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Getting Set Up Overseas

At Service Credit Union, we understand that you and your family may need to move many times throughout your military career. If you are relocating to Germany, here are a few resources to make your move as simple as possible.

Download our entire Welcome to Germany kit here.

Rent and Utilities

You can pay your rent, utilities, or other European bills in local currency using International Bill Pay*. It can be set up as a one-time or recurring payment through online banking, your mobile app, or by contacting a representative via branch, phone, or chat. See more info on this service below.

Alternately, you may provide authorization to the biller to debit your account directly. This is called a Lastschrift and is a safe option that allows you to recall your funds for up to 8 weeks after payment. Note that German utilities may be billed monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly, based on the billing provider, and the “utilities” can include costs for services such as garbage disposal, chimney sweep, home, and landscape maintenance.

Cell Phones

European cell phone contracts generally last for two years and are paid similarly to German utilities. You may consider a prepaid cell phone as an alternative to meet your needs.


If you live in a house that uses heating oil, the oil is usually paid in a lump sum when the tank is filled. It is a good idea to set aside money from your utility allowance for this cost. Your landlord or the current tenant should be able to provide you with an estimated cost to fill the tank.

Try to fill your oil tank during the summer months when oil is typically less expensive. Also, you may be able to negotiate a cheaper price if you and your neighbors buy in bulk and have it delivered at the same time. Be sure to price shop for oil at several companies, including AAFES (Army & Air Force Exchange Service), prior to purchasing.

Value-Added-Tax (VAT)

This program enables you to make tax-free purchases. Please see your local base/post VAT office to purchase the necessary VAT forms and also obtain a list of what items can be purchased tax-free. Not all stores accept the VAT forms, so please inquire prior to making your purchase.

Utility Tax Avoidance Plan (UTAP)

UTAP is a walk-in service that helps reduce utility costs by providing tax relief for 19% electricity, 19% gas, and 7% water. An administrative fee is charged upon registration. By signing up for UTAP, you also save on utility deposits and sign-up fees on top of the VAT. A sponsor must register or provide a power of attorney.

You must update your account if you move after you register. Go through the Value Added Tax (VAT) office at your base.

International Bill Pay

Did you know that you can pay bills in foreign currencies online and in-branch with Service Credit Union International Bill Pay?

When you set up international bill pay, you can schedule payments to be transferred directly to your creditor/payee from your Service Credit Union checking account.

Which Bills Can I Pay?

Any bill you pay on a monthly or quarterly basis (with a set amount) is considered recurring. Examples are rent, automobile insurance, cable, TV, etc. You may also use it to pay one-time charges, such as traffic or parking tickets. One-time payments can be made to any company or beneficiary that provides the required transfer information.

How Do I Sign Up?

After you fill out the recurring payment order authorization form (available online and at any branch), your information is processed and your recurring bills are then paid automatically. You may choose to pay them weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly.

What Does It Cost?

$1 per online or mobile transaction, or $2 for a one-time-only in-branch, phone, or chat transaction.

What Will I Need?

Information varies by country and currency. Contact us for further details at 1.800.936.7730 (U.S. toll-free) or 00800.4728.2000 (international toll-free).

*Online or mobile International Bill Pay is available only from an SCU checking account.  Automatic debits are available only to merchants in Europe.   Select any day of the week to make recurring payments weekly, biweekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly.  International Bill Pay incurs a $1.00 fee per online or mobile transaction and for recurring payments.  One-Time International Bill Pay transactions initiated in a branch, over the phone, or through chat incur a $2.00 fee per transaction. All Payments are transferred in the selected currency. If the beneficiary account to which the funds are ultimately credited is not denominated in the selected currency, the amount will be converted to the appropriate currency (i.e. British Sterling, Swiss Franc, Swedish Kroner, etc.) or returned by the receiving financial institution. SCU is not liable for and has no influence over the conversion rate applied to the conversation of the funds.