Migros Bank Review – Best Traditional Bank in Switzerland

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PostFinance Increasing Fees - Migros the Best Swiss Bank?

Until recently, I was using PostFinance as my primary bank. I was quite satisfied with it. But then, they increased their fee significantly.

These new fees made me wonder what the best bank in Switzerland is? And especially, what do I look for in a bank? Most banks in Switzerland offer the same level of service. So the most important thing to look at is their prices.

So, I started looking at several banks and Migros Bank in particular. So, in this article, I am going to share my detailed review of Migros Bank.

Migros Bank – Almost free

Migros Bank Logo
Migros Bank Logo

Migros bank is the bank of the Migros grocery shop. It is an old bank. It was founded 60 years ago, in 1958. Since I already am a customer of Migros and I shop there as well, I feel confident about this bank.

Since they are an official bank, your assets will be insured up to 100’000 CHF in case of bankruptcy.

Migros Bank has an excellent reputation in Switzerland. They are serving more than 800’000 customers in Switzerland. This high number of customers makes them one of the biggest banks in Switzerland per number of customers.

So, let’s see in detail what is Migros Bank about.

Migros Bank Fees

My main reason for looking for a new bank was to look for a free bank.

So for me, the fees of a bank are the most important criteria. Since all bank accounts in Switzerland have a zero interest rate, it is essential to look at the fees.

The most significant advantage of Migros Bank is they do not have any management fees. As long as you have at least 7500 CHF with them, the monthly management fee is waived. For most people, this should be perfectly fine since you can keep your emergency fund there.

Another advantage of the bank is that the Debit Card is free. Migros Bank is the only bank with the BCV to have a free debit card. Most debit cards in Switzerland cost 30 CHF per year. I do not plan to use the credit card from Migros since I already have the best credit card in Switzerland.

Unfortunately, Migros Bank is not entirely free. There are a few fees. You will pay 0.20 CHF for each incoming payment. You can avoid this by moving some of the payments to a secondary account. But, it should not be an issue for most people.

You will also have to pay 0.30 CHF for each SEPA transfer in Europe. You can probably negate this by using Revolut, TransferWise, or Neon.

The other fee is the withdrawal fee for ATMs other than Migros ATM:

  • 2 CHF for each withdrawal in CHF in Switzerland
  • 4 CHF for each withdrawal in EUR in Switzerland
  • 5 CHF for each withdrawal abroad

However, this should not be a big issue for several reasons.

  1. You can withdraw money in each Migros Bank, Migros Shops, Migrolino, and Migrol stations. So, there are a lot of withdrawal points all over Switzerland. It should be more than enough to withdraw money when you need it.
  2. You do not often need cash. In most cases, you can pay with your credit card or your debit. Using your credit card will be free and will give you some cash back. And using the debit card in Switzerland will be free as well.

So, you will probably not have to bother with these fees. However, I will probably have to withdraw money once a year if something does not go well. I estimate this will be 2 CHF used per year.

There are other fees for payment abroad. But this is not an issue since I will also use my Revolut account for this.

Given all this, Migros Bank is currently the cheapest Brick and Mortar bank in Switzerland.

Migros Bank Features

We can also look at the features offered by the standard accounts at Migros Bank.

As mentioned before, the Migros Bank account comes with a Maestro card. It is a good thing since it is still sometimes necessary to use a Maestro card in Switzerland. And the card comes for free, which is also good.

With Migros Bank, you will be able to do many operations in the Migros Bank offices. And you will also be able to do some operations in Migros shops.

But most people will use the banking of Migros Bank to do most operations. The ebanking application from Migros Bank can be used on Apple phones and tablets, Android phones and tablets, and on Mac and Windows.

This mobile application takes a different approach to security than most other applications. Indeed, you will need to install this application on at least two devices. You will often need the second device to validate some transactions from your account.

I do not like the Migros Bank application. It is slow, and I have had many issues. Moreover, it is a pain to have to install it on two devices. I would have preferred online e-banking like most banks. I do not want to install a banking application on my desktop computer.

However, the application has all the features you will need:

  • Make money transfers
  • Scan paper bills
  • Pay ebills
  • Pay with Google Pay

So, if you do not have to use it too often, the Migros application will do everything you will need.

Migros Bank vs Neon

Great Swiss Digital Bank
Neon
Free

Neon is the best digital bank in Switzerland. And it is free!

Use the F9YMGT code to receive 10CHF for free!

Neon is a great digital bank from Switzerland. They offer a very attractive bank account.

The main difference between Neon and Migros Bank is that Neon is an entirely digital bank. On the other hand, Migros Bank has offices, and you can get help from people directly.

If you use it correctly, Neon is entirely free. But Migros bank has some fees. And Neon mobile application is significantly better than the one from Migros.

And Neon has some extra features that Migros Bank does not have:

  • Purchases abroad with the Neon card are free
  • International money transfers are cheaper with Neon thanks to their partnership with TransferWise.

On the other hand, Migros Bank has significantly higher limits than Neon. So, for your main account, it could be better if you have to do some more substantial transactions.

If you want more details, I have an entire review of Neon.

Migros Bank vs PostFinance

PostFinance was my previous bank before I changed to Migros Bank.

The main issue with PostFinance is that you have to pay 5 CHF in management fees every month. They only waive this fee is if you invest more than 25’000 CHF in their products. But PostFinance products are not great, so it is not a great way to waive the fee.

So, the main advantage of Migros against PostFinance is that you can get it almost free if you keep 7500 CHF in your account.

Other than that, both banks have about the same features and fees. There is nothing exceptional about any of these two banks. They are standard banks. PostFinance has one advantage in that its mobile application is better than the one from Migros.

So, overall, Migros is significantly better since they have the same features but significantly cheaper.

Migros Bank Pros

Let’s summarize the advantages of Migros Bank:

  • Free management of your account if you have more than 7500 CHF
  • Good customer service
  • Offers a free Maestro card
  • Can withdraw cash for free in many places
  • Support for Google Pay
  • Support for eBills

Migros Bank Cons

Let’s summarize the disadvantages of Migros Bank:

  • Poor mobile applications for e-banking
  • Need to keep 7500 CHF on the account at all times

Cheapest digital bank

Great Swiss Digital Bank
Neon
Free

Neon is the best digital bank in Switzerland. And it is free!

Use the F9YMGT code to receive 10CHF for free!

Now, you could save more money by opting for a digital bank instead of a brick and mortar bank. There is one solid digital contender: Neon. Neon is a fully-digital bank account. You only have an account on your phone. It is a model a bit similar to the model of Revolut but limited to Switzerland (and much safer).

Neon is a recent offer and was the first fully digital bank in Switzerland. They are entirely free if you use them properly (not too many withdrawals). And they offer free payments abroad.

For more information, I have a review of Neon.

Conclusion

When my previous bank (PostFinance) raised its fees from 0 to 60 CHF per year, I had to transfer to a new bank. I did not want to pay more for no new advantages. It means I had to research the cheapest bank in Switzerland.

After some research, I found out that Migros Bank is now the best Brick and Mortar Bank in Switzerland. I will only pay around 8 CHF per year at Migros bank.

The management fees of Migros Bank are waived if you keep more than 7500 CHF on your account. Since my emergency fund is bigger than that, it is perfectly fine for me to keep this cash.

I have now been using Migros Bank for about two years. Overall, I am quite happy with their services. They offer an excellent service at a reasonable price. The only thing I dislike about them is their mobile application. They are late to the mobile application game.

Before I changed to Migros Bank, I have been a customer of PostFinance for more than 14 years. I would prefer to stay with them since it is a lot of work to switch banks. However, I do not see why I would have to pay more fees for the same service. So I will do this entirely emotionlessly and chose the smart way about it!

If you prefer digital banks, you can get a free digital bank account. For instance, you could go with Neon. This bank account is entirely free!

If you want to learn how to change bank accounts, I have a guide on how to switch to a new bank.

What do you think about the new fees? Which bank do you use? Do you plan to leave PostFinance because of this?

Mr. The Poor Swiss

Mr. The Poor Swiss is the author behind thepoorswiss.com. In 2017, he realized that he was falling into the trap of lifestyle inflation. He decided to cut on 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.

21 thoughts on “Migros Bank Review – Best Traditional Bank in Switzerland”

    1. Hi Mauro,

      I forgot to mention the 50 CHF reward for joining. I just added now to the article. That would indeed cover about 5 years of fees for me.

      As for the referrals, it is not something I want to rely on. We do not know how long they are going to keep that up. And I do not know if I could refer anybody.

      Thanks for this extra information :)

  1. I have been with PostFinance since I arrived in Switzerland in 2003.
    I’m not happy that they’re raising their fees.
    BCGE isn’t quite as great as BCV, they do have a few fees and charges, but I have my mortgage account with them. I really do like the idea of having all my accounts in one place, and at the minute I have the financial cushion to make the move.
    But then I think about the online interface of BCGE compared with PostFinance. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown with PostFinance over the past 15 years, but I know how to do everything and where to find everything. With BCGE, I still struggle.
    Thanks for a thought provoking post.

    1. Hello Kate,

      Having all accounts in the same place is a big advantage indeed. I really liked it before. But then, I had to use DEGIRO because PostFinance is really bad at etrading. And then, I had to use Revolut because all Swiss credit cards are bad at foreign transactions, and so on. So finally, I’m thinking that one or more outside of my main bank is no big deal :P

      I also worry a bit about changing the online interface. I really liked the one from PostFinance and I’ve grown used to it. From what I’ve seen, Migros is really really inferior on that side. But I still think it’s worth the switch.

      Thanks for stopping by :)

      1. Yeah, I had already moved from the PostFinance Visa to the Miles and More Mastercard, and I miss not having those transactions as part of the e-cockpit. So, it’s true, I already have accounts spread across three institutions now… I will talk to my account manager at BCGE to see how hard it is to move a 3eme pilier.
        I really enjoy your blog. It’s one of the few PF blogs based in Suisse Romande, and while I appreciate the ones out of the Swiss German side, yours is much more relevant.

  2. May I make a suggestion? Why not take the package “CA Essenciel” from CA Next Bank (Credit Agricole)?

    Provided you have a balance > 20k (which you seem to have, given you were a PF+ Customer), you’ll have free ATM withdrawals, no incoming payment fees or account management fees. Their saving accounts offer attractive .5%, too. There is a withdrawal period for the saving account, but if you treat your emergency fund, like I do mine, you will manage to get around that, too.

    I’m having some trouble seeing why you’d choose Migros. I get the point of wanting a physical location close by, but then you shouldn’t consider Cler either. Don’t underestimate the incoming payment fee – every incoming twint payment will be taxed, and that can add up quickly. BCV offers free cantonal withdrawals + 1 free non-cantonal bank withdrawal, which should fit your situation perfectly. Is there something I’m not seeing or are you weeny bit biased because you already have and like the cumulus card?

    But this is just my 2 cents, I like your articles a lot and will go to the same transition as you, so I wanted to share my reflections :)

    1. Hello,

      Please, make all the suggestions you want!!

      I had a balance of more than 25K at PostFinance, but only because my third pillar was here. But since my third pillar will not move to the new bank, my balance will be around 10K and sometimes less.

      The CA package is indeed a good package but only if you have a balance of more than 20K. Below that, it is very expensive, at 15 CHF per month.
      As for the incoming payments: since I also have a Revolut account, I will dispatch some of my payment there. If I accumulate too much money on Revolut I can send it back to my account and pay only one big incoming payment for several small.

      I may be a bit biased but not with Migros. I am a bit biased against BCV. I know it does not make sense financially, but I do not want my account at one of the cantonal bank from another state. It is not a good reason, I know, but I cannot help it ;)

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing :) I really appreciate it :)

      1. Thanks for this great article. I just want to give you some input:

        You cannot use Revolut for incoming payments, because they use a shared IBAN vor CHF payments. (They have been promising personal IBans for over a year, but my guess would be that they wont be coming anytime soon) And also the bank right now is outside of Switzerland, so there would be a hefty SWIFT transaction fee for every payment. I personally receive around 5-30 small payments (inc. Twint/CashBack etc.) per month, so Migros Bank can quickly become even more expansive than Postfinance. In my opinion this in-transparent nasty fee that you cannot control yourself is way worse than the CHF 5 p.M. from Postfinance… So I would not consider them even for a second. Also the Cumulus Mastercard you have doesn’t have any link with Migros Bank – it is issued by Cembra Moneybank, the only link is the logo on the card and the fact that you get Cumulus Points.

        Regarding physical location of your bank, just ask yourself this question: Have you ever had to visit your bank? Because at least I did not need to visit my bank (postfinance) even once during my whole live. So I went with BCV, my account is already opened and everything looks great so far. I didn’t need to visit them to open the account, opening can be done online and you sign with Mobile ID. They even send the letter in German (I don’t even speak french) to Zurich.

        I already have a ZAK account but it’s not an option for me because there is too much missing right now: No Banking from PC, no payments above 10k (How should I pay taxes), no E-Bills, no withdrawl from other banks.

        1. Hello Thaek,

          Thanks :)

          Yeah, I know very well about the Revolut issue. But I’m using TransferWise as an intermediary before Revolut. This makes transfers free. I am also guessing that they are not getting that CHF IBAN for a long while now. I maybe receive 30 payments per year, so it’s not a big deal for me.

          Actually, I had to visit PostFinance twice in that time. It’s not a big deal, but still a thing.

          Yeah, ZAK is interesting, but too much missing features yet. It may come in the future though.

          As I said before, I’m biased against BCV without any good reason. It’s an excellent option, no denying that. I’m just not getting to open an at BCV.

          Thanks for stopping by Thaek :)

  3. Hey,

    Have you heard about the Alternative Bank Switzerland ? Here’s the link for their website : https://www.bas.ch/fr/ (it’s fully available only in French and German unfortunately)
    The annual fee is only CHF 36.– per year for their basic account (plus CHF 30.- per year for the Maestro Debit Card), but if you are able and willing to invest in them by buying 10 shares, the fees drop to CHF 0.- (even for the Maestro Debit Card).
    I personally find it interesting because by buying their stocks you support sustainable and alternative investment.

    Cheers

    1. Hi Charles,

      No, I never heard of it before. It looks very interesting. I think it is a really good idea on their side. On the other hand, this represents an investment of more than one thousand CHF. I am not ready to invest so much in a single bank.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing !

  4. Hello Mr. The Poor Swiss,

    I’ve just found your blog and this is one of the articles I started with. Let me first of all thank you for sharing your ideas and give you my minor feedback. When I read something in the Internet I find it very helpful if I can easily identify the publish date. I could not find this information on the web page. Only looking at the dates of comments I can more or less conclude the date of the article. So, this is something you might want to improve if you wish.

    As for PostFinance, I have a private account there and I absolutely agree with you that it is not fair to charge 60 CHF for exactly the same service. Let me ask you several questions in this regard:
    1) You mentioned: “The first thing I did when I saw the news was directly to close the two savings accounts.” Why? As far as I know, the savings accounts remain free of charge.
    2) You also wrote: “For some people, there is a way to get the fees waived. You need to have 25’000 CHF invested in funds in PostFinance.” Please correct me if I am wrong, but it is not only about investing in funds. Custody account assets in e-trading are also classified as investment, right?
    So, why not to consider PostFinance as a broker? In this case the annual fee will be 90 CHF, but you will not have to pay account management fee of 60. I am not an investor yet, but I am thinking about this. And sorry, if my questions sound stupid.

    1. Hello Aleksei,

      I will consider putting back the publish date on my posts. Thanks for the suggestion!

      1) I did that directly in order to do the transition faster. I directly closed my savings accounts in order to prepare to move my private account faster. I agree that this is not very clear in my post.
      2) You are correct. On my first read, I didn’t see that etrading custody assets are indeed counted towards the 25’0000. I just read it again and it is specified in one of the details.

      As to use Postfinance as a broker, it is a very expensive broker. You will have to pay the Swiss stamp duty tax (0.15%) that you would not have to pay with IB or DEGIRO. These days, I invest around 4000 CHF per month. At PostFinance, it would cost me about 500 CHF per year. At IB, I have to pay 120 CHF per year. And it will go down next year since I will have a balance higher than 100K. If you look at their fees (https://www.postfinance.ch/en/private/products/digital-banking/e-trading/brokerage-fees-and-other-charges.html), you will see that they are quite high.

      It’s great that you are thinking about this! And no, your questions are not stupid at all!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      1. Thank you for your reply, Mr. The Poor Swiss.

        May I ask you another question which is not related to the main topic, but connected to your reply: “You will have to pay the Swiss stamp duty tax (0.15%) that you would not have to pay with IB or DEGIRO.” In fact, you touched a very interesting topic – Swiss taxes. I have to admit, that this is a gray area for me so far, so I would like to know more about this before I start my investing journey. As far as I know, tax law distinguishes between capital earnings and capital gains. Capital earnings: interest and dividends. This is taxable income – 35% must be paid. (I am not sure how to get interest from shares or ETFs. Probably, it is only possible if you invest in bonds.) Capital gains is shares price increases and it is not taxed. Another type of taxes is Swiss federal stamp duties. They are levied on each purchase and sale of shares, bonds, ETFs and so on. Stamp duties on Swiss shares: 0.075%. Stamp duties on foreign shares: 0.15%. And you want to say that we can simply work around paying stamp duties by choosing a right broker (which is not Swiss broker), right?

        I actually have many more questions about Swiss taxes (e.g. do investors need to fill any kind of declaration yearly or all the taxes are automatically deducted by your broker, what taxes are involved when buying international securities and so on). It would be great if based on your experience you could write a short article about taxes paid by investors who are Swiss residents and some tips and tricks to minimize them. Thank you.

        1. You’re welcome.

          You got it entirely right. This “stamp tax” can be entirely avoided by using a non-swiss broker. I think that’s pretty dumb. But that’s the way it is. And that’s one reason you should not use a Swiss-broker. And for capital gains versus interest, you are entirely right as well.

          That’s a great idea for a post indeed! I’ll put it on my list. I cannot give you an ETA, but I will definitely work on that.

  5. Hi Mr. The Poor Swiss,

    We are a young family that it’s moving to Switzerland to start a new job,life etc. As I am in charge with the banking part (and not really in the banking domain), I am trying to find the best combination of bank account and credit/debit card that can help us save as much as possible.
    My wife and me, we each have a french bank account(with some saving in it that are more than 20K euro) that we will want to close in a couple of months.
    The info you are posting on this blog is really good and it helps me a lot while choosing the right combination, however I have some questions:
    1. For BCV (Bank of the state Of Vaud), you are stating fees of 0 CHF per year, but when checking their website I can’t see any product that has 0 fees. I am looking at “Family Direct banking pack”, which needs 15.000 CHF in assets to be “free”. Am I correct?
    2. We like to travel from time to time(mostly in Europe), so I think a Revolut account would make sense too. I am just thinking what happens if we are outside Swiss and need to pay an amount of money that it’s bigger than 1000 Euros(you are suggesting to only keep about 500CHF in the Revolut account)? What would you do: get cash, do online payment, etc?
    3. I can still apply for a N26 bank account, would you suggest to do it or not? What I am thinking is to apply for a Revolut account for myself and open a N26 account for my wife.

    My post is a bit messy, however I think that my choices are:
    For all the spending’s in Swiss I have BCV or Migros Bank, for the rest it’s Revolut or N26

    1. Hi Vic,

      1. You are right, it seems that there is a limit. It may have changed since I wrote the article. Or maybe I did not check correctly. Migros also has a limit of 7500 CHF.
      2. A Revolut account would indeed make a a lot of sense for you. I am suggesting this on the long-term. If I am going to travel and I am going to use my travel card a lot, I will put more money on it. There will be no problem to put 2000 EUR or more on your Revolut card to plan for your vacation. I just do not like having too much money on it when I do not use it.
      3. You could open a N26 account instead of Revolut. However, there are few advantages for it. You can read my review of N26. The big problem would be that you will not have a CH IBAN. That means that every time you are going to load money, you will need to pay fees. Or you could send CHF money to your Revolut account and then send EUR money from your Revolut to N26. It could be interesting to have both, but it won’t make a lot of differences.

      For your choices, I would say either Migros Bank or Neon Bank. I would go with Revolut in your case. But Revolut and N26 could also be interesting.

      I hope I am helping a bit :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Hi Mr. Poor Swiss,

    I recently moved to Switzerland (from Spain) and your posts really help me, so thanks.

    I opened a Migros bank, and I realized I can’t use Twint app with this bank. Is it right? Is there any similar alternative? I think Twint is a useful app to pay other people in a few seconds.

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Jana,

      I have never used Twint, but looking at it, it seems indeed that you can’t use Twint with this bank. But I think you can use the Migros App with Migros Bank, it’s more limited than Twint.
      So, if you really need Twint, you will have to use another bank account. You may consider Neon that supports Twint.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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