The European Central Bank has increased its key interest rate. It has remained at zero percent since March 16, 2016. The increase is basically good news for bank customers. FOCUS Online says what now applies to loans, the savings book and money market accounts.

The ECB has increased the key interest rate in the euro area by 0.5 percent. The era of negative interest on savings is coming to an end.

It is the first rate hike in eleven years. In September, the central bank held out the prospect of another – possibly larger – rate hike. Banks still have to pay 0.5 percent interest when they park funds with the ECB. Many financial institutions pass the costs on to customers.

Even before the expected first increase in key interest rates in the euro area in eleven years, at least 49 financial institutions have completely or partially abolished the so-called custody fee for private customers, as can be seen from an evaluation of around 1,300 banks and savings banks by the comparison portal Verivox. Other institutes could follow.

According to the consumer portal, too, the wave of negative interest rates is losing momentum.

Should you know: New customer offer from Renault Bank – new interest rate leader: Now there’s already 0.45 percent for overnight money

Not only are negative interest rates disappearing. Savers can hope for interest on the savings book, fixed-term deposit or call money account.

As a press spokesman for the comparison portal “Check24” says, classic investments such as overnight and fixed-term deposit accounts are becoming more attractive in view of the interest rate trend. For example, the first banks have increased interest rates, especially for short, but also for medium terms. A dynamic that, from the point of view of the comparison portal, could even accelerate over the course of the year.

Two percent and more interest for a two-year fixed deposit could be possible this year.

A look at the interest rate comparisons from FOCUS Online shows how much the interest rate landscape has already changed. For overnight money, consumers can currently get 0.45 percent interest per year from Renault Bank. There, the French deposit insurance protects deposits of up to 100,000 euros. In the FOCUS online fixed deposit comparison, the current leaders Illimity (Italy) and Payray (Lithuania) each offer 1.55 percent for an investment period of just twelve months. For two-year time deposits, the two banks mentioned even pay 1.95 percent per annum.

With an inflation rate of 7.6 percent, which the Federal Statistical Office determined in June compared to the same month last year, the real interest rate remains clearly negative even with these interest rates.

In contrast to interest on savings, lending rates are likely to continue to rise.

“Rising market interest rates are usually passed on directly to customers here,” says Philipp Rehberg from the Lower Saxony Consumer Advice Center, for example. This affects consumers both in the case of real estate and overdraft facilities (Dispo) and consumer loans.

The consumer advocate recommends keeping an eye on expensive overdrafts and only using them in the event of short-term financial bottlenecks. In the long term, normal consumer credit usually makes more sense.

In the case of expiring real estate loans, the question now arises as to how things will continue after the end of the fixed interest rate period. However, nobody can predict with certainty how construction interest rates will develop in the medium and long term, says Rehberg.

Whether a forward loan – i.e. the early commitment to follow-up financing at a fixed interest rate – makes sense must be decided on a case-by-case basis. “The primary goal should always be to secure the financing so as not to jeopardize the preservation of the property,” says the consumer advocate.