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Swiss Gift Accounts for Children Compared

January 8, 2024 - Daniel Dreier

Get informed about gift accounts to save money for a child and compare gift accounts for children from major Swiss banks.

Whether out of awkwardness, pragmatism, or simply because they want to, many Swiss choose to gift money to their children, grandchildren, or godchildren on special occasions.

To enable people to gift children money in a way that encourages saving, Swiss banks offer gift accounts for children. A gift account is opened and managed by an adult, but the account is nominally in the child’s name, and the money is designated for the child.

What are gift accounts used for?

By opening a gift account in which to deposit your financial gifts, you ensure that your child, niece or nephew, grandchild, or godchild, will only receive the money when they reach a certain age. The idea is that the child will use the money, including interest earned, in a more sensible way when they are older.

For example, the money could be used to help pay for the child’s education.

How secure are Swiss gift accounts?

Gift accounts are just as secure as other Swiss bank accounts. If the bank were to go bankrupt, the account balance would be covered by Swiss bank depositor protection, up to a maximum of 100,000 francs per bank and customer.

When is the account transferred to the child?

The gift account is officially transferred to the child as soon as the child reaches a predefined age. At a lot of Swiss banks, the transfer of ownership happens automatically when the child reaches the age of 18. Other banks let you choose the age for the account transfer.

Many Swiss banks provide you with a special gift certificate that you can give to the child when the account is transferred to them.

Until the child reaches the required age, only authorized adults are able to access the money in the account and deposit money into the account. The child cannot make any withdrawals.

Can I withdraw money from gift accounts that I open?

Each bank has its own rules governing whether adults can withdraw money from gift accounts that they manage. Some banks require you to justify the withdrawal, or even to prove how the money is spent. Some banks will deny withdrawals that are not in the child’s best interest.

The legal status of gift accounts is unclear, and each bank interprets the rules differently. The basic rule is: If an account is opened for a child, the account balance should belong to the child.

Does the money belong to the child?

From a legal standpoint, the money in a gift account is part of the estate of the adult who manages the account. If you die before the child reaches the required age for the account transfer, the child will only receive the money if you specifically leave that amount to them in your will, in keeping with Swiss inheritance rules.

How much interest do banks pay for gift account balances?

Gift accounts are a type of savings account. As with other savings accounts, there are no basic, ongoing account fees. The interest rates are normally identical to those of youth savings accounts.

As with youth savings accounts, interest rates vary considerably between banks. Comparing savings accounts before you open a gift savings account is a good financial move.

Overview of annual interest rates for gift accounts from major Swiss banks:

Bank Annual interest rate
Bank Cler 1% up to CHF 25,000, and 0.80% for the
portion of the account balance that exceeds
CHF 25,000
Banque Cantonale de Genève 1% for up to CHF 25,000, and 0.25% for the
portion of the account balance that exceeds
CHF 25,000.
0% for the portion of the account balance
that exceeds CHF 100,000.
Basellandschaftliche Kantonalbank 1% for up to CHF 20,000, and 0.50% for the
portion of the account balance that exceeds
CHF 20,000.
Basler Kantonalbank 1% for up to CHF 20,000, and 0.65% for the
portion of the account balance that exceeds
CHF 20,000.
Berner Kantonalbank 1.25% for up to CHF 10,000, and 0.75% for
the portion of the account balance that
exceeds CHF 20,000.
Luzerner Kantonalbank 1.25% for up to CHF 20,000, and 1% for
the portion of the account balance that
exceeds CHF 20,000.
0.90% for the portion of the account
balance that exceeds CHF 100,000.
Migros Bank 1.25% for up to CHF 25,000, and 0.75% for
the portion of the account balance that
exceeds CHF 25,000.
0% for the portion of the account balance
that exceeds CHF 100,000.
Raiffeisen* 0.85% for up to CHF 20,000, and 0.75%
for the portion of the account balance that
exceeds CHF 20,000.
UBS 1% for up to CHF 50,000, and 0.30% for
the portion of the account balance that
exceeds CHF 50,000.
Zuger Kantonalbank 1.1% for up to CHF 25,000, and 0.5% for
the portion of the account balance that
exceeds CHF 25,000.
0% for the portion of the account balance
that exceeds CHF 200,000.
Zürcher Kantonalbank 1.1% for up to CHF 50,000, and 0.25%
for the portion of the account balance that
exceeds CHF 50,000.
0% for the portion of the account balance
that exceeds CHF 250,000.

* Raiffeisen Zurich. Interest rates may vary between different Raiffeisen banks.

 

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Editor Daniel Dreier
Daniel Dreier is editor and personal finance expert at moneyland.ch.
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