Real-time transfers

The savings banks want to make transfers possible within seconds via online banking. Does it work?

Transfer at the touch of a finger.

Et is a topic that many bank customers have been annoyed about: With transfers, it can take time for the money to reach the recipient. At the moment there are efforts to change that all over Europe. “Real-time transfer” is the name of a new service that the banks are now gradually introducing. Frankfurter Sparkasse is currently writing to its customers that it wants to make such transfers possible in online banking from July 10th, and asks them to agree to a corresponding change in the general terms and conditions. A majority of the savings banks are apparently planning the same step in parallel.

The only requirement for the more than 400,000 customers of Frankfurter Sparkasse is that they have an account that has been activated for online banking and the internet branch (this is the institute’s website) or the Sparkasse app (“S-App” ) use. The new online transfers will even be free of charge for private accounts. The upper limit for a transfer is 15,000 euros. Frankfurter Sparkasse points out that such transfer orders can no longer be revoked once they have been received by the Sparkasse.

Transfer in 2.5 seconds

The infrastructure for such transfers has existed in Europe since November last year, the framework for this was created at the initiative of the European Central Bank. The first institute in Germany to offer its customers such a real-time transfer was Hypovereinsbank in Munich. A total of 17 banks in Europe started this last year, and now there should be a total of 20 participating. Several banks in Germany, including Deutsche Bank, are planning to go live in October or November. Commerzbank did not want to set an appointment on request.

The experience with real-time transfers has so far been even better than expected, reports Hypovereinsbank, even if the number of transactions per day has so far been low. “The feedback from customers is very positive,” said Thomas Dusch, one of the people in charge at Hypovereinsbank. On average, the system would transfer “medium four-digit amounts” in real time.

However, it is probably similar to the invention of e-mail at the time: As long as you can only write and receive e-mails yourself and none of your friends, that doesn’t help you much. At Hypovereinsbank, as a prime example, when real-time transfer was introduced, an amount of money was sent in 2.5 seconds to an account at the Italian parent company Unicredit. This is currently not possible at other banks in Germany, so not many people are doing it yet. But if a whole series of savings banks now join the district, and in the fall Deutsche Bank and possibly Commerzbank as well, it will be more attractive for customers. In the long term, the plans with real-time transfers, which are part of the idea of ​​”instant payment”, are much more advanced. At some point, this procedure could even be used to process all of the payment transactions.