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Cheap International Transfers with Neon

Baptiste Wicht | Updated: |

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

Neon recently released a new and very exciting feature when they announced their partnership with Wise. With this partnership, international transfers with Neon will be cheaper and faster!

Now, when you transfer to another country in another currency, Neon will route the transfer through Wise. So, we can profit from the very good banking routing system that Wise uses.

With this partnership, Neon is now the cheapest (and fastest!) Swiss bank for international transfers from Switzerland! It is awe-inspiring for a bank that is only a few years old.

So, we will see what this partnership means for Neon!

Neon and Wise

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Neon is a Swiss digital bank founded in 2016. Neon is the first fully-digital bank in Switzerland and the second digital bank account. In these last few years, they have introduced many features and are growing fast. They were the first Swiss bank to introduce a card with no foreign currency exchange fees.

Wise is a London-based company specializing in international money transfers. They offer cheap and fast international transfers in many currencies.

Wise has bank accounts in a lot of countries. When you transfer from your Wise account, it simply moves from one Wise bank account to another. So, for most transfers, there will be no intermediaries. Having no intermediary banks allows Wise to offer fast and cheap transfers!

In June 2020, Neon announced a partnership with Wise. Now, for a list of 20 currencies (including EUR, USD, and GBP), outgoing transfers will go through Wise. With this, we will profit from faster and cheaper international transfers with Neon!

You can find the list of supported currencies on Neon’s announcement. They are currently working on adding more currencies. I would not be surprised if we saw more currencies by the end of the year!

Cheaper International Transfers

The main advantage of this partnership is that international transfers are now cheaper!

Neon is now the Swiss bank with the cheapest international transfers! For each transfer with Neon, you will pay Wise Fees and the Neon convenience fee of 0.40% of the total amount.

Here are a few examples of fees with Neon:

  • Send 1000 CHF to EUR: 8.84 CHF in fees
  • Send 10000 CHF to USD: 84.02 CHF in fees
  • Send 5000 CHF to CAD: 44.02 CHF in fees

It may seem high like this, but when we compare with Swiss banks, Neon fees are outstanding:

Transfer Neon ZKB PostFinance UBS BCV
1000 CHF to EUR (France) 8.84 CHF 9.81 CHF 12 CHF 16.92 CHF 34.17 CHF
10000 CHF to EUR (France) 83.63 CHF 98.06 CHF 120 CHF 166.54 CHF 160.05 CHF
5000 CHF to USD (U.S.) 42.61 CHF 71.90 CHF 81.32 CHF 105.31 CHF 92.11 CHF
5000 CHF to GBP (U.K.) 42.61 CHF 71.91 CHF 81.48 CHF 105.60 CHF 98.39 CHF
5000 CHF to PHP (Philippines) 49.29 CHF 306.71 CHF 198.96 CHF
1000 CHF to HUF (Hungary) 10.75 CHF 35.83 CHF 46.28 CHF

We can see that the difference between Neon and other Swiss banks is significant! You can save a lot in fees by using Neon for your international transfers. In a typical case of transferring 1000 CHF to France in EUR, you can save up to 25 CHF compared to the most expensive Swiss bank. And for more exotic currencies like PHP from the Philippines, you can save more than 250 CHF!

I have used monito to make this comparison. The holes in the table are because I have not been able to find the fees for these international transfers. They do not include Neon yet, but it is easy since you just have to add a 0.40% fee on top of Wise fees.

Faster International Transfers

There is another advantage: International transfers with Neon are now much faster!

Indeed, Neon and Wise use the same bank in Switzerland: the Hypothekarbank Lenzburg Bank.

So, an international transfer from Neon will be a simple transfer from one bank account to another. These transfers can be done almost instantly.

On top of that, Wise has bank accounts in most countries. So they can directly initiate the transfer from their Swiss bank account to the foreign bank account and start the transfer.

In practice, you can now do transfers to many countries in less than an hour, sometimes only a few minutes. In comparison, even a transfer from one Swiss bank to another takes one day!

So, if you do not like to wait for your transfers or need to express transfers, this is excellent news for you!

What about receiving money?

Unfortunately, for now, this partnership only covers outgoing transfers.

Sometimes, you want to receive money in foreign currencies, like EUR or USD. For instance, many of the P2P platforms are paying in EUR. So it means you need a way to receive money in EUR with low interest. Currently, Wise and Revolut still are the best ways to receive money in foreign currencies.

With Neon, you must pay up to 1.5% in fees when you receive foreign currencies. For me, this is too much.

I wish Neon would improve its partnership with Wise to reduce the fees on incoming payments.

What about using only Wise?

In practice, you could also open a Wise account and reduce your fees even more.

Now, this means having two accounts instead of one. And it also means that you will have to transfer money from your Neon account into your Wise. And only then will you be able to send the money. This first transfer will take time and is not convenient. You can forget about having transfers done in minutes.

Now, this will allow you to save the convenience fee from Neon. So, you are saving 0.40% on each transfer. It is not insignificant for large amounts. So, it is up to you to decide how much the convenience of a single account is worth to you.

Most people are using their Swiss bank accounts directly to make these kinds of transfers. When you compare Neon and the other Swiss banks, Neon is now much ahead of them. You can save a lot of money by doing your currency transfers with Neon. If you want to go one step further, you can do them directly with Wise.

And what about Revolut?

You could even go one step further and use Revolut to transfer.

Again, this would mean having two accounts. And this would also mean having a much longer time between your transfer. You would have to transfer from Neon to Revolut and then do the transfer.

With Revolut, you could save the convenience fee from Neon and the currency conversion fees from Wise. However, Revolut is only cheap up to a point (1250 CHF per month), with about a 0.4% surcharge. And after this, it is more expensive than Neon. So, Revolut would only work for small transfers.

Overall, I think going with Wise or Neon is better for international transfers. I have more trust in them than in Revolut. And you would save little money anyway.

Ultimately, it is up to you to see how much optimization you want to do.


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  • Invest with great fees
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Neon was already a very interesting bank, but now it has become a great bank! With Neon, you can now do international transfers with significantly lower fees than traditional banks!

With their partnership with Wise, Neon now offers the following:

  • Cheaper international transfers
  • Faster international transfers

On top of the Wise fees, Neon adds a 0.40% convenience fee. While this is not negligible, this is still significantly lower than the fees of traditional Swiss banks. I firmly believe this is a great offer! It shows that Neon is a great bank that has a great vision!

To learn more about Neon, read my review of Neon. Or, to learn more about Wise, you can read my review of Wise.

The only thing missing from Neon at this point is the ability to receive foreign currencies without a high fee. Indeed, this partnership only includes outgoing payments. We will have to wait for cheaper incoming payments in foreign currencies.

What do you think of this new feature of Neon?

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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. 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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32 thoughts on “Cheap International Transfers with Neon”

  1. Revolut just changed their fee structure for Switzerland and is now much more expensive, think I will be setting up Neon very soon!

  2. Hello,
    Thank you for this interesting discussion. The problem with Wise/ N26 etc is that you have to transfer first your CHF to the Wise/ N26 account.
    Only Revolut offers a Swiss IBAN, so you can transfer for free from your Swiss bank account to Revolut. But Revolut charges now more than before. For the other solutions, you must transfer the money to Wise/ N26 and that will probably cost you money! You will be changed with a commission by your own bank. Did you take this money transfer into account?

    1. Hi Arthur,

      I did not take this transfer fee into account, no. But it’s a very good point, especially for N26 that does not handle CHF.
      For Wise, it used to have a free transfer from Swiss bank accounts I believe, no? I seem to remember I could top it up for free, but I have not had a Wise account for more than a year, so maybe my memory is at fault here.
      This is another reason why Neon is so awesome :) Now, you could do the same with Zak as well.

  3. Hello
    Thank you for the update on Neon. There is one thing I do not understand: what is a transfer for you? I have sent 10 kCHF to Bolivia through PostFinance and I have at most paid 9 CHF. Where are the proportional fees coming from?
    Thank you for the clarification.
    Best regards,

    1. Hi Martin,

      These are the fees that you pay on the currency conversion itself. They only occur if you send money in another currency.
      For instance, if you send CHF to EUR, most banks will charge you a flat fee of X CHF and then a conversion fee that is proportional to the amount. Basically, you will get less EUR than the proper conversion rate, they will add their markup.
      This is why most people ignore these fees, because it’s difficult to see it unless you do the math of the conversion at the official rate and then the conversion of the bank to realize how much they charged.

      Does that make sense?

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