Everyone account

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The term Jedermann-Account (also basic account ) describes a current account that can be opened by anyone at a bank of their choice in order to make cashless payments . This right was introduced in Germany with the postal check service in 1909. However, since Postbank was privatized in 1995, there was no longer any legal entitlement.

In 1995 in Germany a current account for everyone was defined by the Central Credit Committee (ZKA) - today Die Deutsche Kreditwirtschaft (DK) - initially only as a voluntary commitment by the credit institutions . Accordingly, it was a current account on a credit basis (colloquially a credit account ), in which no overdraft was permitted. The purpose of the voluntary commitment was apparently to prevent a general right for everyone to a current account, which was planned by the legislature at the time .

Since June 19, 2016 due to § 31 of the payment accounts Act (CCT) that the payment accounts directive implements the EU, for all consumers who are legally resident in the European Union to stop including people homeless, asylum seekers and tolerated a legal claim to leadership of a So-called basic account for the execution of payment transactions also with private as well as Volksbank and Raiffeisenbanken .

Legal entitlement for EU citizens

The European Parliament decided on 15 April 2014, all EU citizens - also of no fixed abode - a statutory right ( obligation to contract ) to a basic bank account , so that all citizens full participation in the economic and social life of a modern society is possible. The EU member states have to implement this Payment Accounts Directive (RL 2014/92 / EU) into national law by September 18, 2016.

The German draft for a Payment Accounts Act was initially in the Finance Committee of the German Bundestag for further discussion. The expert hearing in the committee took place on January 25, 2016. According to the draft, the regulations for the Jedermann Account should come into force two months after the promulgation of this law. The Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen parliamentary group had tabled another motion for a resolution on the law.

By everyone account also people should be guaranteed a checking account, which due account garnishments , negative Schufa was canceled the previous current account -Einträgen or for other reasons, or the establishment of a new current account is denied.

Garnishment protection account

The Jedermann account (like other accounts) can be attached by creditors . To protect a seizure-free (basic) exemption (serves to implement the welfare state requirement , i.e. to secure the socio-cultural subsistence level ), it can be converted into a seizure protection account - like any conventional current account of a natural person .

Practical implementation

Denial of the Jedermann account

Despite the ZKA self-commitment of the banks to set up the Jedermann account, some customers have so far been refused a current account in practice. One reason for this is in particular that financial institutions obtain information about the person in question from Schufa before opening an account and only make a decision based on this data. In other EU countries there are credit agencies comparable to Schufa, such as Experian , Equifax , Callcredit and Cifas in Great Britain. Allegedly, among other things, this German refusal to practice led to the decision of the EU Parliament in April 2014 to introduce a legally anchored legal right to a current account. However, even at this point in time, there were only estimates about the number of people without a checking account. In Germany it should have been around 500,000 at that time. According to the EU Commission , around 58 million EU consumers over the age of 15 did not have a current account in 2014.

Debt counseling centers have repeatedly emphasized that the banks often refuse to manage accounts for the overindebted. In contrast, the ZKA stated that the current account works successfully for everyone and can be set up by anyone. A survey of the debt counseling centers in 2005 for Berlin-Brandenburg showed that 10% of all unemployed people were denied a current account. The Federal Employment Agency offers unemployed people and child benefit recipients who do not have a current account a payment order to offset as a payment option . If the service recipient does not have an account, although the unreasonable rules do not apply, this payment method is free. In January 2006, 1.36% of payments had to be made this way. However, this does not include transfers to savings accounts or transfers to third-party accounts. Such figures can therefore only be used as a basis for estimating the number of citizens who have been denied a checking account.

Reasons for refusal

The reason given is that the account management fees for a public account do not cover the costs of the current account as part of the cost-benefit analysis . Current accounts are covered by credit balances maintained by customers with the corresponding assets and income , and the function of the current account as a so-called anchor product for the sale of other banking products ( cross-selling ) to account holders. For example, income from the use of overdraft facilities helps to cover costs .

Basically, overindebted customers cause the banks higher costs than other customers. They cause significantly more direct debit returns and account garnishments . For customers with low incomes who can only have one account on a credit basis, there is usually little chance that they will later use other services from the bank, such as loans.

When the term “ peanuts ” was selected in the free choice for the unword of 1994 , the jury also criticized the term “counter hygiene” in this context. This should describe the practice of many banks of refusing certain groups of people to open an account or at least making it extremely difficult.


Citizens who do not have a current account are excluded from an important area of ​​economic traffic. This often triggers a negative spiral. In the event of attachment of accounts and the opening of insolvency proceedings, financial institutions can terminate the business relationship. Those who are already in debt increasingly run into problems if there is no current account for wage, salary, rent, etc., and therefore everything has to be processed in cash. Opening a new account is made more difficult because most banks first check the Schufa entries and find accounts there that are no longer available for monetary transactions due to seizure or termination. On the other hand, the bank charges for cash deposits can be a heavy burden not only for people with income on the level of the subsistence level.

Legal obligation

In some German federal states, the public-law savings banks are legally obliged by savings bank laws and regulations ( obligation to contract ) to open an account on a credit basis for everyone: In Bavaria , Brandenburg , Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania , Hesse , North Rhine-Westphalia , Rhineland-Palatinate , Saxony , Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia are entitled to a current account on a credit basis through the savings bank laws and regulations .

For Bavaria, the Savings Bank Ordinance (SPKO) of April 21, 2007 (reference: GVBl 2007, p. 332) states:

§ 5, obligation to contract
(2) The Sparkasse maintains current accounts on a credit basis for natural persons from its business district upon request.
(3) […] current accounts do not have to be kept if this cannot be expected of the Sparkasse in individual cases for an important reason.

The Hessian Savings Banks Act of November 10, 1954 in the version of February 24, 1991 contains a target provision:

§ 2, tasks
(4) In accordance with the model statutes, the savings banks should set up a current account on a credit basis for every resident in the territory of their institution upon request.

Individual German courts of first instance have affirmed an alleged legal obligation on the part of the banks (from the voluntary commitment of the ZKA) to set up a current account based on a credit balance. According to a judgment of the Bremen Regional Court on June 16, 2005, the voluntary self-commitment of the ZKA is to result in an obligation of the affiliated banks to set up a so-called "current account for everyone" for all customers upon request. However, this judgment was overturned by the Bremen Higher Regional Court. With regard to the plan to manage a current account on a credit basis, the Senate of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen introduced the draft of a law to amend the Banking Act in the Federal Council (under printed matter 653/08, dated September 19, 2008), in which the aforementioned project is to be implemented. The motion has since been postponed several times against the votes from Bremen, Berlin and Rhineland-Palatinate.

The Berlin Regional Court , judgment of May 8, 2008, Az. 21 S 1/08, decided in 2008 in an individual case in proceedings for interim legal protection that a right to conclude a current account should also exist with a private bank. Although there is no entitlement from the ZKA's voluntary commitment, an obligation to contract is to be assumed as an exception.

On the occasion of World Consumer Day 2011 on March 15, 2011 Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier u. a. the creation of a European fundamental right to a basic current account and stricter rules for consumer protection in mortgage loans.

Citizen Account

With a declaration by the German savings banks on the citizen account published on September 29, 2012, the 423 savings banks in Germany undertook to set up a credit account for every private person in their business area from October 2012. According to the further information of the DSGV , customers with a citizen account can participate in cashless payment transactions without incurring debt. They do not pay any higher fees than for a comparable account with an overdraft facility. Arbitrators on citizen accounts should be recognized as binding by the savings banks.

The ombudsman of the respective banking association can be called. If the complaint is admissible, he will check whether the ZKA recommendation has been complied with. The bank is not bound by the arbitration award.

At the end of 2014 there were more than 1.5 million citizen accounts at the savings banks.

Payment of social benefits

Cash benefits should be transferred free of charge to an account of the recipient or, if the recipient requests it, free of charge to their place of residence within the European Union ( Section 47 SGB ​​I ).

When transferring unemployment benefit II to the place of residence or habitual residence of the beneficiary, the costs incurred must be deducted, unless the beneficiary can prove that it is not possible for him to set up an account with a financial institution through no fault of his own ( Section 42 SGB ​​II ). Cases in which a financial institution rightly refuses to conclude a basic account contract for the reasons stated in Sections 35-37 ZKG because of an existing payment account, an intentional criminal offense to the detriment of the account-holding institution or due to default in payment ( Section 34 (1) ZKG), usually assume that the applicant is at fault and are therefore disregarded.

Change in the legal situation through the Payment Accounts Act (ZKG)

When the Payment Accounts Act came into force on June 19, 2016, the legal situation in Germany with regard to the Jedermann Account was fundamentally changed:

  • All consumers within the meaning of Section 2 I ZKG are entitled to a so-called basic account ( Section 1 , Section 31 ). Consumers are all natural persons who are legally resident in the EU, persons without a permanent address, including homeless people and asylum seekers, and those who are tolerated in Germany.
  • The obligation applies (with a few exceptions) to all CRR credit institutions according to § 1 IIId KWG, as well as branches according to § 53b I 1, 2 KWG and branches within the meaning of § 53 ZKG.
  • The basic account must in principle allow at least cash deposits and withdrawals, transfers , direct debits and the use of a payment card, with no limitation on the number of transactions ( Section 38 ). The services must be made possible to the extent that the institute "generally offers" to consumers - for example, if electronic banking is generally offered, it must also be usable with the basic account.
  • The bank may charge a fee for the basic account. The remuneration must, however, be “reasonable”, especially in comparison to market rates. Contractual penalties are not permitted ( Section 41 ).
  • The bank may not terminate the basic account for no reason. A termination is permissible, for example, if the account is not used, if the consumer already has a different payment account, if there is a significant delay in payment or if the bank has committed criminal offenses ( Section 42 ).


With a judgment of June 30, 2020, the Federal Court of Justice ruled on the amount of permissible fees for a basic account. According to this, a fee clause contained in the general terms and conditions of a credit institution is ineffective if, when calculating the fee, the account-keeping institution has passed on the additional work associated with maintaining basic accounts to the holders of basic accounts alone.

Web links


  1. "The new regulations for payment accounts with basic functions (basic account) come into force on June 19, 2016." Press and Information Office of the Federal Government [Germany]: Everyone has the right to an account , Friday, June 17, 2016
  2. "Entry into force: 19.06.2016" Documentation and information system for parliamentary processes (DIP): Act to implement the directive on the comparability of payment account fees, switching payment accounts and access to payment accounts with basic functions
  3. Art. 9 of the Act to Implement the Directive on the Comparability of Payment Account Fees, Switching Payment Accounts and Access to Payment Accounts with Basic Functions , Federal Law Gazette 2016 I p. 720
  4. Federal Ministry of Finance : Questions and Answers on the Payment Accounts Act / Basic Account October 28, 2015
  5. ↑ Basic account website of the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority , June 1, 2017
  6. European Parliament: A current account for every EU citizen, press release of April 15, 2014
  7. German Bundestag Printed Matter 18/7204
  8. German Bundestag Printed Matter 18/7691
  9. German Bundestag Printed Matter 18/7702
  10. European Commission: The right to a basic bank account for all European citizens: Commission welcomes European Parliament adoption Statement 14/123 of April 15, 2014 (English)
  11. Printed matter 16/2265 of the German Bundestag (16th electoral term)
  12. ^ Article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
  13. Article by Andreas Flümann in the street magazine outside! , December 2008
  14. SparkG HE
  15. Full text of the judgment of the Bremen Regional Court of June 16, 2005 (file number 2 O 408/05)
  16. ^ LG Berlin · Judgment of May 8, 2008 · Az. 21 S 1/08 - wording
  17. European Union
  18. DSGV press release No. 97/2012. ( Memento of April 24, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Retrieved March 9, 2019.
  19. ^ The citizen account of the savings banks
  20. Caspar Dohmen: An account for everyone. All banks are now responsible Deutschlandfunk , May 24, 2016
  21. What is a basic account? October 4, 2019, accessed on December 20, 2019 : “If the bank or savings bank generally offers the option of keeping an account online, it must also offer this for the basic account. The bank may demand reasonable account management fees. "
  22. BGH, judgment of June 30, 2020 - XI ZR 119/19.
  23. Ineffective remuneration clause for basic account, press release of the BGH No. 84/2020, June 30, 2020.