Transfer (payment transactions)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The transfer ( English wire transfer ) is in the cashless payment of a payment instrument, wherein the payer debtor by means of transfer to his account leading bank deposit money at the expense of his current account to the institution of the payee ( creditor ) can be transferred.


Participants in the transfer are:

  • the paying client (debtor),
  • its account-holding bank,
  • the account-holding bank of the payee, and
  • the payee (creditor).

In addition to checks , bills of exchange , direct debit and payment by credit , debit or charge card, bank transfers are a payment instrument for cashless payments. Whereas in the case of checks, bills of exchange and direct debit the activity comes from the payee, in the case of transfers, the payer triggers the payment process. The majority of sales in all cashless transactions in Germany in 2013 came from transfers, the proportion of which has remained stable for years at around 80% of all cashless payment instruments.

Cashless payments in Germany by non-banks in 2013
Payment instrument Volume
in € million
Proportion of (%) Transactions
in million pieces
Proportion of (%)
Transfers 57.058.258 80.9 6,272 31.5
Direct debits 13,089,319 18.6 9,932 49.8
checks 198,644 0.3 32 0.2
Debit cards / electronic cash 164,709 0.2 2,952 14.8
Credit cards 59,083 0.1 714 3.6
E-money function 108 0.0 32 0.2
total 70.570.121 100 19,934 100


The origins of payment transactions can be traced back to the ancient Babylonian period , when instructions could be used to dispose of grain balances with the banker . In Greece it was mainly the trapezites (still in Greek today τραπεζα trapeza , German 'bank' ) who received deposits from private individuals and carried out payment orders. The Roman counterpart were the Argentarii , who mediated payments by rewriting them in their business books. The Roman expressions rescribere or remittere received the meaning of 'to pay'. The first bank with organized giro traffic was the Genoese Banco di San Giorgio , which was founded at the end of 1407. This was followed by the Banco di Rialto (1587) and the Banco Giro (1619), which for the first time had the word giro ( Italian giro 'circle' , 'cycle') in their name and granted municipal loans to the city of Venice .

The deterioration in coins, which was disruptive to trade, led to the introduction of book money in Germany as well. The Hamburg bank , founded in 1619, was the first with the exclusive purpose of giro traffic based on the currency " Mark Banco ", which is exclusively used by it . It was taken over by the Reichsbank in 1876 and has served as the Reichsbank headquarters ever since. The Reichsbank Act of March 14, 1875 stated in Section 13 that the Reichsbank was authorized to “accept funds in deposits and giro transactions”. It replaced cash payments with book money transfers by way of giro traffic. It gave the giro traffic a centralized structure by creating local clearing houses in 1883, where the banks settled their mutual claims. Your "giro payment" consisted of the "write-down and write-up of deposits in the bank books".

The German economic crisis of 1907 gave another impetus to the introduction of cashless payment transactions in order to make the money supply of the economy more independent of cash . Since 1910, the importance of the payment transaction function for Landesbanken or Girozentralen increased , as they became the central clearing house for the acceleration of cashless payment transactions. Since November 2017 it has been possible to transfer in real time . However, the EU member states hesitantly made use of this, and the German savings banks started doing this in July 2018.


Since January 2008, transfers have been processed using the cashless SEPA procedure that exists across Europe (with various transition periods that extended to August 1, 2014 for companies and February 1, 2016 for consumers) . With the SEPA transfer , not only domestic but also international transfers can be made in euros (within the EU and to Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway). On the SEPA transfer, the client must fill in the following data from top to bottom:

  1. Name of the recipient or beneficiary
  2. IBAN ( international bank account number ) of the recipient or beneficiary
  3. Transfer amount in euros including cent value
  4. Usage
  5. Details of the sender or account holder (e.g. full name, company, location)
  6. IBAN of the sender or account holder

The transfer order filled in with this data is signed or authorized by the client and submitted to the bank holding the account. The order can be paperless ( online banking , telephone banking ) or document-bound (informally or using a form, so-called transfer slip ). The account holding bank checks the information and passes the transfer order by means of data carrier exchange procedure to a central clearing house for clearing the SEPA clearer RPS further leads him or internally from bank.

Which clearing house is used depends on the account-holding institution of the payee. As an exception, a clearing house is not required if the client and the payee of the transfer keep their accounts at the same institute (house transfer, also house transfer). If the payee maintains an account with an institute that belongs to the same giro network as the client's account-keeping institute, the giro center is switched on in the savings bank system, for example. All other cross-institutional transfers or transfers that cannot be placed in a Gironetz will be settled by the Deutsche Bundesbank as part of the settlement .

Gironets in Germany

In Germany five so-called exist for transfers between banks Giro networks or current circuits , which in turn are also networked and also handle payments with foreign countries:

EU price regulation / EU standard transfer

The European Community has in the Regulation 2560/2001 of December 2001 ( "EU-Price Regulation"), which entered into force in 2003, stipulates that the same fees shall apply to cross-border credit transfers between Member States of the EU as for transfers within the country, in which the transfer is instructed. This rule applies to payments in euro denominated, not exceed an amount of 50,000 euros and for which the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and SWIFT BIC are given. In 2005, the EEA countries (Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein) also joined the EU price regulation, so that transfers that meet the conditions of the regulation are also priced like EU standard transfers.

Payments over EUR 12,500 must continue to be reported to the Deutsche Bundesbank for foreign trade statistics.

Legal issues

The transfer is an agency legal transfer of § 665 BGB , after which the financial institution commissioned to execute the transfer order as it determines the client. The transfer order is not an order in the legal sense, but a transfer contract. The offer to conclude a transfer agreement comes from the client and can be submitted in writing or electronically. The acceptance of the offer lies in the processing of the transfer order by the bank or in its silence according to § 362 Abs. 1 HGB. If the contracting institute transfers the further execution to other banks with the consent of the client (through terms and conditions ) - when using cross-institute giro networks - it only has to answer for the wrong selection and instructions according to § 664 para. 1 sentence 2 BGB. If, on the other hand, the commissioned institute deviates from an instruction of the client without authorization, it violates the agency agreement and is obliged to pay damages in accordance with Section 280 (1) sentence BGB .

The material legal basis of the transfer is the Payment Services Directive that has been in force across Europe since October 2009 . Thereafter, a transfer becomes effective when it is received by the client's account-keeping bank ( Section 675n Paragraph 1 Clause 1 BGB). A transfer order may by the bank holding the account of the client about due to lack of funds in the account are rejected ( § 675o , para. 1, sentence 1 BGB). Denied the bank's execution of credit transfers, because the customer is not covered is, it must according to § 675o para. 1 sentence 4 BGB a fee calculated. The recall / revocation of a transfer by the client is no longer possible, apart from extreme exceptional cases ( Section 675p Paragraph 1 BGB). Within a recall period of 10 TARGET days after execution, only three reasons for recall are accepted, namely double execution, incorrect transfer due to technical problems and transfers caused by fraud. It is up to the recipient bank to decide whether to return the transfer amount. Any other revocation of the transfer is practically impossible, since in the case of domestic transfers, the transfer amount must not yet be credited to the recipient's account and the very short execution period of just 1 day (see below) stands against this. According to the prevailing opinion, a revocation is only possible until the credit has been made on the account of the recipient's bank, i.e. this bank has achieved cover. In the case of house transfers (client and recipient have accounts at the same bank), a revocation is therefore only possible up to the account debit of the client. An incorrect transfer can be traced by means of an inquiry ; it can be requested from the client's account-holding bank. According to Section 675z of the German Civil Code ( BGB), the bank may limit liability in its terms and conditions to EUR 12,500, except in the case of willful misconduct or gross negligence, interest damage and risks that it has specifically assumed.

In practice, some institutions declare every SEPA transfer they receive as revocable. The literature cites incidents in which the lax handling of so-called "SEPA SCT Recall" requests made it possible to fraudulently recall transfers after the payer had received paid goods or services.

Formal regulations are the “special conditions for bank transfers”, which every bank uses as part of the terms and conditions for customer transfers.

Execution deadlines

There are maximum statutory execution periods for transfers. The execution period is the period between the day a payment order is received by the client's bank and the day the final credit is credited to the payee's bank account . The following deadlines apply since January 1, 2012:

  • 1 day for transfers in euros within the EEA ,
  • 2 days for transfers that are ordered using a transfer form (i.e. document-bound),
  • 4 days for transfers within the EEA that are not made in euros,
  • no deadlines for transfers "in the currency of a country outside the EEA or [...] for which the payer's or payee's payment service provider is located outside the EEA".

The aforementioned deadlines may not be deviated from to the detriment of the customer.

The deadline was January 1, 2012

  • 3 days for transfers in euros within the EEA ,
  • 4 days for transfers that are ordered using a transfer form (i.e. document-bound).

Real-time transfer was introduced on November 21, 2017, which enables payment to be confirmed within 10 seconds.

Long before and still today, financial institutions have been offering a value date on the same day under terms such as "express transfer", "quick transfer" or "rapid transfer" - usually for high fees (10 to 50 euros per transfer).

Deadline calculation

The so-called business days are decisive for calculating the deadline . These are the days on which all credit institutions involved in the execution of the transfer maintain the business operations necessary for this ( Section 675n BGB). Saturdays , Sundays and public holidays as well as days on which banks do not open their counters ( bank holidays ) are not business days . The execution period for transfers therefore only begins when the transfer is received on a (banking) business day. According to Section 675n BGB, orders placed near the end of a business day (for example after the counter has closed) can only be deemed to have been received on the next business day. As a result, the maximum limit for the transfer time is extended accordingly.

Value date practice

With regard to the value date practice , § 675t BGB applies , according to which incoming payments must be posted immediately after receipt of transfers and the value date must be made on the same day as the incoming payment. It can be assumed that posting a credit note is still permitted on the business day following receipt. The legal text takes up the case law of the Federal Court of Justice on the value of incoming transfers. The BGH had made it clear that the credit, even if it is made retrospectively, is to be made in such a way that the value date of the amount received on the customer's account takes place on the date of the day on which the amount was made available to the bank. The beneficiary bank can only enter into a different value date agreement for cash deposits with companies, as the legal regulation relates to consumers .

Compliance with deadlines

The transfer is a payment by means of book money, which is not a legal tender and therefore does not trigger any obligation to accept the creditor. It should be noted that the recipient bank is not a “third party” within the meaning of Section 362 (2) of the German Civil Code (BGB), but merely acts as the payee's paying agent. The required consent of the payee for a transfer can be tacitly seen in the disclosure of his current account on business letters or invoices . In the case of a bank transfer, in the absence of any other agreement, the success of the service required for the fulfillment will only be achieved if the obligee finally receives the amount owed at his disposal. This is the case when the transferred amount is credited to the creditor's account and the creditor has sole power of disposal over the account (ie individual account or "or" account for the joint account ). The European Court of Justice has confirmed this case law practice . He, too, was of the opinion that payment by transfer can only be made on time if the transfer amount has been received by the recipient bank within the payment deadline agreed with the debtor. This also applies to payments to an authority for which an amount is only considered to have been paid once it has been credited to the authority's account.

Transfer types

Special types of transfers are:

Permanent transfers
By placing a standing order , the bank carries out regular transfers of a fixed amount of money to a specific recipient on a specific date.
Schedule transfers
In the case of a scheduled transfer, the transfer is not carried out immediately, according to the order, but on a specific date (typically when a claim is due).
Express / express / lightning transfers
The special form, formerly also known as telegraphic transfer, is based on same-day forwarding and immediate availability to the recipient.
Bulk transfers
Simultaneous transfers to different recipients summarized by the client using a collective list / order.

Transfers made abroad are colloquially referred to as international transfers . The EU transfer carried out until 2011 was considered such .


SEPA participating countries are all 27 members of the European Union (including the French overseas departments of Guadeloupe , French Guiana , Martinique , Réunion , Mayotte (since March 31, 2011) and Saint-Pierre and Miquelon , the Canary Islands belonging to Spain , the exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla and the Portuguese islands of Azores and Madeira ). The SEPA also includes Switzerland , Monaco and San Marino , as well as the three other countries in the European Economic Area , Iceland , Liechtenstein and Norway . For the non-EEA members Switzerland, Monaco and San Marino, however, the special situation applies that they are bound to the SEPA regulations, but not to the EU regulations and EU directives. For Great Britain, the previous regulation will continue to apply during the transition phase.

The British Channel Islands Jersey and Guernsey , the Isle of Man , the Danish Faroe Islands and Greenland do not belong to the SEPA . Furthermore, although they use the euro as their national currency, participating countries are not Kosovo and Montenegro as well as the small states of Andorra and Vatican City , but the dependent areas Gibraltar and Saint-Pierre and Miquelon are .

There are other payment habits outside of the SEPA area. In the US, payments are made through three main payment instruments, namely cash, check, and credit card. The share of check payments in all cashless transactions fell in the USA from 32% (2006) to 22.5% (2009), while the share of debit card payments from 26.3% (2006) to 34.8% (2009) increased; the credit card share remained at around 20%. In 2006, the debit card replaced the check as the most widely used cashless payment method. The US banking industry had to deal with large and costly numbers, as 30.5 billion checks were issued in 2006, compared to 24.5 billion receipts in 2009. Overall, credit and debit card payments, Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments and Electronic Benefit Transfers (EBT) made up around two thirds of all cashless payments. For reasons of simplification, the 21st Century Act (or Check 21 Act ) allowed banks to exchange electronic copies of “Check Clearing” since October 2004 and not only book based on the original checks.

Security aspects

A transfer can have security gaps, e.g. B. with regard to insufficient authenticity check - especially in paper-based payment transactions (see transfer fraud ). Phishing in particular represents a security risk in non-paper-based payment transactions .

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Transfer  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: transfer  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Payment transaction and securities settlement statistics in Germany 2009–2013 as of July 2014
  2. Alexander Djazayeri: The history of the giro transfer . V & R Unipress, Göttingen 2011, ISBN 978-3-89971-834-8 , pp. 23 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  3. Alexander Djazayeri: The history of the giro transfer . V & R Unipress, Göttingen 2011, ISBN 978-3-89971-834-8 , pp. 24 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  4. ^ Willy Schulthess: Legal nature of giro contract and giro payment. 1910, p. 9.
  5. Alexander Djazayeri: The history of the giro transfer . V & R Unipress, Göttingen 2011, ISBN 978-3-89971-834-8 , pp. 28 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  6. ^ The Reichsbank 1876–1900. P. 51.
  7. ^ Richard Koch, In: Conrad Elster, Lexis Loening (Hrsg.): Concise dictionary of political science. Volume IV 2, 1900, pp. 728f.
  8. ^ Hans Pohl: Economy, business, credit system, social problems . Part 2. Franz Steiner, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-515-08583-1 , pp. 979 ( limited preview in Google Book Search).
  9. ^ Hans Pohl: Economy, business, credit system, social problems . Part 2. Franz Steiner, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-515-08583-1 , pp. 972 ( limited preview in Google Book Search).
  10. Instant Payment: Real-time transfer - Everything you need to know - . In: . November 4, 2017 ( [accessed November 11, 2017]).
  11. New Sepa payment method for companies and associations . , August 1, 2014.
  12. ^ Hermann May: Wirtschaftsbürger-Taschenbuch . 2003, ISBN 3-486-27237-3 .
  13. Banking Association via the Bundesbank network ( Memento from September 24, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  14. Types of Gironets
  15. Regulation (EC) No. 2560/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of December 19, 2001 on cross-border payments in euros . In: Official Journal of the European Communities. L 344, pp. 13-16, December 28, 2001.
  16. Countries to which the EC price regulation applies
  17. ^ Foreign trade ( memento of April 17, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) at the Deutsche Bundesbank
  18. BGH NJW 1971, 558
  19. Hans-Michael Krepold, Sandra Fischbeck: banking law. Account - Payment transactions - Loan agreement - Loan collateral . 2011, p. 4 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  20. Anthony Jonetzki: legal framework of innovative payment systems for the Internet . 2010, p. 90 f . ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  21. Kurt Schellhammer: law of obligations according to the basis of claims . 2011, p. 402 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  22. Directive 2007/64 / EC of November 13, 2007 , ABl. L 319.
  23. FAQ transfers . Website Retrieved March 7, 2012
  24. BGHZ 170, 121, 123
  25. Anthony Jonetzki: legal framework of innovative payment systems for the Internet . 2010, p. 90 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  26. What to do if you have trouble with transfers? . Website Retrieved February 5, 2014
  27. The British credit union Nationwide notes under Important Information that “ A payer can recall a SEPA Credit Transfer within 10 working days of it being paid into your account. If this happens we'll deduct the SEPA Credit Transfer from your account. ”, All about SEPA Payments .
  28. ^ Maximilian Yang: Card Payments and Consumer Protection in Germany . In: Anglo-German Law Journal . September 1, 2016, p. 18.
  29. § 675s BGB
  30. § 675e Abs. 2 BGB
  31. § 675e Abs. 1 BGB
  32. § 675s BGB in particular paragraph 1, sentence 1, second half-sentence
  33. Bundestag printed paper 16/11643 of January 21, 2009, p. 112 ( Memento of the original of March 19, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  34. BGH NJW 1997, 3168
  35. Guido Toussaint: The law of payment transactions . 2009, p. 11 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  36. BGHZ 72, 316, 318
  37. BGH NJW 1996, 1207
  38. BGHZ 103, 143, 146 = NJW 1988, 1320
  39. ECJ, judgment of April 3, 2008, Az .: Case C-306/06
  40. ↑ Types of transfers . In: Gerhard Lippe, Jörn Essemann, Thomas Tänzer: Knowledge for bankers . 9th, revised and expanded edition. Gabler, Wiesbaden 2001, ISBN 978-3-322-82643-5 , p. 476 ff.
  41. EPC List of SEPA Countries as of July 3, 2013
  42. Olaf Grube: The allocation of risks in the US credit card process . 2006, p. 27 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  43. Federal Reserve System, The 2010 Federal Reserve Payments Study , April 2011, p. 11 ( Memento of March 22, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  44. ^ Yvonne D. Jones: Check 21 Act . 2009, p. 12 ( limited preview in Google Book search).