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Online Banking - Bank statements should be regularly backed up

These days, bank transactions are being performed more and more frequently via smartphones or PCs. Admittedly, the credit institutions regularly place bank statements in digital mailboxes for online banking, however, many bank customers spare themselves the trouble of archiving them or printing them out. Consequently, at some point or other, it will no longer be possible to retrieve the digital statements in the online banking portal and the bank customer will initially be unable to access their bank statements anymore; it would therefore be advisable to store the statements privately.

The reason for the restricted access is that the banks make the statements available in the customers’ mailboxes for a limited period only. Depending on the institution, the length of time for which the statements are made available ranges from 90 to 365 days (or also longer in individual cases). According to the German Commercial Code, the banks are admittedly obliged to archive documents for ten years. However, if customers wish to have old bank statements issued subsequently, this process would be not just time consuming but customers would also have to pay for this - the charge for individual bank statements ranges between €4 and €15. At the very latest, this can become an issue if, when completing your tax return, the local tax office requires proof of payment. Even private individuals should therefore retain their bank statements for at least six years or, even better, for ten years. 

Recommendation: Bank customers would therefore be well advised to print out their bank statements every month, or at least to store them or archive them digitally in a file so that they would be available for an indefinite period of time for a subsequent review, for printing out, or for sending digitally.

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