Deutsche Bahn requires travellers with online tickets to select some form of identification. For non-Europeans, the only practical option seems to be a credit card, and the website asks for the name and card number. Is a MasterCard debit card without the cardholder's name printed on the card acceptable?

2 Answers 2


This question (and the current answers) are out of date. As of 1 October 2016 Deutsche Bahn no longer requires an identification card but only an official identity document (or their Bahncard).

Per their help pages (in German, I was unable to find an English version)

Ab dem 01.10.2016: Identifikation per amtlichen Lichtbildausweis

Bei Buchungen nach dem 01.10.2016 entfällt die Angabe einer Identifikationskarte. Bei der Kontrolle im Zug müssen Sie sich dann lediglich durch Vorzeigen eines amtlichen Lichtbildausweises oder Ihrer BahnCard legitimieren.

Folgende Lichtbildausweise werden anerkannt:

  • deutscher Personalausweis
  • deutscher Reisepass
  • Kinderreisepass
  • europäischer Personalausweis
  • internationaler Reisepass
  • elektronischer Aufenthaltstitel
  • Bescheinigung über die Meldung Asylsuchender (BüMa)
  • BahnCard (ggf. in Verbindung mit einem Lichtbildausweis)

Es gelten nicht: Führerscheine, Schülerausweise, Truppenausweise und Schwerbehindertenausweise.

which summarizes to what I have stated above. The man in seat sixty-one has already reflected these changes:

If you wanted to use a German Railways print-at-home ticket (shown as online ticket on bahn.de) you used to have to show your credit or debit card as I.D. on board the train. I'm glad to say that this changed in October 2016, all you now need is a passport or other recognised ID to prove your name to support a print-at-home online ticket. You may or may not be asked for it by the conductor.


I wrote an email to DB asking about this, and they responded,

Sie können nur ein Identifikationsnachweise nutzen, wo auch der Name eingetragen ist.

My translation:

You can only use a proof of identity which shows the name.

  • 4
    I totally believe that the DB service answered this, but it is incorrect. According to their own AGBs (176 pages...) (bahn.de/p/view/mdb/bahnintern/agb/gesamt2015/…) it says no such thing at point 6.1.1 (page 98). I don't think this would hold up in court (or even at the DB complaint department, which is usually quite good)
    – dirkk
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 14:35

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