D.German banks charge an average of 9.79 percent for overdrafting the current account within the agreed framework (overdraft interest). This is the result of a survey by the Check 24 internet portal, which the F.A.Z. is exclusive. The basis of the survey is unusually broad, 571 different checking accounts were considered, the new checking account comparison of the platform, certified by TÜV Saarland, was used. At the top, the banks under review demand 13.75 percent overdraft interest, reports the platform, but there are also banks with 0 percent overdraft interest.
15 percent of Germans have overdrawn their account
In a representative survey, the platform also dealt with the question of how much the overdraft facility is currently being used. Accordingly, 15 percent of Germans are currently using their overdraft facility. A good third of them (34 percent) are in the red with less than 500 euros. After all, 25 percent of those who would have overdrawn their account would be more than 1500 euros in the red. In such cases, the overdraft interest could be relevant, said Rainer Gerhard, managing director of cards and accounts at the internet portal. A bank customer who has overdrawn his account by 1500 euros for twelve months and paid the average overdraft interest of 9.79 percent would ultimately incur annual costs of 147 euros. At the maximum interest rate of 13.75 euros it is even 206 euros.
Criticism of high interest rates
Recently, the organization “Finanzwende” of the former Green Bundestag member Gerhard Schick criticized the resumption of overdraft rates after the crisis. “The short-term lowering of overdraft rates by some banks and savings banks was probably just a marketing gag,” said Julian Merzbacher from “Finanzwende”. The financial crisis caused by Corona is far from over for many households. On the contrary: the crisis is only now becoming really painful, especially for millions of people on short-time work, some of whom have been able to draw on their reserves so far. “Above all, surprising burdens are then often financed in the short term via the overdraft facility,” said Merzbacher.
A number of banks and savings banks in Germany had temporarily significantly reduced their overdraft rates for existing customers due to the Corona crisis, but have now returned to the pre-crisis values, including Frankfurter Sparkasse. In part, this means roughly doubling the interest rates for customers. In some cases, the limit of 10 percent overdraft interest is exceeded again. Most institutes have evidently not extended the corona regulation, even if the corona crisis is certainly not over yet. Some of the institutes raised interest rates again at the beginning of July – others in August.
Banks that had not lowered their overdraft rates during the crisis argued, in part, that it does not matter that much for each individual customer, that this would not solve the crisis problems. There had been a real political dispute over the subject in Saarland. Oskar Lafontaine, parliamentary group leader of the Left in the Saarland state parliament, had called on the Saarland savings banks to follow the laudable example of the Frankfurter Sparkasse and to relieve the Saarlanders by lowering overdraft rates. The savings banks of the western state reacted rather coolly – they referred to the easing measures for customers with building loans that had already been implemented with great effort.
But there were also exceptions when the overdraft facility interest was restarted: The Taunus-Sparkasse in Bad Homburg, in contrast to the institute in nearby Frankfurt, declared that it would leave its overdraft facility interest for existing customers at the reduced Corona level until the end of the year. After all, the crisis is not over yet.
See all overdraft interest rates from more than 500 banks here.