In some countries, in English to charge a battery is "charging" , in German for charging it is "aufladen". In English, to pay the prepaid bill is "recharge".

For example: I need to recharge my cell. ( Here, it means to recharge sim card as the prepaid package is over)

Please recharge your channel package. (In context of channels on TV that requires monthly prepaid recharge)

Sometimes people use the word top-up but top up is also one of the package names.

What word do we have in German to say recharge?


3 Answers 3


In German, there is no need to distinguish the scenarios: Aufladen works for charging the battery as well as well as transferring money for future use, like a prepaid SIM or a prepaid debit card.

Only with subscriptions an entirely different word is needed: ein Abonnement verlängern is the typical phrase used for streaming services, printed papers, pay TV and so on.

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    Instead of verlängern, erneuern is also possible (renew). Oct 28, 2022 at 11:31

I would use both aufladen (to charge) or wieder aufladen (to recharge) in both senses, Akku (battery) and Konto (account). I would also use both charge and recharge in both senses in English.

I can't think of any words that mean only one of these in German. Even füllen/auffüllen could be understood in both senses. One would have to specify an object instead:

Ich muss mein Guthaben (wieder) aufladen.
Ich muss meinen Akku (wieder) aufladen.

With e.g. Handy as an object, it's ambiguous what is meant, although I would tend to hear the literal meaning, which is the battery.

Ich muss mein Handy wieder aufladen.

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    "With e.g. Handy as an object, it's ambiguous what is meant, although I would tend to hear the literal meaning, which is the battery." – I agree. For the other meaning, I often hear "Ich muss meine SIM aufladen", which (having studied mobile communications in university) always makes me cringe. "Ich muss meinen Vertrag aufladen" also seems common. Oct 28, 2022 at 15:59

Possible translations for "to recharge" are "laden", "aufladen" and "wiederaufladen". Since this is one of the terms where there is no direct one-to-one translation between English and German, context is important.

For example, while "aufladen" can be used both in reference to electrical charging and finance (debit cards etc.), "laden" would only be used for electrical charging (and for freight, because that also translates to "loading"). The term "wiederaufladen" ist typically used to put emphasis on something being rechargeable, as opposed to single-use: "wiederaufladbare Batterie" (rechargeable battery).

"Ich muss meine Batterie wieder aufladen" (note the space!) has the same meaning as "Ich muss meine Batterie aufladen", but one might argue that the first form ("wieder-") includes a subtle hint that currently the battery is not charged.

And careful with accounts/debit cards/etc: "to charge" something on an account would be "belasten"; to put some money into such an account would be "aufladen". So, "to charge" has the opposite meaning in that context.

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