Bank Card - Key Factors To Consider When Choosing the Right Card
Which account do you need? A current account without costs or one with an account management fee and additional services in return? Do you handle most of your financial matters online or do you value personal advice on site? This page tells you how to find the checking account that suits you best and what conditions you need to look out for when comparing checking accounts.
What is a checking account?
A checking account - also known as a payment account - is a bank account that you can use to make cashless payment transactions. It is impossible to imagine daily life without a current account or salary account. Without it, you can neither rent an apartment nor draw a salary. With a current account you can manage a whole range of financial matters:
- Store money safely at the bank
- Make and receive bank transfers
- Online banking: manage your finances easily from home or on the road
- Withdraw cash from ATMs
- Make cashless payments with your Girocard
- Paying with a credit card at home and abroad
- Bridging financial bottlenecks with overdraft facilities
The most important decision criteria:
Here's what you should look for when choosing a checking account.
Not all checking accounts are the same - banks offer their customers different checking account models with different conditions for different requirements. To avoid costs, consumers should carefully consider how they want to use the account.
Consumers should pay particular attention to the following criteria when comparing accounts:
Direct or branch bank
Do you want to handle your banking transactions exclusively online or do you value personal contact?
With some accounts, a card is always included, with others it is optional. Some of them are free of charge, others have a fee.
Account management fee
Some financial institutions charge a fee for account management, others offer it for free - but only under certain conditions, such as regular cash receipts.
The Girocard, which account holders can use to withdraw money and make electronic payments, can often be used at no additional cost. However, some credit institutions also charge a fee for this.
Transactions can incur additional costs, especially at the branch. With an online account, on the other hand, you can usually transfer money without incurring any fees.
The interest that banks charge for an overdrawn account varies significantly in some cases - so look for a low overdraft interest rate when comparing current accounts.
How dense is the bank's ATM network? At how many ATMs are fee-free cash withdrawals possible? Can you also withdraw money in local stores? Some banks offer a credit card with the checking account for foreign withdrawals at no cost - sometimes even worldwide.
Current account with bonus
How to get an account with bonus
If a bank offers a current account with bonus, you as a customer receive money for opening the account. This current account bonus is also called a starting balance. With these offers banks want to attract you as a new customer. However, you should always look carefully, because often the premium is tied to conditions such as a certain amount of incoming money. Nevertheless, there are some lucrative offers for a current account with a premium - even for free current accounts.
What current account premiums are there & what are the requirements?
With a checking account, you can receive various premiums. The best known current account bonus is the so-called new customer bonus. Here you get, if you were not previously a customer of this bank, the money transferred directly after opening the account. Sometimes the payment of the bonus is linked to certain conditions, for example:
- a certain number or amount of incoming funds
- a certain number of payments
- a fixed application period
- or the cancellation of your previous account
Is there also a current account without costs & with premium?
Some banks also offer bonuses for current accounts without costs. In the CHECK24 current account comparison, you can filter the results both by account management fees and by bonus. For fees, you can choose between "0 € without conditions", "0 € with conditions" and "Chargeable". To display only checking accounts with bonuses, simply check "Only accounts with bonuses" under "Additional filters". Even with a fee-free checking account with a bonus, you should always pay attention to the conditions for the bonus.
How do I find an account that suits me?
What type of checking account am I? This is the question you should ask yourself if you want a checking account that fits your individual needs. After all, the cost of a checking account is often highly dependent on usage patterns. For those who only handle their financial affairs online from the comfort of their sofa at home or while on the road, costs for paper-based transfers are irrelevant. For those who like to pay electronically, fees for cash withdrawals may not be so important.
Checklist for choosing the right account:
How much money can the account cost?
Would you rather pay a monthly account maintenance fee and use your account without any other fees, or should the new checking account be completely free?
What purpose will the checking account serve?
Do you want to use your account to manage all your financial affairs with it, should it serve you as a joint account with another person or as a reference account to a call money account? What services do you need? Do you travel a lot and need a credit card with which you can pay abroad free of charge, or is the Girocard sufficient for everyday use? Do you often withdraw cash or do you prefer to pay electronically? Do you use Google or Apple Pay?
Do you regularly overdraw your checking account?
Then you should choose a checking account with comparatively low overdraft interest rates. Comparing the interest rates for overdrawing your account can be worthwhile.
How would you like to manage your account?
Would you like to access your checking account only through the banking app? Or would you rather ask the questions directly to the bank employee? Most branch banks allow account access online or at the branch. At internet-only banks, account holders receive advice online or over the phone.
Where can you deposit cash into your checking account?
Branch bank customers can deposit money at the counter or at deposit machines. Direct bank customers, on the other hand, can only use the service terminals of the parent bank branch for cash deposits in some cases. Some banks also allow you to deposit money at the checkout counter of certain stores.
Do you get interest on your checking account?
Only a few banks still offer their customers interest on their checking account. The interest rates are also usually very low. At some banks, a call money account is linked to the checking account, where account holders can earn interest on their balance
How easy is it to get cash?
Does the bank belong to an ATM network that maintains a large number of ATMs? Are cash withdrawals possible at no cost? Do you also have the option of withdrawing cash free of charge abroad?
Does the bank offer you an opening credit or extras?
To attract new customers, some banks offer attractive opening credits. Some checking accounts score points with special extras such as reward programs, a bonus from CHECK24, discounts or credits for card payments.
How secure is online banking with a checking account?
Are transfers approved by photoTAN or pushTAN, or does the bank offer a TAN generator? The latter often costs a one-time fee of between ten and 15 euros.
How can I open a checking account online?
In 3 steps & 5 minutes to the right account
Compare checking account & find best account
Everything you need to know about your new account can be found in our current account comparison. From bonuses when opening an account to overdraft interest rates, fees and the number of ATMs, you can conveniently compare checking accounts. Our tip: Use the filter options of the current account comparison to find a suitable account even faster. For example, search specifically for accounts with a Mastercard or Visa credit card.
Complete the online application in less than 2 minutes
The online application for your new checking account can be completed in less than two minutes. All you need is your name, address and details of your profession. You can then download the application as a PDF file, print it out and sign it. Some banks now allow you to open a checking account online without a signature.
Confirm identity by video call from home
To complete the application, you only need to confirm your identity. You can do this at a post office branch using Postident or via the online Videoident procedure - if the procedure is offered for the account in question. To do this, you need a valid ID card or passport. You can confirm your identity in just five minutes by video call via smartphone, tablet or PC. The account is opened after your identity has been verified by video or PostIdent and your credit rating. You will then receive all the important documents, bank cards, PINs and, if applicable, TANs separately from the bank by mail.