Bank overdraft

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The overdraft is that of a bank on a checking account temporarily granted amount, and limited credit to bridge short-term liquidity problems , which is characterized by loose announcement accessibility and constant immediate repayment.

Legal bases

The current account credit is a loan within the meaning of § 488 BGB . If a current account credit is granted and contractually agreed with the account holder , the debits are posted to the respective current account ( debit ) as required , not to special credit accounts as is the case with other types of credit. The bank is obliged to keep the credit limit open for the borrower during the credit period in the event that it has not been terminated, while the borrower has to pay the debit interest owed and - at the latest - has to repay the account drawn upon the due date ( Section 488 (2) BGB). It is called a current account credit because it is granted on a bank current account . It is therefore also possible to have a credit balance on the bank account without the current account credit granted expiring; it automatically revives when there is a debit balance . The granting of overdrafts for credit institutions is a banking business within the meaning of Section 1 (1) No. 2 KWG .


The most common type for private individuals is the overdraft facility and the securities lombard loan . In companies , the overdraft facility is used as a so-called working capital loan to compensate for liquidity bottlenecks, for example between the salary payment date and incoming sales. It is also suitable as a seasonal loan if certain companies have seasonal production and sales focuses (such as ice cream manufacturers in summer). Here, the focus of expenditure is before the time of receipt , so that the resulting liquidity gaps have to be bridged with seasonal loans. Intermediate loans are granted when the final financing is secured, but may not be used because the disbursement requirements have not yet been met. In the case of pre-financing, there is still no secured final financing, so that the lender takes on a higher credit risk . The current account credit is unknown internationally; it is similar to the Revolving Credit Facility , where a contractually agreed credit line can be used repeatedly, but a credit balance may not arise. The stand-by facility , which is usually not used, serves merely to secure liquidity .

Terms of contract

The credit agreement for the current account contains regulations on the credit line (maximum limit for credit utilization ), credit term , interest on the loan , purpose of use and loan collateral . Furthermore, the credit institutions expect the current account to be turned over at least once during the billing period, so that incoming accounts lead to a complete repayment of the claim or even to account credit. This is to prevent unwanted freezing. Another characteristic of the current account loan is that it automatically comes back to life during the term of the loan, even if an interim credit has arisen.


The credit line represents the contractual maximum limit for the credit drawdown. However, if this credit limit is not sufficient, the borrower is obliged to notify the bank before this credit limit is exceeded and to agree on an overdraft with it . Banks are not obliged to allow unsolicited disposals beyond the contractually agreed credit limit and can therefore reject further disposals. A so-called “tolerated account overdraft” exists, however, if the credit balance or an expressly granted credit line is insufficient for disposals, but the disposals are nevertheless carried out by the credit institution without prior agreement. Such tolerances can entail legal risks for credit institutions. If a bank tolerates the unauthorized overdraft for a longer period (more than 3 months), it tacitly (implicitly) agrees to a new loan agreement. Banks are entitled to charge a separate interest, the overdraft interest, for such overdrafts .


The overdraft facility ends when the contractually stipulated deadline expires or when it is due by the bank due to previous termination . However, the expiry of the deadline agreed for a current account loan or the maturity of such a loan usually does not lead to the termination of the current account relationship. If a tacit agreement has been made, according to which the borrower should be entitled to the contractual capital use in the previous or to a different extent until further notice, despite the expiry of the credit period, the repayment claim of the bank is no longer due, but rather the borrower is entitled to use the loan value date up to entitled to termination at any time. This is why credit institutions expect full repayment of overdrafts that have become due if there are no extensions .

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Günter Wöhe / Jürgen Bilstein / Dietmar Ernst / Joachim Häcker, Basic Features of Corporate Financing , 2009, p. 243
  2. No. 18 AGB Sparkassen
  3. Judith Steinhoff, Die insolvency law problems in transfer traffic , in: ZIP 2000, p. 1141 ff .; and: BGH WM 2003, 922, 924
  4. ^ BGH, judgment of May 20, 2003, - Az .: XI ZR 235/02 or BGH WM 1987, 897
  5. BGH WM 2003, 922, 924