What is the Deutschlandticket?

The Deutschlandticket has been available since May 2023. This is a ticket that allows you to use local public transport throughout Germany for 49 euros per month. The Deutschlandticket is a significant improvement compared to most monthly tickets, especially for those who commute through different transport networks for work. You can travel further and more flexibly and pay less.

However, there is one small difficulty:
People who have incurred debts in the past often have problems when buying.

Why is it so difficult for people in debt to get the Deutschlandticket?

The federal and state governments have decided to offer the Deutschland-Ticket exclusively as a digital subscription. This means that you cannot buy the Deutschlandticket from a ticket machine, but always take out a subscription, i.e. a (usually long-term) contract. Many providers therefore check the creditworthiness of customers, i.e. their ability to pay, when they order a Deutschlandticket. This is done by making an enquiry with a credit agency (e.g., Schufa), which collects data on every consumer and derives their creditworthiness from this. Anyone who does not repay debts on time often has negative entries in a credit agency and therefore a poor credit rating. If you have a poor credit rating, transport companies usually refuse to accept orders for a Deutschlandticket.

Even those who are directly in debt to the respective transport company (e.g., from a previous subscription contract for a monthly travel card) often have difficulties ordering a Deutschlandticket.

How do I get the Deutschlandticket despite debts?

1. Choose another provider

As the Deutschlandticket is valid throughout Germany, it does not have to be ordered from the regional transport association. If you live in Magdeburg, for example, you can also buy your Deutschlandticket from the Cologne transport company if you get better conditions there.

However, those who can obtain a social discount from their regional transport company are sometimes obliged to order from their local transport company. This problem has already been reported by the debt counselling centres to politicians and transport companies, who are working on a long-term (better) solution.

2. Select another payment option

Credit checks are usually only carried out for direct debits (i.e. when you provide the transport association with your account details and authorise it to debit the money when it is due). However, transport associations sometimes also offer other payment options, for example via a PayPal account. This normally works with an existing PayPal account without a credit check.

3. Payment via another account

The Deutschlandticket is personalised, which means that it must be ordered individually for a single person and is only valid for that person. However, you can process the payment (and therefore the credit check) via another person. For example, if you have debts but your partner does not, you could order a Deutschlandticket for yourself and hand over your partner's account. The transport company would then debit 49 euros a month from your partner's account and you would transfer the 49 euros to your partner – preferably by standing order. You should discuss this option in advance with the account holder. He or she must then also sign the subscription contract for the Deutschlandticket clearly and in writing to give his or her consent to the direct debit mandate. There are many pitfalls to consider with this solution, especially in insolvency proceedings. Always consult your local debt counselling service before taking this route.

Deutschlandticket despite debts

Who offers it?

We asked numerous transport associations across Germany whether they always carry out a credit check or whether they also offer a prepayment option. These providers replied that they do not directly reject people with negative credit reports:


Heilbronner-Hohenloher-Haller-Nahverkehr GmbH

The HNV does not yet check the creditworthiness of Deutschlandticket customers.


Hamburger Verkehrsverbund Gesellschaft mbH

The HVV does not check creditworthiness, it only checks whether there are any unpaid debts with the HVV.


Verkehrsverbund Neckar-Alb-Donau GmbH

The Verkehrsverbund Neckar-Alb-Donau GmbH does not currently carry out credit checks. At the time of our research, however, it was under discussion for the future.


Transport association Pforzheim-Enzkreis

The VPE only carries out a credit check on a random basis. Around ten per cent of customers are checked.


Osnabrück transport association

The VOS has a special regulation. Although a credit report is requested, negative entries are not automatically rejected. Firstly, a distinction is made between existing and new customers: Existing customers receive the Deutschlandticket as a normal mobile phone ticket if there have been no payment problems with Verkehrsgemeinschaft Osnabrück or Stadtwerke Osnabrück in the past.

New customers with a negative credit rating have the opportunity to obtain a mobile phone ticket if they pay for three months in advance. After the three months, customers have the option of paying again for the next three months or letting the ticket expire. If you don't have a mobile phone, you can get a chip card instead, but then you have to pay for a whole six months in advance.

No claim to completeness

The list of transport associations does not claim to be complete or up to date. We wrote to a total of 34 transport associations in the summer of 2023 and published the positive responses here.

You know more about?

Have you had any other positive experiences ordering a Deutschlandticket – despite being in debt? Or have you realised that the practice of a transport association listed here has changed?

Write to us about your experiences.

(Kopie 2)

Markus Quambusch,
Debt advisor

Patrick Stahl, BAG-SB e.V.