You need a German bank account to pay your utilities, to receive your salary and to pay your cash-less expenses. Being one of the 20 Things you should know before travelling to Munich, you have rarely the possibility to pay with a credit card. Instead you will use your bank card (called EC-Karte in Germany) for your transactions and to get one you will need a bank account. (Update on 30.04.2018 : Credit card usage is increasing at a faster pace now but still not as common as in other countries)
If you want to open a bank account in a standard brick and mortar bank, you need to have done the Anmeldung. Be aware of the fees of the banks, you will possibly need to pay a monthly account management fee. There are standard banks that also offer online accounts like Sparkasse which do not charge monthly fees for this kind of account. You should still open the account at the branch.
If you want to save money and time, I suggest you to open an account in the direct (branchless) banks. You also don’t need to have done the anmeldung.
The only disadvantage of a direct bank is depositing the money. Most Germans use direct banks as their second or third bank and therefore do not need to deposit cash as they can transfer money from their other accounts. But in your case, as your first bank, you probably need to deposit cash. Therefore following is the short list of direct banks which enable cash deposit and online account opening. They all do video identification (proving that you are the person you claim to be and your identification document is real) so you can do everything from your home and online. (Otherwise you would have to go to post and let the post employee identify you and send your documents):
The four direct banks where you can open an account online and where you can deposit cash:
N26* is the new age bank with the new age banking experience. It is loved by the international community. They have an English website and support team who helps you in English. They have a great mobile app which sends you Push notifications for every transaction. You can manage all your settings through the mobile app such as activating/ deactivating online credit card transactions, withdrawals, usage of your credit card abroad or setting up daily limits for payments. You get a Mastercard with your account for free (the account is for free too) . You can deposit cash to your account in supermarkets like Rewe and Penny. 100 Euro deposit monthly is free of charge. The only disadvantage is that you pay 1,5% fee for cash deposits over 100 Euro. If you are an employee and get most of your income through money transfers that should not be a big issue. And you can literally open your account and get your account details in 8 minutes*!
Comdirect * is the direct bank of Commerzbank. The advantage of it is that you can deposit cash at the ATMs and branches of Commerzbank. I’ve been using Comdirect since some years and have been happy with it. The advantage of comdirect is the online investment/trading functions. If you are an invester/ trader, check out Comdirect*.
DKB * is one of the leading online banks. But it seems a bit more difficult to deposit cash to the account. There is an online service where you request the collection of the cash from your home. It is easier to do a money transfer from another bank account of yours to your DKB account. Unfortunately DKB does not offer the account to non-EU citizens yet. If you are an EU citizen, you can open an account at DKB online.
ING-DiBa is the online bank of ING. It is easy to use and comes with a free credit card. As Comdirect, ING-DiBa is also a leading online bank in the matters of investing and trading. The cash deposit can be done at the branches of Reisebank with a minimum amount of 1.000 Euro for free. You can open an account at ING-Diba online.
To summarise, I really would recommend opening an account in one (or more) more of these online banks where you can open your account online very quickly, you don’t pay any fee for account management and you have the freedom to manage all your transactions online.
I wish you all the wealth and happiness!
*Total Disclosure: These are the partner Links. By opening an account using the links provided here, you will be supporting me so I can continue creating content for you. Thank you.