Voluntary 3a Retirement Savings

Swiss Pillar 3a Account Comparison 2024

Find the highest-yield pillar 3a savings accounts and interest rates, open pillar 3a accounts and optimize your retirement savings. Compare pillar 3a accounts now

The account data is checked regularly. The 3a interest data is updated every month. Last update of the 3a interest data: June 4, 2024.

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Specify the amount of 3a assets to deposit and other necessary information in the first step.

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3a Savings Account Questions and Answers

More about the pillar 3a savings account comparison

Just follow these simple steps to find the best pillar 3a accounts for your retirement savings:

  • Use the interactive pillar 3a account comparison on moneyland.ch to see a list of all relevant Swiss pillar 3a retirement accounts.
  • Use the comparison to find the pillar 3a account with the highest interest rate.
  • Important: Some pillar 3a accounts are only available in combination with other services (such as private accounts) from the same bank. Some regional banks only provide pillar 3a accounts to residents of the region they serve. 
  • Some pillar 3a accounts have incidental fees and charges. These may apply when you make early withdrawals (to buy a home, for example) or when you migrate your savings to a different pillar 3a solution, for example. Incidental fees and charges are clearly shown on the detailed product information pages.

Compare pillar 3a accounts now and optimize your interest yields.

The interactive pillar 3a account comparison on moneyland.ch includes pillar 3a accounts from all major banks and insurance providers. Comparisons and yield estimates are based on initial and ongoing deposits and current interest rates, and account for interest compounding.

Practical cost breakdowns clearly show possible incidental fees and charges. You can also filter comparison results to only include accounts which do not have any fees and charges at all.

The Swiss pillar 3a is a tax-privileged category of private retirement savings and providence. Participation in the pillar 3a is voluntary and extends the coverage of the pillar 1 (government pensions, social security) and the pillar 2 (occupational pensions, occupational accident insurance). Contributions to pillar 3a retirement savings and premiums for pillar 3a insurances can be deducted from personal taxable income. Pillar 3a retirement savings do not count as taxable wealth.

Pillar 3a retirement savings are held in trust by a retirement foundation until you become eligible to withdraw them. You can transfer your pillar 3a assets from one foundation or solution to another, but you cannot withdraw them.

You become eligible to withdraw pillar 3a retirement savings 5 years before you reach standard retirement age (64 for women, 65 for men). You can also withdraw pillar 3a savings ahead of retirement age if you use the money to buy a primary residence, if you leave Switzerland permanently and under other exceptional circumstances.

When you withdraw pillar 3a assets, you pay a one-time capital withdrawal tax. In most cases this tax works out to be less than the cumulative income tax and/or wealth tax which you save by contributing to the pillar 3a.

Pillar 3a retirement savings can be placed in pillar 3a savings accounts or invested in pillar 3a retirement funds or pillar 3a asset management services. You can also use pillar 3a cash value life insurance to save for retirement, but doing this rarely makes financial sense.

A pillar 3a retirement account works just like a normal savings account: You deposit money into your account and the bank pays you interest on your account balance. The major difference between a pillar 3a account and a savings account is that money deposited into a pillar 3a account is held in trust. Another important difference is that there is an annual limit on the amount of money you can contribute to pillar 3a retirement savings. You can compare pillar 3a retirement accounts here. 

A pillar 3a retirement fund works just like a normal mutual fund: You buy fund shares and the fund pays out dividends based on its investment performance. The difference is that your fund shares and dividends are held in trust by a retirement foundation. The annual limit on pillar 3a contributions limits the amount you can invest every year. You can compare 3a retirement funds here.

The interest rates of pillar 3a accounts from banks are adjusted around as often as those of normal savings accounts. Some banks adjust pillar 3a interest rates relatively frequently, while other banks rarely change their annual interest rates.

When Swiss banks adjust the interest rates of pillar 3a accounts, they generally do this at the beginning of a calendar month.

As a general rule, the interest rates of pillar 3a accounts follow those of normal savings accounts – with the difference being that pillar 3a interest rates are generally higher.

moneyland.ch reviews pillar 3a interest rates at least once a month. Interest rates are always reviewed and updated as necessary at the beginning of each calendar month.

No, there currently are no pillar 3a retirement accounts which have negative interest rates.

However, there are banks which charge fees when you close your account (particularly when you close your account before retirement). Depending on the account you use, you may in some cases end up paying more in fees than you earn in interest.

The amount of money which you can contribute to pillar 3a retirement savings and/or pay in pillar 3a insurance premiums is limited. The government sets an annual cap on pillar 3a contributions, and this cap applies to all pillar 3a solutions you use combined.

In 2024, the cap on pillar 3a contributions is 7056 Swiss francs for people who also use the pillar 2 (occupational pension funds and insurance).

If you do not use the pillar 2 (because you are self-employed for example), you can contribute up to 20 percent of your annual income to the pillar 3a, up to a cap of 35,280 francs per year (in 2024).

You can find an overview of pillar 3a caps for recent years here.

Money which you place in pilar 3a accounts (and other solutions) or spend on pillar 3a insurance premiums can be deducted from your taxable income. Depending on your overall income and family situation, you can easily save 1000 francs in taxes by maximizing pillar 3a allowances.

When you withdraw assets from the pillar 3a, you pay a one-time capital withdrawal tax. This tax varies depending on your canton of residence. In many cases, the capital withdrawal tax rate is lower than the income tax rate.

However, before you tie up money in the pillar 3a, it is important to consider your specific situation. For example, if your income tax liability is very low, you may not benefit from tying money up in the pillar 3a. The same applies if you could invest the money outside of the pillar 3a at a higher return than the cumulative yields and tax savings you could achieve using pillar 3a solutions.

You can find more information about how to use the pillar 3a to save on taxes here.

Withdrawing assets from the pillar 3a before you reach the required age is only possible under certain circumstances. These include:

  • Departure from Switzerland. If you take up residence outside of Switzerland, you can withdraw pillar 3a retirement savings in full.
  • Self-employment. If you become self-employed (as defined by the social security office), you can withdraw your pillar 3a savings.
  • Home purchase. You can withdraw pillar 3a assets early for the purposes of buying a primary residence. You can use pillar 3a assets for the down payment, mortgage amortization, construction or renovation.
  • Cooperative housing share purchase. Pillar 3a assets can be used to purchase shares in cooperative housing.

  • Tax savings: Deposits into pillar 3a savings can be deducted from your taxable income. Assets held in pillar 3a accounts do not count towards taxable wealth. You pay a one-time capital withdrawal tax when assets are withdrawn. In many cases, these tax benefits can result in significant tax savings.
  • Interest rates are typically higher than those of standard savings accounts.
  • Guaranteed yields. Even when interest rates are low, you have a guaranteed yield on your pillar 3a account balance. This makes pillar 3a accounts a much lower-risk investment than pillar 3a retirement funds – the value of which fluctuates with the value of fund investments.

  • You can only deposit a limited amount of money into your account(s) each year.
  • Withdrawals are very limited. Money you place in pillar 3a accounts cannot be withdrawn unless very specific criteria are met.
  • Historically, pillar 3a accounts have delivered lower yields than stock investments like pillar 3a retirement funds.
  • Pillar 3a accounts must be closed and cashed out in full, all in one go. You cannot draw on your account balance except when you close the account and cash out.

Some Swiss banks offer higher-yield pillar 3a accounts in combination with bundled bank packages.

Using these pillar 3a accounts only makes sense if you need the services provided by the bank package and would get it anyway. In many cases you will save money and earn higher yields by comparing and getting private account, savings accounts, credit cards, and pillar 3a accounts separately from different service providers.

No. Foreign currency accounts are not offered within the Pillar 3a. Pillar 3a accounts are always denominated by Swiss francs. Pillar 3a accounts denominated by US dollars, euros, and other currencies are not available. There also are no pillar 3a precious metal accounts.

If you want to diversify your pillar 3a assets, you can do this to some extent using pillar 3a retirement funds or pillar 3a asset management services.

Swiss pillar 3a accounts are considered to be relatively secure.

Pillar 3a assets are not protected by a depositor protection scheme like regular bank account balances are. However, up to 100,000 francs per bank and customer are classified as preferential deposits, meaning these debt claims against a bank have a higher priority than other debt claims.

You can find more information about bank depositor protection here.

Swiss pillar 3a accounts generally do not have annual account fees.

But incidental fees and charges may apply to account closures. Fees can vary depending on the reason for account closure:

  • Standard closure when you meet retirement age requirements: Only a few pillar 3a account offers have fees for standard withdrawals at retirement age. But some do charge a fee of up to 100 francs.
  • Migration to a different pillar 3a service provider: Closing your account ahead of retirement in order to transfer your pillar 3a assets to a different pillar 3a account or other solution is typically free. However, there are service providers which charge a fee.
  • Early account closure due to disability or death: This is typically free of charge. Some pillar 3a accounts have fees of up to 100 francs.
  • Early account closure due to self-employment: This can cost up to 250 francs, depending on the pillar 3a account.
  • Early account closure for the purpose of buying a primary residence: This can cost up to 600 francs, depending on the account.
  • Early account closure due to leaving Switzerland: This can cost up to 950 francs, depending on the account and the situation.

You can find detailed breakdowns of the incidental fees and charges for each account on the detailed information pages of pillar 3a accounts listed in the pillar 3a account comparison.

Important note: Carefully review the fees and charges of your account before you cash it out. If the fees and charges are very high, consider other options. For example, if an account has a high fee for home purchase withdrawals but does not charge fees for transfers to other pillar 3a accounts, consider transferring to an account with low home purchase withdrawal fees before cashing out.

Your age generally does not influence the interest rates of pillar 3a accounts. However, pillar 3a accounts with more favorable interest rates are offered in combination with some bank packages.

Yes. There is no limit on the number of pillar 3a solutions you can open and hold. If you have a sizeable amount of assets in the pillar 3a, dividing them between several pillar 3a accounts at different banks is recommended.

The reason for this is that pillar 3a accounts must be cashed out in full. By dividing your assets between multiple pillar 3a accounts, you can avoid being pushed into high tax brackets by cashing out your pillar 3a accounts in different tax years.

Another advantage of dividing your assets between multiple pillar 3a accounts from different retirement foundations is that doing this spreads the risk of bank or retirement foundation illiquidity or bankruptcy.

Changing pillar 3a accounts can be a good financial move. You should consider migrating your pilar 3a retirement savings to a different pillar 3a account if the new account offers significantly more interest than your existing account. Make sure to account for possible account closure or transfer fees.

The interactive pillar 3a account comparison on moneyland.ch includes pillar 3a accounts from these financial service providers:

Aargauische Kantonalbank (AKB)Acrevis BankAEK Bank 1826Alpha RHEINTAL BankAlternative Bank SchweizAppenzeller Kantonalbank (APPKB)Baloise Bank SoBaBancaStatoBank BSU GenossenschaftBank CIC (Schweiz)Bank ClerBank EEKBank EKIBank GantrischBank J. Safra SarasinBank ThalwilBank ZimmerbergBank ZweiplusBasellandschaftliche Kantonalbank (BLKB)Basler Kantonalbank (BKB)BBO Bank Brienz OberhasliBerner Kantonalbank (BEKB)Bezirks-Sparkasse DielsdorfClientis Bank im ThalClientis Bank AarelandBank Leerau, Caisse D'Epargne D'AubonneClientis Bank OberaargauClientis Bank ThurClientis Bank ToggenburgClientis Biene Bank im RheintalClientis BS Bank SchaffhausenClientis Caisse d'Epargne CECClientis EB Entlebucher BankClientis Regiobank MännedorfClientis Spar- und Leihkasse ThayngenClientis Sparcassa 1816Clientis Sparkasse OftringenClientis Sparkasse SenseBank Avera, Coop Finance PlusCredit SuisseDC Bank Deposito-Cassa der Stadt BernErsparniskasse Rüeggisberg (EKR)Ersparniskasse SchaffhausenFreiburger KantonalbankGenfer Kantonalbank (BCGE)Glarner KantonalbankGraubündner Kantonalbank (GKB)GRB Glarner RegionalbankHypothekarbank LenzburgJurassische Kantonalbank (BCJ)Leihkasse Stammheim, LLB (Switzerland)Luzerner Kantonalbank (LUKB)Migros BankNeuenburger Kantonalbank (BCN)Nidwaldner Kantonalbank (NKB)Obwaldner Kantonalbank (OKB)PostFinanceRaiffeisen SchweizRegiobank SolothurnSB Saanen BankSchaffhauser Kantonalbank (SHKB), SwissquoteSchwyzer Kantonalbank (SZKB), Sparhafen BankSpar + Leihkasse Gürbetal SLGSpar + Leihkasse MünsingenSpar- und Leihkasse BucheggbergSpar- und Leihkasse FrutigenSparkasse SchwyzSt. Galler Kantonalbank (SGKB)Thurgauer Kantonalbank (TKB)UBSUrner Kantonalbank (URKB)Valiant BankVorarlberger Landes- und HypothekenbankWaadtländische Kantonalbank (BCV)Walliser Kantonalbank (BCVS)WIR BankZuger KantonalbankZürcher Kantonalbank (ZKB)Zürcher LandbankBanca Popolare di Sondrio (Suisse)Cornèr BancaSwiss LifeSpar- und Leihkasse Wynigen, Tellco, True WealthLiberty VorsorgeCrédit Agricole next bank.

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