Cooperative Banks Oppose Check24

The price comparisons on the Check24 website are used millions of times. But because Check24 not only compares prices, but also sells the compared products, there is always criticism.

The mediation portal Check24 is having trouble with Volksbanks and cooperative banks because of its entry into the banking business. The Association of Sparda Banks and the Bavarian Cooperative Association (GVB) are calling on the federal government to intervene because they see a conflict of interest: Check24 offers cost comparisons for bank accounts and, at the same time, has now become a competitor in the financial business with its recently founded bank, criticize the two associations in a letter to Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and Justice Minister Christine Lambrech.

Check24 rejects the allegations with the argument that the account comparison is regulated by the state and certified by TÜV – and that the in-house bank offer is compared according to the same objective criteria. “And of course the product of the C24 Bank has to face these rankings, just like every other of the over 500 products, of course,” said a spokesman. “Therefore we do not see a conflict of interest in any way.”

The cooperative banks see it differently: “This market entry not only distorts the competitive situation in an inadmissible way, it also puts the objectivity of Check24 as a certified provider of a comparison website into question,” write the two CEOs Jürgen Gros (GVB) and Florian Rentsch (Sparda Banks). The GVB represents almost 230 Volks- und Raiffeisenbanken, the Association of Sparda Banks nationwide the eleven former railway cooperative banks, including Sparda Berlin.

The two associations call on Scholz and Lambrecht either to forbid the simultaneous operation of the comparison portal and the bank, or to ask Check24 to discontinue its comparison portal: “We ask you either to improve the regulation so that these conflicts of interest are excluded from the outset – for example with the introduction of an incompatibility clause with regard to the dual role of provider of banking products and comparison website operator – or to request Check24 that these now, as competitors, refrain from offering a comparison website. ”

As an online broker, Check24 sells and mediates a whole range of products and services, from car insurance to vacation trips to changing checking accounts. The Federal Ministry of Finance has specified the requirements in its own comparison website regulation, according to which price comparisons should be clear, objective, correct and up-to-date. The in-house bank C24 was launched on October 13th. On the one hand, this offers a current account and a corresponding debit card and, on the other hand, arranges loans and overnight or fixed deposit offers from more than 300 partner banks via the comparison website.

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