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Banking in Berlin (holvi.com)
25 points by pelle on Nov 29, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 10 comments

A few things:

- Opening a bank account isn't pain and its free. If you do it locally at your bank, you can start using you account right away, you may have to wait a week or so for you credit/debit card and your online-banking pin, since they are send via mail. If you open an account with an online bank. You fill out the form, print it out, sign it, go to the post office with your ID, the post-person will check if your ID matches the form and send it to the bank. Few days later you will get your cards and passwords and are ready to go.

- Yes there are delays between banks. But there are some EU directives on the way, which seek to minimize the delay between banks in all of europe.

- I have no idea what your app is supposed to do. Is it some kind of fancy online-banking interface? With integrated accounting? For multiple accounts? The main-site (holvi.com) doesn't really help me with that.

Is it painless if you don't have a permanent residence yet? I spent a 98-99 in Berlin after living in the US for several years and Deutsche Bank Berlin wouldn't give me a checking account even though I still had the DB savings account I had since childhood in Stuttgart. Same story at Sparkasse so I had to first move to a real appartment, then open an account, then I could do banking.

I never did manage to get an EC card.

Hopefully things have changed since then but it certainly wasn't easy then, even for a German citizen without any bad credit.

Other than that I always thought German banking was a lot better than the craziness with checks here in the US. Luckily checks are rapidly going away, though. Can't remember the last time I wrote one.

On Holvi: we completely replace traditional banks. So we do not just interface with your existing bank, we actually offer you a whole new type of current account. It is thus not merely an app, but a new banking service. One with, yes, integrated accounting and other things.

"You fill out the form, print it out, sign it, go to the post office with your ID, the post-person will check if your ID matches the form and send it to the bank.Few days later you will get your cards and passwords and are ready to go." — I'm not exactly sure I'd call that a nice process :-)

Well because of anti money laundering laws they still need an ID-check before they can open the account.

The good news is that germany started issuing ID-cards with RFID, that can be loaded with a certificate, that will enable you to digitally sign contracts and identify yourself, so the trip to the post-office will no longer be necessary.

On your Project: With upcoming SEPA payments it will not matter anymore where your bank is registered, since transaction times and fees will be the same for all transactions within europe. So just register yourself as/partner with a bank in a european country that offers the most favorable banking-laws/ banking infrastructure/ whatever. In regard of germans, they really want to know that their money is "safe". Especially now in the euro-crisis, so make sure that the depot insurance of the country of your choice is of a comparable quality to the german system. (And maybe dont settle for a PIIGS state, as germans have a strong distrust in banks and politicians in those countries)

Yes, in different countries there are different mechanisms to do this. Some places you can manage completely online. There are things you can do before the ID check, but at some point it needs to be done, yes.

About those European directives: one I am aware of is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_Euro_Payments_Area.

It will allow you to seamlessly use your Finnish bank account in Germany (well, 'seamlessly': everybody will get a gargantuan bank account number (Wikipedia gives an example from Greece with 2 letters and 23 digits). If you are still using pen and paper to transfer money, you'll be in a bit of a hassle)

There also is a directive that will forbid banks to have different tariffs for in-country and between-countries money transfers.

There's certainly no need to sign off on your bank statements. However, the bank must ensure that you get them - so if you don't pick them up yourself, you get them sent every couple of month.

If you have a company blog, please put two things at the top: a short description of what you are doing and a link to your home page. Coming from HN with no previous knowledge of your company, I have no context at all.

Same here. For the benefit of those that don't like to type: https://holvi.com/ but I'm still not sure what's different.

Good point. Let's see what we could do about that. Thanks.

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