September 2019: 7 changes affecting expats in Germany
From environmentally-conscious supermarkets to better online security, there’s plenty of new things to get to grips with this September. Expats in Germany should know about these seven important changes.
1. New online banking regulations
The new EU directive PSD2, which aims to improve the safety of online banking, comes into force on September 14. The old paper TAN lists clung on to by German banks for so long will finally be abolished and replaced with two-factor authentication.
In future, customers will have to identify themselves with two-factor authentication when they log in to their accounts online. This means that, as well as entering a username and password, you will have to prove your identity in any of two ways: “knowledge” (e.g. secret number, PIN), “possession” (e.g. mobile phone, payment card) and “inherence” (biometrics e.g. fingerprint). The new regulations also apply to online shopping.
2. Aldi starts charging for thin plastic bags
Reacting to complaints about the high level of plastic consumption in supermarkets, in September, discounter Aldi will start charging for the thin plastic bags used for fruit and vegetables. If you want to bag up your apples in future, it will cost you 1 cent per piece. Environmentalists are complaining that the charge is far too tiny, but at least it’s a start.
3. Cash bonus for midwives
From September onwards, any midwives working on a freelance basis who move to Bavaria can apply for financial support from the state. They will be entitled to a one-off “settlement premium” (Niederlassungsprämie), totalling some 5.000 euros. Midwives with permanent contracts who still work freelance with pregnant women and newborns are also entitled to the bonus.
4. DHL increase costs for business customers
Deutsche Post’s parcel service, DHL, will increase its prices for business customers as of September 1. According to a press release, the biggest handler of parcels in Germany will increase its fees for all kinds of business packages by 10 cents.
5. Lower Kita fees in Munich
If you live in Munich, you can look forward to reduced Kita fees from September 1 onwards. The city has decided to lower daycare fees for municipal and non-profit facilities for families with children aged between 3 and 6 years old. For children aged between 0 and 3, you will not pay for a nursery place unless your household income exceeds 50.000 euros. The same applies to children aged above 6.
6. Less money for asylum seekers
From September 1, benefits paid out to asylum seekers in Germany will be cut, as part of a series of changes to the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act. In the future, costs for electricity and housing maintenance will be outsourced. Single people who do not live in collective housing will have their benefits reduced from 354 euros to 344 euros per month.
7. YouTube Originals TV series and movies become free
Up until now, so-called “YouTube Originals” TV series and movies have only been available to premium subscription holders. From September 24, however, they will be available to everyone. The only catch is, if you’re not a subscriber, you will need to watch adverts. Does Netflix have a new major competitor on its hands?
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