If inflation eats up savings and no one knows how high the heating bill will be after the winter, an additional financial cushion can't hurt. For example, via a credit line with customer-friendly conditions.
Mark Twain once said: A banker is a man who lends his umbrella when the sun is shining and wants it back as soon as it starts raining. This wisdom is still relevant today - and can be translated into a very specific piece of advice: If you are unsure about how to proceed with your own finances, you should not wait until the need is greatest. He or she should submit the loan request to the bank while the numbers are still correct.
A credit line is just the thing for this. In good times, customers can set a credit limit with their bank for a possible later need for credit and have their creditworthiness checked at this point. If the contract is concluded, it then ensures the customer financial flexibility even in bad times. Because it is up to him whether he uses the full credit immediately or only parts of the credit line - and interest only accrues on the part of the loan that the customer has called up.
Essentially, a credit line works like an overdraft facility. Only the sums available are much higher and the interest rates much lower. That's the good news. The bad: Not all banks offer credit lines - and even if they do, not all products are equally recommended.
On behalf of ntv, FMH-Finanzberatung has determined where customers can currently obtain flexible credit lines, what interest rates the banks and savings banks charge for them and what the repayment modalities look like.
For comparison: An installment loan of 10,000 euros and the usual term of 60 months costs an average of just under 190 euros. The advantage of the credit line is therefore not to be found in the monthly rate, but in the binding credit commitment for the future and the speed of the credit extension within the agreed framework.
The FMH examined 68 banks and savings banks that offer their customers credit lines. A number of regional providers scored "very well" - for example in the large warehouse of the savings banks. Here the conditions are almost identical in many areas: Customers can have up to 80,000 euros approved and have to repay at least two percent of the loan amount or at least 50 euros per month. However, the interest rate varies in this segment between 3.99 and 8.75 percent p.a.
Savings banks that charge more than five percent per year therefore only get a good grade. It is also important that the loan offers from the savings banks are always linked to a current account and a debit card. Customers pay for their (unexpected) expenses by credit card and then pay them back in the form of a credit line.
The nationwide test winner SWK Bank offers a very good credit line with an interest rate of 4.88 percent. The credit limit here is a maximum of 25,000 euros. The repayment rate is set very low at at least one percent, but allows customers any repayment increases.
The FMH also rated the offer from ING, which has been offering this product for many years, as "very good". Although it charges a little more interest than the SWK, customers are extremely flexible when it comes to repayment. Another plus point: For the loan amount that customers call up immediately after the loan approval, they get the interest credited back to them in the first three months of the loan term. A current account with the ING is not a prerequisite for this.
Volkswagen Bank, which was also rated "very good", came in third in the nationwide segment. However, it comes up with a special feature: customers do not pay the minimum installment in line with the amount of credit drawn down, but according to the agreed credit line. If you only call up 5,000 euros from your credit line of 15,000 euros, you only pay interest on the amount accessed, but the monthly repayment amount (interest and repayment) is still at least 150 euros.