The bike sharing schemes can be initiated by cities and franchise partners. The operating costs are financed by contracts with public transport providers & municipalities, rental fees and the sale of advertising space on the bikes themselves. nextbike also provides mobility programmes for colleges or universities and companies.

Bicycle users are normally obtained through a subscription system, where each bike is locked to either itself or to a rental station. By scanning the QR code on the bike with the nextbike app bikes can be rented. The bikes can be returned via app, hotline, terminal. There are cities with a flex zone allowing users to return the bike anywhere within a defined area for a small additional fee.