Lost in the dark: how German online banks fail on loans

Paying off credit cards is certainly one of the best business models for any bank out there. In order to avoid high annual interest rates it certainly is wise to refinance the debt if you don’t want to be stuck by wasting money on monthly extra payments. So I had left a balance on one of my cards from previous holidays, birthday gifts etc and wanted to clear that up by refinancing.

Naturally, being from the online world, the first step is to look into getting a great deal online by low interest rates and flexible payment schemes. And had the high hope to get it all done and dusted within a 2 weeks timeframe. However, just a simple test already showed how those hopes where quickly dashed and left some questionable impressions on the practices of online banks.

So this is what happened…

Show me where the money is

SinKreditsuche at Check24ce I had used the comparison services of check24.de before (and gotten a good deal with them for my car) I thought I straight dive into the world of online loans with the current price comparison market leader.

And, quell surprise, they even had my desired amount as an the top monthly offer:  € 3.000,- at an interest rate of 2,78%.

“Good stuff, then” I thought and proceeded with the search.

The candy store of online loans

Overview of loans at check24Ahhhhh, all images of shiny, happy people – lovely “urgency and special deal” messaging and logos of big brands, customer ratings etc.

Can’t fault the folks at check24 (and they are actually blameless in this) for making it easy to pick & go, like a shiny online candy store.

So how about we try the two top offers then and see how that works for a test, right?

 Candiate No. 2: Barclaycard

Let’s actually start in reverse order with Barclayard since I am also a customer of them and really never had any issues. So I picked the € 3.000 as the desired loan amount and then proceeded to the next page.barclaycard_1

Barclaycard seems to think “But you neeeeed 7.000, not 3.000″

barclaycard_2Big first surprise there: the desired € 3.000 are nowhere to be found but I rather now have to pick € 7.000 as minimum loan amount!

No matter what I try: going back, entering again, clearing cache, clearing cookies, looking into the source code: nope, only 7.000 are possible.

But hey, folks, I DON’T WANT € 7.000 – just the € 3000, no extra, no mas, thank you very much!

You’ve got mail!

You see, I never had a problem with Barclaycard before in the 10 years since I have been with them. So actually I thought I send them some screenshots to customercare explaining the issue and then just leave it there (I actually never finished the credit sign-up process…)

So a week and a half later then I get two letters via standard mail from Barclaycard. Át stage I already started to wonder why they had not responded to my Email where I asked them “Folks, I could not pick the 3.000 loan, only the 7.000 – can you fix this?”.email-an-barclaycard

Thus I thought: “well, looks like they wanted to contact me via regular mail for this…how antiquated…” but nope, suprise, surprise: the first letter now had the ready-made contract for the 7.000 € with a “please sign and send back!” and then a second letter with an additional offer for 10.000 € without any further credit check.

So my message to Barclaycard: NO, I don’t want € 7000 – but an answer to my request would actually have been nice – instead of sending me more offers that I don’t want or need!! (And Barclaycard is out of the race)

Candidate No. 1: Bank Santander

Stellar ratings. Countless accepted loans. Best available interest rates. According to check24 those guys are the cream-of-the-crop, the people’s champion, the guys how make it the easiest and cheapest to get a online loan. Of course you would take their offer in a blink of an eye, even with the extra caution stll needed, right??

What then follows really shows you how deep the rabbit hole goes – yes, take the blue pill, please!

Sign-up, all so easy….too easy

Kreditantrag Bank SantanderWow. Selfchecking Javasript-form, blazing-fast websites, detailled overview of you will get. click, click, click – done!

And since we are only-savvy, let’s just take a screenshot of what will be offered so we can remember later on. Since it might come in handy. Which it eventually did ;)

Too easy…

So how about all of that extra stuff? All of the extra insurances, service-packs that one does not want? I don’t really need that for that amout, so lets tick “nope”

You’ve got mail!..This time from Santander

So about a week later I get a nice, thick envelope from Santander. A first look reveals some neatly stacked documents, “Mail Ident” forms etc.

santander-abweichung-kreditUpon checking the details I find something odd: the total amount that I will have to pay back has all of a sudden increased.

Instead of € 3.080,60 I now have to pay € 3.126,-

I checked monthly rates: its € 2,37 more, interest fee has climbed up to € 81,44 from € 80,60…now that’s a bit odd, isn’t it?

And then they added a “RSV-Beitrag” (some fee?) in height of € 44,56….hold on, what is that??

I don’t remember signing up on any fees, is this something required by law? Some “insurance kind-of- tax“?

Page 2: The “RSV”-fee

So on the second page I finally see what RSV stands for: that is “Ratenschutzversicherung” and is an extra insurance in case you cannot pay for the loan and the box is ticked at yes.


Helloooo, Santander Bank: I never wanted that! I EXPLICITLY actually asked to not have any fees applied on my loan request!. So someone must have added this on then without my approval. And sure enough other people would quite often just sign and not give it too much of a thought, right?

One more surprise in the envelope…

Well, the next one then really tops it off: I was actually prepared to call them and ask them just to re-do the contract piece and so looked for their phone number in the document stack.

Going through the paperwork I suddendly found two more copies of another loan request…but they did not have my name on it at all!

Its actually the loan request of a Maren H. and I can see all of her private details on there: Phone numbers, address, income, profession, banking-details, birth date, Email address etc – pretty much everything that should be absolutey private about any person!

I actually called Maren and explained the situation to her (her cellphone number was on there as well) – I think she was actually just so surprised that she could not say much. I also told her “Look, Maren, I am an Online Marketer and there is some nasty stuff one could do with that data being publized. Let me send the originals back to you then and let’ stay in touch

And then a thought came to my mind:

If Santander is so careless with someone elses most private data, how secure is my own with them? What if I am “in someone elses envelope”?

That really is some scary thought….


On the way out today I will visit my housebank and have a talk with my favourite bank teller and ask her for the loan request.

At least I know I then have a face to complain too if things go wrong – and may it only be that I know from my past visits there that the bank teller and I both support the local Munich “underdog” football team.

And I would trust her somewhat better then any online bank out there….

Update #1

Bank Santander called me, spoke to a customer agent and then to the supervisor (Mrs Holz?), the reason this as following “Since you are new client and have been with your current employer under one year (LOL-how about my previous history) we actually have to MANDATORY put you on extra insurance” So: Even if you don’t want it (and not need it), you will have to pick the insurance anyways, otherwise you will not get the loan! – now, is that not called “double dealing” or what ;)

When you ask them why then they would not inform you about the extra needed insurance they respond with “Well, all the material gets produced automatically and there is no way that we could change anything” (and this then seems to apply for the cover letter or any other note that they could enter) – regarding the other matter, where I received someone elses contract the agent first told me “Well, what can I say…if we f**k up royally we REALLY f**k up royally” and the supervisor told me “Well, we must just have put the other contract with you by mistake…its a manual thing that can happen” (and she did not seem to be concerned about the privacy data issue)

Whats your take on this? Have you gotten same experiences?
Please let me know by commenting below, either in German or English



This entry was posted in E-commerce and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Eunice Garbe
    Posted 2015/06/03 at 19:42 | Permalink

    Hello am Eunice Garbe from Germany, my business collapse 5 months ago, I had no hope of getting my business alive again.
    I was so broke that i had no property or credit card to get a loan, but someone introduced me to a man
    called WILLIAMS MARK.This man`s company was able to give me a loan of €50,000 without any property as
    collateral or credit card, but he gave it to me on trust. So my friends I said to myself why being selfish,
    so i decided to share this information with everyone. If you need a loan from a reliable loan lender do contact
    WILLIAMS MARK VIA EMIAL: williamsmark685@gmail.com

    Eunice Garbe.

  2. Hieu Le
    Posted 2015/09/25 at 07:44 | Permalink

    I would have gone with Santander bank for a loan if I just didn’t suddenly see your post by google. Thanks for a very useful post!

  3. Peter Singerland
    Posted 2016/08/29 at 22:25 | Permalink

    Do you need a financial Solution? Here is the solution to all your financial problem. I give out loans for project, business, taxes, bills, and so many others reasons, our loan are easy, cheap and chick. Contact us today for that loan you desire, we can arrange any loan that suit your budget at low interest rate. If Interested Contact via Email.: petersingerland01@outlook.com

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

  • SEO-Tools: Searchmetrics

    Searchmetrics Suite and it's smaller brother Search Metrics Essentials are truly awesome!

    Having the biggest keyword database of all the available SEO tools out there it will give you a accurate overview of your website for all needed relevant data: rankings, links, social signals, competitors - even SEA data right at your fingertipps...

    Knowing Searchmetrics founder Marcus Tober in person (and also his work ethic) I can give my undoubted recommendations to any SEO who is serious about his projects to use Searchmetrics - either on local small projects or on a global scale for large enterprise websites!

    They are offering free try-outs so that you can test their product hassle free and without having to commit yourself straight away (Prices start from € 99,- a month)
     Searchmetrics Essentials - SEO Analyse Tool

  • SEO Tools: Keywordmonitor

  • Enter your email address and receive my newest posts by Email - do not miss my tips and tricks to SEO anymore :)

    Join 2 other subscribers

  • Latest articles

  • seolobster @ Twitter