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Eco banks comparison - These are sustainable banks

Ecobanks in comparison

Today I would like to give you the best sustainable banks in an Ökobank comparison introduce. At the latest since the financial crisis, more and more people are 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 "Ökobank" in more detail and show you in the Ökobank comparison which sustainable bank uses your money at what conditions and for what exactly. 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 ecobank basically works in the same way as a conventional bank. So you can also open a checking account at an ecobank, invest your money in savings accounts and call money accounts, or trade in stocks.

However, sustainable banks differ from other banks in one very crucial aspect - In the transparency of their investments and the object of investment.

What makes an ecobank different?

While ordinary banks like to disguise their investment activities, the concept of transparency is at the top of the agenda for ecobanks. As a customer of an eco-bank, you expect more transparency and not massive returns. This way, you can be sure that your invested money 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 ecobank you will in no case support companies from the arms industry, nuclear industry or companies that use child labor. With conventional banks you can never be sure for which projects they lend.

Is my money safe with ecobanks?

Ökobanks are often cooperative banks and therefore also integrated into the protection system of the German Volks- und Raiffeisenbanken. If an ecobank 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: a lot of transparency, little speculation and a clear focus on ethically and ecologically clean projects.

Portrait of three eco-banks

Ökobank comparison - sustainable banks GLS Ethikbank Triodos

In this paragraph, I would like to present you the three most popular and, in my opinion, also the best eco-banks in detail and, in addition, a table with a direct comparison of the eco-banks. That is, I will first show the philosophy of the banks and then come to a current account, investment and financing comparison. As a trained banker, this is particularly fun for me 😉.

These are the three best-known ecobanks:

GLS Bank

GLS Bank wants to make the world a better place and use its customers' invested capital as a means to shape the environment and society. Each borrower is carefully screened and subject to clear sustainability criteria.

When investing your money, you can decide for yourself whether the Ökobank should use the capital for renewable energies, sustainable real estate, education & culture, social issues & 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 lending volume of the Ökobank has recently increased to 3 billion euros and is largely used for sustainable construction projects. GLS Bank is stable and is also finally getting involved politically in 2018 and would like to push for financial reform and a CO2 levy.


Ethikbank is also an ethical-ecological direct bank that pursues clear values and a sustainable investment policy under clear negative and positive criteria. No unsecured bank bonds are purchased from projects that, for example, mine coal or gamble, produce pornography, conduct animal testing on cosmetic products or allow child labor, nor will these companies receive loans from EthikBank. Quite the opposite: support is given, for example, to companies with a commitment to combating climate change (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 close, transparent bank, as it fully discloses what the invested capital is used for. The projects are great and range from investment in electromobility to solar installations and sustainable housing.

Triodos Bank

Triodos Bank is a sustainable bank based in the Netherlands with a large branch in Frankfurt am Main. Ökobank Triodos also invests the capital invested with them exclusively in projects that have a positive impact on people and society. These include, as with the other environmental banks, for example wind energy, sustainable housing, elimination of Plastic waste in the environment or also the promotion of school and care facilities. For you as a customer, everything is actually the same, except that your money is used absolutely sensibly by the bank.

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

Ökobank 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 10.000€.8,50€ mtl. with Dispo 7,50% p.a.4,50€ mtl. with Dispo 6,67% p.a.
Business account13€ mtl. with Dispo 8,31% and 0,12€ per electr. booking10€ mtl. with Dispo 8,75% and 0,16€ per. Booking4,50€ mtl. with Dispo 8,67% and 0,14€ per electr. 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, daily allowance, fixed interest, VL, fund, citizen saving
Investment areasRenewable Energies, Social & Health, Sustainable Economy, Nutrition, Education & CultureEthics, women's and environmental projectsClimate protection, renewable energies, sustainable real estate, social affairs, education, citizen interests
Investment areas self-selectableyesnono
FundingConstruction financing & modernization loanConstruction financing & modernization loanConstruction financing & modernization loan
Deposit insuranceInstitutional protection system, up to €100,000Bundesverban der Deutschen Volks- und Raiffeisenbanken e.V. & voluntarilyDGS deposit guarantee system, 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 Ökobank comparison: As a customer of an Ökobank you do not get the best conditions, but your deposit will be used to finance ethically correct, environmentally friendly and sustainable projects. I am very happy when I do not use my capital to finance projects for companies that use child labor or to support projects from the arms and nuclear industries, but instead use it to support truly sustainable projects. Eco-banks share their financing very transparently, you can follow everything. That's not the case with conventional banks, because that would seriously damage their image. In the end, you can decide for yourself, but I'll tell you: the uncomplicated switch to an eco-bank is worth it.

Do you have any questions, experiences or suggestions for improvement regarding the Ökobank comparison? Then I look forward to your comment 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 links. If you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, because I get a small share of the sales revenue - and of course the product price does not change. Thank you 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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