All banks charge a service fee

Bank fees: Not all current account fees are permitted

Fee for deposits and withdrawals to / from your own account (price per booking item)

The following applies to accounts in which, in addition to a basic price, the account is charged separately for each booking process: The bank may only calculate deposits and withdrawals to / from its own account as booking items to a limited extent.

For the Withdrawal from the ATM the bank can quote a booking entry as it makes the machine available around the clock.

Cash deposits and withdrawals at the counter again, however, are "payment services" and as such can be priced (see above). The Federal Court of Justice has confirmed this view in a first decision (judgment of June 18, 2019, Az .: XI ZR 768/17).

Conflicts may not even arise because models with flat-rate fees for account management cover the costs of cash deposits and withdrawals.

Fee for subsequently created account statements

If a bank has already sent its customer account statements once or made them available in some other way - for example on the account statement printer - it may charge a fee for statements that are subsequently created. However, this fee must be based on the actual costs of the institute, so it cannot simply be set arbitrarily.

In the case before the Federal Court of Justice, the bank had set an amount of 15 euros per subsequently created extract in its list of prices and services. The judges criticized this pricing as too flat. Because in fact the costs of the bank - according to their own presentation in the process - were only 10 euros when it came to account statements from the last six months. In contrast, the bank incurred significantly higher costs for duplicates from periods in the past.

The judges considered the method of the institute to demand the same amount for all duplicates, regardless of the period, to be inadmissible. Rather, the bank had to differentiate between the different periods and was only allowed to demand the costs actually incurred. (Federal Court of Justice, judgment of December 17, 2013 - XI ZR 66/13).

Fee for lost card

According to Paragraph 675 I, Paragraph 1 of the German Civil Code (BGB), the bank may replace a later card after the customer has received the card

  • lost,
  • stolen,
  • misused or
  • otherwise unauthorized use

Request a fee for the card. However, it may only demand the costs exclusively and directly associated with the replacement.

An older ruling by the BGH (BGH, ruling of October 20, 2015 - XI ZR 166/14), according to which no fee may be charged for a new giro or credit card if the old card has been blocked due to loss or theft, is no longer valid. It has not yet been finally clarified whether banks may also charge a fee in other constellations, for example when the card is replaced due to damage.

Please note: After the revision of paragraph 675 f paragraph 1 of the German Civil Code (BGB) in 2009, older decisions of the BGH no longer apply.

Fee for maintaining a loan account

If the bank grants a loan and opens its own account for this purpose, it is not allowed to charge a fee in order to maintain this account (BGH, judgment of 07.06.2011, Az. XI ZR 388/10). The reason: The management of the account is solely in the interest of the bank, which has to book the incoming repayments. On the other hand, the customer has no interest in this account, as he can check his payments using the documents available to him. A distinction is to be made between this, however, when a current account is maintained, from which the bank debits the repayments.

Fee for the attachment of accounts

The bank is not allowed to demand any money for an account attachment and its monthly review, as it is legally obliged to process the attachment. Affected customers do not have to pay the costs of a pre-seizure or a payment ban (judgments of May 18, 1999 - Az. XI ZR 219/98 and of October 19, 1999 - Az. XI ZR 8/99).

No additional costs due to a seizure protection account

Since the P-account is not a separate account model, but only a special addition to the existing account, the account fees may not be increased by the conversion. For existing accounts, this means that after the conversion into a Garnishment protection account may not demand higher fees. For new customers, this means that a current account managed as a garnishment protection account must not cost more than a standard account at this institute with a comparable scope of services. (Federal Court of Justice, judgment of July 16, 2013, Az .: XI ZR 260/12, judgments of November 13, 2012 -XI ZR 145/12 and XI ZR 500/11).

Fee for address discovery

One of the additional contractual obligations of the customer is to notify his bank of the new address immediately when moving. If he does not do this and the bank has to find the address at the registration office, the customer has to bear the costs of the registration office as well as the processing costs of the bank.

Charges for return debits

If your account does not have sufficient funds for an order, the bank can refuse the booking. For the subsequent reversal of the SEPA direct debit, the bank has been able to offer you since January 13, 2018 charge a fee. The amount that is appropriate for this has yet to be clarified by a judge.

It has not been so long: if the financial institutions refused to redeem a direct debit by July 8, 2012, they were not allowed to charge you for it at that time. Unfortunately, this case law of the Federal Court of Justice for the protection of consumers is outdated: the legislature has approved such charges. Until January 12, 2018, banks were only allowed to charge costs for the notification - a so-called "notification fee" - since then, costs for the process of rejection have been charged.

It is different if the bank carries out a booking that exceeds your credit balance or the credit line, even though your account is overdrawn - we then speak of a so-called "tolerated overdraft". Then the bank can give you this do not charge any fee (see “Overdraft Processing Fee”).

Another special case is when you own one unauthorized direct debit want to book back. Then the bank is also allowed to reject it no pay ask of you.

Fee for receiving bank statements

Customers have the right to find out about their account balance and bookings on their account free of charge. If this is not possible at the counter, a bank statement printer must be available to them, where they can check the account balance free of charge. However, if account statements are given free of charge at the counter, banks can charge a fee for the statement at the printer. The same applies if the customer requests a special service, for example the sending of account statements by post. If the bank sends the quarterly financial statements, it is not allowed to ask for anything, as this is in its own interest as evidence.

Costs for compulsory account statements

According to a ruling by the Frankfurt am Main Regional Court, banks are not allowed to charge a fee if they send the customer an account statement without being asked. In principle, a bank is legally obliged to inform the customer about the payment transactions on his account at least once a month, whether online, on the statement printer or by mail. No fee may be charged for fulfilling this obligation. This is only possible in exceptional cases stipulated by law, for example if the customer expressly requests additional delivery.

So it depends largely on the contractual structure. If the dispatch of an account statement is not permitted, the consumer center is of the opinion that neither a fee for the dispatch nor the postage may be charged. Postage as reimbursement of expenses may only be requested if the effort was necessary. However, if the customer does not want shipping, postage may not be required for this. But the question is of the highest court Not clarified.

Costs for copies or phone calls

Banks are not allowed to pass the costs for copies or telephone calls on to the customer. Exception: Telephone calls and copies are made at the express request of the customer or the bank could assume such a customer request. However, the bank has to prove this and the amount of the costs incurred. General business costs - such as partial rental costs - may not be passed on to the customer.

Costs for information from third parties or for information that the bank has obtained

If the bank or third parties obtain information in their own interest, they must assume the corresponding costs as general business costs. This service can only be charged if customers expressly request their bank to pass on information or to issue them with a certificate, for example an interest certificate.

Overdraft Processing Fee

If the credit in your account is insufficient for a booking and the booking exceeds your credit limit, the bank has two options:

  1. The bank refuses to make the transfer - and can charge you a fee for returning the direct debit (see “Charges for return debits”).
  2. The bank tolerates the overdraft. In this case, the financial institution is not allowed to charge you any fee for the so-called overdraft processing.

Background: If a bank decides to execute a direct debit despite exceeding the overdraft facility, a so-called “tolerated overdraft” occurs. For this credit decision, however, the bank may kask you to pay a feebecause it is done solely in the interests of the bank or savings bank.

The decision as to whether an account overdraft is tolerated or not is partly fully automated and partly made individually - for example, depending on the amount of the overdraft facility.

Investigation fee for transfers

In the case of a transfer, the bank must ensure that the funds are received by the appropriately named recipient. The recipient is correctly named if the customer provides the correct account number and bank code. If the money does not arrive despite being correctly named and the bank investigates, it is acting in its own interest and in fulfilling its own obligations. It cannot therefore charge the customer any costs for research or research. The legal situation is different if the customer has entered the data incorrectly. He has a right against his institute to participate in his efforts to recover the amount. If the bank supports him in this, it may demand a fee in accordance with Section 675 y (3) of the German Civil Code (BGB) in accordance with the relevant agreement

Complaint processing costs

Banks cannot impose these costs on customers (Cologne Regional Court, judgment of 16.08.2000 - 26 O 30/00). The financial institution is contractually obliged to investigate a complaint.

Graduated dunning costs

The more reminders are sent, the lower the costs - not the other way around. Because the bank does not have to present the facts anew every time. Graduated dunning costs, at which each dunning letter is more expensive, should only increase the pressure on the debtor. This is not permitted and also violates the bank's obligation to keep the damage as low as possible.

Reminder costs of more than EUR 3.00 per reminder

Reminder costs must be based on the amount of damage that can usually be expected and must not be a penalty. Due to rationalization measures, the processing effort for reminders has decreased considerably. Dunning costs over 3, - EURO are therefore hardly justified.

Costs for the account or credit termination or for mere reminder letters

For letters without any legal effect - for example for a reminder or the threat of legal consequences - not a cent may be charged. If the bank ends a business relationship, it only pursues its own interests and is also not allowed to charge customers extra fees for this.

Fees for the account closure and timely cancellation of the savings credit

Customers are usually allowed to terminate a business relationship with their bank - for example the current account - without notice, or with a special agreement with a maximum period of one month. You do not have to pay any account termination fees. Even if a savings account is terminated on time, there are no "penalties". The customer cannot cancel a savings account early if the savings balance is fixed for a certain period of time or a notice period has been agreed. If you still want that, you have to come to an agreement with the financial institution. As a rule, this then demands compensation for the lost profit, which seems permissible.

Retention of the full card fee despite early termination of the contract

Credit cards and EC card contracts usually have a specific term, for example two years. The customer usually pays the fees in advance. If the contract is terminated prematurely, the customer can have the portion of the card fee reimbursed for the unused contract period (OLG Frankfurt, judgment of 14.12.2000 - 1 U 108/99).

Banks and savings banks are not allowed to charge a fee for blocking cards in their terms and conditions if they are complying with a statutory obligation by blocking them. Such an obligation exists for institutes, for example, if the customer reports the theft or misuse of his card (OLG Düsseldorf, judgment of July 9, 2012 - I-6 U 195/11). A fee is also inadmissible if the bank blocks a card in its predominantly own interest. As a consequence, clauses that demand a flat fee for blocking a card without further restricting the prerequisites for such a fee are inadmissible.

Fees for processing inheritance: reporting to the tax office, account transfer

If the account holder dies, the bank must inform the tax office of the testator's account balance. The heirs may not be charged with costs for this (Regional Court Frankfurt, judgment of January 27, 2000 - 2/2 O 46/99 and Regional Court of Dortmund, judgment of March 16, 2001 - 8 O 57/01). In order to adapt the documents to the new legal situation, the bank must also transfer the deceased's account to the name of the heir. Heirs do not have to pay for this either. The bank may only demand a fee if the heirs expressly want to be economically advised on the appropriate use of the inheritance and a special advisory contract is concluded.

Commission when receiving money from abroad

Some credit institutions wrongly charge a commission for money received from abroad. Apparently they want to avoid the EU demand to reduce the transfer costs within the European economic area. However, the banks act purely as a clearing house for current accounts and must properly post the incoming funds. This is not a special service for the customer.