How to Buy the Deutschland-Ticket For Your Trip to Germany Without a German Bank Account

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Thinking about buying the new 49€ Deutschland-Ticket to use during your trip to Germany? Read this guide first!

In this article we first give you the information you need to decide whether this ticket will work for your trip. Then we show you how to buy it if you don’t have a German bank account. Finally, we answer commonly asked questions about the Deutschland-Ticket and share our update using the Deutschland-Ticket.

Stuttgart train

We’ve gotten a lot of questions about this new ticket. We’ve used it and it’s a great way to travel around Germany! But, unfortunately, using it isn’t as easy as simply going to a ticket machine after you step off the plane and then hopping on a train.

If you want to use the Deutschland-Ticket it’s important to understand the limitations of this ticket, have a plan for purchasing if you don’t have a German bank account (or one with an IBAN number), and know when to cancel the subscription.

What Is The Deutschland-Ticket?

The Deutschland-Ticket is a new subscription-based ticket that allows you to use regional and local trains, as well as public transportation, throughout all of Germany for a fixed monthly fee of 49€.

So instead of buying day (or week) passes to ride trams, busses, S-bahns, and U-bahns in each city you visit, plus regional train tickets or point-to-point tickets for day trips or when traveling to a new city, you simply use the Deutschland-Ticket for everything, anywhere in Germany.

Depending on the specifics of your trip, it could save you a lot of money. It could, however, also be more hassle than you want to deal with. Keep reading to evaluate whether this ticket will work for you.

Munich regional train

The Deutschland-Ticket Sounds Great! What’s The Catch?

It’s important to remember that this ticket is not geared towards tourists. Here’s what most important for tourists to know about the ticket:

  • It’s by subscription only. You can’t buy it at a ticket machine.
  • The ticket is valid for each calendar month (e.g., September, October, November – not for any 30 consecutive days).
  • You must purchase the ticket before the 20th of the month to use it during the following month. So if you’re traveling in July, you have to purchase your ticket by June 20th. UPDATE: it looks like this requirement has been removed!
  • You must unsubscribe before the 9th of the month. I’ve also heard from a member of our Facebook group that actually have to cancel 6 weeks in advance. I’ll update on our experience after we’ve canceled our subscription in a couple months.
  • You have to have a German bank account (or one with an IBAN) so payment can be automatically transfered out of your bank account. That said, there are workarounds for this so keep reading.
  • While it’s possible to purchase the ticket in Germany at a train station, due to the points above, tourists will want to purchase the ticket online before their trip.
  • You can only use the ticket on local and regional public transportation. No fast trains (ICE/IC/EC/FlixTrain).
  • Each person has to have their own ticket. There are no group tickets and no sharing.
  • The ticket will be in an app on your phone so you need to have constant internet access while in Germany so you can show your ticket if asked to.
  • You can’t use the ticket outside of Germany.

How To Decide If You Want To Use The Deutschland-Ticket For Your Trip To Germany

  1. Make a list of when and for how long you’ll use regional trains and local public transportation (bus, tram, etc) on your trip. Add up the price to purchase each one separately.
  2. If you’re still figuring out which trains you want to take to get from one city to another (or for day trips), do this research before you purchase the Deutschland-Ticket! Regional trains are great for some trips but they can be significantly slower than ICE/IC/EC trains, so don’t simply plan to just use regional trains on your trip. Use the Deutsche Bahn website to look at all options for each leg of your trip, and then decide which legs you want to use the fast trains for vs. the slower trains.
  3. Look at the calendar and see how many months you’ll need to subscribe. If you’re spending 10 days in Germany with 7 in June and 3 in July, you’ll need to subscribe for June and July in order to use the ticket throughout your trip. We decided to subscribe for 4 months even though we only need it for half of 2 of those months because it will still save us a lot of money.
  4. Consider how many people you’re traveling with. Will each person have a phone with continuous internet that can house the ticket in the relevant app? Note: children under 6 can travel free of charge. Everyone 6 and older needs to have their own Deutschland-Ticket.
  5. Explore other ticket options that might be easier to purchase, especially if traveling with others. There are a lot of ticket options that could work just as well, if not better, for your trip (like using regional day tickets).
  6. If the flexibility of having one ticket is what’s tempting about the Deutschland-Ticket but you’ve realized that you want to take several fast trains (ICE/IC/EC), consider a German Rail Pass. I don’t always recommend these passes but in some cases the flexibility you get can be worth the expense.
regional train interior

How To Buy The Deutschland-Ticket Without A German Bank Account

As of now, if you try to purchase the Deutschland-Ticket via the Deutsche Bahn, you’ll be asked for an IBAN so that the monthly fee can be automatically transfered out of your account. The problem is that for those of us without a German bank account (why did I ever close my German bank account?!!), it’s unlikely that our bank accounts have an IBAN. That said, depending on which country you live in, yours might have one, so do check.

Here are 2 workarounds:

1. Create a WISE account. You’ll then be able to sign up for the ticket through the Deutsche Bahn and have the monthly subscription fee deducted from your home bank account via Wise. Click here to set up your own Wise account.

2. Purchase the ticket through a local public transportation system’s app that allows purchases via credit card or PayPal, such as Rheinbahn. Since the ticket is valid all over Germany, it doesn’t matter which local transportation system you purchase it from. I’ve heard that Rhinebahn’s app allows you to pay with credit card or PayPal.

Update: we purchased our tickets! We used the Rheinbahn app so we could pay with a credit card and had no problems signing up for the subscription. There’s a big cancelation button in the app, so canceling our subscription should be quick and easy. Other members of our Facebook group have successfully used Wise to transfer money to pay for the ticket.

I was leaning towards using Wise and set up an account because we’re probably going to use it in the future anyway. And a member of our Facebook group said it worked well for her, which was good to hear. But ultimately, we decided to use the Rheinbahn app so we could use our credit card (we want the airline miles).

Click here to create your own Wise account so you can buy the Deutschland-Ticket.

U-bahn in Hamburg

Is The Deutschland-Ticket Worth It For Tourists?

Maybe! But also maybe not.

If your entire trip is within 1 calendar month, you plan to frequently use regional trains and public transportation, you have continuous internet access on your phone, you can purchase the ticket in time to use on your trip, and you’re sure you’ll remember to unsubscribe in time, it could be a great deal for you.

Here are 2 scenarios to consider:

Scenario 1: Two people traveling together for 2 weeks in July visiting Munich and Nürnberg with several day trips. They’re traveling exclusively by train and will use public transit or regional trains almost every day. They plan to take public transit to and from the airport. They also each have a cell phone with continuous connectivity (either through their service provider or a SIM card)

In this case, the Deutschland-Ticket is most likely the best choice.

Scenario 2: A family of 5 (with 3 teens) is traveling for 10 days with 7 days in July and 3 days in August. They’re traveling to Berlin, Cologne, and Munich with one day trip to Neuschwanstein castle via a guided tour. They’ve booked airport transfers to and from the airport, plan to take the ICE between cities, and will primarily concentrate their sightseeing to each city’s downtown area.

In this case, the Deutschland-Ticket is most likely NOT the best choice.

If you realize that the Deutschland-Ticket not going to be a good ticket for your trip, here are a few other tickets to consider:

  1. German Rail Pass – if you’re looking for flexibility, want to take fast trains, want the option to take any train and be able to stop and explore a city for a few hours on your way to your next destination (e.g., stop in Nürnberg for a couple hours while traveling from Berlin to Munich), and don’t want to spend time researching and purchasing individual train tickets, getting a rail pass can be a good choice. It’ll likely cost more than buying individual cheap train tickets but you’ll have a lot more flexibility, which is sometimes priceless! And you can get discounts on rail passes. For example, if two people are traveling together, you can save money with a TwinPass.
  2. Regional day tickets (e.g. the Bavaria Ticket) – these are great for day trips! You can only use them on regional transportation, and if traveling on a weekday you can’t use it until after 9am, but they’re inexpensive, especially if multiple people travel together. You can purchase the ticket ahead of time or on the day of travel at a ticket machine or in the app.
  3. Individual train tickets – if you’re only taking the train a couple times on your trip, you might just want to buy individual tickets. If you book far enough in advance you can score great prices on fast trains. Do note that these cheap tickets are for train-specific travel so while you save money, you do lose flexibility.
  4. Local public transit passes – if you plan to frequently use city busses, trams, S-bahns or U-bahns, you can buy day, week or even month passes. Take a look at how often you’ll actually use public transit because you might find that you actually only need to buy a couple individual tickets.
s-bahn in germany

Deutschland-Ticket For Tourists FAQ

How Much Does The Deutschland-Ticket Cost?

Only 49€ a month! It’s a great deal and could work for you if you’ll be using public transportation and local trains in Germany.

What Types Of Public Transportation Can I Use With The Deutschland-Ticket? Can I Use The Deutschland-Ticket For Long-Distance Trains?

The key here is local and regional. So you can use city and regional busses, trams, U-bahns, S-bahns, and regional trains. You cannot use the Deutschland-Ticket on long-distance trains (ICE/IC/EC), private trains or busses, historic or touristic transportation or FlixBus/FlixTrain.

Are There Any Restrictions On The Use Of The Deutschland-Ticket?

Yes! Here’s what’s most important for travelers to Germany:

  • You can’t use this ticket on long-distance trains (Fernverkehr). So no ICE, IC or EC trains. You also can’t use it on any tourist or historic transportation, FlixBus or FlixTrain or private trains or busses.
  • This ticket is only available as a subscription. So you can’t spontaneously buy it from a ticket machine once you’re in Germany and then hop on the train.
  • You have to purchase the subscription before the 20th of the month to use the following month. So you have to plan ahead to ensure you have the ticket before leaving for Germany.
  • You have to cancel your subscription before the 9th of the month so you don’t pay for the next month.
  • The ticket is valid for each calendar month, not 30 days from the date of purchase.
  • Each person 6 years and older needs to have their own subscription.

How Do I Subscribe To The Deutschland-Ticket? Is It Possible To Cancel Or Change My Subscription?

You can subscribe and cancel your subscription online or within the app you used to purchase . If you have a German bank account (or one with an IBAN) you can subscribe via the Deutsche Bahn website (if you don’t, keep reading).

You can subscribe in person in Germany at a train station but only if you have a German bank account/IBAN. And you still have to purchase by the 20th of the month to use the following month (UPDATE: it looks like this is no longer a requirement). So the majority of travelers will want to subscribe before landing in Germany.

How Can I Buy The Deutschland-Ticket If I Don’t Have A German Bank Account?

At present, you can create a Wise account and use that to have each month’s payment transfered from your personal bank account. If you use Wise, you can purchase your ticket via Deutche Bahn.

Another option is to purchase the ticket through a local public transportation system’s app that allows purchases via credit card or PayPal, such as Rheinbahn. Since the ticket is valid all over Germany, it doesn’t matter where you purchase it.

Can I Use The Deutschland-Ticket For Travel Outside Of Germany?

Nope. The Deutschland-Ticket is only valid within Germany. If you want to visit a town over the border, use the Deutschland-Ticket to a town on the border and then buy a ticket from that town your destination in the other country. You can buy that ticket online, through the DB Navigator app or at a train station (they’ll also be able to help you figure out which town you can travel to with the Deutschland-Ticket).

Is The Deutschland-Ticket Valid For One Day Or Multiple Days?

It’s only valid for one calendar month at a time (e.g., June, July, August – not 30 consecutive days from when you purchase) If you only need it for a couple days in one month, you’ll need to subscribe for the entire month. If you need 7 days in one month and 3 days in the following month, you’ll need to subscribe for both months.

Can I Travel With The Deutschland-Ticket On Weekends And Holidays?

Yes! There are no restrictions as to when you can use the ticket during the week or on a day.

Are There Any Discounts Or Special Offers Available For Families Or Groups?

No. At present, each person 6 and over must have their own ticket, and there are no discounts for buying multiple tickets.

UPDATE: Our Experience With And Review of The Deutschland-Ticket

We’ve been using the Deutschland-Ticket for 3 weeks now and will use it for 2+ more months. Here’s a summary of our experiences so far:

  1. Aaron and I each subscribed using the Rheinbahn app on our phones and a credit card before arriving in Germany.
  2. Once we arrived at the Frankfurt am Main airport we hopped on a regional train and went right to Cologne. I was glad we hadn’t bought tickets for a fast train because our plane was 2 hours late and we likely would have missed the train.
  3. We’ve used the ticket on a bunch of regional trains, local trams, busses, etc. It’s been SO nice not having to pay for each one of those things separately. We’ve saved a lot of money. Last fall, for example, we each paid about 90 Euros just for 1 month transit passes in Berlin (and it didn’t even cover all of Berlin)!
  4. It does take longer to get places on regional trains and we will take a fast train later this month because that journey is just too long by regional train. But otherwise, we’ve been sticking to regional trains to save some money. On a vacation, though, I’d probably take fast trains as much as possible to save time.
  5. Some regional trains have been crowded with standing room only. Fortunately, the only time we’ve had to stand was when we didn’t have our luggage. We’ve mostly had no problem finding seats.
  6. Regional trains vary throughout Germany so we’ve traveled on several different kinds with and without our luggage. Most, but not all, have luggage racks that will accommodate our carry-on size travel backpack and spinner suitcase.
  7. Seats on some regional trains are fairly comfortable while others are…not. Unlike older trains, windows don’t open, so when it’s hot outside the trains can get stuffy. Trains have A/C and it works better on some than on others. The ride has been pretty smooth, though – better than the older trains. Fortunately, journeys on regional trains are fairly short so we haven’t had to put up with uncomfortable seats or hot, stuffy, crowded trains for very long.
  8. We’ve had to change trains more frequently, which means going up and down stairs to change platforms (or waiting for the elevator) and sometimes sprinting to make our connection. German trains are no longer as reliably on time as they used to be, so we’ve missed a few connections due to train delays. So far we’ve just caught the next train and it hasn’t been a problem.
  9. Bathrooms are hit and miss on regional trains. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Some regional trains haven’t had a bathroom at all.
  10. Our tickets have only been checked once. We simply pulled up our ticket in the app and the conductor scanned it. Super easy.
  11. I did have one issue with my ticket. A few days before the new month, Aaron saw that his subscription had renewed but mine hadn’t. I finally figured out that the credit card I used to pay for the subscription was the one I had to cancel just before leaving for Germany. So when the app tried to renew, my credit card didn’t work and my subscription wasn’t renewed. Once I figured this out, I updated my credit card info and was able to purchase a ticket for the next month. It was an easy fix but it was frustrating to not have gotten any notifications so I could have fixed the issue earlier.
  12. There’s a big cancelation button in the app so canceling our subscription should be easy when the time comes.

For us on this 3-month travel research trip, having the Deutschland-Ticket has been wonderful. It’s saved us both time and money.

Deutschland ticket guide image

Next Steps For Planning Your Trip:

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31 Comments

  1. I tried Rheinbahn. Works withh credit card and only asks for billing address.

    1. That worked for us, too!

      1. Hey Cate – I just purchaed the D-ticket on the Rheinbahn app as you suggested. I’m struggling to get it transferred to my DB Navigator app and was just wondering if I misunderstood something in your article? I’m wondering if the bar code that shows in my Rheinbahn app is “universal”, so that I can simply open my Rheinbahn app while on a DB train to allow the conductor to scan and validate my ride? Since a rider can simply jump on any qualifying train using a D-ticket subscription, it seems I could just use my Rheinbahn app to show my D-ticket barcode. Would this work? Or is that barcode specific only to rides D-ticket rides for Rheinbahn trips?

        1. You don’t need to transfer it, just keep the Rhinebahn app on your phone. You can use the Rhinebahn app anywhere in Germany. Every once in a while we were asked to show ID (we used our US driver’s license or passport) along with the digital ticket but they mostly just looked at or scanned the QR code in the app.

    2. Can I use the offline application of Rheinbahn if I don’t have an internet connection? Sometimes i use only QR CODE as offline ticket for my plane ticket. Does Rheinbahn have a QR CODE ?

      1. I think you have to get the ticket through their app and have an internet connection to do so. I’m not sure about a QR code.

  2. It seems like the requirement to purchase before the 20th of the month for the next month has been dropped. I just purchased through the Rheinbahn app only one day before the first of the next month. Thanks for the Rheinbahn app tip!

    1. Thanks for the head’s up about that! Glad the Rheinbahn worked for you, too.

  3. how did you buy the deutschland ticket without signing up for Rheinbahn? I can’t sign up or purchase it from Australia.

    1. I just downloaded the app to my phone and then added the ticket and paid with my credit card. The only thing I had to sign up for was the ticket, nothing else in the app itself. The purchased ticket only shows up in the Rheinbahn app.

  4. Have you tried to cancel your Deutschland-Ticket subscription via Rheinbahn app? I plan to use it for one month only. Thanks.

    1. I haven’t tried that yet (we’re using it through October). As soon as I’ve done it, I’ll update this article. UPDATE: there’s a big red “cancel subscription” button in the app so it should be pretty easy!

  5. I intend to buy the deutscheland ticket for myself and my 6 year old girl. Can one account in Rheinbahn app buy 2 tickets, cos my girl do not have a mobile phone anyway.

    1. We each had to set up an account on our phones for 2 adult tickets. But for kids, I assume you can somehow add them on to yours.

  6. Ioan Simion Belbe says:

    Were you able to cancel the subscription without any fuss? You said in your article you’ll update it once you do that, but there is just a small mention you cancel it, but does not say how or if it was effective.

    1. We haven’t canceled yet but there is a cancelation button in the app, so it should be easy!

  7. Hello:
    I’ve been reading everything I can find on this DB-Ticket which’d be a huge saving for us.
    I’ve also played with the DB app online to buy, I see two versions of the steps. Both let me go forward when I select next day as the effective start date.
    So, for our itinerary of Oct 4-16 in Germany, my plan is to buy the two tickets via the DB app (paying via IBAN/Wise) on 9/30 and canceling the next day, which’d (hopefully) stop the November subscription.
    Please advise if you see any issue with this plan.
    One information I’ve found lacking on the Net so far is about boarding the trains. Somewhere, I’ve read that the center cars/compartments of trains tend to get crowded so to to board towards the front, or rear, of the train.
    So, are the boarding points for 2nd class cars indicated on the platforms in some way and how many cars?
    Thanks for all the great information you are sharing and maintaining.
    Best Regards
    9/3/23

    1. As far as I know, that should work. Just make sure the tickets are in your account before you cancel (you’ll see a QR code). You should also receive a confirmation email.

      Where to board: going to the end is usually a good plan. The regional trains can get crowded throughout the whole train (some aren’t that big and you can walk through the entire thing) but we do often go towards one end or the other and then when the train arrives sprint through the door the fewest people are walking towards. It’s a little harder with luggage but we’ve only had to stand a few times.

      You can sometimes see where the train will stop on the platform but other times not. I just look at where people are standing on the platform and then walk to the end. Some regional trains are small and others are larger, so it really depends.

      Have a great trip!

      1. Thanks. I just asked a similar question.

  8. Hi Cate:
    I opened and funded my Wise account on 9/5/23 and requested the debit card. Thought it would arrive in 7-10 days. Now almost two weeks later I’m getting told that for people in the US it can take 21 business days, sometimes more. I’m very disappointed. The longest I’ve waited for any kind of card.
    I have two more weeks before we leave for Germany so another 10 business days. Will be a photo-finish for me, or may be no finish.
    The hassle of setting up the account and funding and all that might be all for naught.
    What a let down it will be. I’ll have to go with MVV-App for the DB 49 Euro ticket.
    I’m setting up a checking account with Schwab as backup. Hopefully, their debit card will arrive in 7-10 days.
    So, please let your readers in the US know they need to have, at minimum, one calendar month before their travel to get started with a new Wise account to receive the debit card. Earlier than that the better.

    1. Thanks for sharing that!

    2. Thank you for sharing! It seems like App is a better way?

      1. We used the Rhinebahn app and a credit card for 4 months and it worked great!

  9. Hi
    I have purchased a 49 euro card online using my U.K. bank account.
    The ticket barcode is in my app already but when I check my bank no money had been taken yet?
    My understanding is I need to cancel my subscription before the 10th to avoid paying for November ( I leave Germany on 29th oct and need to use it from 24th to 29th) . Does anyone know if cancelling the subscription cancels the ticket for the current month? I am especially worried as my account hasn’t debited for the October amount yet although as I say I have the barcode.

    1. I think it will cancel for the next month only. We canceled around Oct 7 and after clicking the cancelation button we got a confirmation that we could use our ticket through all of October.

  10. Thanks for sharing! I plan to buy it for my trip to Germany in late December. My only question is when should I cancel my subscription. Per your article:
    “You have to cancel your subscription before the 9th of the month so you don’t pay for the next month.” If I cancel it on 12/5, can I still use it for late December? Thanks!

    1. Yep, that should work. We canceled around Oct 7 and after clicking the cancelation button we got a confirmation that we could use our ticket through all of October.

  11. Good morning, After purchasing the Deutschland-Ticket, do we have to reserve the tickets first? For example:In the route Kehl to Stuttgart Hbf, its necessary reserve first or i can take the train without doing anything before?

    1. You can just get on the train you want to take (as long as it’s regional transport). No need to reserve a train or seats (you can’t reserve seats on regional trains).

  12. John McCoy says:

    Hello
    Can we use the pass when we go to Salzburg from Munich ?

    1. We used it on that route last summer with no problem, since Salzburg is just over the border. But I suggest confirming that it’s valid for that route before getting on the train because things area always changing.

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