The excellent field-effect passivation provided by aluminum oxide (Al2O3) on germanium surfaces relies on the high negative fixed charge present in the film. However, in many applications, a neutral or a positive charge would be preferred. Here, we investigate the surface passivation performance and the charge polarity of plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposited (PEALD) silicon oxide (SiO2) on Ge. The results show that even a 3 nm thick PEALD SiO2 provides a positive charge density (Qtot, ∼2.6 × 1011 cm−2) and a relatively good surface passivation (maximum surface recombination velocity SRVmax ∼16 cm/s). When the SiO2 thin film is capped with an ALD Al2O3 layer, the surface passivation improves further and a low midgap interface defect density (Dit) of ∼1 × 1011 eV−1 cm−2 is achieved. By varying the SiO2 thickness under the Al2O3 capping, it is possible to control the Qtot from virtually neutral (∼2.8 × 1010 cm−2) to moderately positive (∼8.5 × 1011 cm−2) values. Consequently, an excellent SRVmax as low as 1.3 cm/s is obtained using optimized SiO2/Al2O3 layer thicknesses. Finally, the origin of the positive charge as well as the interface defects related to PEALD SiO2 are discussed. © 2023 Author(s).