Banking News

The ZKB Abolishes Basic Fees for Private Accounts and Debit Cards

December 20, 2023 - Ralf Beyeler

The Zürcher Kantonalbank (ZKB) will reduce its annual fees from January 2024. This moneyland.ch report looks at the upcoming changes and the new pricing.

From January 2024, the Zürcher Kantonalbank will no longer charge basic annual account fees for private accounts or basic card fees for debit cards. Additionally, the cost of ZKB bank packages will also go down.

An overview of the upcoming changes:

Product Previous price in CHF New price in CHF
Private account 12.00 per year No annual fee
Debit card (Visa Debit) 40.00 per year No annual fee
Silver bank package 120.00 or 96.00 per year* 72.00 per year
Gold bank package 216.00 or 168.00 per year* 150.00 per year
Platinum bank package 504.00 or 384.00 per year* 384.00 per year

*The lower price applies when your account balances are at least 7500 francs (Silver), 15,000 francs (Gold), or 30,000 francs (Platinum).

The Basic bank package is being phased out, and will no longer be offered to new customers. For existing Basic bank package customers, the fee is being lowered to 48 francs per year, instead of the current 60 francs.

Apart from these changes, no other changes are being made to private accounts and bank packages, according to the Zürcher Kantonalbank.

The entry-level bank package is now more expensive

An analysis by moneyland.ch shows that the changes also bring a price increase for certain kinds of customers. For new customers who want the cheapest available bank package with a credit card, the cheapest available package will cost 12 francs or 20 percent more in 2024. The reason is that the Basic package will no longer be offered, so the Silver package will become the ZKB’s entry-level bank package.

Will ZKB private accounts and debit cards be completely free of charge?

No. While ZKB will no longer charge annual fees for private accounts and debit cards for individuals, there are some fees that continue to apply. Cash withdrawals at ATMs that are not operated by a cantonal bank will continue to cost 2 francs per withdrawal. The foreign transaction fee of 1.25 percent (maximum 1.50 francs per transaction) for debit card transactions in foreign currencies will continue to apply. The credit card foreign transaction fee will remain 1.75 percent. Currency exchange rates are also relevant for transactions in foreign currencies, as these are effectively a hidden fee. Samples show that the ZKB’s currency exchange markups are average, but much bigger than those of neobanks like Neon.

Interest rates are also important

When looking at bank accounts, it is also important to look at interest paid on account balances. The Zürcher Kantonalbank has not announced any changes to its interest rates. Like many other Swiss banks, the Zürcher Kantonalbank currently does not pay any interest on private account balances at all. Some neobanks, on the other hand, have interest rates of up to 1 percent per annum for private accounts. With an average account balance of 10,000 francs, that translates into 100 francs of interest per year. Interest rates are even more important for savings accounts, which normally do not have basic account fees. The Zürcher Kantonalbank’s savings account currently has an annual interest rate of 0.85 percent. That is slightly higher than the average rate for adult savings accounts (0.8 percent). The highest-yield savings accounts currently have interest rates of 2 percent per annum.

Comparison with neobanks

Most Swiss neobanks offer a private account and debit card without any basic monthly or annual fees. The most affordable neobanks also typically do not charge foreign transaction fees and use favorable currency exchange rates. “Neobanks like Neon, Yuh, and Zak are still notably cheaper than the new ZKB offer,” observes moneyland.ch CEO Benjamin Manz.

Comparison with conventional banks

Apart from neobanks, there are already some other banks that do not charge annual fees for private accounts, and some that do not charge annual fees for debit cards. Examples include the Aargauische Kantonalbank and Migros Bank.

“It is important to compare all of the costs as a whole,” says Benjamin Manz. Fees which should be accounted for when comparing private accounts and debit cards include:

  • Annual fees for the account
  • Annual fees for the debit card
  • Cash withdrawal fees
  • Foreign transaction fees and currency exchange markups
  • Fees for bank transfers

The practical moneyland.ch comparison tools for private accounts and bank packages make it easy to find out which bank is the cheapest and most suitable for your specific needs.

Conclusion by Benjamin Manz from moneyland.ch

With the upcoming change, ZKB will be one of the most affordable conventional banks insofar as private accounts and debit cards are concerned. But neobanks will still be cheaper.

“The Zürcher Kantonalbank’s fee reductions are a welcome change, from a consumer perspective. The move should force other larger banks to adapt, and bring changes to the overall landscape for bank account fees,” says Benjamin Manz.

But many banks will likely only reduce their fees if customers become more ready to migrate to other banks. Without that pressure from customers, banks have little motivation to lower their fees.

“We expect that additional banks will adjust their fees downwards in 2024,” predicts Benjamin Manz.

More on this topic:
Compare Swiss private accounts and debit cards now
Compare Swiss bank packages now
Compare Swiss savings accounts now

Swiss bank packages comparison

Find the best bank offer now

Compare now
Request now without obligation

Choice of digital asset managers

Robo advisor

True Wealth

  • BLKB as partner and custody bank

  • Flat fee: 0.5% - 0.25%

  • Free test account

Robo Advisor


  • Digital asset manager

  • An offer from the bank CIC

  • Free test account

Digital asset management


  • Digital financial assistant

  • Free investment plan

  • Free test account

Expert Ralf Beyeler
Ralf Beyeler is the telecom expert at moneyland.ch and also covers other areas of personal finance.