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Ecobanks in comparison

Eco banks comparison - These are sustainable banks

Today I would like to The best sustainable banks in an eco bank comparison introduce. Since the financial crisis at the latest, more and more people have been switching to eco-banks because they want to invest their money safely and for sensible, sustainable purposes. In this article, I would like to explain the term "eco-bank" in more detail and show you in the eco-bank comparison which sustainable bank uses your money for what exactly and under what conditions. Time is money - let's go!

Here is another short Table of contents about the article:

  1. Definition
  2. Three eco-banks
  3. Ecobank comparison
  4. Summary

What is an ecobank?

Ökobank comparison - sustainable banks GLS Ethikbank Triodos

First of all, from the customer's point of view, an eco-bank works in exactly the same way as a conventional bank. For example, you can open a current account with an eco-bank, invest your money in savings accounts and call money accounts or trade in shares.

However, sustainable banks differ from other banks in one very important respect - in the transparency of their investments and the object of their investments.

What makes an eco-bank different?

While ordinary banks like to conceal their investment activities, the concept of transparency is right at the top of the agenda for eco-banks. As a customer of an eco-bank, you expect more transparency and no massive returns. This way, you can be sure that the money you invest will only be used to finance sustainable and environmentally friendly projects. For example, eco-banks invest their capital in solar energy, wind energy or hydroelectric power plants. With your deposits at an eco-bank, you will never support companies in the arms industry, the nuclear industry or companies that use child labor. With conventional banks, you can never be sure which projects they are lending to.

Is my money safe with eco-banks?

Eco-banks are often cooperative banks and are therefore also integrated into the protection system of the German Volksbanken and Raiffeisenbanken. If an eco-bank is an AG, deposits are secured up to a certain amount. This means that your deposits are just as safe as with most conventional banks. The big difference: lots of transparency, little speculation and a clear focus on ethically and ecologically clean projects.

A portrait of three eco-banks

Ökobank comparison - sustainable banks GLS Ethikbank Triodos

In this section, I would like to present the three most popular and, in my opinion, best eco-banks in detail and a table with a direct comparison of the eco-banks. In other words, I will first outline the philosophy of the banks and then move on to a comparison of current accounts, investments and financing. As a trained banker, I particularly enjoy doing this 😉.

These are the three best-known eco-banks:

GLS Bank

GLS Bank wants to make the world a better place and use the capital invested by its customers as a means of shaping the environment and society. Every borrower is closely scrutinized and subject to clear sustainability criteria.

When investing your money, you can decide for yourself whether the Ökobank should use the capital for renewable energy, sustainable real estate, education & culture, social affairs & health or to finance sustainable projects in other areas. GLS Bank is a direct bank with branches in Berlin, Frankfurt, Freiburg, Munich, Hamburg, Stuttgart and Bochum, where the Ökobank is also headquartered.

The eco-bank's lending volume has recently risen to EUR 3 billion and is largely used for sustainable construction projects. GLS Bank is stable and is finally making a political commitment in 2018 and wants to push for financial reform and a CO2 tax.


Ethikbank is also an ethical-ecological direct bank that pursues clear values and a sustainable investment policy with clear negative and positive criteria. It does not buy unsecured bank bonds from projects that, for example, mine coal or gamble, produce pornography, test cosmetic products on animals or allow child labor, nor do these companies receive loans from EthikBank. Quite the opposite: support is given to companies that are committed to combating climate change, for example (see article Stopping climate change in everyday life), a business policy that respects human rights and precautionary measures to prevent corruption and bribery.

Ethikbank sees itself as a sustainable, transparent bank, as it fully discloses what the invested capital is used for. The projects are great and range from investing in electromobility and solar systems to sustainable housing.

Triodos Bank

Triodos Bank is a sustainable bank based in the Netherlands with a large branch in Frankfurt am Main. Triodos Ecobank also invests its capital exclusively in projects that have a positive impact on people and society. As with the other environmental banks, these include, for example, wind energy, sustainable housing construction, the elimination of Plastic waste in the environment or the promotion of school and care facilities. For you as a customer, everything is actually the same as always, except that your money is put to absolutely sensible use by the bank.

All three banks share some basic values: transparency, the sensible and sustainable promotion of people and society and also the security of deposits. In the following table, I would like to show you the eco-bank comparison in tabular form so that you can find the right bank for your personal needs.

Ecobank comparison of sustainable banks

ModelGLS BankEthikBankTriodos Bank
Current account (children)free of charge and without overdraft facilitynono
Current account (youth account)1.00 per month with overdraft facility 7.31% only from €10,000 (18 to 27 years)2.00 per month with overdraft facility 7.50% p.a. (18 to 23 years)no
Current account (standard)8.80 per month with overdraft facility 7.31% p.a. only from €10,0008.50 per month with overdraft facility 7.50% p.a.4.50 per month with overdraft facility 6.67% p.a.
Business account13€ per month with Dispo 8.31% and 0.12€ per electronic booking10€ per month with Dispo 8,75% and 0,16€ per. booking4.50 per month with overdraft facility 8.67% and €0.14 per electronic booking
Bank card fees15,00€ p.a.15,00€ p.a.15,00€ p.a.
Mastercard fees30,00€ p.a.35,00€ p.a.30,00€ p.a.
TAN proceduremobile TAN, Sm@rtTanmobile TAN, Sm@rtTanmobile TAN, Sm@rtTan
Machine networkwithdraw cash free of charge at approx. 18,500 German ATMs with bank cardwithdraw cash free of charge at approx. 19,000 German ATMs with bank cardWithdraw free of charge worldwide at approx. 54,500 ATMs with credit card
InvestmentRetirement provision, savings account, savings bond, call money, building society savings, fundsCall money, savings account, savings bond, VL savings, home savings, retirement provision, funds Savings plan, call money, fixed interest, VL, funds, citizen savings
Investment areasRenewable energies, social & health, sustainable economy, nutrition, education & cultureEthics, women's and environmental projectsClimate protection, renewable energies, sustainable real estate, social issues, education, citizens' interests
Choose your own investment areasyesnono
FundingConstruction financing & modernization loanConstruction financing & modernization loanConstruction financing & modernization loan
Deposit insuranceInstitution-related security system, up to €100,000Bundesverban der Deutschen Volks- und Raiffeisenbanken e.V. & voluntarilyDGS deposit guarantee scheme, up to €100,000
Moving serviceyesyesyes
Bank FormDirect bankDirect bank with branches in 6 German citiesDirect bank with a branch in Frankfurt
Mobile appGLS mBank AppVR Banking AppMyBankingApp

Sustainable banks & eco-banks

Ökobank comparison - sustainable banks GLS Ethikbank Triodos

I think one thing has become clear after this eco-bank comparison: As a customer of an eco-bank, you don't get the very best conditions, but your deposit is used to finance ethically correct, environmentally friendly and sustainable projects. I am very happy when my capital is not used to finance projects for companies that use child labor or to support projects in the arms and nuclear industries, but to support truly sustainable projects. Eco-banks share their financing very transparently, you can follow everything. This is not the case with conventional banks because it would tarnish their image. In the end, you can decide for yourself, but I can tell you: it's worth making the uncomplicated switch to an eco-bank.

Do you have any questions, experiences or suggestions for improving the Ökobank comparison? Then I look forward to your comments under this article.

Stay clean,

Replace things Zero Waste

PS.: Look a little in the CareElite Blog around. There you will find, for example, extensive information on the Zero Waste Lifestyle.

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* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate linksIf you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, as I receive a small share of the proceeds - and of course nothing changes in the product price. Many thanks for your support and best regards, Christoph!

Christoph Schulz

Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

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