One of the first steps you will want to take when arriving in Burghausen is to set up a bank account (Girokonto) at one of the local banks. Please note there are two kinds of accounts available. The Girokonto is a checking account and a Sparbuch is a savings account in which you earn interest. However, there are penalties for withdrawing more than 2,000-3,000 per month from your Sparbuch and you must give the bank three months notice to close your account or withdraw more then 3,000 without penalty. There may not be a representative who speaks enough English so you may want to bring a German speaker along. The Volksbank in Burghausen does have a few customer service people who speak a little English. Be aware that it may take several weeks to receive your bankcard which allows you to take money from the ATM (Geld Automat) machines. In the meantime, you may visit the bank during business hours (the banks close during lunchtime), or use the ATM machines for a cash advance on your Visa. If you have a check-guarantee/debit card from your checking account in the states with a VISA logo on it, you can access your checking account funds with this card from any international ATM machine. The ATM must be an international ATM and it will say so somewhere on it. This can be cheaper than using your VISA card for cash advance. Your ATM card will be sent to the bank and you may want to check in with the bank frequently to see if it has arrived because they may not contact you. You may also apply for an Eurocard. These cards are accepted widely in many European cities. Although Mastercard and Visa are used in many tourist areas they are not always accepted in smaller towns. The Eurocard card will help decrease your frustrations if you want to use a card for payment. It must be applied for separately and may require a yearly fee. When shopping for banks make sure to compare fees. If you want to open an account with a cashiers check from the U.S., the Hypovereinsbank offers the smallest fees, the Sparkasse has the highest. Check the interest rates and monthly fees, though, to get a full comparison of service.
You will not receive receipts when you take money from an ATM machine. You may want to establish a personal system for tracking your account. With internet banking, this is a lot easier to do. There are machines in the lobby of each bank that generate statements for you whenever you choose. Just insert your bankcard and the machine will print out all your transactions since the last time you received a statement. These are separate machines from the Geld Automats and are not identified in any way. If you do not do this, the banks, by law, are required to send you a statement and they will charge you for the service. Even if you do internet banking, make sure to pick up a statement at least once a month.