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by Felix Petruschke, Euro on Sunday
Whether you are booking a trip, renting a car or just shopping online – a good credit card is irreplaceable for most consumers in Germany. This is also shown by the fact that there are now many different categories of credit cards that are aimed at different target groups. One of them, the so-called premium category, represents the top class with its extra services and is aimed at more exclusive customers with deep pockets and many flight miles.
Premium cards can do that
Premium card holders are entitled to many additional services, such as integrated insurance protection, numerous discounts and bonus programs. There are some big differences between the different offers. This is shown by the large-scale test that the German Customer Institute (DKI) carried out on behalf of € uro on Sunday. Standard cards (edition 14/2020), gold cards (previous edition) and, for the first time, premium cards (present edition) were tested.
The criteria for the test can be found on this page under “How it was tested”. The tables for the individual categories “Conditions”, “Offer” and “Customer Service” can also be found below. In the category “price-performance ratio”, which was not specifically included in the overall result, the DKI compares the conditions and the offer.
All tested credit cards in the premium range include travel health insurance, travel cancellation insurance and travel interruption insurance. Payment transactions within the Euro zone are free of charge with all cards; contactless payment too. The annual fees range from zero euros (Commerzbank) to 660 euros (American Express). At Commerzbank, the card is only available in conjunction with the premium account, which costs € 154.80 a year.
A partner card is also available for all tested credit cards: These are free of charge at American Express, Barclays Bank, Commerzbank and TUI / Commerzbank. Targobank charges 50 euros a year, Postbank 79 euros and Deutsche Bank 120 euros.
The maximum budget is dependent on the creditworthiness of the customer in all cases: While there is no general upper limit for five cards, the credit limit at Commerzbank (25,000 euros) and at Postbank (15,000 euros) is limited even with excellent creditworthiness. Of the seven premium cards tested, four have a partial payment function. As a result, the sales collected in a billing period can be repaid in installments and further sales can be made until the limit has been reached. Targobank and Barclays Bank allow rate breaks. However, interest rates are between 10.5 and 18.3 percent – given the general low of interest rates, these amounts seem to be a bit out of time.
The test winner is the Targobank premium card. The deciding factors for first place were a very good offer (second place), good conditions (sixth place) and good customer service (third place). In contrast, the Targobank is unbeaten in the price / performance category.
The examiners gave a positive assessment among other things, the comparatively low annual fee of 97 euros. In addition, the card (as with the Barclays Bank) can be used to make transfers from the available funds. The main points of criticism from the auditors were the relatively high fees for cash withdrawals in Germany and abroad (3.5 percent of the amount) and for withdrawals in foreign currencies (foreign payment of 1.85 percent). In return, the Targobank offers convincing additional services: these sit down
from a bonus point system, a travel cashback and a ticket cashback system. Customers are also extensively covered by the insurance package included. In the area of customer service, the test winner scored with quick responses to emails and quick access to calls (third place). The employees looked friendly and competent.
Postbank’s Visa Card Platinum is at the end of the table. The card convinced with “good” conditions (third place), but left the important points in the categories offer and customer service (last place) due to the grade “sufficient”. The main criticisms of the examiners were, for example, that the maximum available limit is limited to only 15,000 euros (lowest sum in the test) and that a partner card costs an additional 79 euros (second highest fee in comparison). The testers see further need for improvement in the area of customer service: Compared to all providers, the staff needed the most time to respond and were perceived as the least competent.
Also convincing in the area of insurance Postbank’s credit card only a little: The insurance package includes (like all the others) travel, cancellation and termination insurance. In addition, the package only includes purchase protection insurance and liability insurance for rental vehicles.
Those who value all-round protectionis correct with the Platinum Card from American Express: The card also offers a worldwide motor vehicle protection certificate, luggage, litigation and travel liability insurance. With an annual fee of 660 euros, it is by far the most expensive in the test, which is why the conditions were only sufficient for the grade “satisfactory”.
DKI boss Jörn Hüsgen states: “With the premium cards, the gap between the price and the performance differs the most.” That means: Sometimes, just slightly more insurance offers are subject to significantly higher fees.
Speaking of top class: American Express and Hypovereinsbank also offer two more premium cards (Centurion Card and Visa Infinite Card). However, these are so exclusive that customers are addressed directly by the bank. For this reason, they were not part of the test.
How it was tested:
In this third part of the comprehensive test, seven premium cards were examined using around 250 individual criteria according to the categories “conditions”, “offer” and “customer service” – by questioning the providers, hidden contacts and analyzing the website. The “conditions” (weight: 35 percent) included: annual fees; Cash withdrawal and payment fees. The “offer” (weight: 35 percent) included about: financial limits; included insurance; Bonus benefits. “Customer service” (weight: 30 percent) was about responding to emails and calls.
Current certificates from
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