How does the comparison website work

The comparison portal Check24 has discontinued its free current account comparison. The reason for this is a lawsuit by the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (vzbv) against the offer. The association had complained that not enough accounts were compared on the website. Check24 announced that the checking account comparison had been checked once a quarter by the TÜV. At the last test in November there were no complaints. The market data was not only updated weekly by the employees, but was also kept up to date through information from banks and consumers. “As a company, we need a legally secure framework for our consistent investments in Germany. We currently see it as endangered, ”said Christoph Röttele, CEO and managing director of the portal.

Klaus Müller, member of the board of directors of the vzbv, announced: “Check24's offer was not suitable for providing consumers with an overview of suitable account offers on the market. Although the website is certified by TÜV Saarland, it is still deficient and inadequate. It simply did not meet the requirements of European law, ”criticized Müller.

Incorrect search filters
According to its own statements, the vzbv had filed a lawsuit against Check24 in November 2020. The account comparison is inadequate from the consumer's point of view and does not meet the legal requirements. So the offer was difficult to find. Of a total of 1,717 credit institutions in Germany, only 567 were listed. As a rule, only one account model was presented per provider, but not the full range of services offered by the institutes. In addition, the search filters would not have worked correctly. In four out of five checked postcode areas in Hamburg, Leipzig, Munich and Berlin, account offers from central savings banks and Volksbanks were not displayed, it said.

Andreas Krautscheid, managing director of the banking association, demanded that the apparently existing legal uncertainties must be eliminated as quickly as possible: "A comparison website should enable customers to compare the various offers from financial institutions quickly and easily." This is also useful and in the interest of the financial institutions of the competition. "It goes without saying that comparison websites must be above any doubts about self-interest," emphasized Krautscheid.

Information about account fees
The first comparison website for checking accounts certified by TÜV was launched on the Internet at the beginning of August 2020. Consumers found information about account fees, the amount of overdraft interest and fees for credit cards. According to Check24, the conditions of all large private banks as well as more than 80 percent of the savings banks as well as Volksbank and Raiffeisenbanken were compared. In addition, there were almost all direct banks.

Germany has been obliged to provide a current account comparison for two years. The EU Payment Accounts Directive stipulates that the member states must be offered free access to at least one website on which they can compare account conditions. So far, Check24 was the only provider who had agreed to do an account comparison. The Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF) must now try to find a new comparison portal. “We are working flat out to get a new comparison website off the ground. We are currently examining different options, ”said the ministry according to a media report. (ud)