Having a current account is a prerequisite for being able to participate in economic life. Yet many consumers still do not have access to such an account. For others, it is difficult to move their current account to another bank.
The EU therefore adopted the Payment Accounts Directive, which was implemented in Germany in 2016 in the Payment Accounts Act (Zahlungskontengesetz, ZKG). This law now gives every consumer the right to open a basic bank account at a bank or savings bank. In addition, the law is intended to lead to more transparency in costs and fees, the establishment of a comparison website listing the different providers, and a mandatory account switching service.
The European Commission is currently evaluating the Payment Accounts Directive.
vzbv’s market monitoring team has already identified several deficiencies and concludes that the Payment Accounts Directive in its present form fails to achieve its objectives.
- The Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht - BaFin) must enforce that all providers of current accounts make pre-contractual fee information available
- Banks themselves must actively and regularly provide information on recurrent charges
- An inexpensive basic bank account which must also be made fit for digitalisation
- A “forwarding function” when switching accounts to prevent unpleasant surprises due to stray bookings