In the corona crisis, many consumers use contactless transaction options. This reduces the contact between buyer and seller and a possible risk of infection with Covid-19. Even small shops, bakeries or butchers now offer card payments. A rarity before the crisis.
Banks also advertise contactless payments with cards or smartphones. However, they are not only concerned about the health of their customers – they are also thinking about their own money. This is shown by an evaluation of the consumer portal “biallo.de”. Accordingly, banks and savings banks have increased fees in recent months and are charging up to 70 cents for a contactless payment process with a checking or credit card.
Free and cheap account models subject to fees
“Biallo.de” examined a total of 440 Volks- und Raiffeisenbanken, as well as 380 Sparkassen and found out that every second institute collects fees for the cashless payment. The Niederrheinische Sparkasse Rhein-Lippe charges the maximum price of 70 cents per transaction for the “Giro Nispa Klassik” account model. “Biallo.de” has calculated that with an average of two card payments per day by the end of the year, customers will be charged an additional 504 euros.
With Haspa, Germany’s largest savings bank is also charging a fee for customers who use the “Classic” account model – 50 cents per card transaction.
But not all customers are equally affected by the fees. What is striking during the investigation: You meet the majority of customers who have closed an inexpensive “classic account”, online accounts or basic account. With expensive premium accounts that cost at least ten euros per month, no fees for card payments would be charged.
Fees are often not shown
Of the total of 820 financial institutions examined, 401 banks and savings banks charge fees for card transactions. On average, they amount to 34 cents per transaction, but fluctuate between 2 and 70 cents depending on the institution.
The consumer portal is particularly critical that the fees are often not shown at all. Customers would only be informed about this by asking directly. Consumers should be on the lookout for the note “paperless bookings” in the price-performance list of a bank or savings bank.
“Instead of specifically and honestly naming the fees for card payments, they are usually hidden in the price list under booking items,” quotes “biallo.de” Niels Nauhauser, banking expert at the Baden-Württemberg consumer center.