2024 financial outlook
Telecom News

Interest Rates, Fees, and Rents: What We Can Expect in 2024

January 9, 2024 - Ralf Beyeler

Interest rates, banking fees, and mobile plans: This moneyland.ch report looks at what we can expect in 2024.

The year 2024 has begun, and moneyland.ch is ushering in the new year with a financial preview of coming developments in banking products, rents for housing, and telecom plans.

Will we earn more interest on my savings in 2024?

After many years of zero interest or even negative interest, savers have finally been able to earn more interest again over the past year. The most generous banks currently pay up to two percent interest on savings.

The rapid climb in interest rates for savings is the result of the Swiss National Bank (SNB) raising its key interest rate. The key interest rate has been raised a total of five times since June 2022. But the situation may change as early as mid-2024. Numerous experts believe that the Swiss National Bank will lower its key interest rate this year.

If the SNB lowers its key interest rate, banks will tendentially lower their interest rates for savings. But until that happens, we can expect to see the average interest rate for savings continue to climb. The reason for that is that many banks have not yet substantially raised their interest rates, and those banks are facing increasing competition from other banks that are already offering more interest.

Tip: You do not necessarily have to leave your current bank in order to earn more interest. You can simply open an additional savings account at a bank that pays more interest. It generally does not cost you anything to open and hold a savings account.  

Will we pay lower banking fees in 2024?

How will the fees charged by Swiss banks for private accounts, debit cards, investment solutions, retirement funds, and asset management develop in 2024?

In recent years, neobanks and other online financial service providers have driven banking fees downwards. We can expect to see neobanks and other online service providers remain at the forefront of price reductions in 2024.

But it will also be interesting to see how Swiss banks react to the fee reductions enacted by the Zürcher Kantonalbank. The Zürcher Kantonalbank’s offensive, combined with competition from neobanks, could push other Swiss banks to rethink and lower their fees.

However, many Swiss banks likely will not make major changes to their fee schedules because Swiss bank customers are not likely to change banks. “With the increasing number of affordable, digital offers, we will likely see bank customer migration rates shoot up in the coming years. That, in turn, will lead to lower banking fees,” says Benjamin Manz from moneyland.ch.

Will bank transfers be faster in 2024?

From August, 2024, most Swiss banks will introduce instant payments. These enable transfers between Swiss banks to be completed within seconds. Numerous Swiss banks are required to accept incoming instant payment transfers. But it is up to each bank to decide whether it wants to offer outgoing instant payment transfers as a service.

Instant payments are an alternative to conventional bank transfers, which will continue to be offered. Whether or not instant payments become widely adopted largely depends on the costs. Raiffeisen – the first major Swiss bank to publish instant payment pricing – will charge 2 francs per transfer, but the fees for the first 12 transfers per year are waived for certain customers.

How will mortgage interest rates develop in 2024?

Banks base mortgage interest rates on their expectations for how money markets will develop across the mortgage term. However, the past shows that both banks and customers are often taken by surprise when interest rates develop contrary to their expectations.

The SNB’s key interest rate is an important factor for both savings accounts and mortgages. If the key interest rate goes down, mortgage interest rates also go down. It is widely believed that the SNB will leave its interest rate unchanged in the first quarter of year, but will eventually lower the rate – at the earliest in mid-2024.

The interest rates of long-term mortgages peaked in autumn 2022, while those of short-term mortgages peaked at the beginning of 2023. Most market observers believe that mortgage interest rates will remain below those peaks in 2024.

How will rents for housing develop in 2024?

If Swiss average mortgage interest rates go up, landlords are normally allowed to raise their rents. The federal government calculates the reference interest rate every three months. In 2023, the climbing reference interest rate resulted in rents going up for many renters.

The reference interest rate went up again in December 2023. The result is that many renters will see their rents go up yet again in 2024.

It is possible that the reference interest rate will go up again in 2024, resulting in further rent hikes. That can happen even if the SNB lowers its key interest rate or leaves it unchanged. The reason is that some mortgage contracts that were signed many years ago will expire in 2024. Their replacement with new contracts at today’s higher interest rates can drive up the average interest being paid for mortgages.

Will personal loans become more expensive in 2024?

New personal loans will get more expensive in 2024. Lenders can now charge up to 12 percent interest per annum for personal loans, and up to 14 percent for credit card loans. As moneyland.ch CEO Benjamin Manz explains: “Some lenders have already raised their interest rates for personal loans in January 2024. More changes to interest rates are sure to follow.”

Interest charges for credit card balances carried past their due date will also get more expensive.

Will mobile telecoms cost more in 2024?

Some telecom service providers like Salt, Sunrise, Lebara, and Yallo have raised the prices of their mobile plans. But a moneyland.ch analysis shows that many other telecom companies have lowered their prices.

Ralf Beyeler, telecom expert at moneyland.ch, expects the most affordable mobile plans to cost as little, or less, at the end of 2024 as they do now at the start of the year.

There are huge differences between the various mobile plans. Some phone users in Switzerland pay 80 to 100 francs per month for mobile plans with unlimited local calls and data, even though plans like this are available for around 20 francs per month. Consumers can save a lot of money by migrating to affordable offers. Comparing mobile plans is worth it.

Will streaming cost more in 2024?

Recently, streaming services have made some changes that resulted in higher prices. Since the end of 2023, Apple has begun charging 10.90 francs per month for Apple TV, up from the previous 8 francs per month. Since autumn 2023, Disney Plus has charged 17.90 francs per month for its highest-resolution plan. That is five francs more per month than before.

Many streaming fans who used to log in to Netflix using other people’s logins will also pay more. Netflix aims to contact these users and encourage them to get their own plans. Disney Plus is planning similar measures.

“Some streaming services will raise their pricing in 2024. Service providers do not expect many customers to leave just because the prices go up,” believes telecom expert Ralf Beyeler. So far, streaming services have also been slow to introduce alternatives to conventional streaming plans.

More on this topic:
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Expert Ralf Beyeler
Ralf Beyeler is the telecom expert at moneyland.ch and also covers other areas of personal finance.