savings book

Meaning of Savings Account

Until a few years ago, the savings account was considered the most popular product for German savers. Some use it to hold an iron reserve, for others it is the exclusive form of savings. The security of the savings account is beyond dispute. Since the savings account is a certificate, dispositions can only be made upon presentation of the certificate.

  • Funds in a savings account are legally considered to be a loan from the saver to the bank.
  • Theoretically, anyone who presents the savings account at the bank counter can dispose of it – banks may, but do not have to, carry out a legitimation check when making a payout.
  • If the savings account is lost, it should be reported to the bank or savings bank as soon as possible so that it can be blocked.

The history of the savings account

For the first time in 1818 a description appeared that suggests a savings account. The Sparkasse Berlin gave its customers a document that showed the name of the customer, a serial number and the amount of the amount paid into the bank. This voucher, known as the savings bank certificate, could not be passed on, assigned or pledged. However, inheritance was permitted.

The legal basis

Funds in a savings account are legally considered to be a loan from the saver to the bank. The same general conditions apply as for a loan; that is, notice periods must be observed. The savings account itself is classified as a legitimation paper. This means that theoretically anyone who presents the savings account at the bank counter can dispose of it. Banks may, but do not have to, carry out a legitimation check. If a savings account is lost, the finder could possibly dispose of the credit. According to abbreviationfinder, BSA stands for Basic Savings Account.

Savings accounts belong to the group of deposits, so they are covered by deposit insurance. Until 1993, the term savings account was protected by the Banking Act. With the fourth amendment to the KWG, however, this protection was lifted, and banks can now offer a wide variety of products under the term savings deposit. However, there is still a legal definition that clearly distinguishes the savings account from other forms of investment. This states the following:

  • The savings account must be given a three-month notice period for the entire deposit.
  • A maximum of EUR 2,000 may be withdrawn within 30 days, free of interest.
  • A certificate must be issued.
  • The savings account is not approved for payment transactions.
  • The deposits themselves are paid in for an indefinite period.
  • Savings accounts may not be opened by companies or commercial associations. Exceptions only apply if they are charitable, benevolent or church bodies.

The interest payment on the savings deposit is usually made once a year on December 31. one year. Banks are not obliged to dispose of the savings account if it cannot be presented. However, there are exceptions:

  • Due to illness, the saver cannot present himself at the bank counter and the payment is made to another account in his or her favor.
  • A standing order is placed in favor of another savings account.
  • Debits for custody fees or repayment installments in favor of the bank itself.
  • Loss of passbook.

Termination of the deposit

The statutory notice period for a savings account is three months. If you want to withdraw more than 2,000 euros per month before the deadline has expired, you must pay advance interest of 0.25 percent of the applicable credit interest. That means: Anyone who withdraws an amount of 2,000 euros every 30 days can withdraw a total of 6,000 euros interest-free before the notice period expires.

Daily money replaces the savings account

On the other hand, customers have full access to the credit on a call money account on a daily basis. Thanks to its significantly greater flexibility, it is increasingly replacing the savings account. In 2013, over 50 percent of German citizens owned a savings account, in 2016 it was only 44%.

The savings account as a rental deposit

However, the savings account is still widely used in one special case: with the rental deposit. The rental deposit account belongs to the tenant, but is officially assigned to the landlord using a form at the bank. Disposals are only permitted with the consent of the tenant or by a court order. The tenant is entitled to the full amount of interest. The rental deposit savings account is the cheaper alternative to deposit insurance or a rental guarantee. Call money accounts are now also accepted as a rental deposit.

Loss of the passbook

The loss of a savings account should be reported to the issuing bank or savings bank so that it can be blocked – just like a bank card . A replacement can then be requested. However, there are sometimes high fees for both.

savings book