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Alpian Review 2024 – Pros & Cons

Baptiste Wicht | Updated: |

(Disclosure: Some of the links below may be affiliate links)

Alpian is a Swiss digital private bank that focuses on the mass affluent. It wants to offer private banking services to more people and make them easier, simpler, and more humane than traditional private banks.

If you are looking for a private bank, should you use Alpian? This review will cover this question in detail by reviewing its fees, features, and philosophy. By the end of this review, you will know whether you should use Alpian.

About Alpian
Monthly fee 0-15 CHF
Users Unknown
Card Visa Debit
Currencies CHF, EUR, GBP and USD
Withdrawals in Switzerland 2 CHF per withdrawal
Withdrawals abroad 2.5% fee
Currency exchange 0.2% (0.5% during weekend)
Management fee 0.75%
Product costs 0.20%
Languages English, French, German, and Italian
Custody bank Interactive Brokers
Depositor protection 100’000 CHF
Established 2022
Headquarters Geneva, Switzerland

Private Banking

Private banks are serving affluent clients with customized services and advice. They are generally helping affluent customers invest their money.

I have not talked much about private banking on this blog before. The reason is simple: private banking is generally expensive. I have never seen the need for private banking before.

However, several readers have told me they were interested in private banking. I would never recommend very expensive traditional private banks. However, digital private banks may offer a good alternative for people who want to delve into private banking without excruciatingly high fees.

So, we can see what Alpian offers to people looking for affordable private banks.

Alpian

Alpian Logo
Alpian Logo

Alpian is among the first Swiss digital private banks. The bank was created in 2019 and launched to the public in 2022.

They focus on mass affluent people, which is people with wealth between 100,000 CHF and 1,000,000 CHF. You can still use them if you have more or less than that, but it is essential to mention that traditional private banks focus on higher categories of wealth.

One of their goals is to demystify private banks. In most people’s eyes, private banks are only for the ultra-rich. Alpian wants to break that myth. To achieve that goal, they provide an online knowledge platform about investments and private banking. In fact, they could rather qualify as a premium bank rather than a private bank.

Traditional private banks are generally only used for investments. On the other hand, Alpian also focuses on providing a great bank account. So, you could use this bank as your main bank and directly invest with them.

Finally, Alpian wants to grow its customer wealth, not only make money. Therefore, they do not accept any investment kickbacks or have no custom products. This allows them to focus on the best products available.

Now, we should see in detail what their features and prices are.

Banking features

4.5/5

Each Alpian account is a multi-currency account. This is great to have this by default. Alpian supports CHF, EUR, GBP, and USD. All these currencies are under a single IBAN. You can convert between these four currencies directly within the app.

    You get a 0.75% interest rate on your CHF deposits (up to 100’000 CHF). You even get a 1.00% interest rate on deposits between 100’001 and 1’000’000 CHF. These are significant interest rates if you are holding a lot of cash.

    With your account, you get a Visa debit card that you can use to pay and withdraw money in Switzerland and abroad. This card does exactly what you expect from a debit card.

    As of 2023, Alpian supports e-bills and Apple Pay! The bank is actively working on new features like Google Pay. They do not yet have their own TWINT app, but you can use the card with the prepaid version of TWINT.

    Overall, Alpian has all the features you would want from a bank. It is good that they have a multi-currency account. There are very few Swiss banks offering that feature.

    Investment features

    4.5/5

    Alpian also offers wealth management features.

    Alpian uses an artificial intelligence model to generate a basic portfolio model for their investors. These portfolios are then vetted and customized by professional wealth managers. Each portfolio is different based on a thorough questionnaire.

    The client then has the choice to let the wealth management team implement or change things. This allows an excellent level of customization.

    It is important to know that Alpian advisors are not incentivized by product sales. This ensures that they can provide unbiased support.

    As far as sustainable investing goes, Alpian provides a tool to measure the impact of your portfolio. If you want something more or less sustainable, you can communicate with the wealth managers to improve in any direction.

    For your portfolio, they will use bonds, stocks, and ETFs.

    Interestingly, Alpian is using Interactive Brokers for its investments. Therefore, it is important to know that your stocks will not be stored in Switzerland. This is not a problem (I am using and recommending Interactive Brokers), but it is essential to understand when comparing financial services.

    Overall, Alpian offers interesting features for designing and managing your portfolio. A team of certified wealth managers will supervise it.

    There are two different investing mandates:

    1. Guided By Alpian. In this case, Alpian will guide the investor with advice from experts. However, the investor is then in charge of the portfolio. This mandate is available starting at 10’000 CHF.
    2. Managed By Alpian. In this case, Alpian will actively manage the investor’s portfolio. This mandate is available starting at 30’000 CHF.

    For me, a digital private bank is close to a Robo-advisor, except that you get access to professional wealth managers. These wealth managers will create your portfolio and adapt it over time.

    Banking Fees

    4/5

    First, we can look at the banking fees.

    An incoming transfer in the base four currencies will be free. All incoming transfers in other currencies will be converted to CHF, with a markup of 0.20% (on top of the interbank exchange rate). The markup increases to 0.50% during the weekends.

    All outgoing transfers in the base four currencies will be free. Using other currencies will cost you between 2 CHF and 7 CHF, with the same markup mentioned before.

    All payments with the card in the four default currencies are free of charge, given you have the amount already. If you do not have the necessary amount in one of the four available currencies, you will pay 0.20% for each currency exchange. For all other currencies, you will pay the VISA exchange rate, which is about a 0.50% surcharge.

    However, you will pay the VISA exchange rate if you do not have the necessary currency or use another currency. This rate is, on average, about 0.50% worse than the foreign exchange rate.

    So, overall, these currency exchange fees are much better than the average in the industry. These fees are likely the best among Swiss banks. Only foreign banks can beat these rates.

    If you want to withdraw money in Switzerland, you will pay 2 CHF for a CHF withdrawal, 5 EUR for a EUR withdrawal, 5 USD for a USD withdrawal, and 5 GBP for a GPB withdrawal. It is pretty disappointing that there are no free CHF withdrawals in Switzerland.

    If you withdraw money abroad, you will pay 2.5% of the transaction amount. This is relatively expensive.

    On top of that, you will pay a quarterly fee based on your assets:

    • From 0 CHF to 10’000 CHF: 15 CHF per month (180 CHF per year)
    • From 10’001 CHF to 50’000 CHF: 7.50 CHF per month (90 CHF per year)
    • From 50’001 CHF: Free

    The assets are both your current account and your investments. This management fee is not cheap if you are below 50’000 CHF. However, this is on par with many retail banks like UBS.

    Overall, these fees are good except for the custody fees. The currency exchange fees are well below the average for Swiss customers.

    I wish the limit for free accounts would be lower. But since they target mass affluents, it kind of makes sense. I also wish you could withdraw money for free in Switzeralnd.

    Investments Fees

    3/5

    For managing your wealth, Alpian will charge you a 0.75% fee on the value of your investments per year. VAT is included in this fee. There are no maximums nor minimums on this management fee. If you have 100’000 CHF with Alpian, you will pay 750 CHF per year in fees.

    This management fee includes all advice by Alpian and your portfolio management. It also includes all transaction costs. However, this management fee does not include the following:

    • The Stamp tax duty.
    • Currency exchange fee (0.2% during the week, 0.5% during the weekend).
    • Product costs in case your portfolio invests in ETFs.

    Regarding currency exchange fees, it is important to mention that most investments at Alpian are hedged to CHF, reducing the fees. It is up to you to decide whether currency hedging is good.

    First, traditional private banks are more expensive, generally around 2% per year (sometimes significantly more). So, while expensive, Alpian is much cheaper than a traditional private bank.

    And even in general, Alpian’s management fee is not great! Since most investments will be in ETFs, the total fee will be about 1.00% on average.

    However, any retail bank will be more expensive. Currently, the average investment management fee is about 1.38% (as per Alpian, 31.08.22).

    So, it is interesting that a digital private bank can be cheaper than a retail bank. However, these fees are still significant.

    Alternatives

    Since Alpian is first a wealth management platform, we should compare it with other investment platforms.

    I have not yet evaluated other private banks, so I cannot compare them. So, I will first compare them with Robo-advisors. Alpian is not a Robo-advisor because humans also supervise each investment portfolio. But I doubt that this brings much value on top of a Robo-advisor.

    Since Alpian focuses on the mass affluent, we will compare the fees for a portfolio of 250’000 CHF, which should be pretty common in this category.

    Finally, people willing to manage their money with a broker account should not be concerned. Any good broker will be much cheaper than any private bank or Robo-advisor.

    Alpian vs Selma

    Perfect to get started
    Selma Robo Advisor
    4.5
    Great Robo-Advisor

    Invest easily with Selma: a great way to invest in the stock market without the hassle of doing it yourself.

    Pros:
    • Beginner-Friendly
    • Degressive Fees
    Invest easily Read my review

    Selma is a Robo-advisor that is very easy to use and uses index ETFs to propose a simple portfolio to their users. This is entirely automated, based on a few questions they will ask you.

    As far as features go, both investment offers are relatively similar. In the case of Selma, your portfolio will be entirely managed by a computer while it will be managed by a computer supervised by humans with Alpian. Both will invest in ETFs.

    The main difference will be in the fees. At Selma, you will pay only a 0.47% management fee compared to Alpian’s 0.75% fee. This is a very significant difference.

    In both cases, we need to add the TER of the ETFs to the fees, about 0.25%. This gives us a total of 0.72% for Selma and 1.00% for Alpian.

    So, Selma is about 30% cheaper than Alpian. This difference is significant.

    In addition, your shares at Selma will remain in Swiss custody. This is not a huge advantage, but at the same price, I would prefer Swiss custody.

    If you are not necessarily looking for a private bank or a fully-fledged solution, I would recommend Selma over Alpian.

    One advantage of Alpian is that you can personalize your portfolio to a higher degree. By speaking with the wealth managers, you can influence your portfolio. With Selma, your personalization would be very limited.

    If you are looking for an all-in-one solution, Alpian could be interesting since it is both a bank account and an investment service. However, you will pay higher fees.

    Alpian vs Investart

    Since Alpian uses Interactive Brokers as a custody bank, I thought it would be interesting to compare with Investart.

    Investart is a Robo-advisor that uses Interactive Brokers as well. It offers direct investment in ETFs with a very high level of customization.

    From an investment perspective, I would say that both services offer similar platforms. Of course, you will get human supervision with Alpian, but you must balance how much that is worth.

    You may require less knowledge to use Alpian. With Investart, you must choose products directly, which requires some knowledge. On the other hand, at Alpian, some people will design a portfolio for you.

    Again, the main difference will be the fees. But the total fee of Investart is about 0.50% (average product costs) while Alpian’s is 1.00%. So, Investart will be much cheaper than Alpian.

    For more information, you can read my review of Investart.

    Alpian FAQ

    Is Alpian safe?

    Alpian is a Swiss licensed bank. This means that Esisuisse insures your deposits for up to 100'000 CHF. Your investments are in custody of Interactive Brokers, which is a safe and regulated institution as well. So, yes, Alpian is a safe bank.

    How much do you need to open an Alpian account?

    There is currently no minimum to open an account with Alpian.

    How much do you need to invest with Alpian?

    You need at least 30'000 CHF to use the investment features from Alpian.

    Who is Alpian good for?

    Alpian is good for people that want an affordable private bank in Switzerland.

    Who is Alpian not good for?

    Alpian is not good if you are looking for the cheapest bank. It is also not good if you want your investments stored in Switzerland since they use Interactive Brokers.

    Alpian Summary

    3.5/5
    Alpian

    Alpian is a digital private bank, aiming to open private banking to the mass affluent.

    Product Brand: Alpian

    Editor's Rating:
    3.5

    Alpian Pros

    Let's summarize the main advantages of Alpian:

    • Multi-currency account
    • Fair pricing for a private bank
    • Access to professional wealth managers
    • Transparent pricing
    • Support for e-bills
    • Excellent currency conversion fees

    Alpian Cons

    Let's summarize the main disadvantages of Alpian:

    • Relatively high minimums
    • No free withdrawals in CHF
    • Significantly more expensive than traditional banks
    • Expensive for investments

    Conclusion

    When compared with traditional private banks, Alpian offers an interesting alternative. It offers reasonably good bank accounts and fees significantly lower than these large private banks. If you are looking for an account with a private bank, Alpian is a good choice.

    Nevertheless, you have to ask yourself whether a private bank is worth the price. Compared to a standard bank and an investment broker, you will pay a lot more to Alpian.

    When considering that passive investing works well and that 99% of fund managers cannot beat passive investing over the long term, we must ask ourselves why we should pay such fees.

    For me, the mass affluent should not pay such fees. This may become more reasonable if you are a High Net Worth Individual (more than a million) since you have enough money not to care too much. But to grow your wealth, you must be careful about such fees.

    Using the same entity for your bank account and investments may not be the best idea. The best banks do not offer investments, and the best investment platforms do not offer bank accounts.

    Despite being among the mass affluent, I do not use a private bank and am not looking to use one. I am fairly content with my simple bank system and prefer to separate my investments from my bank.

    If you are interested in private banks, you could be interested in Everon, another digital private bank.

    What do you think of Alpian? Are you interested in private banks?

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    Photo of Baptiste Wicht

    Baptiste Wicht started thepoorswiss.com in 2017. He realized that he was falling into the trap of lifestyle inflation. He decided to cut his expenses and increase his income. This blog is relating his story and findings. Since 2019, he has been saving more than 50% of his income. He made it a goal to reach Financial Independence. You can send Mr. The Poor Swiss a message here.

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    33 thoughts on “Alpian Review 2024 – Pros & Cons”

    1. Hi Baptiste,

      I had decided to open an account, but it seems only Swiss passport holders who reside in Switzerland can open an account with Alpian. Which are the options available for international civil servants based in Switzerland (apart from Revolut, which I already have)?

    2. Hello,

      Thanks so much for this review.

      I would like to ask you suggestion if I want to achieve the below point:
      1) have multicurrency at least EUR and CHF and be able to transfer both CHF and EUR for free
      2) make payment in physical place (è.g. restaurant) in CHF in Switzerland and EUR in Europe and in CHF and EUR online for free.
      3) I can deposit above 50k
      4) would be good to get some interest on it
      5) have a good conversion rate from CHF to EUR should it be needed.
      6) would be nice to have physical debit card
      7) Do not need to withdraw cash
      8) not interest in investment strategy

      I read the alpian review and it seems that can match the above but maybe you have other suggestion.

      Thanks a lot
      Andrea

      1. Hi Andrea

        With these points, I think that Alpian fits quite well. Multi-currency accounts are rare in Switzerland and when you had good conversion rate to the mix, they are almost non-existent. So, Alpian will be fine if you can put enough cash in it to get it for free.

    3. Response to “Alpian Review 2024 – Pros & Cons” on The Poor Swiss

      Hello Baptiste and readers,

      Thank you for your comprehensive review of Alpian. I am the Chief of Marketing & Brand at Alpian, and would like to answer (no sales pitch here, I promise) but more to shed light on some points that might need some clarification.

      To ensure a complete understanding of our unique offerings, I’d like to highlight some key aspects:

      Best FX Rates in Switzerland: Alpian really does offer exceptionally competitive FX rates. We offer the best rates for CHF, USD, EUR and GBP in Switzerland. For more details, I recommend checking out this study here, which provides insights into how our rates favorably compare against other banks. It’s factual and straight forward: https://www.alpian.com/news/comparative-study-fx-rates

      Competitive Interest Rates: Our interest rate structure is designed to cater to various deposit sizes – 1% for up to 50K CHF, 1.5% between 50K to 1M CHF, and 1% for deposits over 1M CHF, accessible at any time and paid monthly. Not many other banks offer this.

      Accessible Investment with ‘Guided’: Our ‘Guided By’ advisory mandate allows clients to start investing with as little as 10K CHF, democratizing investment management. The discretionary mandate ‘Managed By’ is the one that starts at 30K CHF. And looking at our performance since inception of roughly 9.56% (December 2023) we can say we know a thing or two about wealth management.

      Inclusive Fee Structure: We maintain transparency and fairness with our mandate fee of 0.75%, inclusive of VAT, a practice that sets us apart from many other banks which often exclude the fee. The VAT is on us at Alpian.

      Unbiased Wealth Advisory & Advisor Incentive Structure: Our advisors are uniquely incentivized based on customer ratings, NOT on product sales. This ensures unbiased, client-centered advice, with our advisors driven solely by the quality of service, as reflected in our high customer satisfaction rating of 4.98/5.

      In conclusion, Alpian’s value proposition, through our unique combination of services, techologie and client-focused approach, provides a compelling alternative in the banking sector. When you talk about Private Banking – it might not reflect how we actually consider ourselves. I would rather say we are a Premium Bank; and we genuinely try to offer what we ourselves missed as customers of other banks. Our main target it offering full range of daily banking and wealth management for mass affluent people in Switzerland.

      Thank you again for your fair review, and we hope this sheds more light on the advantages of banking with Alpian.

      Best regards,
      Roman Balzan, Chief Marketing Officer

      1. Hi Roman

        Thanks for pitching in!

        Thanks for doing the FX comparison, this looks great and it’s a lot of work. I did not realize that you FX rates were so good even compared to the likes of TW and Revolut.

        I will clarify the different investment mandates in the review. This should be clearer indeed.

        Don’t hesitate to let me know if something is not factually correct or if you do any major update, I’d like to keep this article up-to-date.

      2. Some comments:

        I) You didn’t release the data from your study. I want to know exactly what you calculated and how you calculated it.

        II) You’re not transparent at all on your own exchange rates. Here is a quote from your article:

        > We used real-time quoting services from the apps and online platforms of the providers, including Alpian. […]
        > Unfortunately, this information was not always disclosed, despite the providers’ claims of promoting transparency.

        Here an exhaustive list of the services that you included in your analysis, as well as a link to their simulation page for each:

        1) Transferwise: https://wise.com/ch/send-money/
        2) Revolut: https://www.revolut.com/currency-converter/
        3) Ibani: https://www.ibani.com/en
        4) B-Sharpe: https://www.b-sharpe.com/en/
        5) Currencyfair: https://www.currencyfair.com/convert/
        6) Exchangemarket.ch: https://exchangemarket.ch/en/calculator
        7) Postfinance: https://www.postfinance.ch/en/support/services/tools-calculator/currency-overview.html

        And then the last contender…

        8) Alpian: not public! Whoops.

        You’re clearly not in the position to point fingers at your competitors about their supposed lack of transparency when you’re literally the only one that doesn’t publish its exchange rates + fees to the public.

        III) Your article only compares the fees for converting CHF 10k in one go. Why did you choose such as high number? Do people even convert CHF 10k in one go? Why did you not compare different conversion amounts in your analysis?

        Well… I may have my little idea here.

        Revolut users can convert CHF 1,000 every month without any fees (on the free plan). But try to convert CHF 10,000 in one go and fees rise to CHF 44.69!

        Well, that’s unless you buy the CHF 10.99/m Revolut Premium plan (or use the free 1 month trial), in which case you can convert an **unlimited** amount of CHF per month for free.

        Now if you look at Alpian and its 0.20% fee: 10,000×0.20% = CHF 20.
        That’s twice as expensive as the Revolut Premium plan. Whoops.

        And it’s actually even more expensive than the Revolut CHF 18.99/m Metal plan that comes with a wealth of additional benefits (top insurances, complimentary subscriptions to Tinder Gold, FT, NordVPN Plus, Headspace, etc.).

        IV) Why did you conveniently not include wiLLBe in your analysis?

        From wiLLBe’s FAQ:

        > What fees do I incur when I switch from one currency to another?

        > We don’t charge a margin for foreign exchange (FX) transactions (in other words, the exchange surcharge is zero), but costs of around 0.1% (0.107%) are levied as a dealer surcharge. We use the interbank exchange rate provided by Refinitiv/Reuters.

        Source: https://willbe-invest.com/en/willbe/about-willbe/faq

        I doubt that Alpian is competitive with that.

        1. Hi Paul,

          First, let me thank you for your valuable comments. We’ve recently received many pieces of feedback, but none were as constructive as yours. Let us offer more detailed information on each of the points you raised:

          1. This information is available upon request. Let us know how we can contact you or feel free to reach out to us and we will be happy to share it.

          2. That’s an absolutely fair point. As a bank that advocates for transparency, we could have done a better job. The good news is that it’s not a matter of will but timing. Our online currency converter will be released in the coming 2 weeks on our website for everyone to use.

          Our point on disclosure was more about the FX markup. We, at Alpian, are very transparent about the margin we make as a bank. If all banks did this, there wouldn’t even be a need to stream prices for comparison.

          Our general philosophy is that the best way to know if a bank is right for you is to experience it. Believe what you see, not what you hear. And this is what we encourage people to do. It takes on average 7 minutes to open a bank account with us, and we offer the first 6 months fee-free, allowing anyone to test our value proposition.

          3. We chose 10,000 CHF because that’s the average amount our clients convert over a year. Alpian was founded to offer solutions to mass-affluent clients who can’t afford private banking services but deserve more than what retail banks offer. A more extensive study should indeed look at different thresholds. Here are a couple of thoughts, though:

          Focusing on lower amounts could have been argued to disadvantage many providers we considered in our panel. Indeed, 5 out of 7 of them have a fee structure that decreases with the amount converted. For 1,000 CHF, Alpian would have looked even better.

          The example you’re taking is a very edge case and we could flip the argument: At Alpian, we don’t force you to change 10,000 CHF in one go. You could, for example, convert 833 CHF per month. At the end of the year, you would have paid the same price (20 CHF) as the FX markup is a percentage. Following this logic, to get more favorable FX rates with our competitor, you would have to switch to their premium plan for 12 months, costing you 131.88 CHF at the year’s end. We could then say that Alpian is 6.5 times cheaper in this case…

          Our pricing has been popular with our clients because 1) it is fair and 2) we don’t nudge you to convert any specific amount to get special conditions

          4. We will include them in our analysis next time!
          At the time of this analysis, we were not aware of their offering, but we certainly welcome competition, as it benefits the Swiss overall. We share a common point with Willbe: a very competitive offering that deserves more recognition. The role of our study was to reestablish benchmarks in the industry. Let’s not forget that the average FX markup in Switzerland is 1.4%.

          Competitive FX rates are only one of the compelling features we offer and a consequence of our will to come up with a fair banking model.

          In the end we share your view. We advocate for better conditions for everyone. The study could be expanded to include more competitors, more scenarios, etc. It would be even more beneficial for everyone if that study were carried out by unbiased observers such as the Swispoor, Moneyland, media, or independent consultants.

          As it has not been done yet, we deemed it appropriate to give the impulse.
          We hope these responses are as helpful as your insights were to us. We would be happy to continue this discussion with you and perhaps arrange a call with one of our team members.

        2. Hello Roman,

          Thank you for your thorough answer I deeply appreciate it.

          1. While I would appreciate this information, I don’t have a blog on which to publish so it would limit the benefit of looking into the data. Might Baptiste Wicht — the author of this blog — be interested though?

          2. It’s great news that you plan to release your online currency converter estimation tool very soon. It will definitely speak in your favor if you come out as more competitive than the other services.

          3. See below.

          > You could, for example, convert 833 CHF per month. At the end of the year, you would have paid the same price (20 CHF) as the FX markup is a percentage. Following this logic, to get more favorable FX rates with our competitor, you would have to switch to their premium plan for 12 months, costing you 131.88 CHF at the year’s end. We could then say that Alpian is 6.5 times cheaper in this case…

          I’m not sure to follow. Revolut doesn’t have any fees when converting less than CHF 1000 per month, even on their free plan. Why do you include Revolut’s Premium plan fees in this scenario?

          > Our pricing has been popular with our clients because 1) it is fair and 2) we don’t nudge you to convert any specific amount to get special conditions

          This makes a lot of sense. If I may suggest, you could emphasis point 2) in your marketing material. It’s true that other services have complicated pricing structures.

          One way to do that would be adding a graph with the following axes:
          x = amount of CHF converted in a given month
          y = total fees (explicit fees + FX markup) for converting amount x in a given month

          It would show that Alpian fees are just a linear function (i.e. straight line), whereas other providers have very complicated functions with thresholds, varying markups depending on amount, etc. And this is even worse if you include the different Revolut plans which would then not even start at e.g. CHF 10.99 if you convert CHF 0 in a given month.

          4. Great! What may differentiate Alpian from wiLLBe is that the latter has a 2-3 days of delay when converting currencies. Or so I’ve heard — I’m not a customer. So even if wiLLBe comes ahead of Alpian you would still have the comparative advantage of being faster.

        3. Since late 2023, Revolut does not offer interbank exchange rate anymore. They are using The “Revolut Exchange Rate”, which basically means nothing. This has been shown to be about 0.40% worse than the interbank, so they are not free anymore.

        4. Thank you for your insightful engagement and constructive suggestions. We value your input, as it helps us refine our services and communication strategies.

          Regarding your query about Revolut’s fee structure, I’d like to clarify. Revolut indeed offers fee-free currency conversions up to CHF 1000 per month on their free plan. We apologize if our explanation regarding point lacked clarity. Based on our understanding of Revolut’s website, there are indirect fees involved in currency conversion even with their free plan.

          For instance, if you use their online converter to simulate converting 1000 CHF to EUR, the information tooltip next to “our current rates” indicates: “Our rate including fees is currently 0.45% worse than the ECB rates.”

          Additionally, we can assert that for the same amount, we are slightly better or comparable with them (though, in the absence of a comprehensive study, I would encourage everyone to verify this independently through our app or the upcoming online converter).

          For larger amounts, as indicated in our study, we remain competitive. Btw you can find a complete guide to Revelout currency exchange here:https://wise.com/en/blog/revolut-exchange-rate

          As our study shows, Revolut continues to be a major player in this field, and we acknowledge their role in revolutionizing it. However, our mission is to demonstrate that Swiss banks CAN be competitive and PROACTIVE when they choose to be. Banking in Switzerland needs to get better – we all agree on that.

          It’s been a pleasure discussing with you – and I wish you great success on your financial journey!

          Roman

        5. @Baptiste Ah really about Revolut ? Well that’s good to know. To be honest Alpian became a pretty appealing option after the clarifications.

          The only big drawback I see is the requirement of having CHF 50k parked there at 1% of interests. Considering that wiLLBe has a 1.55% interest rate, parking your money at Alpian basically comes with a hidden cost of 50k * 0.55% = CHF 275 a year.

          Alpian starts to be competitive compared to wiLLBe in terms of interest rates when you have more than CHF 134k parked in your account. But anyway at that point you may want to spread your money across different banks in order to get the per-account CHF 100k money protection on all your savings. I guess CHF 100k at wiLLBe + CHF 50k at Alpian is a reasonable option though!

          @Roman ECB is updated once a day. The real-time currency conversion rate can be above the ECB or below the ECB. It’s meaningless to compare their rate with the ECB. As far as I understand Alpian is below the ECB some of the time, and above the ECB some of the time. Just like Revolut since they are both based on real-time interbank conversion rates.

        6. @Roman Balzan What is the status on the release of Alpian’s currency conversion simulator? Back in January you said that it would ne release within 4 weeks yet I cannot find it anywhere. Thanks

        1. FYI: neon is somewhere like wise and revolut, depending on the currency, because they use the Mastercard exchange. And Zak is just terrible at currency conversion, maybe even worse than PostFinance.

      3. Hey Roman,
        Just a heads up, could you pass this along to the prodct dev team? Alpian looks very appealing for the interest and currency exchange, but a deal breaker for me is spaces within my bank account so I can organize my money. I’m assuming it’s on your roadmap, but just give a little heads up that for this potential customer, that one is key for me to switch from Yuh! Excited to make the switch when you have that!
        Cheers!
        Paige

    4. Hi Baptiste
      Thanks for the article. I am moving to Switzerland in jan for a year to pursue my studies and I was provided Alpian and UBS as options. What is your recommendation for someone who is not looking to use it for investment but for everyday purchases, paying bills, etc;

      1. Hi Susheel,

        If you have more than 10’001 CHF in your account, Alpian should be cheaper than UBS and will have some interesting features especially for paying abroad and in foreign currencies.

    5. I’ve recently opened an Alipan account. It seems to make sense if you are carrying a reasonable CHF balance where you will get 1% up to (now) CHF 50k and 1.5% for amounts in excess of this. The metal card arrived within 2 days (interestingly it has no number/expiry date/3 digit code embossed on it, for this information you is available in the app). The card arrived in an attractive folding glasses case which is a nice touch.
      I was a premium Revolut user (CHF 92 per annum) in order to be able to make unlimited FX conversions but noticed that the FX margin at Revolut was widening recently. It s easy to see their margin because you can enter a proposed FX conversion and then reverse the direction of the FX conversion. Currently, the spread with Revolut is about 40 basis points hence a margin of 20 bps. The Alpian spread is about 22 bps from the sample trades I have looked at. Today CHF 1,000 will buy Euro 1040.40 with Alpian and Euro 1040.57 using Revolut. Hence paying Revolut for not being any better on FX conversion makes sense. Also the premium package with Revolut includes various travel insurance benefits but as a Swiss resident (ie non EU and Non EFTA) then you are not covered which is very annoying.
      I will probably not use Alpian as an investment vehicle, but their bank offering is strong and unlike Revolut, has the CHF 100k guarantee. Also, the Alpian account can pay swiss QR coded bills which Revolut cannot. My feeling is that Revolut was ahead ofothers for quite a while but is now being overtaken by some of the competition.
      I also contacted Alpian with a query and they reverted by email within a day. The question was if there was a + interest rate on EURO balances and the answer was No.

      1. Hi Pat,

        Very interesting. Thanks for sharing your experience with Alpian.
        I thought that Revolut had no spread. I am surprised to hear that they sometimes have. Also very good to know that their insurance benefits do not apply to Swiss people, I did not know that.

        Using it for FX conversions may make sense indeed if you have to send many transfers abroad!

    6. Thanks for the review. I was looking at Alpian as they offer 1.5% interest rate on cash which you will NOT find anywhere else. As I understand it you will pay no fees if you just hold cash and since it is a current account you are not limited in the amount you can withdraw at any one time, unlike Sparkontos at traditional banks. The interest rate will move parallel to the SNB rate. When the market is down 8 percent you will be happy to get your 1.5 percent. Equally you can move money quickly as it is a current account at the same time.

      1. HI ian,

        Don’t forget that you will have to pay a quarterly fee, unless you have more than 50’000 CHF. So, if you are planning anything lower, I would not recommend it.
        Also, worth mentioning that willbe currently offers 1.55% interest rate, so you can find it someplace else :)

    7. Hello Baptiste,
      thank you very much for the informative review, which I read only after having opened my Alpian account.
      One thing that you did not mention is the very reason why I did that, that is they offer a multi-currency VISA debit card. As far as I understand their fees, the card should be included in the standard fees, which can be interesting. Until now I used the Swissquote multi-currency card, which cost me 100/year. So I cancelled that and switched to Alpian just for that. I have an IBKR account, I don’t think I’m going to use Alpian’s investment services, mainly because I still don’t understand how it works in practice: what if i want to manage my portfolio very dynamically, i.e. trading on a daily basis?

      1. Hi Andra,

        I mentioned the multi-currency account and the Visa debit card in the article.
        Alpian is not a broker, so if you want to day trade your portfolio, you are much better off with a broker account.

    8. Hi Baptiste, always interesting to see read your reviews.
      If I may ask an unrelated question, which banking services would you recommend for joint accounts? For Switzerland mainly, but as well as for international usage

      1. Hi V,

        I currently recommend Migros Bank for Joint Accounts. They are not great, but they can be free if you have more than 7500 CHF on your account. This is what we use now.

    9. Great review!

      I was considering Alpian for holding cash and no minimum amount to open an account at the moment – currently they offer 1% for 100’001 CHF and more for 6 months. If you your balance is at least 50’001 CHF the account is free of charge anyway.

      Do not see any sense investing with Alpian if you can get all of the services from IB directly.

      1. Hi Bart,

        That’s an interesting thought. I did not think about that. It may be indeed an interesting account.
        The interest rate is indeed interesting if you have a lot of cash, but I keep so little that interest rate is irrelevant for me.

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