1 cent transfer - 1-Cent-Überweisung

The one-cent transfer is a tool used to verify the existence of a bank account . The procedure is used to verify bank details . In addition, the one-cent transfer can be used with criminal intent to prepare for transfer fraud or direct debit abuse .

On the transfer form , one cent (EUR 0.01) is the lowest possible amount that can be transferred


A number of online shops or online payment services use the one-cent transfer to check the correctness of the bank account specified by the payer. [1] With the one-cent transfer, one cent is transferred to the specified account. If the account details are incorrect, a refund will be made. Then the debtor can be addressed and asked to provide the correct data.

Other uses

The one-cent transfer can also be used to communicate with the account holder. A number of aid organizations use one-cent transfers in cases where they do not know the address of the donor for the donation receipt. In the intended use, the thank you for the donation is included with the request for address. [2] Ebay and Paypal use one-cent transfers, which are provided with a 4-digit code in the intended use, to confirm the existence of an account. Online lotteries do the same.

With the automatic changeover from existing direct debit authorizations to the SEPA basic direct debit procedure (2014), the aid organizations must inform the donors and sometimes use the text in the intended use for this. [3] [4]

The transfer is faster and cheaper than postal letters. Scoffers describe the one-cent transfer as “a kind of e-mail with guaranteed delivery” and thus a cost-effective alternative to De-Mail (approx. 39 cents [5] ) or e-mail (approx. 58 cents). [6]

Possible abuse

Knowledge of the account details of a potential victim is a prerequisite for transfer fraud or direct debit abuse. It is conceivable that fraudsters can obtain this account information via one-cent transfers. To do this, the fraudster would have to transfer one cent each to a large number of randomly determined numbers. If the transfer is not returned, the fraudster knows a valid account number. In a second step, he can try to debit the account via direct debit or a fake transfer form. [1] [7]

There were repeated warnings of such attempts at fraud. Some of these are rated as hoaxes . [1] According to German law, banks are obliged to

"... the continuous monitoring of the business relationship, including the transactions that are carried out in its course, to ensure that these transactions match a) with the documents and information available to the obliged entity about the contractual partner ..."

- Section 10, Paragraph 1, No. 5 of the Money Laundering Act

A massive submission of one-cent transfers, the majority of which lead to remittances, should therefore quickly result in the monitoring software recognizing this as unusual and the bank becoming aware of the attempted fraud.

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Alte Masche, reissued: Ministry of Consumer Protection warns of one-cent transfers , Spiegel Online , February 28, 2010.
  2. An example of an aid organization
  3. ^ "Single Euro Payments Area" (SEPA) - The one-cent transfer Die Johanniter
  4. SEPA information events for associations ( Memento from January 11, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF) - VR Bank
  5. Security analyst : De-Mail intentionally built to be insecure. In: The time. December 29, 2013, accessed January 11, 2014 .
  6. Guaranteed e-mails for 1 cent heise, December 7, 2013.
  7. One-cent transfers: be careful with unknown incoming payments ( memento from January 11, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Sparda Bank Ostbayern