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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. So, 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 classical bank account.
We are going to see precisely what Neon is! And whether you should use it? How does it compare to other Swiss banks? And what about Revolut?
If you keep reading to the end, I will even have a special offer for you!
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.
Neon started in 2019, so it is only two years old. But they already got more than 60’000 users.
Their main point is to provide free banking to everybody in Switzerland. Since they do not have big offices, not many employees, and do not pay huge bonuses to their managers, they can afford excellent prices. Most large banks in Switzerland are not free anymore!
There are some limitations as to who can open a Neon account:
- Only Swiss residents can open an account. The identity check system supports people from 19 different countries!
- Foreigners need a B or C permit to open an account. You will need to present your residency card to open an account.
- You need to be over 16, which is the same limitations as for most Swiss banks.
- You need to pay taxes exclusively in Switzerland.
These limitations are very reasonable. Neon is really an account for people living in Switzerland, and most people in that category should be able to open an account!
Do not pay for a bank account. Use Neon, the new Free Digital Bank
Neon uses two-factor security to make your account more secure. You need to activate this feature. And you need to use a strong password to make sure nobody can access your account.
You can also use Neon with Google Pay and Apple Pay if you want to pay from your phone! That way, you will not even need a credit card to do your groceries!
Is Neon a Bank?
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 most significant 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 its products. And the official bank can focus on what they do best: manage money!
The Fees of Neon is where they are shining! Almost everything is entirely free! If you follow a few rules, it will be entirely free for you!
First of all, opening an account is free. And there is no management fee! And all your payments in CHF will be free as well. It is a great start, I believe!
Your Neon MasterCard will be free as well. A free credit card is essential because the essential feature of a credit card is to be free! You can also withdraw twice per month for free, at any ATM. After that, you will have to pay 2 CHF per withdrawal.
The card is also very interesting abroad! For any transaction with the card outside of Switzerland, you will not pay any fee. Free transactions in foreign currencies and abroad make Neon an alternative to Revolut.
If you withdraw money abroad, you will pay a 1.5% fee. Generally, you should avoid withdrawing money abroad with any card.
Neon also has a partnership with TransferWise for foreign outgoing payments. So, you can profit from very cheap transfers in foreign currencies with Neon.
If you only use your card in Switzerland, it will be entirely free! Neon is much better than most Swiss bank accounts!
Neon Bank Advantages
Let’s summarize the advantages of Neon Bank:
- Extremely cheap bank. If you use it correctly, your account will be entirely free.
- Free purchases abroad and in foreign currencies! Neon is the only Swiss bank with this feature!
- Cheap transfers in foreign currencies
- Support of ebills. Neon is the only digital bank supporting ebills.
- Protection of your assets up to 100’000 CHF
- Fast-growing company
Neon Bank Disadvantages
Let’s summarize the disadvantages of Neon Bank:
- No offices. If you have an issue, you have to call support.
- The account takes a few days to be activated. Creating an account is very quick. But then, you need to wait for a mail to come to you to get the access codes.
- You cannot deposit cash for free in your account.
- Neon does not offer a Maestro card.
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 traditional bank with offices. 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 accounts. 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!
Another disadvantage of Migros is that you will pay 0.20 CHF for each incoming payment. At Neon, it is free to receive money in your account (as it should be for any bank).
There is a big difference between the cards offered by Migros and Neon. Migros card is a Maestro, while Neon’s card is a Mastercard. Sometimes it is quite practical to have a Maestro in Switzerland. Many administration offices 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 most significant advantage of Neon is that Neon’s mobile application is much better than the app from Migros. I have had many issues with the app from Migros. I do not 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 from my credit cards for some cases.
Neon vs Revolut
Another option I have talked about before is using Revolut Credit Card. Revolut allows you to do transactions in foreign currencies with no transaction fees.
Since 2020, Neon offers free payment abroad with the card in any currency. Free payment abroad is an awesome thing! Neon is cheaper than Revolut since they do not have weekend fees, for instance.
Neon has one big advantage over Revolut. Your assets are insured up to 100’000 CHF. Assets on Revolut are not insured by law. It 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 in Switzerland. 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.
On the other hand, with Revolut, you can receive money in other currencies. And you can also keep money in foreign currencies in your account. For the time being, you cannot do that yet with Neon.
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 to minimize your fees! With Neon, I feel you have all the advantages. I plan to use my Revolut account less and less now.
To learn more, I have made an in-depth comparison of Neon and Revolut.
Neon as a Credit Card
While it is an excellent bank account, it is a bad option for a credit card. You should not use your Neon Mastercard to make any payment in Switzerland!
The reason is 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!
Now, is it going to change your life? No! It is just an optimization. If you are not using credit cards a lot, then you will be fine with Neon only. And if you do not want to carry several credit cards, then Neon’s card is as good as it gets.
Is Neon entirely free?
It is almost entirely free. You will only pay if you withdraw more than the allowed free limit or if you withdraw money abroad.
What is Neon?
Neon is a new Swiss digital bank. It is an entirely mobile bank that provides modern banking features with no account management fees.
Is Neon a Bank?
Neon is not a registered bank in Switzerland. However, your assets are held by Hypothekarbank Lenzburg. So you have the same security as with any other Swiss bank!
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 to pay any fees. Neon is currently the best Swiss digital bank. And now that they offer free payment with the card abroad, it is even better!
If you are still using an expensive bank such as PostFinance, UBS, or Credit Suisse, you should 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.
I opened a Neon one year ago, and I am pleased with it. I am using it more and more, and it is now replacing my Revolut account that I am soon going to close. The mobile application is significantly better than the one I had at Migros, so I am paying my bills with Neon now.
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.
If you want more digital bank alternatives, you can look at my comparison of Zak vs Neon.
What do you think about Neon? Do you use this bank?
Neon Bank Review 2021: The Best Swiss Digital Bank - The Poor Swiss
Neon is a free digital bank in Switzerland. It is entirely free, is used from your smartphone and is an extremely attractive Swiss Bank!
Price Currency: CHF
Operating System: Android, OSX
Application Category: Banking app