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For each use: Six credit cards are recommended

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for each use
Six credit cards are recommended.

Buy today, pay tomorrow, withdraw money free of charge and preferably worldwide – this is how you can quickly describe the advantages of a good credit card. But there are other payment models. Finanztest knows the cheapest.

There are around 40 million credit cards in German wallets. And not least, since the beginning of the corona pandemic, these have been used even more. Because the cards can also be used for online purchases and contactless payments. At the same time, a short-term loan is also used until the account is debited. If the money is returned on time, it is often even free.

Giro cards are becoming less important than credit cards, and debit cards are becoming more common, that is, cards with which the connected account is loaded immediately. The price differences are sometimes huge.

Credit card types differ in the way credit card transactions are settled. As if there were:

  • Debit: When withdrawing money and making payments, the connected checking account is charged on the same day. Strictly speaking, it’s not a real credit card. As a result, some service providers, such as car rental companies, may not accept the card.
  • credit card: Once a month, the bank issues a total invoice for all sales and withdraws the amount by direct debit from the current account. The client thus has a short-term loan without interest.
  • credit card: More and more credit cards have the partial payment option, in which the credit card statement becomes an installment payment: only a certain percentage of monthly sales is charged. The rest continues as a loan with high annual interest charges of about 9 to 20 percent until the customer transfers the missing bill amount (revolving credit). In most cases, partial payment can be deselected. Otherwise, users must balance their expenses on time to avoid high interest rates. If you use your card all the time, you run the risk of racking up a hefty mountain of long-term debt.
  • Prepaid card: Users have to load the card with money before paying. You can only spend as much as you have deposited. The cards are available without a credit check. The amount will be deducted from the balance immediately after payment.

Finanztest reviewed 28 major credit cards, 21 without account affiliation and 7 with a free current account available nationwide. Its entire area of ​​application was examined: payments at home and abroad, cash withdrawals, as well as the annual fee and associated card costs.

Result? First of all: Bank customers should not take home bank credit card without verifying it. From 25 to 40 euros a year, there are cheaper alternatives. The annual fee is only partially or completely waived sometimes for in-house bank offerings, with a given total turnover. According to the study, six cards are recommended and do not cost a basic fee. They also incur no additional or only low costs for their use when shopping, either online or in store. If you choose such a card, you can save 136 euros per year compared to the most expensive card in the American Express test.

Issue default partial payment

With a current account, the DKB Visa debit card is completely free for DKB customers with monthly incoming payments of 700 euros or more on the account. Without a current account, the ICS Visa World Card is cheap (ATM withdrawal fees in Germany 4 percent of the amount; at least 5 euros, no basic fee). The following cards can be used free of charge if the preset partial payment is changed to full bill settlement: Genialcard and Awa7 (Hanseatic Bank), Germany Classic Credit Card (Paysol), Barclays Visa Card. Otherwise, high interest rates are also due here. If this is true, then they are also free.

By the way: Payments made by credit card can usually be reversed within 120 days. For example, if the other party has not provided any services.


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