The comparison portal Check24 already provides offers from 300 banking partners – and is now launching its own bank with a free current account. By Wolfgang Ehrensberger
D.he online comparison portal Check24 now also has a banking license – and launched its online bank C24 on Tuesday. She is supposed to present customers all with one free checking account Curls. And with investment products from 300 banking partners, with whom the portal is already working. “The C24 Bank is a regular commercial bank with a full banking license – but with a completely new open banking approach”, explains the spokesman for the management of Check24, Christoph Röttele, to € uro am Sonntag. Not only overnight and fixed deposit offers from other banks should be conveyed via the platform, but also construction and installment loans. “We are thus offering our banking partners another sales channel.”
Consumer advocates are critical of the initiative: “The step follows the logic of the platform economy,” explains Claudio Zeitz from the Federation of German Consumer Organizations. “Customers should manage as many areas of their lives as possible via the portal. The goal is to bind them ever closer to themselves. This is at the expense of the competition, because as a result consumers no longer compare other portals and providers such as insurance companies , depending on the portal. If you play along, you have to pay high commissions, if you don’t play along, you lose customers. ”
New banking revenue model
The move also raises business issues. Even direct banks such as ING or N26 are suffering from the low interest rates and are increasingly restricting free offers for current accounts. So the question arises as to how C24 wants to work profitably despite desired customer deposits. “The C24 Bank has the same revenue model as traditional banks”, explains Check24 managing director Röttele. “In addition, with the tipster commissions, it has additional sources of income compared to a traditional bank. For example, if a C24 bank customer concludes an electricity or DSL contract via the Check24 comparison.”
According to its own information, Check24 has 15 million customers. When asked how many of them could become C24 customers, Röttele kept a low profile. The current account offer extends to three account types: one free with a credit card and two with additional services such as insurance, certain cards or the cashback function (5.90 and 9.90 euros per month, respectively).
Consumer advocate Zeitz: “The portal learns what customers spend money on and what preferences they have. This knowledge is valuable in digital marketing. A bank can already use this knowledge today to sell a Riester pension. The portal, on the other hand, can sell everything with it : from the Riester pension to the honeymoon to the coffee machine. ”