Funny things happen when you paint yourself into a corner. Like, say, if you decide at the beginning of your year abroad that if Germany is not a credit-card friendly place, then you’re going to live in a cash economy. What you don’t yet perceive is that while cash is fine for small transactions like coffee or a meal out, kontos are the way to go for recurring costs, school fees, doctor visits, and so forth. A konto is a local bank account, and we simply don’t have one.
We found conflicting information about Americans opening a konto both online and from our German contacts, and the pileup of misinformation, anticipated fees, and red tape led us to throw up our hands at the outset of our stay and say fine, cash it is, occasional wire transfers will suffice. Continue reading