Some big banks have recently changed their card models. Instead of the Girocard and possibly a credit card, a debit card is now the free standard for your customers. For example, the direct bank DKB relies on a free debit card – Girocard and credit card, on the other hand, are subject to a fee. Even those who have a current account with the competitors ING or N26 get a debit card as standard.

The debit cards also come from Visa or Mastercard – but they are not real credit cards. As with the Girocard, the money is debited directly from the account and not at the end of the month. On the other hand, like the credit card, it can be used for online shopping and for withdrawing money abroad. However, the debit card is not a fully-fledged replacement for the credit card.

“Because contrary to what some banks have announced, these cards cannot always do everything that a classic credit card can,” writes “Finanztest”. When traveling abroad, problems can arise when booking a rental car or paying in supermarkets and petrol stations. The consumer advice centers also report that debit cards are not always accepted abroad when a deposit has to be made for a rental car or hotel.

If you want to be on the safe side, you also need a credit card. However, this does not necessarily have to be from the house bank. If the credit card from their own bank is not free or at least cheap, customers should rather get a card from another bank, advises “Finanztest”. With some providers, this is even possible without opening a checking account.

Overall, “Finanztest” compared the conditions of 26 credit cards and six debit cards. For a standard user, annual costs ranged from 0 to 55 euros. Someone who uses the card a lot when traveling paid between 0 and 136 euros a year, depending on the provider.

According to the “Finanztest” comparison, the Visa credit cards from Awa7, Barclays, Paysol and Hanseatic Bank are free and without a checking account. You can use them to withdraw money free of charge at home and abroad, and card payments in non-euro countries are also free.

Other credit cards do not have a basic price, but withdrawing money can cost you something. The Visa World Card from ICS and the Mastercard credit card from Norisbank are cheap. For the latter, however, you have to open a free checking account.

According to “Finanztest”, many offers have a pitfall that can become expensive if you are not careful: the so-called partial payment. This means that users have to actively balance the sales themselves, otherwise high interest rates are due. “Finanztest” therefore advises against all offers where you cannot at least deselect the function. The following applies to the above: ICS and Norisbank are without partial payment. With Awa7, Barclays, Paysol and Hanseatic Bank, the partial payment can be deselected.

You can find the complete comparison here for a fee