The right to a current account?

Since 18 June 2016 everyone has a statutory entitlement to a current account in the form of a so-called basic account.

We´ll answer the frequently asked questions: 

This is a current account that usually cannot be overdrawn (credit account). You will receive an EC card but generally not a credit card. Standing orders and direct debit orders are possible if there is enough money in the account. The basic account can only be set up by an individual person. It can be managed as a protection attachment account (P-Konto).

Everyone is entitled to a basic account, even the homeless and refugees. However, you must be able to prove your identity and have a postal address. Every bank has a standard application form which can usually also be found on the Internet. You can decide yourself where you want to have your account.

This is only possible in very few cases and must be justified within 10 days in writing. A refusal is possible in particular if

  • you already have a current account with another bank which you can use,
  • you have had an account with this bank in the past which was terminated for good cause.

You can go to BaFin (Federal Financial Supervisory Authority) or a consumer advice centre. The bank is obliged to give you the address. You may also bring an action before a court.

The law stipulates that the basic account must not be significantly more expensive than any other comparable account with the same bank.

This is only possible in very few cases, for example if you gave false information when you opened the account, if you open another account, overdraw the account or do not use the account for two years. The notice of termination must be made in writing and be justified; you must be informed about where you can lodge an appeal.