Compared to the classic checking account, the value-added account is a checking account with benefits, insurance and other extras that some banks and savings banks offer their customers. A recent test shows whether the services justify the higher basic fees.
Accounts that entice with value-added services do not meet the expectations of customers in all areas, as a current study by the German Institute for Service Quality shows.
Overall, the most convincing area is travel: travel abroad health insurance and reimbursements for travel bookings are included in almost all of the account models examined - twelve of the 15 analyzed accounts offer a travel booking service.
On the other hand, there are clear differences and a generally comparatively small range of value-added services in the area of leisure and discounts. For example, few accounts offer discounts for utilities or telecoms. Not one of the value-added accounts examined allows discounts for public transport.
It is hardly surprising that the financial institutions do not offer credit interest on their value-added accounts either. On the other hand, high interest rates are sometimes due for overdrafts: approved overdrafts are charged at up to 10.9 percent and unauthorized overdrafts at up to 14.9 percent per year.
There are big differences in the basic fees, which are between EUR 2.00 and EUR 17.95 for the accounts examined. After all, none of the account models analyzed requires a minimum monthly payment. And: For customers, there is a wide range of ATMs that can be used free of charge at all financial institutions; the number of branches, on the other hand, has declined significantly. Markus Hamer, Managing Director of the German Institute for Service Quality, advises: "The scope of the value-added services varies depending on the account and provider. Consumers should therefore check individually whether switching from a normal current account to a premium account with a higher basic fee is actually worthwhile worth it."
Test winner is the Nassauische Sparkasse. The "Naspa Giro Comfort" account scores with the largest range of value-added services, for example in the area of leisure and discounts. As the only one of the accounts examined, an insurance for event tickets is also integrated here. The monthly basic fee of nine euros is the second lowest in a comparison of the premium accounts; payment transactions are free of charge.
BW-Bank and Kreissparkasse Ludwigsburg shared second place. The "BW extend gold" account from BW-Bank scores with very attractive conditions, such as comparatively moderate debit interest in the event of an overdraft. When it comes to value-added services, the services in the travel area are particularly convincing. The "BW extend classic" account takes second place among the other account models. The premium account "Giro Classic comfort" from Kreissparkasse Ludwigsburg achieved first place in terms of conditions and branch services. At EUR 7.90 per month, customers also pay the lowest basic fee in comparison. When it comes to value-added services, the travel area scores particularly well, for example with a five percent reimbursement when booking a trip.
(This article was first published on Monday, July 18, 2022.)