What are the different fees for the transfer

Bank charges : Why paper transfers will cost more in the future

These are not easy times - neither for banks nor for their customers. While consumers are puzzling over how they should invest their money in the face of low interest rates, the institutions hardly make any money from the traditional deposit business either. The first banks are therefore increasing their fees: for example, for handwritten transfers using a pre-printed form. Anyone who still pays their bills in this classic way will have to pay more in the future.

As of April 1st, Postbank will charge 99 cents for every paper transfer, known in the technical language as transfer by receipt. Only customers who have a premium account are spared, for which they pay correspondingly high account management fees. Sparda-Bank Berlin is also collecting: since January 1, it has been charging 1.50 euros per transfer form, which the customer must fill out by hand and hand it in at the branch.

Some customers do not want to do without paper transfers

The banks justify these high fees by saying that customers have alternatives. Finally, you can make your transfers online. Almost all institutes also have machines in their branches where you can type in or scan your transfers. But: Not all customers use this by a long way. There is still a group of consumers who stick to traditional paper transfers. The banks don't like to see that. In contrast to online banking, when making a paper transfer, employees have to pick up and check each receipt individually. "This creates high costs for us, which we want to reduce," says Postbank spokesman Ralf Palm.

Consumer advocates consider this development problematic. Because it mainly affects senior citizens and low-wage earners, criticizes Wolfgang Benedikt-Jansen, lawyer for the protection association for bank customers. It is also not yet clear whether these fees are even permissible. The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) recently declared fees that customers pay per booking to be illegal. It is true that this judgment cannot be applied one-to-one to the costs of transfers. But the protection community has already announced that it will examine the case and, if in doubt, file a lawsuit.

What customers can do

In the meantime, consumers hardly have a chance to defend themselves against the fees - unless they change institutes. Postbank does allow its customers to lodge an objection. At the same time, however, it reserves the right to terminate the account of its own accord in this case. Stiftung Warentest therefore advises writing to the bank: Customers should point out that they consider the regulation to be ineffective and therefore reserve the right to reclaim the fees later. In this way, you are on the safe side: If a court overturns the fees, customers can then have them reimbursed more easily - including a small interest compensation.

Banks are pushing consumers to bank online

With the high price of transferring receipts, the banks are also trying to urge their customers to use online banking more. But whether that works is questionable. Some customers are reluctant to get used to it. This is shown by the example of Sparda-Bank Berlin.

In the past, the institute had special mailboxes attached to the branches outside. Customers could drop their completed transfer receipts there. The only problem was: These boxes are easy to break open - with the result that criminals get their account details and signature. For security reasons, the bank has therefore abolished the boxes. Perhaps the institute wanted to gently point out to customers that they can scan their transfers using a machine. But some customers just didn't want to get used to it. In some cases, they are said to have simply pushed their completed forms under the door. Therefore, the bank has now turned around and set up new boxes in the branches for the insertion of transfer slips - and just introduced a fee of 1.50 euros per receipt.

The institutes are likely to further increase the fees

If you believe Oliver Mihm, CEO of the management consultancy Investors Marketing, expensive transfers are just the beginning. “Increasing fees is an issue for all banks,” he says. In view of the low interest rates, the institutes would have to watch how they get their costs under control. Banks earn money in the private customer business with interest and commissions. But they can't turn the interest any further and increasing the commissions is all the more alienating to customers. "That is why all current account services are being scrutinized," says Mihm.

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