swiss 3a retirement account costs
Investing & Retirement

What Does a Swiss 3a Retirement Account Cost?

November 30, 2023 - Benjamin Manz

Get informed about the possible fees and charges of Swiss pillar 3a retirement savings accounts.

Interest yield rates are, by far, the most important criteria to look at when choosing a 3a retirement saving solution. There are still large differences in interest rates despite the low interest rate level.

Pillar 3a retirement accounts are not always free

In addition to interest rates, it is also important to compare fees and charges. Unlike 3a retirement funds – which have regular, ongoing fees attached – you do not pay ongoing account fees for 3a savings accounts with most providers. 

But withdrawing assets from 3a retirement accounts can involve charges. A growing number of Swiss banks and insurance companies now charge fees when you withdraw your retirement savings ahead of retirement (for the purpose of purchasing a home, for example).

Pre-retirement closure of pillar 3a accounts

Most banks do not charge you fees when you withdraw 3a savings after reaching legal retirement age. However, many banks and insurance companies charge fees when you close your account before you retire.

Reasons for closing your 3a account ahead of retirement may include: migrating assets to a different 3a account, fund or life insurance; death; receiving disability benefits; becoming self-employed; buying or building a home as your primary residence; amortizing a mortgage; leaving Switzerland for good; dividing assets during a divorce. Each bank has its own terms and conditions which determine the fees that apply in each situation.

Major differences in fees and charges

Fees and charges vary greatly between different banks and insurance companies. You can find all relevant fees and charges shown in detail on the info pages and cost breakdowns of the interactive Swiss pillar 3a account comparison.

Charges for migrating 3a assets to another service provider

Some Swiss banks and insurance providers are charging fees for the transfer of 3a retirement savings to other banks or insurance companies. This is important because as interest rates or performance change, you may choose to move to a different 3a solution to take advantage of better returns. Financial service providers impose these fees in order to increase the cost of migration and thus discourage you from moving to other service providers. Account termination and transfer charges can be as high as 120 francs at some service providers.

Pay attention to notice periods

Some banks impose notice periods for account termination. These are typically between 3 and 6 months. Heavy charges may apply if you close your account or withdraw assets without giving due notice.

Charges for home-purchase withdrawals

Charges for withdrawing pillar 3a assets for use towards purchasing a home or paying off a mortgage are less common. However, some banks and insurance companies do charge administrative fees for withdrawal of assets towards purchasing a home.

Fees levied range between 100 and 400 francs. Additional fees may apply if you purchase a home outside of Switzerland. Fees may be reduced or waived altogether when assets are pledged but not withdrawn (indirect amortization).

Fee-free 3a retirement solutions

There are other fees which may apply to pillar 3a account. These include fees for locating account holders when contact information is not up to date, and fees for other types of pre-retirement account terminations. However, there are still several Swiss banks and insurance providers which do not charge any fees at all for their 3a savings solutions.

You can easily find all completely free 3a solutions on the results page of the pillar 3a retirement account comparison by using the filter criteria. 

More on this topic:
Pillar 3a retirement account comparison
Pillar 3a retirement fund guide
Pillar 3a retirement fund comparison

3a retirement funds comparison

Find the best retirement fund now

Compare now for free
Trading platforms

Brokers with low fees

Swiss Broker


  • Swiss online bank

  • No additional exchange charges

  • No transaction fees for Swiss equities

Swiss Broker

Saxo Bank Switzerland

  • Swiss online bank

  • Favorable prices stock trading

  • High account interest rates

Swiss Broker


  • Swiss online bank

  • No custody fees for stocks

  • Free market research and trading signals

Wealth managers in comparison

Find the most favorable wealth management now

Compare now for free
Expert Benjamin Manz
Benjamin Manz is CEO of and an independent expert on banking and finance.
Free subscription

Sign up for the free newsletter

Subscribe now
more than 3 million pieces of data

Find all comparisons here

Go to comparisons