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Whhhhhhyyyyyyyy?????? Why can’t life just be simple, easy and straight forward sometimes!? Ok, fine. That is a bit melodramatic, especially when talking about something like buying the 49 Euro Ticket (Deutschland Ticket) for regional train journeys in Germany, but seriously, why can’t it just be easier? For example, why in the world can’t I buy the Deutschland Ticket with a credit card!?!? Well, here’s (maybe) why (not saying it’s a GOOD reason):
- The Deutschland Ticket is a government-subsidized ticket. This is important to know logistically because all the individual companies like Deutsche Bahn and then every single regional or local city public transportation is simply IMPLEMENTING the ticket.
- This means that each individual company sort of has its own “rules” in purchasing it and there is no 1, across the board, standard (besides the final cost and cancellation dates)
To be completely honest, I have NO idea why the actual German Train Company, Deutsche Bahn, isn’t accepting credit cards for the 49 Euro Ticket. Why in the world can the smaller, local transportation companies accept them but not Deutsche Bahn?? Alas, when it comes to things like this in Germany, I’ve learned to just accept it for what it is and move on with what IS available instead of doing my head in with Deutsche Bahn right now. And I’d actually be pretty shocked if Deutsche Bahn didn’t eventually get it to where you CAN buy the 49 Euro Ticket with a credit card. But that’s not today. So what does an average tourist who doesn’t have an IBAN do?? As of right now, you have two major options
- Use something like WISE Banking to get a free IBAN account
- Use one of the local companies that ARE accepting credit cards to purchase straight through them.
In this article, I’m going to do a quick overview of the €49 train ticket to remind us all what that entails and what things we need to remember about that ticket, and then I’ll also go into EXACTLY how to get an IBAN to purchase with Deutschbahn or how to use the other Apps and transport companies to use your credit card.
You'll Find In This Article:
49 Euro Deutschland Train Ticket Review
While there’s WAY too much detail, information, and things to know about the new Deutschland Ticket to list here, and you can read ALL of it and more at that article so that you fully understand what all the ticket entails. The quick cliff notes version is that:
- You may only use the Deutschland Ticket on REGIONAL TRAINS ONLY (No ICE/IC/EC trains which are the high speed trains in Germany)
- Seat reservations are not possible on any regional train, so no, you can not book one
- The 49 Euro Ticket is good for one month, from the 1st of the month to the end. It is not any 1 month period. For example, it is good for all of Septermber, all of October, etc but NOT Sep 12- October 12.
- You must purchase by the 10th of the prior month * (read below for possible exceptions)
- You must cancel your ticket by the 10th of the prior month (Example: If you are using the ticket for all of December for the German Christmas Markets and do not need it for January, you will need to have it canceled by December 10th)
How To Buy the 49 Euro Deutschland Ticket
Right now, you can pretty much purchase the ticket anywhere you could buy other Germany Train Tickets online. The catch is that on the main, Deutsche Bahn site you currently can’t use a credit card. On Deutsche Bahn, they are still requiring that you must use an IBAN. If you aren’t sure what that is, IBAN stands for “International Bank Account Number.” Here in Germany, everyone who has a German (Or European for that matter) bank account will have an IBAN (number). This number is used for quick “wire transfers” and direct deposits as well as direct debits (not to be confused with a “Debit Card.”)
I’ll cover how you can actually get an IBAN for free and still purchase directly from Deutsche Bahn. But if you don’t want to do that, I think the easiest hack to buying the 49 Euro Ticket without a German bank account is to head straight to the individual transport apps.
Use a Credit Card to Buy the Deutschland Ticket
So, while Deutsche Bahn is the national railway company in Germany, most bigger cities also have their own public transportation systems (and Apps) that operate individually. And ironically, more and more of them are starting to offer the option to use a (foreign) credit card if you buy the ticket directly from their App.
Do NOT ask me why the individual entities can offer this and the largest rail company in Germany can’t. Believe me, I’ve stopped asking questions about the efficiency of German Bureaucracy ages ago! I have a feeling that eventually DB will let you buy the Deutschland Ticket directly through them via credit cards, but alas, we aren’t quite there yet!
I’m sure there are more but the ones that I know do offer the option to purchase the Deutschland Ticket with Credit Cards are:
- The Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund. I personally called them up and they verified that you can purchase with a credit card in both the App and the website
- The Bremen VBN Fahrplanner App (hat tip to Seat 61)
- The HVV Hamburg App: Thanks to a member of my Travel in Bavaria FB Group who personally did this
- Rheinbahn App
Important Note: You don’t need to be traveling in the areas, cities, or regions of these local apps to purchase the Deutschland Ticket with a credit card! Just make sure you keep that App on your phone to keep your digital ticket, no matter where you are traveling at throughout Germany!
(If you find an App that allows you to purchase the ticket directly with a credit card, do me a huge favor and send me an email and I’ll add it to the list! [email protected])
When To Buy The Deutschland Ticket with the Apps
If you are buying in one of the above mentioned apps, it seems like the date of when you need to purchase them by are kind of all over the board! (Go figure!) However, if you are wanting to purchase the Deutschland ticket for today (or ASAP), I know that you can use the Bremen Fahrplanner to buy it for almost immediate purchase, whereas some of the other companies are saying it needs to be purchased by the 20th (and some even the 10th) of the prior month.
Get a WISE Account (Automatically gives you an IBAN)
As an expat American living in Germany, I’ve actually been using WISE for years now. I promise this is a completely legit and completely legal way to pay for things abroad and I love how easy it is to actually set up and use it (believe me, if I can figure out to use a banking system, it’s got to be EASY). What is great is with a WISE account, you can actually create an IBAN within your account and then easily move money from dollars (or any other currency) to Euros without all the insane bank fees. And then, with this IBAN, you can easily purchase your Deutsche Bahn monthly ticket.
If you don’t have a Wise Account, you can sign up for free here. The set up is really quick, just follow the prompts. You will have to verify your identity with an official ID document, like a passport or even a state ID is fine. This is for your protection and again, I promise is completely safe.
Get a German IBAN
Once you have your account set up, getting your IBAN number is also pretty easy, but does require a few steps. Here’s exactly how to do it.
- Click “+Open”
- Click “Balance”
- Choose the option to “Send Money”
- Choose your currency, in this case, it will be Euros
That’s it. You now have a European IBAN number! Since Deutsche Bahn needs to automatically debit your account, you’ll now need to add some money to this account in WISE. You can link it to your debit card, credit card, or even your US Bank account (which is what I do and is the cheapest)
- Click “+Add”
- Add in your money. For example, 49 Euro
- Click “Pay with USD” (Or whatever currency you are using, such as CAD, etc)
- Add money with your choice of payments
Since the Deutschland Ticket is a subscription ticket, that means that each month, you will automatically be charged for a new ticket for the next month, which will come straight from debiting your linked account. Be sure you have enough money in this account so you don’t get an overdraft.
2. Set Up Your Deutsche Bahn Account (for each ticket)
1. If you haven’t done so yet, you’ll need to sign up for a new Deutsche Bahn Account. Again, I have ZERO clue why DB is making things so difficult, but right now, it seems like for each Deutschland Ticket you purchase, you must have a separate account. That means that if you need to buy yourself and your spouse a ticket, you’ll each need a Deutsche Bahn account (which are free to sign up for). Again, don’t worry, it’s actually quite easy to do and you can do so quickly here.
How To Buy the Deutsche Bahn 49 Euro Deutschland Ticket
1) After you have created your Deutsche Bahn account, you can find the Deutschland Ticket here or by going to:
- Hover over “Offers”
- Click “Regional Offers”
- Select “Deutschland Ticket”
2) Select the start date of your ticket
Just a reminder, these tickets are only good for a calendar month, so you’ll input the date of the first of the month that you want to travel.
3) Using the European IBAN number (it may not be German) that WISE gave you, fill in the bank/ direct deposit details
4) On the next page, you’ll need to fill out more personal information
IMPORTANT: Right now, Deutsche Bahn is not accepting addresses outside of Germany for the Deutschland Ticket. However, I confirmed that the system WILL accept a German address not tied to your account.
Deutschland Ticket Hack: Therefore, if it is not accepting your address, simply put in the address of the first hotel you are staying at in Germany and the system will accept this.
How to Cancel the Deutschland Ticket
This is going to be different in every app and platform. Therefore, you may need to contact the individual transport company to verify how to cancel the 49 Euro Ticket.
Important: You need to cancel your ticket by the 10th of the prior month. If you do not, remember this is a subscription based ticket therefore you’ll be charged monthly for it until you proactively cancel it. For example, if you purchased it for June and don’t need it for July, you’ll have to have it canceled by June 10th. This will allow you to use the ticket for the rest of the month and then the subscription will end on the last day of June.
If you bought it through the Deutsche Bahn, here are the steps to cancel:
- After logging in to your account, find the “Add my Subscription” menu
- Select “Germany Tariff”
- You should have gotten an email previously with your subscription number (Numbers only- NO letters). You’ll need to input this along with the date of birth that you used to sign up and and zip code
- Now, you can edit your subscription. Click on “Deutschland-ticket”
- It will ask “What would you like to do?”
- Choose “Cancellation”
- Select your “Reason For Cancellation”
- Input your cancellation date
- In order to confirm the cancellation, you must confirm your email.
- Click “Continue”
- If you don’t receive an email confirmation, then something did not go through
Since the Deutschland Ticket is brand new, I am just hoping that they are still just figuring out and working through some kinks and that in a matter of time, everything from understanding when and how to cancel to buying them easily for tourists will all be sorted out and much, much easier!!!