Neon Bank: Free Swiss Digital Bank

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Neon Bank Free Swiss Digital Bank

Neon is one of the newest Swiss Digital Banks! It offers an entirely free bank account. Having a free bank is very important if you want to save money for managing your money. Swiss Banks are becoming more and more expensive. It is great to see some free alternatives!

Neon is a digital bank. It has no offices. You can manage your money entirely from your phone. With your bank account, you will receive a Mastercard that you can use for your payments. And you can use the mobile application to pay your bills and transfer money to other bank accounts.

One of the great things with Neon, compared to other digital alternatives is that your funds are insured! If it goes bankrupt, you are insured up to 100’000 CHF! You have the same security as if you had a class bank account.

We are going to see exactly what is Neon! Should you use it? How does it compare to other Swiss banks? And what about Revolut?

If you keep reading to the end, I will have a special offer for you!

Neon

Neon Mobile Application
Neon Mobile Application

Neon is a brand new player in the Swiss banking industry. It is an entirely digital bank. You will do everything with your smartphone. They do not have any office you can do business at.

Their main point is to provide free banking to everybody in Switzerland. Since they do not have big offices, not many employes and they do not pay huge bonuses to their managers, they can afford to have very good prices. This is not the case for most big banks in Switzerland!

There are some limitations as to who can open a Neon account. You need to be over 16 which is the same limitations as for most Swiss banks. But you need a Swiss domicile and you need to pay your taxes exclusively in Switzerland to open a Neon account. But you can be a foreigner living in Switzerland as long as you are declared here!

Do not pay for a bank account, use Neon, the new Free Digital Bank

Neon uses two-factor security in order to make your account more secure. You really need to activate this feature. And you need to use a strong password in order to make sure nobody can access your account.

Is Neon a Bank?

Your balance on the Neon Application
Your balance on the Neon Application

Interestingly Neon is not a bank! They do not have a banking license. However, they do not have to be. Your accounts are directly managed by a bank Hypothekarbank Lenzburg.

The biggest advantage is that, contrary to other digital banks, your money is fully insured according to Swiss laws. That means that 100’000 CHF of your account will be protected by law!

Moreover, this also means that Neon can focus on what they do best: their mobile application and their products. And the official bank can focus on what they do best: manage money!

Neon Fees

Neon Mobile Application
Neon Mobile Application

The Fees of Neon is really where they are shining! Almost everything is entirely free! If you follow a few rules, it will actually be entirely free for you!

First of all, opening an account is totally free. And there is no management fee! And all your payments in CHF will be free as well. This is a great start I believe!

Your Neon MasterCard will be free as well. This is very important because the most important feature of a credit card is to be free! You can also withdraw twice per month for free. After that, you will have to pay 2 CHF per withdrawal.

Abroad, the card is a bit more expensive. If you withdraw money abroad, you will pay a 2 CHF fee. And for any transaction outside of Switzerland, you will have to pay 1.8% of fees.

If you only use your Neon card in Switzerland, it will be entirely free! This is much better than most Swiss bank accounts!

Neon vs Migros Bank

I am using Migros as my Swiss bank. I think it is the best Swiss bank currently. Let’s see how they compare with Neon.

Neon is entirely digital while Migros is still a mortar bank. However, it does not matter much these days. You can do everything on both banks with your smartphone. Migros has a few more options like broker account and mortgage. But these are not options that you should generally take with your bank anyway.

They are both free for most users. However, Migros Bank is only free if you have more than 7500 CHF in your account. Otherwise, it is expensive at 3 CHF per month. If you do not hold 7500 CHF in your bank account, Neon is an excellent bank!

There is a big difference between the cards offered by Migros and Neon. Migros card is a Maestro while Neon’s is a Mastercard. Sometimes it is quite practical to have a Maestro in Switzerland. There are many administration offices that only take Maestro cards and not Mastercard. But you can also almost always pay cash. You will not be entirely blocked with only a Mastercard either.

Another advantage of Migros is that you have no limits on withdrawals. If you use a lot of cash, you should use Migros over Neon.

I think that both banks are equivalent. The biggest advantage of Neon is that its mobile application is much better than the app from Migros. I have had many issues with the app from Migros. I really not do like it. For now, this is not worth the trouble of changing to a new bank account. But I will probably start using my Neon account more and more. And I would rather keep a Maestro separate to my credit cards for some cases.

Neon vs Revolut

Another option I have talked about before is using Revolut Credit CardRevolut allows you to do transactions in foreign currencies with no transactions fees.

On the other hand, you have to pay 1.8% of fees for foreign currency transactions with Neon. So it will not replace your Revolut card. You should use your Revolut card for foreign transactions.

But should you use Revolut instead? No. Neon has one big advantage over Revolut, your assets are insured up to 100’000 CHF. Assets on Revolut are not insured by law. This is because Revolut is not a bank. But Revolut may become a bank later.

Another advantage of Neon over Revolut is that you have no limit for free withdrawals. You can only withdraw twice a month with Neon but with no limit. With Revolut, you can only withdraw 200 CHF per month for free with Revolut.

For now, it is still good to have a real bank in Switzerland for monthly payments and a small emergency fund. And in Switzerland, it is still necessary to get some cash from time to time. And Neon is an excellent alternative to other mortar banks.

So you need both a Swiss bank account and a free foreign currency card in order to minimize your fees!

Neon as a Credit Card

Neon MasterCard
Neon MasterCard

While it is a very good bank account, it is a bad option for a credit card. You should not use your Neon Mastercard to do any payment in Switzerland!

The reason is very simple: there is no cashback using the Neon credit card. It is free, but that is not enough to make a good credit card.

In my credit card strategy, I am using two credit cards:

  • Swisscard Cashback American Express with 1% cashback. I am using this card every time it is possible.
  • Cumulus Mastercard with 0.33% cashback. When American Express is not supported, I use this second card.

Both these cards are free and both these cards have higher cashback.

So, you may use it as your bank account. But you should not use Neon as a credit card!

Conclusion

Neon Neon is the best digital bank in Switzerland. And it is free!
Use the F9YMGT code to receive 10CHF for free!
Use the F9YMGT code
Neon

Neon is an excellent bank for Swiss people. If you use it correctly, it is one of the best Swiss banks. You will not have any fees to pay. Neon and Migros Bank are currently the best Swiss banks. If you do not mind an entirely digital bank, Neon could be perfect for you!

If you are still using an expensive bank such as PostFinance, UBS or Credit Suisse, you should really consider changing to a cheaper bank such as Neon! And if you do not want a digital bank, Migros Bank is the next best alternative but you will pay a bit more.

Now, you need to be careful to not use it too much. First of all, you do not want to use it as a credit card for your payment. You need a credit card with some cashback for this. And second, you should not use your Neon card for foreign transactions. For this, you should use a Revolut card.

I am personally not going to open an account at Neon. However, it is an excellent alternative to typical Swiss banks. Indeed, it is free and already has a good reputation from its clients. But it is still fairly new. We will see how this reputation stands. If I had to open a new bank account now, I would probably go with Neon.

If you want to open a Neon account, please use the code “F9YMGT” during the registration process and you will receive 10 CHF for free. And I will also receive 10 CHF.

To find the best credit cards to go with your free bank account, you can read about my ideal credit card strategy.

What do you think about Neon? Do you use this bank?

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.

14 thoughts on “Neon Bank: Free Swiss Digital Bank”

    1. Hi Thomas,

      To be honest, I do not know for sure. I have never seen this feature mentioned anywhere. I would be surprised if they had such a feature already.
      If this is important for you, I would ask them directly either on their site or on Twitter.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  1. I’m looking for a new Swiss bank and Neon “looks” attractive – but 2 issues for me are: No ApplyPay (yet) and slow updates on transactions – on their own web site is says, they are “trying” to get updates (ie. transactions on your account history/status/statement) down to “2 days” [they are trying for 2! The average is 5-7!]. With Revolut it’s instant – actually “quicker” than instant. I get a Push notification from Revolut, BEFORE the SSB app shows me the QR code for the ticket I just paid for. To me – this is the new wave of banking. So far, Neon just looks like a slick (but slow) wrapper on an incumbent mortar bank. Nothing new but some marketing and design. I know they are working on all the extras – but as yet, they still have a long way to go.

    1. Hi MountainAsh,

      I may ask a dumb question but here it is: what is applypay? I never heard of that.
      I did not know about this limitation. For me, it is not really an issue since I only do my bills once a month and I almost never use my debit card to pay for my purchases.
      Revolut is impressive for that I agree! It’s instant, as soon as the page is confirming, the confirmation pops on Revolut before the page finishes :) It’s quite cool.

      I honestly think this is not a big deal for Neon since most Swiss banks are like this. It is much faster for me to make a transfer from Revolut than from my bank account. Swiss banks are slow, and slow to evolve. It’s just the way it is :)

      Swiss people don’t like change (I am one of them)!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      1. “ApplyPay” – is a typo of “ApplePay” (I’m pretty sure you know what that is – Apple’s contactless payment wallet (like Google/Samsung Pay), that Swiss banks are adverse to including in their products (but that’s slowly changing).

        Every “neo” bank I’ve looked at includes ApplePay and all the other “x”Pay providers – but Neon says in their FAQs (as at 23 Jul 2019):

        How do I use Apple/Google Pay with neon?
        We’re not quite ready for that yet, but we’re working hard on making it possible soon, because we believe in being digital.

        1. Haha, I didn’t even think of ApplePay :(

          Yes, I know what it is. But I never used it. I know that Swiss banks are fighting against it and against Google Pay. That’s why they are trying to push Twint as much as possible.

          If you rely on this, I guess, you will have to wait for a while before you could switch.

          1. Not true – all shops that allow “tap to pay” (Paypass) also allow mobile phone NFC payments (ApplePay/GooglePay). One Swiss bank of interest to me is Cler with their “neo” offering called “Zak”. They support “device”Pay, have an app, 0 account keeping and join fees. They seem to have what Neon has but with a real bank directly connected (with branches and ATMs] – I’ve also seen referral codes offering 100 CHF starter bonus – which is very decent.

            Another one to look out for in this space is called Yapeal from Zurich, but it hasn’t launched to the public yet.

            I’m in the market for a Swiss account now which is why I’m looking. I’m very surprised that a country known for its banking (and insurance) is so far behind the rest of the world now – and they’ve lost that lustre of anonymity, have lots of fees, next to 0 interest on my money and old-skool technology. What went wrong?

          2. Hi MoutainAsh,

            Zak is also a good option. My biggest issue with them is that they do not offer an English version of their application. But that is not a big deal for many people. I still prefer Neon for their openness and their philosophy. But that’s subjective.

            I didn’t know about Yapeal, I will check it out.

            Yeah, the offer in Switzerland is pretty bad. I think it was always only good for rich people. It has never been really good for common people like us. I do not know what went wrong. But the Swiss bonds are negative, so the banks are following this movement. 20 years ago Swiss bonds were really good and banks were offering obligations at more than 6%. Today, everything is at 0%.

            Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Hello,
    I think you forgot to mention the fact that you can use the Sonect App together with your neon-free bank account and this way you can withdraw money for free as many times as you want. There is a withdraw maximum limit but you no longer have the twice per month limitation that you have with the card.

    1. Hi Tiago,

      Actually, I had no idea this app existed! This looks really interesting, I didn’t know this was a think. There are not many places where I can withdraw cash with Sonect around me, but this can become bigger.

      Are you using Sonect yourself?

      Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thanks to your blog I learned about Neon! I wanted to open an account but unfortunately they currently only offer accounts for users based and taxable exclusively in Switzerland (Americans living here at not eligible).

    1. Hi Ellie,

      Sorry to hear that, I didn’t think about that. It’s more and more difficult to get a bank account in Switzerland if you are not Swiss. I know several expats that had to close their bank accounts in some banks.

      Hopefully, this will change in the future and you will be able to get a good bank.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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