The Cheapest and Best Swiss Neobanks for Summer Travel

The Cheapest and Best Swiss Neobanks for Summer Travel

by July 12, 2023

Online comparison service compared offers from neobanks ahead of the summer travel season. Neon and Revolut got the best marks for using cards outside of Switzerland. Yuh takes first place in the comparison of accounts and interest rates.

The summer holiday – and the travel season that accompanies it – has begun. Cards from neobanks are substantially cheaper for making payments abroad than most credit cards from conventional banks, as multiple studies have shown. But which of the neobanks has the lowest costs? compared the costs of making payments and cash withdrawals in Switzerland and outside of Switzerland (in euros, US dollars, and Thai Baht). The comparison included the neobanks CSX (Credit Suisse), Neon, Revolut, Wise, Yapeal, Yuh (Swissquote and Postfinance), and Zak (Bank Cler). In a second analysis, also accounted for account-based services and interest rates.

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Card transactions: Neon and Revolut are the cheapest

For the first comparison, used the following user profile for calculations: Every year, the profile user uses a card from a neobank (in most cases a debit card) to make 10,000 francs of payments in Switzerland, and the equivalent of 2’000 francs of transactions each in euros, US dollars, and Thai baht while traveling. The person also makes one cash withdrawal in Switzerland, and a total of six cash withdrawals at foreign ATMs.

The comparison accounted for all applicable costs during one year. Calculations of foreign currency transaction costs also account for markups on interbank currency exchange rates. These markups were determined by based on samplings of currency exchange rates across 12 different days in June, 2023.

Benjamin ManzThe results: “Neobanks have now become established in Switzerland. But even between the affordable neobanks, there are still price differences.”

Says CEO Benjamin Manz

The cheapest solutions are the Neon Free account from Swiss neobank Neon, and the Standard account from foreign neobank Revolut. Both of these have total costs of 57 francs for users matching the profile.

Next in line are foreign service provider Wise and the Loyalty account from Swiss neobank Yapeal, both with total costs of 69 francs. The most expensive neobank accounts for this user profile are Zak Plus (318 francs) and CSX Black Debit Mastercard (264 francs).

Card transactions- Neon and Revolut are the cheapest

Card transactions and bank accounts: Yuh is the cheapest

For the combined comparison of card transaction and bank account costs, used this user profile: The profile user makes the same card transactions as in the first comparison, but they also receive their salary and pay their bills with their neobank account. The profile user receives 20 incoming bank transfers and makes 50 outgoing bank transfers per year. They also have a monthly standing order for their rent. The average balance of their private account is 5000 francs. Calculations account for interest earned on their account balance.

Only Swiss neobanks offer bank accounts with Swiss bank account numbers. Foreign financial service providers Revolut and Wise do not offer Swiss bank accounts. The Loyalty account from Yapeal has a Swiss bank account number, but cannot be used to pay bills or to transfer money to other bank accounts. For these reasons, those offers were not included in this comparison.

The results: Yuh is the cheapest, with total costs of 51 francs per year after deducting interest earned. It is followed by Neon, with 57 francs of total costs. Yapeal, with total costs of 111 francs, takes third place. The most expensive accounts are Zak Plus (281 francs) and CSX Black Debit Mastercard from Credit Suisse (264 francs).

Card transactions and bank accounts- Yuh is the cheapest

Differences in features and transparency

Most of the neobanks included in the comparison have offers that do not have basic account fees. These accounts rank the highest in the cost comparisons. But in addition to these accounts with no basic account fees, some neobanks also offer premium accounts that have annual fees. These are also included in the comparisons. Advantages of premium accounts include lower cash withdrawal fees and additional features.

For example, Neon offers a sustainable account with a 60-franc basic annual account fee. Holders of this account indirectly finance the planting of trees. Accounts with payment cards made out of metal are offered by Neon (180-franc basic annual account fee) and Revolut (191.90-franc basic annual account fee).

There are also differences in transparency. Revolut is particularly lacking in this regard, as pricing and other conditions for Swiss customers are not communicated clearly, and in some cases can only be obtained through the mobile app.

More on this topic:
Neobanks in Switzerland: A comprehensive guide


Calculations are based on the following assumptions:

  • Annual card use:
    • Payments in Switzerland: 10,000 francs.
    • One cash withdrawal of 250 francs at a Swiss ATM (in the case of neobanks which charge different cash withdrawal fees depending on the ATM used, calculations are based on the higher fee).
    • Payments outside of Switzerland in EUR, USD, and THB: The equivalent of 2000 francs of transactions per currency.
    • Cash withdrawals outside of Switzerland: Two withdrawals each in EUR, USD, and THB, with each withdrawal worth the equivalent of 250 francs.
  • Annual bank account use:
    • 20 incoming bank transfers.
    • 50 outgoing bank transfers.
    • 1 standing order for monthly transfers.
    • Average account balance: 5000 francs.

Samplings of currency exchange rates published by neobanks were taken in 2023 on June 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, and 22. The averages of the sampled rates were then compared with interbank rates as published by Oanda.

The individual cost factors are rounded to the nearest 5 centimes. Total costs are rounded to the nearest 1 franc.

Twint is not included in the comparison, as it cannot currently be used to make payments outside of Switzerland.


Featured image credit: Edited from freepik.