No 27

The right to an account


Nowadays, most payments are conducted cashlessly. To go about your daily life, you therefore need an account.

Cashless payments

There is a wide range of different accounts available.
If you are unable to open a normal bank account, at least you have the right to a basic payment account. The most important differences are:

General account

Basic payment account


A bank may freely decide whether and whom it wishes to set up a bank account.

Anyone who is legally residence in the Euand
and who does not have a functional account, has the right to a basis payment account.


There is no legally defined limit on costs, and additional charges are always possible.
Free accounts are also offered.

Such an account may only cost a maximum of € 83.45 per year, and for people with particularly low amounts of money, this drops to € 40.00. Additional fees are not allowed to be charged.


The range of features includes all those that a basic payment account has, and many more. It is possible to overdraw the account, and a credit card is also often offered.

You may

  • withdraw cash at the counter or at ATMs
  • perform credit transfers, standing orders and direct debits
  • pay using a debit card
  • and use online banking.

The account may not be overdrawn, and there is no credit card.


The bank is not required to personally assist you when using your account.

The bank is required to assist you in opening and using your account
to ensure that you are actually able to use your account.


The bank is entitled to close your account at any time, subject to a two month notice period,
without stating reasons for doing so.

Your account may only be closed for a few specific important reasons – for example if you have a second account, if you have not used your account for a period of over 24 months, or use it for criminal activities.

Comparison website:

You can compare fees at

Basic payment account:

an account that has the basic payment functions.


The Consumer Payment Accounts Act (VZKG; Verbraucherzahlungskontogesetz) contains the rules regarding basic payment accounts, on comparing of payment account fees as well as about account switching services.

Further information

Basic payment account – an account for everyone

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