One in seven consumers in Germany (14 percent) has recently overdrawn their account or used an expensive overdraft facility. This is shown by a survey by the Federation of Consumer Organizations, reported on by the SWR Capital Studio (Friday).

48 percent of those affected stated that the higher living and energy costs were the reason for this. 9 percent of those surveyed said they assumed that they would not be able to bear the increased costs in the long term. Ramona Pop, head of the Federal Association of Consumer Organizations, told SWR: “Of course, this is a dangerous path, because overdraft interest is the highest interest rate you have, and it increases with the compound interest effect.” That’s why she sees politics in the Obligation to restrict this “dispo trap” in such a way “that people do not get stuck in it, so to speak, and get into over-indebtedness”.

The overdraft facility is actually there “to bridge maybe 100 or 150 euros at the end of the month until the next salary or income comes”. But he is not there to permanently finance life from it, Pop continues.

However, she does not demand a cap on interest rates, but a maximum limit for the overdraft facility: “Because we believe that the measure is much more important to limit the overdraft facility itself, so that people do not stay in this overdraft facility for long. “For many, the overdraft facility is two or three times the monthly income, the consumer advocate added: “Once you get in there, unfortunately the probability is very high that you won’t get out again.”

In addition, the federal government must facilitate access to free debt counseling, added Pop. In addition, she hopes for further positive effects for consumers’ wallets: “The price brakes are coming now – and hopefully they will also work. And one or the other bargaining round is still pending as far as income is concerned.”