You will probably want to open a Girokonto - which is a current account. This rarely comes free - unless you have a regular income of over € 2000 per month (Postbank) or deposit a minimum of € 5000 (Citibank). Most banks charge for the service, and the fees range dramatically. Most banks charge a flat fee per month, anything between € 6 and € 25 - although this may only cover a fixed number of transactions. Individual transactions can also be charged for - up to 50 pfennigs each. The package you get - whether it includes an EC card as well as a credit card - varies according to the size of your deposit and regular earnings. For individual bank rates, check the list of banks.
Opening a Personal Account
To open an account, you generally need your passport, police registration form if you are resident in Berlin, and often a letter or proof of income from your employer.
Debit and credit cards are not especially widespread in Berlin, nor are chequebooks. The most common method of payment is a credit transfer (Überweisung). Most bills (e.g. telephone bills) include a pre-printed transfer form, to be filled in with your bank details. You can post this off or hand it in to your bank.
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