Free checking accounts: Bank customers can save so much account fees when switching

Many citizens are turning every euro twice at the moment.

Free checking accounts: Bank customers can save so much account fees when switching

Many citizens are turning every euro twice at the moment. A savings opportunity that should not be underestimated is a change of current account. Because: In total, bank customers in Germany pay around six billion euros too much in fees every year, as the consumer portal Biallo has calculated.

This sum is roughly the sum if all bank customers would turn their backs on their expensive house bank and switch to a free current account. On average, individual bank customers can save around 90 euros a year in fees by switching, according to Biallo. And: "The savings from switching to a free account increase from year to year, since the expensive banks tend to turn the price screw more and more," says Horst Biallo, head of biallo.de.

For its analysis, the finance portal compared the current account fees of almost 1,200 banks and savings banks. Only fees for absolute standard banking services were taken into account: a monthly account management fee, prices for Girocard and standard credit card and possible costs for five transfers per month. If other banking services were also taken into account, such as fees for withdrawing money abroad, the savings potential would be even higher. "Many bankers can't think of much to keep customers loyal. However, they are creative when it comes to inventing new fees," says Horst Biallo.

The direct banks, which do not have to maintain an expensive branch network, are particularly cheap. A popular free current account is that of the DKB: No account management fee, Girocard and Visa card free of charge as well as free money withdrawals also abroad make the account attractive - even if the Visa card is no longer a real credit card, but a a debit card with a Visa function (the real credit card costs 2.49 euros per month). The ING current account (including the Visa debit card) is also free of charge if you have at least 700 euros in cash per month.

But there are also some good offers among the regional banks. The online accounts at PSD Bank Nürnberg and the Genossenschaftsbank München are also free. The Sparda-Bank Hessen and the Volksbank Brandoberndorf only take 20 euros, the PSD Bank Westfalen-Lippe 24.95 euros a year.

On the other hand, a normal online account is particularly expensive at many savings banks. The most expensive provider in the comparison is the Sparkasse Mülheim, which charges its customers 166.80 euros for the compared standard services. The Sparkasse Schwelm-Sprockhövel and the Hafner bank also charge more than 160 euros, while the Hamburger Sparkasse (Haspa) costs 155 euros. "The huge price range surprised me too, after all they all provide exactly the same service," says Horst Biallo, commenting on the result of the comparison.

Stiftung Warentest recently found price differences of up to 360 euros a year in a checking account comparison that also took a number of other points into account. The Warentest experts consider account costs of up to 60 euros a year to be acceptable, anything above that is too expensive. In the Warentest comparison of over 432 account models, just 79 offers were cheaper than 60 euros a year.

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