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Getting a Loan in Switzerland: Criteria

What criteria do you have to meet to get a loan in Switzerland? Find out in this guide.

The cost of getting a loan in Switzerland varies widely between loan offers and lenders. That’s why a loan comparison can help you save money.

But just comparing interest rates directly won’t give you the full picture. The reason: Lenders each have their own set of criteria which you have to meet in order to be approved for a loan.

The most affordable loans in Switzerland - normally online loans - often come with the strictest criteria. That means you will only be approved for these low-cost loans if you have excellent creditworthiness.

More expensive loans are often available to those with poorer credit. Simply put, the rule of thumb is: The higher the interest rate (higher total cost of getting the loan), the higher the chance of someone with less-than-ideal creditworthiness being approved for a loan. When looking for a loan, your priority should be finding the lowest interest rate for loans that match your credit profile.

Getting a loan: Killer criteria

Swiss lenders have a long list of criteria that you will have to meet in order to show that you are good for the money. If you don’t qualify, you will not be able to get a loan.

The powerful loan comparison from is the only tool in Switzerland that clearly shows you all of these «killer criteria», which can change from one loan offer to another. You will only get results that you may actually be eligible for.

These factors make up the main criteria set forth by lenders:

  • Age: You have to be at least 18-years-old to be approved for a loan. Many lenders also have a maximum age limit for lenders, because seniors also qualify as a «high-risk».
  • Country of residence: As a rule, Swiss lenders only provide loans to customers who live in Switzerland. In some cases, residents of Liechtenstein may also be eligible.
  • Canton of residence: A few cantonal Banks require that you live (or work) in the specific canton which they service.
  • Residence permit: If you are not a Swiss citizen, your eligibility for a loan will depend on the type of residence permit you have. Permanent residents (class C permit) are generally eligible. Loan applications from residents with a class B permit may not always be accepted, or additional criteria may be required. Only a handful of banks issue loans to cross-border workers (class G permit).
  • Bank account: Some banks stipulate that you must have an account with them in order to qualify for a loan.
  • Size of the loan: Every lender has their own minimum loan size requirements, as well as limits on the maximum amount you can borrow.
  • Loan tenures: Possible loan repayment tenures, which are subject to minimum and maximum time periods, vary depending on the lender and loan offer. Some lenders only provide limited loan tenure options.
  • Purpose of loan: Some financial services companies only provide loans for designated purposes, like financing your home or car, for example.
  • Employment status: You will have to prove that you are employed on an unlimited and ongoing basis. As a rule, you should not apply for a loan during a probationary employment period, and you will have to present at least 3 salary slips. Some loan offers are also available to self-employed borrowers and even employees with a temporary employment contract.
  • Type of loan: Some offers only apply to new loan contracts, any you won’t be able to get them when applying for refinancing.
  • Minimum income: Many loan offers require a minimum annual income to obtain, and accounts for this automatically.
  • Ongoing debt collection: In almost all cases an ongoing debt-repayment summons will make you a persona-non-grata at Swiss lenders.
  • ZEK: Having a poor ZEK credit score will nix your chances of being approved for a loan in Switzerland.

Getting a loan: combined criteria

In addition to the basic criteria listed above, every lender has their own list of eligibility criteria for borrowers. Factors which alone might not be enough to exclude you from accessing a loan may render you ineligible when combined with other factors. A lot depends on the lender and the type of loan you need.

Your ratio of expenses in relation to your income will have a decisive affect on a lender’s decision to approve or deny your loan.

To put it simply: If your projected expenses are too high in relation to your income, your loan application most likely will not be approved. That’s because the chance of your being able to keep up with your loan payments alongside your other expenses is small.

A number of factors can affect a lender’s decision to give you a loan when combined with other factors. These include:

Marital status, number and age of children, annual net income, monthly home rental or mortgage payments, housing situation, employer (and further information provided by your employer), and occupation.

Additionally, lenders generally access reports from third party rating agencies and databases, including the records managed by the Zentralstelle für Kreditinformation (ZEK), the central Swiss credit bureau.

More information:
Personal loans in Switzerland: comparison tool
Swiss online loans

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The magazine provides accurate, unbiased information on topics related to finance and money. In addition to research and expert interviews, the magazine contains numerous financial guides.