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Alternative Bank Switzerland Review 2024: Pros & Cons

Baptiste Wicht | Updated: |

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

It is difficult to ensure that your bank uses your money in a way that fits your values. Many people want their money to be used for projects with good social and ecological values. However, banks generally use the money to maximize profits, not to fit these values.

For these people, the Alternative Bank Switzerland was created. This bank does not try to maximize profits but prioritizes its ecological and social values. It also offers investment advice for sustainable investing.

So, how good is the bank account from the Alternative Bank Switzerland? We find out in this in-depth review of this bank account. By the end of the review, you will know whether you should use the Alternative Bank Switzerland.

About Alternative Bank Switzerland
Monthly fee 4 CHF
Users 40’000
Card Mastercard Debit
Currencies CHF
Withdrawals in Switzerland 10 Free per month, then 3 CHF
Withdrawals abroad 5.00 CHF
Languages French, German, and Italian
Custody bank N/A
Established 1990
Headquarters Lausanne, Switzerland

Alternative Bank Switzerland

Alternative Bank Switzerland
Alternative Bank Switzerland

The Alternative Bank Switzerland was founded in 1990 because people wanted a bank that was not only trying to maximize its profits.

Alternative Bank Switzerland aims to be transparent, ethical, and social. It will never invest in fossil energy, will not let any shareholder hold more than 5% of the shares, and will always publish the list of given loans. Another condition is that no sex will hold more than 60 percent of the seats. While this may sound simple, this is already much further than other Swiss banks. This bank promises to be sustainable.

On top of that, the bank also offers investment advice into sustainable products.

At the end of 2021, the bank had about 43’000 customers. This is not a large bank by any means. But the bank has been growing well over time.

So, how does this translate into a bank account? We will find out.

Becoming a shareholder


We must cover bank shares before we delve into the features and fees. Indeed, having ten shares in Alternative Bank Switzerland will allow you to use the Plus account.

The standard 7on7 account is available to everyone. However, the 7on7 Plus account is only available to shareholders with ten shares. And this second account has a few advantages.

There are two types of shares:

  1. Shares of type A with a nominal value of 100 CHF.
  2. Shares of type B with a nominal value of 1000 CHF.

While the nominal value of a share is 100 CHF, the current value of a share of type A is around 170 CHF these days (1700 CHF for a share of type B). Since 2022, the shares have gained about 60% in value. This is not a bad return for a conservative and sustainable investment. On top of that, there are sometimes some dividends as well.

Unfortunately, shares of type A are only for companies. This means that an individual needs to buy shares of type B. So, to be eligible for the 7on7 Plus account, you would need ten shares of type B. This currently amounts to more than 17’000 CHF.

I find it crazy that you would need to invest that much money to get eligible for the Plus account. We will see later what are the advantages of this account. The difference is huge compared to Raiffeisen, where you can get the shareholder account for 200 CHF.

Banking features


First, we will look at the features of the Alternative Bank Switzerland.

One great thing about this bank is that you can use it on your mobile and online. This is good because many good banks only have mobile apps these days. I may be old-fashioned, but I prefer using e-banking on my computer rather than on my phone.

As is usual with any bank, you can see your balance, make payments, and transfer money from your account. You will be able to pay your QR Bills easily. These are all the features you need for your day-to-day banking.

On top of that, the bank also supports e-bills. This is great because many people rely heavily on this feature.

You can make payments in Switzerland and abroad in various currencies. It looks like you can only transfer CHF, EUR, GBP, and USD. This should be enough for most people, but some need more exotic currencies.

With your account, you can get a Debit Mastercard on demand. This will allow you to pay in shops and withdraw money in Switzerland and abroad.

At this point, the bank does not support TWINT directly. This may be an issue for people relying on their phones to pay.

Unfortunately, the Alternative Bank Switzerland does not support English. It is available in the three national languages. So, it may be an issue for expatriates. They only have very little information in English on their website, and e-banking is not available at all in English.

The interest rate on the standard account is currently 0%. On the 7on7 Plus account, it is 0.125%. On the savings accounts, you will get 0.5%. This is decent but nothing exceptional.

Overall, the Alternative Bank Switzerland offers only basic features, which will be enough for many. A nice advantage is that it offers web and mobile applications.

Banking Fees


We must now look at the banking fees of Alternative Bank Switzerland. You do not want to waste your money on fees, even for a highly sustainable bank.

The standard account has a 48 CHF per year fee. You will only pay 12 CHF per year if you have the Plus account.

If you want a card with your account, you must pay 40 CHF per year on top of the monthly fee. This will be almost mandatory for most people, so it should be counted as a yearly fee. This fee is waived if you use the Plus account.

So, you will pay 88 CHF per year for the standard account and 12 CHF per year for the Plus account.

With both accounts, the base operations in CHF are free. You can also withdraw ten times per month for free. After this, it will cost you 3 CHF per withdrawal, which is a very large amount.

If you make a transfer in Switzerland in EUR, it will cost 6 CHF (without third-party fees) or 25 CHF (with everything included). If you make a SEPA transfer in EUR, you will pay 6 CHF.

If you transfer to the rest of the world in CHF, EUR, GBP, or USD, you will pay 10 CHF or 25 CHF, depending on whether you choose to cover the third-party fees yourself or let ABS cover them.

If you withdraw money abroad with the Debit Mastercard, you will pay 5 CHF per withdrawal. And if you pay abroad with the card, you will pay 1.50 CHF per payment. It is also unclear whether they apply any exchange rate surcharge, but if they do not, you will pay the average surcharge from Mastercard, which is about 0.40%, on top of the fees.

Overall, the fees of Alternative Bank Switzerland are really good in Switzerland but are quite expensive if you need to do any operation abroad. While it is not free, you will pay 88 CHF per year for the basic account. This may be entirely worth it if you strongly believe in how this bank will use your money.

Overall, there is little difference between the standard and the Plus account. Considering that you need to invest 17’000 CHF in the bank to get the Plus, it is disappointing. So, you should not become a shareholder just to get the account, but only if you believe in this bank.



On the standard and Plus accounts, you can withdraw up to 75’000 CHF per month. If you need to withdraw more than that, you will need to give a notification one month in advance.

You can withdraw up to 20’000 CHF per month from the savings account. If you need to withdraw more, you must notify the bank three months in advance.

The Debit Mastercard has a monthly limit of 5’000 CHF per month and a 2000 CHF daily limit.

Overall, these limits are quite good. But I wish the limits on the card were higher. In some cases, large bills need to be paid with the card. But generally, these limits will be good enough for most cases.

How sustainable is it?


The main selling point of Alternative Bank Switzerland is to be more sustainable and more ethical than the other banks in Switzerland. So, we must look at exactly how they are different.

The goal of the Alternative Bank Switzerland is to impact the world positively.

For that, the bank excludes some investments. The bank has an extensive exclusion list. For instance, it will not invest in toxic products, fossil fuels, companies that do not respect human rights, and many more. Their exclusion list makes them already more sustainable than other banks.

They will also not invest in nuclear energy, something I strongly disagree with since it is the only green energy we have to sustain the future that would not ruin us.

In addition to not investing in some companies, the bank also chooses to invest specifically in some sectors. For instance, it promotes a circular economy, green housing, etc.

Finally, the company itself tries to have a sustainable company. It has a strong focus on equality and transparency. And it tries to reduce its global footprint by reducing energy consumption and waste at each level.

The bank has been recognized several times as a sustainable and ethical bank. For instance, in 2023, the University of Neuchatel gave the bank an ethical finance price.

This bank is significantly more sustainable than any other Swiss bank I know. Sustainability has been rooted in its values since its inception over 30 years ago.

User Reviews


Finally, we can look at what customers are saying about the bank.

On Google, the bank received an average score of 3.4 out of 5, with 19 reviews. On TrustPilot, it received only three reviews and a score of 3.7 out of 5.

On the negative side, most people cite poor customer service, long delays, and not always helpful staff. People also mention that it takes a long time to open an account. On the positive side, people are happy about the professionalism of the employees and about the fact that they know that their money will be well used.

I have found very few reviews of this bank online. Overall, it looks like they could be technically better and improve their customer service. However, people appreciate the sustainability of the bank.


What makes Alternative Bank Switzerland different?

The bank is not aiming to maximize, but to maximize its impact on the world, through its social and ecological values.

Can you become a shareholder of Alternative Bank Switzerland?

Yes. You can buy either A or B shares of the bank. This lets you support the bank, get a little dividend back and possibly some returns.

Who is the Alternative Bank Switzerland good for?

The Alternative Bank Switzerland is good for people who want a different bank with a very strong focus on sustainability.

Who is the Alternative Bank Switzerland not good for?

The Alternative Bank Switzerland is not great for people that search the cheapest bank or the bank with most features.


Alternative Bank Switzerland

The Alternative Bank Switzerland is a different kind of bank, focused on sustainability rather than profits. Should you use it? We will find out!

Editor's Rating:

Alternative Bank Switzerland Pros

Let's summarize the main advantages of Alternative Bank Switzerland:

  • Very sustainable bank
  • Bank with good impact
  • Web and mobile application
  • Can become a shareholder
  • Support for electronic bills

Alternative Bank Switzerland Cons

Let's summarize the main disadvantages of Alternative Bank Switzerland:

  • The account is not free
  • Expensive operations abroad
  • Applications are not available in English
  • Apparently poor customer service


Overall, the Alternative Bank Switzerland is an interesting bank. Its unique philosophy sets it apart from most other Swiss banks. If you want a bank that adheres to strong social and ecological values and will not use your money to invest in fossil fields, you should consider the Alternative Bank Switzerland.

Of course, this comes with drawbacks. The banking features are currently relatively limited. Also, this account is not free, and using it abroad is expensive. However, these limitations may be acceptable for many users.

I am also surprised by the size of the investment you need to qualify for the Plus account. Given the price of the shares, the Plus account should have more advantages.

I have not compared it directly with alternatives because there is simply no alternative bank on the same level of sustainability. However, many banks are significantly cheaper and offer more features. You can read about the best Swiss banks to learn more.

If you are a customer of Alternative Bank Switzerland, I would love to get your feedback on this bank in the comments below.

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Photo of Baptiste Wicht

Baptiste Wicht started 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. In 2019, he is 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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13 thoughts on “Alternative Bank Switzerland Review 2024: Pros & Cons”

  1. Hi Baptiste,

    First of all, I’ve been reading your blog since I moved Switzerland and it really helped me a lot! Wanted to thank you for your good service :).

    On the other hand, regarding becoming or not a shareholder. By doing so would any of us get some small revenue at the end of the year because of the dividends, right? In the case of having the “cheapest” investment of 17k CHF, how much would that be and when do you think we can get our initial investment back if ever?

    Thank you a lot again.

    PD: Agree with the nuclear power. Being anti-nuclear power only leads to more emissions and pollution..


    1. Hi Matias, maybe I can also answer this one: I’ve received CHF 5.00 per share in dividends on my ABS shares this year. The years before it was 2.50 per share. So not much, but it’s something.

      The shares have increased 16.5% in value since I bought them and ABS will buy them back at market prices if you ask. I can’t find the document but I believe they want a lead time of up to 3 months to find a new buyer for you. If your deposit contains only ABS shares, there are also no deposit fees.

      1. Hi Ramón,

        Thanks a lot for your reply and for sharing the dividends.
        It does look like a good option for a sustainable account and also for not losing money in the long-term.


    2. Hi Mathias

      I am glad my blog was useful to you!

      The last dividend was about 0.50% of the nominal value, which is less than 0.30% of the real value. So, I would not get this for the dividend.
      You would never get your investment back with the dividends. However, it’s a share, so you are able to sell it when you want, it’s not lost.

      Unfortunately, there is way too much anti-nuclear communication that is emotion-based and not fact-based :(

  2. Thanks for this review! I have been with ABS for about 10 years and I’ve had no problems at all.

    I’m even shocked how quickly transfers sometimes work from my ABS account. I’ve seen funds arrive at my neobank accounts only minutes after initiating the transfer; I thought traditional banks have some sort of hard cut-off every day around 11:00 where transfers are processed, but with ABS I can schedule a same-day transfer and it usually arrives hours later in the worst case.

    The mobile app is a bit basic but it has all the features (including e-bill portal integration, I’m not sure if that’s what you meant by electronic bill).

    To Shad: I would suggest that you read up about the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (ABS is a member).

    1. Hi Ramon,

      Thanks for sharing your experience.
      I also find it fun when I do a transfer from Neon to anything else it’s very fast, but when I do it from Migros Bank it’s slow… I can’t believe our banking system in Switzerland is so outdated.

      I have amended the part about electronic bills, I had not done it thoroughly last time!

  3. Hi Baptiste,

    I’ve been client of ABS for almost 10 years now and never had any problem. Great bank to use as main bank (where the salary arrive).
    I agree with eric the app and the e-banking are solid.
    Only had 1-2 issues over these years, and they were fast to solve it.

    One year after opening my account there I went back to the bank to ask if it was more sustainable to take a prepaid credit card with them (at the time it would have been a mastercard prepaid). The guy told me no and suggested me to use revolute instead. I liked the honesty.
    Now I changed to neon for when I am traveling abroad.

    The only downside for me is that you need to have a prepaid twint account. So I opened an account with radicant on which I only put each month the maximal monthly money I want to spend: this gives me a better control of my expenses and I can twint directly from my account.

    Ps: a few years ago I used this website to have a idea of how “green” swiss banks are (as this is important to me).
    Maybe you will find interesting. It would be great if you do a post giving your opinion on that or comparing some main swiss banks on this subject once.

    1. Hi Jean,

      Thanks for sharing your experience!

      I am indeed impressed that they would have suggested Revolut. I don’t know of any other banks that would suggest another’s service. Impressive!

      Interesting link. I would not have thought that there were other banks like ABS. I will need to delve deeper, thanks for sharing!

  4. Hi Baptiste,
    I have been a reader of your site for about three years, which is about the time that I have been with ABS. So here are a few points after reading your post about my experience with them:
    1. As long as you are not a shareholder ABS is good value for money. My use: Only normal daily banking use. Current account and debit card. As you have identified, that is a pretty good value for money, when used in combination with an external credit card, as well as international payment option. So I combine ABS with Certo One, Revolut and Wise. (I know you would suggest Neon, but many friends and family are on Revolut, so Revo is more convenient for me there)

    2. Customer service is good, or even very good. With small banks, the employees tend to feel accountable for solving your problems. I’ve only had few problems, but I was impressed with the depth of interest shown to solve some IT hickups and some questions about forex rates. My experience with big banks is you have a 50% chance of a problem being solved or ending in an infinite loop of customer service ticket pushers… That is certainly not my experience with ABS, where you know the people who try and help you by name.

    3. e-Bill works. I was surprised to read this on your review. E-bill has been working fine for three years. No issues at all.

    4. No integration of Twint. I have to transfer money to my prepaid Twint or pay it at Coop directly. it’s a bit annoying, but it is similar to reducing plastic bag consumption on a day to day basis. Once you have your alternative re-usable bags conveniently placed, you get used to it and you wonder why changing was such a big deal in the first place.

    5. I think people underestimate the power that retail savings have in the big-picture economy, so that is why I went to ABS. Previously I was at big banks and after reading on what they would invest in and that my current account money was part of that I started to search for options.

    5. Alternative Banks like ABS or Triodos in Europe in my opinion tend to not be competitive in rates and slightly less convenient, but ABS mobile App and e-banking site are definitely OK. Not 5-star, but solid 4.

    6. Yes, opening the account took a few days. Not instant. But you only open the account once.

    P.S.: “Nuclear is the only green and cheap energy we have to sustain the future.” Not that I would entirely disagree with your statement, but to call nuclear energy cheap is a pretty black-and-white-statement on a very grey topic in my opinion. I’d say nuclear is sort-of carbon-neutral, rather than green, and cheap only for existing installations, but new nuclear right now is anything but cheap I’m afraid. Sorry, could resist this comment on an off-topic.

    Thanks for your posts. Always a pleasure to read and reflect.

    1. Hi Eric,

      Thanks a lot for sharing your experience!

      It’s great to know that customer service is good. Most banks these days have very bad customer service.
      Thanks for letting me know about e-bill, I will amend the article!

      With you point 5, are you saying that the impact of banks investing retail savings is higher than people expect?

      Good point about nuclear energy. Building a new plant is all but cheap. The energy is cheap once the plant is running!

  5. So basically they manipulate you with “guilt” and greenwash by promising of being “better than others”, lol. Why anyone with a slightest critical thinking ability would become their client, is beyond my comprehension.

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