time banks switzerland
Everyday Money

Time Banking and Time-Based Currency in Switzerland

May 10, 2023 - Daniel Dreier

What are time banking and time-based currencies? How can you use these to save money? Get informed in this moneyland.ch guide.

Most people are familiar with the adage that time is money, but few see time as a bona fide replacement for cash, and fewer have actually used it as such.

While in the past, time was generally donated on a voluntary basis or as part of an understanding of mutual support among neighbors or friends, technology has made time banking easier. With time banking, large numbers of people can accurately and easily track their time and turn it into a currency which can be banked and exchanged for desired goods and services.

How does time banking work?

The idea behind time banking is simple. An individual or entity provides a time-based service to another entity. This service could be anything which requires time, such as IT services, consultation, childcare, hairdressing, gardening, construction, tutoring or any other time-consuming activity. The time spent providing the service is recorded in a time account. Time-based units accumulate in the time bank and can be used to purchase time-based services from other individuals when needed.

 

Which time banking programs operate in Switzerland?

Switzerland, with its long tradition of alternative currencies, banking and social solidarity, is home to numerous time banking programs. The biggest drawback of these programs is that they are primarily regional. This limits your opportunities for earning and spending time. However, there are inter-regional networks which enable the transfer of time balances between two or more participating time banks.

Table 1: Overview of Swiss time banks

Time bank Region Information Fee
Bazore

(bazore.ch)
Bern
  • Physical forms for
    tracking time credits.
Voluntary contribution.
give&get

(giveandget.ch)
Zurich
  • Online account
    management with
    the Cyclos platform.
  • Max. 10 hours
    negative balance.
  • Time credits can
    also be used to
    trade goods (price
    set by seller).
Single: CHF 30 plus
1.25 hours per year.

Family: CHF 25 plus
1.25 hours per person
and year.
Luzerner Tauschnetz

(tauschnetz.ch)
Lucerne
  • Online account
    management with
    the Cyclos platform.
  • Max. 20 hours
    negative balance.
  • Max. 30 hours positive
    balance can remain at
    year's end.
CHF 30 plus 2.5 hours
per year.

Students and recipients
of welfare or supplemental
benefits: CHF 20 plus 2.5
hours per year
SEL de la Grande-Eau

(enlien.ch/selgrandeau)
Aigle (Vaud)
  • Online account
    management with
    the InterSEL platform.
Singles: CHF 20 plus 5
hours per year.
Couples: CHF 20 per
couple plus 5 hours per
year and member.
SEL'Léman Vevey et environs

(enlien.ch/selleman)
Vevey
  • Online account
    management with
    the InterSEL platform.
Initial one-time sign-up fee
of CHF 10. A minimum of 5
hours provided per year and
member.
Tauschen am Fluss

(tauschenamfluss.ch)
Zurich
  • Physical forms for
    tracking time credits.
  • Online account
    management with
    the Cyclos platform.
  • Max. 30 hours positive
    balance.
  • Max. 30 hours negative
    balance.
  • Time credits can also
    be used to trade goods
    (price set by seller).
Single/Family: CHF 40.

Students, AHV/IV
pensioners, Kulturlegi
holders, unemployed:
CHF 20.
tauscheria (Zeit-Tausch-Netz Südbünden)

(tauscheria.ch)
Engadine
  • Physical forms for
    tracking time credits.
  • Online account
    management with
    the Cyclos platform.
  • Max. 20 hours negative
    balance.
  • Time credits can be
    gifted to third parties.
CHF 25 per year.
Tauschkreis Obwalden

(tauschkreisobwalden.ch)
Obwalden
  • Physical forms for
    tracking time credits.
  • Time credits can be
    gifted to third parties.
  • Time credits can also
    be used to trade goods
    (price set by seller).
Singles: CHF 25
per year.

Families: CHF 35
per year.

Teenagers: CHF 5
per year.
Tuuschnetz Soorsi

(tnsoorsi.ch)
Sursee
  • Physical forms for
    tracking time credits.
No information.
Verein ZeitTausch Solothurn

(zeittausch.ch)
Solothurn
  • Online account
    management with
    the Cyclos platform.
  • Time credits can also
    be used for rentals of
    goods.
CHF 30 per year.
Zeitbörse Benevol St.Gallen

(zeitboerse.ch)
St. Gallen
  • Online account
    management with
    the Cyclos platform.
  • Max. 20 hours negative
    balance.
  • Time credits can also
    be used to trade goods
    (price set by seller).
CHF 45 per year.
ZeitTauschMarkt

(zeittauschmarkt.ch)
Olten
  • Online account
    management with
    the Cyclos platform.
  • Max. 10 hours negative
    balance.
  • Time credits can also
    be used to rent or buy
    goods.
No fees.
Ziitbörsa Chur und Umgebung

(ziitboersa.ch)
Chur
  • Time credits can also
    be used to rent or buy
    goods.
CHF 35 per year.
Zytbörse Spiez

(zytboerse-spiez.ch)
Spiez
  • Online account
    management with
    the Cyclos platform.
  • Support offered for
    non Internet users.
  • Max. 20 hours positive
    balance.
  • Max. 20 hours negative
    balance.
No fees.
Zytbörse Thun

(zytboerse.ch)
Thun
  • Physical forms for
    tracking time credits.
  • Online account
    management with
    the Cyclos platform.
  • Max. 50 hours positive
    balance at year-end.
  • Max. 10 hours negative
    balance at year-end.
  • Time credits can be
    gifted to third parties.
CHF 30 plus 1.5
hours per year.

 

Time banking as a retirement plan

In recent years, Swiss time banking initiatives have experimented with the idea of using time banking as part of a retirement plan. This is sometimes referred to as the pillar 4 in reference to the current three-pillar system of the pillar 1 (social security), pillar 2 (occupational benefits), and pillar 3 (private providence planning). The idea behind these experiments is that young and capable adults who provide care to seniors can bank the time spent and then exchange that time for care when they are seniors.

It is worth considering that the time spans involved and the speed with which society changes make time banking retirement plans a rather risky proposal for young adults who are serious about receiving care in their old age. But for those who want to do a kind deed, with the possibility of remuneration in their golden years, retirement time banks can be an interesting option.

Table 2: Overview of Swiss old-age care time banks

Time bank Region Information Fee
KISS

(fondation-kiss.ch)
German-speaking
Switzerland
  • Physical forms for
    tracking time credits. 
  • Time credits can be
    gifted to third parties. 
  • Time credits can be
    transferred to the
    Stiftung Zeitvorsorge
    time bank.
One-time purchase of
shares for CHF 100.
Nachbarschaftshilfe ziit geh - ziit neh

(ziitgeh-ziitneh.ch)
Stettfurt / Thundorf /
Lustdorf (Thurgau)
  • Physical forms for
    tracking time credits.
Single: CHF 30.

Family: CHF 50.
Stiftung Zeitvorsorge

(zeitvorsorge.ch)
St. Gallen /
Rapperswil-Jona
  • Online account
    management.
  • Max. 750 hours
    positive balance
    (1500 hours for
    joint accounts).
  • Time credits can be
    transferred to the
    KISS time bank.
 
Zeitgut Birseck

(zeitgut-birseck.ch)
Münchenstein
(Basel-Landschaft)
  • Time credits can be
    transferred to other
    Zeitgut time banks.
Single: CHF 35 (CHF 200
for permanent membership).

Family: CHF 50.
Zeit Werk

(zeitwerk.info)
Wetzikon
  • Online account
    management. 
  • Time credits can be
    gifted to third parties.
CHF 50 per year.
Zeitgut Bachtel

(zeitgut-bachtel.ch)
Bubikon/Rüti/Wald
(Zurich)
  • Time credits can be
    transferred to other
    Zeitgut time banks.
CHF 10 per year.
Zeitgut Luzern

(zeitgut-luzern.ch)
Lucerne
  • Physical forms for
    tracking time credits. 
  • Online submission of
    hours.
  • Time credits can be
    gifted to third parties.
  • Time credits can be
    transferred to other
    Zeitgut time banks.
CHF 50 per year.

Initial one-time.sign-up
purchase of shares for
CHF 100.
Zeitgut Obwalden

(zeitgut-obwalden.ch)
Obwalden
  • Physical forms for
    tracking time credits.
  • Time credits can be
    gifted to third parties. 
  • Time credits can be
    transferred to other
    Zeitgut time banks.
One-time purchase of
shares for CHF 100.
Zeitgut Region Weinfelden

(zeitgut-weinfelden.ch)
Weinfelden
(Thurgau)
  • Online submission of
    hours.
  • Time credits can be
    transferred to other
    Zeitgut time banks.
Initial one-time sign-up
fee of CHF 100.
Zeitgut Toggenburg

(zeitgut-toggenburg.ch)
Toggenburg
  • Time credits can be
    transferred to other
    Zeitgut time banks.
One-time purchase of
shares for CHF 100.
Zeitgut Uster

(zeitgut-uster.ch)
Uster
  • Physical forms for
    tracking time credits. 
  • Online submission of
    hours.
  • Max. 312 hours can be
    accumulated per year.
  • Liability insurance
    included. 
  • Time credits can be
    transferred to other
    Zeitgut time banks.
One-time purchase of
shares for CHF 100.
Zeitgut Zürich Höngg-Wipkingen

(zeitgut-zuerich.ch)
Zurich
  • Physical forms for
    tracking time credits.
  • Online submission
    of hours.
  • Max. 750 hours
    positive balance.
  • Time credits can be
    transferred to other
    Zeitgut time banks.
One-time purchase of
shares for CHF 100.
Zeitgut Regio Sursee

(zeitgut-regiosursee.ch)
Sursee
  • Online account
    management.
  • Max. 750 hours
    positive balance.
  • Time credits can be
    gifted to third parties.
  • Time credits can be
    transferred to other
    Zeitgut time banks.
CHF 50 per year.

One-time purchase of
shares for CHF 100.

 

Time banking with complementary currencies

There are also other exchanges which operate much like time banks, but use alternative currencies to track and trade time. In a typical time bank, time can only be exchanged for an identical amount of time. On a platform which uses a complementary currency, trades and account balances are denominated by an alternative currency and not by time. However, these platforms may recommend a certain price per hour.

Table 3: Swiss time exchanges which use complementary currencies

Time bank Region Complementary
currency
Information Fee
Pot d'SEL du Belmont

(potdseldubelmont.ch)
Belmont-Broye
(Fribourg)
Grain currency is
used to trade (1 Grain
equals 3 minutes).
No information. No information.
SEL de la Côte

(enlien.ch/seldelacote)
Begnins (Vaud) Grain currency is
used to trade (1 Grain
equals 1 minute).
  • Online account
    management with the
    InterSEL platform.
  • Max. 1000 Grain
    units positive balance.
  • Max. 1000 Grain
    units negative balance.
  • Grain units can
    also be used to
    trade goods (price
    set by seller).
 
SEL
de la vallée de la Jogne

(seljogne.ch)
Charmey (Fribourg) Exchanges (1 transaction
equals 1 exchange).
No information. No information.
SEL des Dranses

(enlien.ch/seldesdranses/)
Martigny Perle currency is used to
trade (1 Perle equals 3
minutes).
  • Online account
    management with
    the InterSEL
    platform.
  • Max. 500 Perle units
    positive balance.
  • Max. 500 Perle units
    negative balance.
  • Perle units can also
    be used to trade
    goods (price set by
    seller).
20 Perle units
per year.

Initial one-time
sign-up fee of
CHF 20.
SEL du Lac

(seldulac.ch)
Geneva Grain currency is used to
trade.
  • Online account
    management with
    the Community
    Forge platform.
  • Max. 500 Grain units
    positive balance.
  • Max. 500 Grain units
    negative balance.
  • Grain units can also
    be used to trade
    goods (price set by
    seller).
CHF 10 per year.
SEL Franches-Montagnes

(sel-fm.ch)
Franches-Montagnes
(Jura)
Pive currency is used to
trade (1 unit equals 3
minutes).
  • Online account
    management with
    the Community
    Forge platform.
  • Max. 1000 Pive
    units negative
    balance.
CHF 10 per year
(single or family).
SEL La Chaux-De-Fonds

(sel-la-chaux-de-fonds.ch)
La Chaux-de-Fonds Picaillons currency is
used to trade (1 unit
equals 2.4 minutes)
No information. No information.
Sel Région Delémont

(sel-delemont.
communityforge.net)
Delémont Pépite currency is
used to trade (1 unit
equals 3 minutes).
  • Online account
    management with
    the Community
    Forge platform.
  • Max. 600 Pépite
    units negative
    balance.
CHF 15 per year
(single or family).
SEL Sarine

(selsarine.ch)
Fribourg Grain currency is used
to trade (1 Grain equals
3 minutes).
  • Online account
    management with the
    InterSEL platform.
  • Max. 500 Grain units
    positive balance.
  • Max. 500 Grain units
    negative balance.
  • Grain units can also
    be used to trade goods
    (price set by seller).
CHF 10 per year.
SEL Vaudrusien

(sel-vaudrusien.ch)
Neuchâtel Batz currency is used
to trade (1 unit equals
2.4 minutes).
  • Physical forms for
    tracking time credits.
  • Max. 8000 Batz
    units positive balance.
  • Max. 1000 Batz
    units negative balance.
40 Batz units plus
CHF 15 per year.
Talent Schweiz

(talent.ch)
German-speaking
Switzerland
Talent currency is used
to trade. Recommended:
30 Talent units per hour. 
  • Online account
    management with the
    Cyclos platform.
  • Max. 500 Talent units
    negative balance.
  • 0.5% negative interest
    charged on the first 1000
    Talent units of your
    account balance.
Voluntary contribution
(CHF 30 recommended).
Tauschring Fördertaler

(foerdertaler.ch)
Bözen (Aargau) Fördertaler currency is
used to trade.
Recommended: 30
Fördertaler units per hour.
No information. No information.
UnyverSEL

(unyversel.ch)
Yverdon Pesta currency is used
to trade (1 Pesta equals
1 minute)
  • Online account
    management
    with the InterSEL
    platform.
  • Max. 1500 Pesta units
    positive balance.
  • Max. 1500 Pesta units
    negative balance.
  • Pesta units can also
    be used to trade goods
    (price set by seller).
75 Pesta units per
year.

Initial one-time
sign-up fee of
CHF 20.
 

 

Can time banking save you money?

Most time banks treat time equally, regardless of services rendered. If your services have a high monetary value and you have the opportunity to exchange them for money instead of time, you will likely achieve a greater profit by charging fees for your time. However, if you find that your work leaves you with time to spare which could be exchanged against goods or services which you would spend money on, paying in time can save you money – possibly a lot of money.

If you enjoy socializing and meeting new people, the social opportunities which time banks present are worth a mention. Most Swiss time banks operate like clubs and organize regular meet-ups for members. Add to that the inevitable socializing which accompanies exchanging services with other people, and time banking becomes a useful tool to increase you circle of friends and acquaintances.

More on this topic:
Swiss sharing economy platforms to fight waste and save money
Real estate crowdfunding in Switzerland
Selling secondhand in Switzerland
Pay what you want – a successful business strategy?
Swiss bank account comparison
Alternative currencies in Switzerland explained
Buying and spending bitcoin in Switzerland

Request now for free

Cheap bank accounts with card

Free bank account

Yuh

  • No account fees

  • Banking partner: Swissquote & Postfinance

  • CHF 20 trading credit with code «YUHMONEYLAND»

Swiss digital bank

Alpian

  • Multi-currency account with Visa card (CHF, EUR, USD, GBP)

  • Favorable foreign exchange rates

  • CHF 100 welcome bonus

Online private account

UBS key4

  • 50 KeyClub points as a welcome gift

  • Online private account with debit card

Swiss bank packages comparison

Find the best bank offer now

Compare now
Trading platforms

Brokers with low fees

Swiss Broker

Saxo Bank Switzerland

  • Swiss online bank

  • Favorable prices stock trading

  • High account interest rates

Swiss Broker

Cornèrtrader

  • Swiss online bank

  • No custody fees for stocks

  • Free market research and trading signals

Request now for free

Leading credit cards

Free credit card

Swisscard Cashback Cards Amex

  • No annual fees

  • Two cards Amex & Visa/Mastercard

  • With cash back

Free credit card

Migros Cumulus Visa

  • No annual fees

  • With Cumulus points

  • Without foreign currency fees

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

Sign up for the free newsletter

Subscribe now
more than 3 million pieces of data

Find all comparisons here

Go to comparisons