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Neobanks in Switzerland: A Comprehensive Guide

May 8, 2024 - Ralf Beyeler

Find answers to your questions about neobanks and smartphone banks in Switzerland in this comprehensive guide by independent Swiss online comparison service

Note: You can get a comprehensive comparison of neobanks in Switzerland as a PDF document at the foot of this guide.

What is a neobank?

The terms smartphone bank, neobank, fintech bank, mobile bank and challenger bank are often used interchangeably. In every case, they denote recently-founded financial services providers which offer services that compete directly with those offered by established banks.

Neobanks are direct banks. They offer similar services to those provided by conventional banks, but do not offer branch offices or face to face consultation. Instead, they offer mobile apps with which new customers can apply and through which they can provide cost-effective, fully digital services.

Many neobanks only provide their services in combination with a mobile app. Without the app, you cannot open an account or use their services.

You can find more information in the glossary definitions of smartphone banks, neobanks, and challenger banks.

Which neobanks operate in Switzerland?

These Swiss neobanks offer private accounts with payment cards:

  • Alpian
  • Coop Finance Plus
  • CSX (Credit Suisse subsidiary)
  • Neon
  • Radicant
  • Yapeal
  • Yuh (Swissquote and PostFinance)
  • Zak (Bank Cler subsidiary)

Some foreign neobanks offer accounts to residents of Switzerland. These service providers are not licensed banks in Switzerland and do not provide Swiss bank accounts. Major foreign neobanks available to Swiss consumers include:

You can find detailed information about each of these in the neobank comparison available as a PDF at the foot of this guide.

There are also a number of Swiss financial services providers which offer mobile app-based retirement planning services and asset management services (like robo advisors). Although these are banking services, these service providers are generally not classified as neobanks because they do not offer private account services and payment cards.

You can find an overview of Swiss digital retirement planning services here. You can find an overview of Swiss digital asset management services here.

Who can benefit from using neobanks?

If you are comfortable with using service providers with no physical presence, want affordable solutions, and like the idea of managing your account and card via an app, then a Swiss neobank could be a good fit for you.

The cards offered by many neobanks have exceptionally low costs for purchases and cash withdrawals outside of Switzerland. The currency exchange rates can be much more favorable than those of debit cards and credit cards from conventional banks.

Even if you prefer to keep your main account at a conventional bank, opening a secondary account with a neobank just for international transactions is worth considering. For example, you can take advantage of the favorable currency exchange rates of the neobank card by using it for purchases from foreign merchants.

Who are neobanks not well suited to?

If you enjoy face to face contact and personal relationships with your bank representatives, neobanks are not for you. Neobanks are also poorly suited to transactions of physical valuables. Some neobanks do not provide any options for cash deposits and have low limits on cash withdrawals. Safekeeping services such as bank safe deposit boxes are also generally not available.

If you are not somewhat digitally-savvy, you may have difficulty using neobanks. However, the mobile apps provided by neobanks are generally easy to use. If you do not own a smartphone which runs either Android or iOS (iPhone), you generally will not be able to use neobank apps.

Neobanks are generally limited in the banking services they provide. There are currently practically no neobanks which offer the full palette of banking services (private account, savings accounts, debit card, credit card, mortgages, loans, asset management, etc.). If you prefer doing all your banking with just one service provider, you will find neobanks limiting.

Offers from international neobanks like Revolut and Wise generally do not replace the need for a Swiss banks account. The reason is that you do not get a personal Swiss bank account in your name. They also are not an optimal solution for making or receiving transfers to and from Swiss bank accounts.

How are Swiss neobanks different from conventional banks?

The differences vary between neobanks. The most important differences are the intuitiveness of the mobile app, the costs, and the services provided.

Differentiator 1: The mobile app. Swiss neobanks let users manage their payment cards and bank accounts using mobile apps. Although many conventional Swiss banks now offer mobile banking apps as well, these are often less user-friendly than those offered by neobanks. Many neobanks require that you use the mobile app, while conventional banks generally offer mobile apps as an optional service.

Differentiator 2: Costs. In many cases, neobanks are more affordable than conventional Swiss banks and card issuers. This is especially true for transactions in foreign currencies, with neobanks often having much more attractive currency exchange rates and much lower foreign transaction fees. Many neobanks do not charge any basic account fees for standard accounts.

Differentiator 3: Services available. Conventional banks have an advantage in this regard. The range of banking services offered by neobanks is often limited. For example, more complex financial instruments like mortgages are not normally offered.

What functions do the mobile apps from neobanks include?

Neobanks let you access and manage your banking services via a mobile app. Typically, you can manage your payment card and review account transactions.

You can also normally get notifications for incoming transfers to your private account. Many neobanks provide options for paying bills. In general, there are major differences in the services provided by different neobanks.

Functions which are typically included in neobanks:

  • Overview of account transactions and current account balance.
  • Instant notifications for card transactions.
  • Fast money transfers (to other users of the same neobank).
  • Access to your card information (including the card number, expiry date, and security code) in the app.
  • Authentication of card transactions for online purchases.
  • The option of temporarily freezing and unfreezing your card (if it is lost or stolen, for example).
  • The option of permanently freezing your card.
  • Other options related to how your card can be used (enabling or disabling transactions in certain countries or regions, and/or the magnetic strip or NFC (contactless).
  • Ordering bank transfers.
  • Investing and managing money (in different sub-accounts, for example).

Do neobanks offer consultation?

Typically, neobanks do not offer consultation. You can contact their customer services if you have questions or encounter technical problems. Many neobanks only offer chat-based customer service, but some provide customer service by phone as well.

Are there minimum initial deposit requirements for opening neobank accounts?

No. Swiss neobanks do not require a minimum initial deposit when you open your account.

Is money entrusted to neobanks secure?

The balances of accounts at Swiss neobanks Alpian, Coop Finance Plus, CSX, Neon, Radicant, Yuh and Zak are covered by Swiss depositor protection. From a legal standpoint, when you open an account with one of these neobanks, you are in fact opening an account at Credit Suisse (CSX), the Hypothekarbank Lenzburg (Coop Finance Plus, Neon), Swissquote (Yuh) or Bank Cler (Zak). Alpian and Radicant are fully-licensed Swiss banks. If the underlying bank were to go bankrupt, your account balances would be protected within the limitations of the Swiss bank depositor protection scheme.

The Swiss neobank Yapeal holds a fintech license from Swiss financial regulator FINMA. The balances of Yapeal accounts are not covered by depositor protection. However, according to Yapeal, all customer assets are held at the Swiss national bank, which means they are secure.

In the case of foreign brokers, there is no across-the-board answer to the security question. N26 is covered by German depositor protection as per EU requirements. Revolut and Wise hold UK e-money licenses. Financial services providers with this type of license must hold customer assets at third-party licensed banks and are not allowed to lend out money.

Do I get a Swiss bank account number?

All Swiss neobanks provide you with your own personal Swiss IBAN linked to your account.

Currently, that is not the case with foreign neobanks. However, it is likely only a matter of time before Revolut and Wise are able to begin offering Swiss IBANs to their users in Switzerland.

Do I get a foreign bank account number?

International neobanks which are available to Swiss consumers generally offer personal bank account numbers somewhere in Europe. N26 gives you a German personal bank account number, Revolut gives you a Lithuanian account number, and Wise gives you a Belgian personal account number.

Wise also offers personal bank account numbers in other countries, including the US, Singapore and Australia.

If you regularly receive money in a specific foreign country, having a bank account number in that country can be useful.

Which kinds of payment cards do neobanks offer?

The Debit Mastercard, Visa Debit and prepaid cards are both widely used by neobanks. Most neobanks do not offer conventional credit cards.

This table clearly shows which kinds of payment cards are offered by different neobanks.


Neobank Card Card Type
Alpian Visa Debit Debit card
Coop Finance Plus Debit Mastercard Debit card
CSX Debit Mastercard Debit card
N26 Debit Mastercard Debit card
Neon Mastercard Prepaid card
Radicant Visa Debit Debit card
Revolut Variable Variable
Wise Visa Debit Debit card
Yapeal Visa Debit Debit card
Yuh Debit Mastercard Debit card
Zak Visa Debit Debit card


Revolut offers different card types to different customers. The cards available to new users are shown in the app during the application process.

Do neobanks offer virtual payment cards?

Some neobanks provide the option of using virtual cards. A virtual card can be used with mobile payment services like Apple Pay or Google Pay. A virtual card also includes all the card information necessary for online purchases, including a card number, expiry date and security code.

Normally users receive both a virtual card and a physical payment card. Only a few neobanks give you the option of foregoing the physical card and using only a virtual card. Examples include Radicant, Revolut, and Wise.

Do smartphone banks offer mobile payment systems?

Most neobanks have partnerships with one or more popular mobile payment services so that users can make payments with their phone. Apple Pay and Google Pay are widely supported. Support for popular wearable and smart watch payment services is less common.

This table shows which mobile payment solutions are supported by neobanks.


Neobank Apple Pay Google Pay Samsung Pay Fitbit Pay Garmin Pay Swatch Pay
Alpian Yes No No No No No
Coop Finance Plus Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
CSX No No No No No No
N26 Yes Yes No No No No
Neon Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Radicant Yes Yes No No No No




























Zak (with Visa Debit)








Which costs can apply when using neobanks?

The terms and conditions vary between neobanks.

There are many possible fees which you may incur. These include: monthly or annual fees; fees or cash withdrawals at ATMs; currency exchange markups; foreign transaction fees; surcharges for international transfers; currency costs; transfer fees; fees for issuing new payment cards.

You can get a detailed cost comparison as a PDF at the foot of this guide.

What do neobanks cost for users in Switzerland?

Many neobanks do not charge basic monthly or annual account fees – at least not for the basic account version. Some neobanks offer different accounts with different terms, conditions, and pricing. You can find all accounts for individuals in this table.


Neobank Monthly Fee One-Time Fee
Alpian CHF 0.00 to CHF 15.00 * CHF 0.00
Coop Finance Plus CHF 0.00 to CHF 5.00 ** CHF 0.00
CSX Basic CHF 0.00 CHF 0.00
CSX Premium CHF 3.95 CHF 0.00
N26 Standard EUR 0.00 Physical card: EUR 10.00
N26 Smart EUR 4.90 EUR 0.00
Neon Free CHF 0.00 Physical card: CHF 20.00
Neon Green CHF 5.00 Plastic card: CHF 0.00
Wooden card: CHF 20.00
Neon Metal CHF 15.00 Metal card: CHF 0.00
Radicant CHF 0.00 CHF 10.00 for the physical card
Revolut Standard CHF 0.00 CHF 5.99
Revolut Premium CHF 8.99 CHF 5.99
Revolut Metal CHF 15.99 CHF 5.99
Wise Multi-Currency Account CHF 0.00 CHF 8.00
Yapeal Loyalty CHF 0.00 CHF 7.00
Yapeal Private CHF 4.90 CHF 0.00
Yapeal Private + CHF 8.90 CHF 0.00
Yuh CHF 0.00 CHF 0.00
Zak CHF 0.00 CHF 0.00
Zak Plus CHF 8.00 CHF 0.00

* Alpian charges the fee on a quarterly basis. The fee varies based on your total assets. Up to 10,000 francs in assets: 45 francs per quarter. Up to 50,000 francs in assets: 22.50 francs per quarter: Over 50,000 francs of assets: the fee is waived.


What does making payments with neobank cards cost?

Using your card to pay for purchases from Swiss merchants does not generate fees for you as the consumer. When you make purchases from foreign merchants, the currency exchange rate used is the deciding factor. Some neobanks also charge foreign transaction fees. 

Some neobanks use favorable interbank rates for currency exchanges, while others use marked-up currency exchange rates. As is standard practice at established banks, the markups are generally hidden in the exchange rates. The same neobank may add different markups depending on the currency. conducts regular cost analyses for a number of different currencies. The results show that for purchases from foreign merchants paid for with payment cards, many neobanks are much more affordable than conventional banks.

What do cash withdrawals at ATMs cost?

Fees for cash withdrawals at ATMs vary broadly between individual neobanks and accounts. As a general rule, neobanks are not significantly cheaper than conventional banks in this regard, or are only moderately more affordable.

You can find a detailed comparison of cash withdrawal fees in the free PDF which you can get at the foot of this guide.

What do transfers to Swiss bank accounts cost?

For transfers within Switzerland, Swiss neobanks deliver a number of advantages. Unlike some international neobanks, Swiss neobanks do not charge any fees for transfers to Swiss bank accounts. Swiss neobanks also provide Switzerland-centric services such as scanning Swiss payment slips – including red and orange inpayment slips in addition to QR bills.

On the other hand, not all Swiss neobanks currently provide direct debit order (LSV+) or eBill services.

Transferring money within Switzerland to Swiss bank accounts using foreign neobanks is not recommended. The reason is that even if both you and the recipient are in Switzerland, the transfer will be performed as an international transfer (Wise is an exception to this rule). When a local transfer is classified as an international transfer, the recipient may only receive part of the money, with the rest going to variable transfer costs. For example, according to media reports, when you send money within Switzerland using Revolut, the recipient may receive up to 12 percent less than the amount you send.

What do international transfers cost?

Transfers to European countries within the SEPA region are normally free of charge. However, you must take care to ensure that a transfer meets the requirements to be classified as a SEPA transfer. The transfer must be in euros, and the transfer must be made using the shared cost (SHA) transfer option.

Some neobanks do not provide international transfers in currencies other than euros. Wise specializes in fast and affordable international transfers. Wise avoids high international transfer costs by using a peer-to-peer system by which it transfers the money from its local account in the recipient’s country to the recipient’s bank account. Many other neobanks like Neon, Yapeal and N26 work with Wise to enable automatic transfers.

Do neobanks pay interest?

Currently, most neobanks do pay interest on account balances. But there are exceptions: These are Coop Finance Plus (1 percent interest per annum for balances in savings accounts), Neon (0.75 percent interest per annum for balances in Spaces), Radicant (1.25 percent interest per annum), Zak (1 percent interest per annum for the private account and 1.3 percent for the savings account), and Yuh (1 percent interest per annum).

Those interest rates apply to the portion of your account balances that falls below 25,000 francs (Neon and the Zak private account), 100,000 francs (Zak savings account), or 250,000 francs (Radicant). The portion of your account balance which exceeds that threshold is subject to a lower interest rate, or earns no interest at all.

Alpian pays 1 percent interest per annum for the portion of your account balance that falls below 50,000 Swiss francs, and 1.25 percent interest per annum for the portion above that threshold.

How do I deposit money into my neobank account?

Depositing money into a Swiss neobank account is quite simple. You simply transfer the balance of your old bank account to your new neobank account using your new Swiss personal bank account number.

Revolut and Wise both have collective Swiss bank accounts into which you can deposit money to fund your account. You have to transfer the money from another bank account in your name and take care to follow the instructions from Revolut or Wise. It is also technically possible to deposit money into your account at the post office using red inpayment slips, but this service is not free of charge.

With N26, you have to make a SEPA transfer to the German N26 bank account from a different account in your name. Your Swiss bank will typically add a markup on the Swiss franc to euro exchange rate.

Can other people transfer money to my neobank account?

Third parties can transfer money from their bank accounts to your neobank account. However, not all neobanks give you a personal Swiss bank account number.

Many Swiss employers, landlords, health insurance providers and tax offices require a personal bank account number in your name. This is only possible with Swiss neobanks.

Foreign smartphone banks give you a personal bank account number, but for foreign a bank account. This is useful if you need to receive payments from third-parties in those countries or regions.

How do sub-accounts work?

Many neobanks give you the option of creating sub-accounts. Different neobanks have different names for these, including Spaces (N26), Pockets and Vaults (Revolut), and currency accounts and Jars (Wise).

These are always sub-accounts of your main account between which you can divide your account balance. Depending on the neobank, sub-accounts can be used to hold different currencies, or to organize spending and saving. Some neobanks offer sub-accounts which can be managed by more than one person. Some neobanks like Revolut and Wise let you open sub-accounts for different currencies and exchange money between different currency sub-accounts.

Wise lets you create Jars denominated by different currencies in which you can hold your various currency balances. Unlike savings accounts, you do not earn interest on the balances of these Jars, but the money is segregated from the rest of your account balance and cannot be spent with the payment card.

Service providers like N26, Neon, Yuh and Zak let you set savings goals and save money in sub-accounts until your goal is reached.

Are neobank accounts available to self-employed individuals and small businesses?

Some international neobanks offer accounts for self-employed individuals and small businesses. Both Revolut and Wise advertise accounts for self-employed individuals.

Of all the Swiss neobanks, only Yapeal currently offers accounts for self-employed individuals and SMEs.

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