Which Providers are there and what should you pay Attention to?
If you are looking for a financial institution for your digital business account, you can choose from 4 types of providers:
Savings banks: These are independent credit institutions under public law, whose owners are districts, municipalities or special-purpose associations. According to their statutes, their main purpose is not to make a profit, but to provide the population and the economy, especially small and medium-sized businesses, with sufficient credit services. Above all, the regionally experienced savings banks are the ideal business partner for many small and medium-sized enterprises, possibly also abroad.
Cooperative banks: They position themselves as regionally active SME banks, as they were originally self-help institutions for agriculture and SMEs. Their customers are 50 % co-determining shareholders of the bank. Cooperative banks have long since become one of the densest banking networks in Europe, offering security and support to every entrepreneur.
Private banks: These are private commercial banks, often referred to as large banks or foreign banks depending on their size and focus (e.g. Deutsche Bank). They are centrally managed and usually have branches in Germany and abroad. They trade profit-oriented. Due to their size, changes and innovations are decided in lengthy coordination processes. For companies that operate internationally and require advice in this area, private banks are often ideal partners.
Direct banks and fintechs: These are start-ups in the financial sector that are cost-effective and innovative to experimental (Holvi, N26, Kontist, Skatbank, Penta etc.). Above all, Fintechs successfully develops apps with innovative additional benefits, such as links to accounting programs and tax consulting tools. In comparison, their offers are usually more economical than those of traditional banks. Please note: Not all of these companies already have a banking license, so you should check the offers and the portfolio in detail.
Question Business Policy and Focus
In order to obtain financing, please inform yourself in advance about the main focus of the respective bank. Some banks specialize in financing for local authorities, others in the health sector or in promotional financing. The latter are particularly important for savings banks, which after all support almost every second financing of business start-ups in Europe. A number of private banks also specialize in promoting start-ups through their business start-up center.
What Experiences do Customers Report?
To find the right bank, ask in your industry who other entrepreneurs have done their financing with. In general, personal recommendations or the reservations of other self-employed people are very important for the selection. Because even if your preferred bank has products for start-ups, it may not issue them to small entrepreneurs and self-employed people. Often, certain sectors are also on the list of rejections because their willingness to pay has turned out to be poor. You should also use the Internet for a comparison.
Is a Credit Check necessary?
Most banks in Germany are affiliated with the Schufa, the German credit protection agency for general credit protection. This means that the contractually affiliated credit institutions report to Schufa as soon as a current account or current account is opened or terminated. Loans and titles are also listed in the Schufa. Above all, many savings banks no longer use the data of the Schufa, but obtain their information from other services.
This system is quite similar to credit checks in the USA. If your credit score is negative, for example because you have received a loan termination notice, opening an account is difficult. It is then advisable to look for an institution that operates without credit check or Schufa. However, you should note that not every commercial bank offers products for every legal form. The only thing that helps here is a detailed comparison of portfolios and conditions.
The Future lies in (security-conscious) Digital Banking
No doubt, the future of the banking world lies in digital banking. Whereby the mix with contemporary branch banks is an important addition. Both systems have their justification and are demanded by consumers. However, the focus is on the more convenient and flexible digital variant.
At the same time, ever higher demands are being placed on the security requirements. This is also the view of German courts, which expect corporate customers to be particularly risk-conscious. This is because companies and their employees still handle IT security and the necessary passwords too carelessly. This increases the liability risks enormously. Therefore, when comparing providers, please also take our security tips into account:
- Security Tip 1: Check which security equipment the selected bank or Fintech uses. Use an up-to-date virus protection software and firewall yourself.
- Security Tip 2: When comparing providers, make sure that the selected financial institution uses data encryption. You yourself should also use encryption software in your end devices, such as smartphones, PCs and tablets. Keep your software and hardware up to date.
- Security tip 3: Check whether you can easily enter and change transaction limits for your preferred provider at any time. This will help keep the damage within limits in the event of an attack on your account.
- Security tip 4: Do not use public and unprotected WiFi. Do not conduct banking transactions from third-party devices. Delete the cache (buffer memory) immediately after use.
- Security tip 5: If your comparison of providers has resulted in a favorite, clarify before opening an account whether each account access is logged by the institute. In the event of criminal activity, you will need these logs as proof of unauthorized access.
- Security tip 6: In case of a cyber attack, save the emergency number 116 116 provided for this purpose and report the incident immediately.