How do banks store financial data

Obligation to retain account statements: This is how long banks keep them

Bank statements are very important documents. Not only in commercial matters, but also as a private person, you should always be able to prove that you have made transfers, transfers or incoming payments to your account.

You should therefore always take care of the storage and documentation of your bank statements yourself. But your bank or savings bank also has an obligation to retain account statements.

The information obligation of the credit institutions

Derived from Article 248 § 8 EGBGB, every credit institution is subject to a certain information obligation towards its bank customers. Accordingly, the account holder must be able to see the new account details immediately after each payment transaction has been carried out.

This is done through the account statements, which give the customer information about payment transactions and should make it easier for him to get an overview of his account balances.

10 year retention period for banks

According to Section 257 of the Commercial Code, everyone who is required to keep books and records under tax and commercial law is required to keep important documents.

Accordingly, the same applies to banks as to any other trading company: In addition to account statements, for example, trading books, balance sheets, annual financial statements and management reports must be kept for at least 10 years.

In addition, according to Section 147 of the Tax Code, there is a tax law retention obligation for account statements of 10 years.

Longer retention during ongoing proceedings

As a rule, banks have to keep their customers' bank statements for 10 years. Ongoing financial supervision proceedings are an exception.

If, for example, there are customer complaints or other regulatory proceedings, the bank is obliged to archive documents for longer than the 10-year period.

However, there are no statutory provisions regarding such an extension of the retention requirement for bank statements.

Lost account statement - how much does it cost?

If you should ever lose an account statement, it is usually not a problem to request it from your responsible bank.

However, you have to expect corresponding fees here. In general, the older the account statement, the more money will be charged for its printout.

No obligation to retain account statements for private individuals

There is no statutory retention period for bank statements for private individuals. However, you should note that any bank receipt serves as proof of payment and is accepted as evidence in case of doubt.

For this reason, you should not always rely on your bank's retention requirements, but take care of the documentation of your account statements yourself - also to save request fees.

(Statute of limitations) periods relating to the account statement

Banks will keep bank statements for at least 10 years. Under certain circumstances, however, you are also obliged to archive these documents. Receipts of recurring payments can be used as evidence for four years from January 1, 2002.

For example, you can provide evidence of rental payments made over a longer period of time with the relevant account statements. In the case of one-off payments, this period is limited to 2 years.

Account statements relating to everyday business should be in your possession for at least 3 years, as these expire after a 3-year period and you can then no longer assert any claims.

Since July 31, 2004, private individuals who use craftsmen's services in connection with owner-occupied residential property have had to keep the relevant extracts for 2 years (Section 14b (1) sentence 5 of the Sales Tax Act). There is a 10-year retention period for landlords.

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