only in certain countries

Application 

online 

offline only

Speed

(gradual differences)

Pricing model

One-time payment

One-time payment + monthly fee

More offers

Blocking account only

Statutory health insurance

International travel insurance

Liability insurance

Blocked Account
Expertise

How many years has the blocked account been offered?

Number of
customers

How many customers does the provider have?

Customer satisfaction

How satisfied are the customers?

List of all accepted blocked account providers for a visa in Germany

The sorting within the list comes from the following criteria (in the order mentioned): banking model, deposit protection, security level, availability, provider name, and Trustpilot score.

A) Online provider with German bank and German deposit protection 🟢

No.

Provider
(Location)

 

Availability
 

Banking Model

German
Deposit Protection

Security
Level

Link

Trustpilot Score (6M)

**

Price for 1 year

1)

Fintiba 🇩🇪
(Germany)

💰)

    🌎 *

German partner bank

✅

🟢

more
info
💰

Excellent
(4.6)

€147.80

* There may be exceptions for individual countries (e.g. USA or high risk countries).
** last 6 months (until August 21, 2023)

B) Online provider with foreign bank and a European deposit protection 🟢

No.

Provider
(Location)

 

Availability
 

Banking Model

German
Deposit Protection

Security
Level

Link

Trustpilot Score (6M)

** 

Price for 1 year

2)

Expatrio 🇩🇪
(Germany)

    🌎 *

Belgian partner bank with German branch

❌ but Belgian deposit
protection

🟢

more
info

Poor
(2.7)

€109.00

3) 

ICICI 🇮🇳
(India)

India only

own British bank with German branch

❌ but British deposit
protection

🟢

more
info

--

€150.00

* There may be exceptions for individual countries (e.g. USA or high risk countries).
** last 6 months (until August 21, 2023)

C) Online provider with foreign bank and non-European deposit insurance 🟢🟡

No.

Provider
(Location)

 

Availability
 

Banking Model

German
Deposit Protection

Security
Level

Link

Trustpilot Score (6M)

*** 

Price for 1 year

4)

Kotak Mahindra 🇮🇳 (India)

India only

Own Indian banking license

❌ but Indian deposit-
assurance


**

more
info

Bad
(1.4)

estimated €150-200
*


* Kotak Mahindra charges a fee per transaction.
** Statutory deposit insurance for Indian banks covers only a part of the blocked account amount.
*** last 6 months (until August 21, 2023)

D) Online provider with escrow model (mostly NO deposit protection ❌)

No.

Provider
(Location)

 

Availability
 

Banking Model

German
Deposit Protection

Security
Level

Link

Trustpilot Score (6M)

** 

Price for 1 year

5)

RemitX 🇮🇳
(India)

India only

Escrow model with lawyer in Germany

✅

🟡

more
info

--

€149.00

6)

AllyWays 🇩🇪
(Germany)

    🌎 *

Escrow model with payment service provider in France

❌

🟡

more
info

--

€99.00

7)

Coracle 🇩🇪
(Germany)

    🌎 *

Escrow model with payment service provider in France

❌

🟡

more
info

Excellent
(4.9)

€99.00

8)

Edubao 🇩🇪
(Germany)

    🌎 *

Escrow model with payment service provider in France

❌

🟡

more
info

(no scores)

€149.00

9)

DropMoney 🇪🇸 (Spain)

    🌎 *

Escrow model with payment service provider in France

❌

🟡

more
info

--

€130.00

10)

Studely 🇫🇷 (France)

    🌎 *

Escrow model with payment service provider in France

❌

🟡

more
info

(no scores)

€116.70

11)

DDAccount 🇨🇳
(China)

China only

(no info)

❌

(no info)

more
info

--

€147.8

* There may be exceptions for individual countries (e.g. USA or high risk countries).
** last 6 months (until August 21, 2023)

E) Offline providers (application only possible on site in Germany)

No.

Provider
location

 

Availability
 

Banking
Model

German
Deposit Protection

Security
Level

Link

Trustpilot Score
(6M)
*
 

Price
(1 year)

12)

Sparkasse 🇩🇪
(Germany)

Germany
only

More than 200 local Sparkasses

✅

🟢

more
info

Bad
(1.6) 

contact Local Sparkasse 🇩🇪

* last 6 months (until August 21, 2023)

F) Providers no longer active (no new applications possible)

Deutsche Bank has NOT offered a blocked account for international students since 2021 and only serves existing customers who already have one (more information).

Best in class: Fintiba

The market leader Fintiba performs best in our comparison. This is because Fintiba is the only provider to offer the blocked account at a German bank with German deposit protection. Fintiba is also the best provider overall in terms of expertise (years since launch, number of customers) and speed (instant blocking confirmation option via credit card; account activation) and one of the best in customer satisfaction (Trustpilot score).

More info about Germany's #1 Blocked Account

Go to Fintiba 💰

💰 = We receive a small commission for Fintiba products sold through this link. However, this does not result in any additional costs for the customer!