- Every person in the world – regardless of income or creditworthiness rating – can open a current account with credit card within minutes through the Internet in German or English language.
- The credit card to the account will be sent by mail or courier to any place in the world. With this, one can withdraw cash at any ATM – worldwide!
- The telephone customer service is available around the clock and takes care of everyone in German or English language in such a kind manner, as if you were the CEO of the bank.
- In addition to the account, one may set up savings plans that are so good and flexible that they can be easily adapted to the individual savings objectives.
- If desired, the account-app makes suggestions on how to manage your account and finances better, so that money becomes an even more positive force in the life of the individual.
Just in the European Union, there are 25 to 30 million people over the age of 15 years, who want to obtain a bank account, but do not get one (estimate by the EU Commission, state 2014).
In Germany, approximately 670,000 people suffer, because they do not have a bank account.
A bank account is essential for the personal financial development, to participate in the economic life in general.
A life without bank account is poverty.
Moreover, several millions of people are stuck with banks with average or poor conditions! Herein, the financial development is significantly inhibited.
Missing services, wrong consulting and excessive fees obstruct a happier life.
3 impressive actual events
… and what we can learn from them already today
- Otto (66), retired, long-stay vacation in Thailand
- Lea (20) and Hanah (21), biology students, abroad semester in Australia
- Aadil (45), petroleum engineer, refugee in Germany
Otto (66), retiree, permanent tourist in Thailand
The tough retiree from the Rhineland near Remscheid enjoys life in Thailand with his new girlfriend and pleasant climate. “You get a better life quality here,” he says twinkling his left eye.
He transferred his pension payments from the Kreissparkasse each month via online banking to his account in Thailand. He had to pay a lot of fees for that. Altogether, these are Euros 45 per month, so Euros 315 per year, not including the visits to Germany.
Euros 315 bank fees per year
A friend of Otto told him that there was a bank that is particularly specialized in abroad living German citizens, and he could easily open an account as a German citizen from Thailand.
This account should offer the invaluable advantage that one could withdraw the pension payments with the German credit card at ATMs in Thailand. That would not only be free of charge, but the bank would even reimburse the usual withdrawal fees of ATMs in Thailand.
However, is was not quite as good as his friend told him: the bank is not specialized in foreign customers, but is willing to open accounts for abroad living German citizens, without having them coming to Germany for the legitimating process.
In order to get a current account there, it is necessary that the creditworthiness and income are alright. In the end, banks are no welfare societies. Otto understood this and started the application process with identification via webcam and sending the proof of pension payments.
Finally, the access data for online banking and credit card arrived by mail from Germany to his new place of residence in Thailand. Since then, a few months have passed and Otto withdraws the cash for the coming week every Sunday.
Transfer costs reduced to Euros 0
Sometimes, he also deposits some bank notes in his Thai bank account. Thus, he has saved the expensive transfer costs!
Conclusion and Vision
Otto has become a customer of the Deutsche Kreditbank (DKB), which is an excellent solution for many abroad living German customers.
However, the DKB always checks the creditworthiness, because the free current account is only available in combination with a Visa card with credit line. That means: many people, who are interested in this account, will be exempted.
Additionally, the process of applying to the decision of the bank and until all 7 bank letters arrive abroad takes quite some time.
Lea (20) and Hanah (21), biology students, semester abroad in Australia
Both love nature, animals and plants. They met at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) in Munich, before they decided to go to Australia together.
Besides their savings, Lea and Hanah wanted to make money with student jobs. However, the life in Brisbane turned out to be more expensive than expected. There was no other solution but requesting money from the German home.
The money was not enough.
Hanah`s grandmother – her parents died in a traffic accident a few years ago – agreed to pay part of the inheritance in advance and transferred each month Euros 400 to the student current account of her granddaughter.
When one has little money, bank charges are of particular significance.
Hanah was able to get a MasterCard at her Volksbank before departure. “The debit card is often not accepted abroad,” was the statement of the bank consultant, but he did not mention the high charges for cash withdrawals using this card.
On the other side, Lea became a customer of the Comdirect right before the journey and applied there also for a Visa credit card. This was issued to her as a “prepaid credit card” without having an income of her own.
This does not matter, as the cash withdrawals abroad are also free using the prepaid credit card.
To save costs, Hanah wanted to set up a standing order from her account to Lea`s account, because her friend offered to withdraw the money free of charge using her prepaid credit card. That turned out to be difficult at first, because Hanah did not take the access data of her online banking to Australia.
Because of the time difference, it was difficult to reach the Volksbank by telephone during its opening hours.
Conclusion and Vision
Lea has made everything right with their inquiries and the account opening at a bank with excellent conditions for the foreign use.
Also Hanah could have opened subsequently an account with credit card from Australia at the Comdirect, or as in the case of Otto, at the DKB. Both banks facilitate the account opening from abroad and send the account documents and the credit cards to the foreign address.
Account opening would have been possible from abroad.
In order to shorten the time span from the account application until the use of it, it would be great, if the credit card would be sent out immediately after the legitimating and if one could find an electronic solution for the sending of the bank documents by mail.
Currently, only number26 is offering this example of service. Unfortunately, there is no possibility of opening an account from abroad (exception: Austria).
Aadil (45), petroleum engineer, refugee in Germany
Aadil has applied for asylum. With his family of five members, he has fled to Germany on an adventurous and dangerous way.
He has lost everything, except his life, his wife and their three children: two girls, 9 and 7 years old, and the straggler, who was only a baby when they escaped.
Aadil was neither rich nor poor.
Through his job at a petroleum company, his family always had enough to eat and could also otherwise afford things. The two girls went to school. They do it also today in Germany, but he cannot leave home. He sits around. He must, as this was ordered by the state.
He would like to lend a hand. Work. Earn money again in order to not depend on financial support.
He wants to work honestly, not illegally. Pay taxes like everyone else in this great country. Germany, which he admires on the one hand – because of the system we have created – but on the other hand, he is surprised by the many difficulties that someone encounters, who is willing to render a service.
Account opening for asylum seekers?
This is not necessarily an easy thing. There is no specific account of asylum seekers or no account, which is specially tailored to this group of people, however, this is reasonable, as asylum seekers are no attractive audience for banks.
It was announced in the media that some banks even interpret the regulations of the Money Laundering Act more than strictly in order to consciously reject the account opening of immigrants. In the end, the identity of each customer must be unequivocally established before opening an account.
Well, this is of course not easy, as many identification documents of illegal visitors are confiscated or they even destroy them by themselves – because they fear deportation.
Whether the ID-card replacement that is issued officially at tolerance may be recognized as a legitimating paper, has long been controversial, until the Federal Ministry of Finance issued in a circular letter in 2015 that the applicable requirement of the Money Laundering Act is regarded as satisfied with this substitute document.
The opening of a bank account for asylum seekers is one thing, to obtain a really good account the other.
Most accounts are managed by the Sparkassen and Volksbanken and Raiffeisenbanken (cooperative banks) locally. Often without Internet banking, without a credit card, but with charges!
A bank account facilitates the start in Germany and is even mandatory in order to get paid state benefits cashless. However, it is often a start with “the handbrake on”, regarding the conditions.
Aadil has become a customer of the StartUp account at number26. For him, it is like winning the lottery: online banking, even using the smartphone, and a prepaid MasterCard is available for free. Generally, there are no costs involved in this account model.
Free credit account with MasterCard
The account opening takes place immediately, if you can legitimize yourself through webcam, as a photo of the person and of the ID-card is made.
Aadil had to go to the branch office of the post, because the staff members, who make the online legitimating, are not trained with the security features of the ID-cards of all 193 countries. However, it worked with the PostIdent-procedure. Aadil is grateful for this and for the free account.
Conclusion and Vision
There are more providers of current accounts without creditworthiness check, e.g. the Online account with MasterCard of PayCenter, but the combination of free account, credit card (prepaid) and for immigrants is unique.
This is probably because number26 is a very young company, which is supported by investors’ money and does currently not have to work profitably.
A bold vision is that Aadil would have been able to apply for the account already online in his Syrian homeland. Thus, he would have had the option to transfer part of his modest assets to the account in Germany.
This way, he would not have arrived quite that flat broke here and have had capital to start a business or to purchase furniture right from the beginning.
Creating the dream account!
I get up in the morning and go to bed at night with the idea of how to create a dream account, as described above in the vision.
Basically, there are two possibilities:
- current offers will be improved
- new offers will be created
To achieve this, I am constantly learning about banks and accounts, about economic issues and internal processes, about communication and conviction. I assist in events, meet people and take part in background discussions.
On this special portal, I show how to use already existing offers better in order to approach the dream account bit by bit, supported by my family, friends and many dedicated readers
I do this in full conviction that this will improve the world. As you know: If the life of many, many people improves, then the world overall will improve too.
Can you imagine supporting this idea?
There are many opportunities to do so. For example, you can become a ⇒ Fan ⇐ (German speaking part) of this special portal and get involved with ideas, tips and experiences with a few clicks.
This does not cost you anything, one a little time of yours.
Perhaps, people from the banking industry may help with contacts to product developers and marketing people.
Media representatives may help to ensure that more people know about this commitment and these ideas through their publications.
With this, a force will be deployed that makes me get up even earlier in the morning and go to bed even later at night, in order to make the dream of a perfect account with credit card come true for all people.
Many, Many thanks!
Illustration: Patryk Kosmider (Thailand), Taras Vyshnya (Australia), Robert Hoetink (Syria) – all fotolia.com