PostFinance E-Trading Review 2021 – Pros and Cons

Mr. The Poor Swiss | Updated: | Investing
PostFinance E-Trading Review 2021 - Pros and Cons

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

PostFinance is a well-known Swiss bank and broker. They are generally considered to be very affordable and very easy to use.

If you want a Swiss broker, should you use PostFinance as a Swiss investor, especially as a passive investor? This is what we are going to find out in this in-depth review.

In this article, we will see what PostFinance offers as a broker, how much it costs, and much more too. By the end of the review, you will know whether PostFinance is a good broker for your investing or not.

I am only going to talk about PostFinance as a broker, not as a bank.

PostFinance E-Trading

PostFinance logo
PostFinance logo

PostFinance is the bank of the Swiss Post. It was founded in 1906 already. They got a banking license in 2013. They are now one of the biggest retail financial institutions in Switzerland.

We are going to focus only on the e-trading part of PostFinance. They have been offering bank accounts for a very long time, but we will not cover that. If you are looking for good bank accounts, read my article about the best banks in Switzerland.

With PostFinance E-Trading, you will have access to many financial instruments:

  • Equities and Bonds
  • Derivatives
  • ETFs
  • Mutual Funds
  • Structured products

This should be more than enough for the immense majority of investors. In addition, for stock and ETFs, you will have access to many stock exchanges:

  • Swiss Stock Exchange (SWX)
  • Euronext
  • Frankfurt
  • Xetra
  • London Stock Exchange (LSE)
  • NYSE
  • NASDAQ

So, again, we should have more than enough stock exchanges for investing.

On the other hand, you cannot short stocks or get Lombard loans on your account. So, you should not use PostFinance if you plan to use any leverage for your investing.

There are a few conditions to open a trading account at PostFinance:

  • First, you need to be a customer of PostFinance, so you will need to have a bank account.
  • You need to be a Swiss resident of at least 18 years old.
  • You can only invest for yourself.
  • You cannot be a U.S. citizen.

I think it is quite limiting to be forced to use a PostFinance bank account to use a PostFinance E-Trading account.

It is important to note that the PostFinance e-trading platform is based on the Swissquote platform.

Overall, you will have all the instruments you need to invest in the stock market with the PostFinance Etrading. However, they are forcing you into their bank accounts as well. But, most Swiss banks do the same. So, if you want to trade with a Swiss bank, you will have to use their bank accounts.

PostFinance Fees

In the long-term, you need to reduce your fees. Investing fees are extremely important. Therefore, we must look at the fees of PostFinance. You should not neglect this.

First, we can take a look at the custody fees. With PostFinance, you will pay 90 CHF in custody fees per year. However, these are given back to you as fee credits. So, if you spend more than 90 CHF in trading fees in one year, it is like you would not have paid any custody fee. This a good thing since, for most brokers, you cannot get back the custody fees.

We also need to keep in mind that PostFinance base accounts are not free. So unless you have a lot of money on your account, you can expect to pay at least 5 CHF per month for your PostFinance account, on top of the custody fees.

For each of the stock exchanges it supports, PostFinance has a different fee based on the order size. For instance, here are the fees for the main stock exchanges you may need:

Order size
SIX Swiss Stock Exchange
Frankfurt, Xetra, Euronext
London Stock Exchange
NYSE, NASDAQ
0 – 1000
CHF 15
 EUR 25
GBP 25
USD 25
1001 – 5000
CHF 25
 EUR 35
 GBP 35
USD 35
5001 – 10000
CHF 35
 EUR 40
GBP 40
USD 40
10001 – 15000
CHF 50
 EUR 50
GBP 50
USD 50
15001 – 20000
CHF 70
 EUR 70
GBP 70
USD 70
20001 – 30000
CHF 95
 EUR 95
GBP 95
USD 95
30001 – 50000
CHF 130
 EUR 130
GBP 130
USD 130
50000 – 100000
CHF 180
 EUR 180
GBP 180
USD 180
100000 – 150000
CHF 270
 EUR 270
GBP 270
USD 270
From 150’001
CHF 350
 EUR 350
GBP 350
USD 350

For small operations, the fees are relatively small. However, when we consider the relative value, they are quite large. Let’s take the Swiss Stock Exchange as an example. For an order of 1000 CHF, you will pay 1.5% in fees! On the other hand, an order of 10’000 CHF will only cost you 0.35% in fees. And an order of 100’000 will cost you 0.27% in fees. This is not great, but for large operations, this is actually not that bad.

If you the details for more stock exchanges, you can check out the brokerage fees from PostFinance.

If you purchase stocks in other currencies, you will have to pay 1.2% in the currency conversion fee. This is a very high fee. This makes PostFinance e-trading a bad option to trade anything that is not in CHF.

Since PostFinance is a Swiss broker, you will need to pay the Swiss Stamp Tax Duty. You will pay 0.075% on each transaction of Swiss securities and 0.15% on each transaction for foreign securities. The only way to waive this fee is to use a foreign broker.

On top of that, if you do a lot of operations, you can get back some money from fees:

  • From the 10th trade to the 19th trade, you can get back 10% of the fees
  • From the 20th trade to the 29th trade, you can get back 20% of the fees

But given the high operation price, you should definitely not do more than one operation per month on your PostFinance E-trading account. So, I do no think this bonus program makes any sense for most investors.

When we compare with other Swiss brokers, PostFinance is average, not great, nor too bad.

Overall, PostFinance e-trading does not have great fees. It is not the worst option available in Switzerland, but there are also some significantly better options.

Opening an account at PostFinance

As mentioned before, if you want to trade with PostFinance, you will need to open a full account with e-finance access. So, opening an account for trading with PostFinance means opening a bank account with means and getting e-finance access. Only after this will you be able to request an e-trading account.

This makes the account opening process for a broker account at PostFinance highly impractical.

Trading with PostFinance

You can trade with PostFinance in one of three ways:

  • From the e-trading online website
  • From the PostFinance mobile app
  • From the PosFinance desktop app

So, there should be enough options to satisfy everybody.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a video of the app in practice. PostFinance only has advertisement videos that do not show anything of the app. From what I have read from some users, it is really simple to use. But you should not expect to do anything advanced from it.

Is it safe?

If you plan to invest money with a broker, you should make sure it is safe before you get started.

PostFinance has a banking license in Switzerland. So, they an official Swiss bank. As such, they are regulated by the FINMA. And your assets will be deposited directly with them.

PostFinance has a relatively good reputation for its bank services. They have a large number of users (about 2.6 million in 2020). Therefore, they are unlikely to go bankrupt. Furthermore, since they are a licensed bank, your assets would be protected up to 100’000 CHF if they wank to bankrupt. And your securities are segregated from the main balance sheets. As such, they should be safe in case of bankruptcy. On the other hand, it is important to note that PostFinance has been losing customers these last few years. Indeed, they had 2.6 million customers in 2016.

As for technical security, they have good standards. For example, they have been enforcing second-factor authentication for years now. I have not heard of any security issues with PostFinance e-trading. However, there was a small issue with PostFinance e-banking in 2015, where at least one user could access data from another user. It was fixed since and was not related to e-trading, but it is still interesting to look at these.

Overall, investing with PostFinance should be as safe as investing with other Swiss brokers.

PostFinance reputation

It is good to look at a broker’s reputation before starting to use its services.

I am using TrustPilot as a source of trust for user reviews. PostFinance on TrustPilot has a 1.3-star average with 198 reviews. This is the worst result I have ever seen. The user ratings are abysmally bad.

85% of the reviews give 1 star to PostFinance (and often asked to give zero stars).  Among the negative reviews, we can find the following points:

  • Fees are too high and increasing all the time while service is not improving.
  • Customer service is poor.
  • Execution times of bank transactions are slow.
  • The new version of the applications is worse than the previous versions.
  • The number of features is actually reduced with new applications.

The main issues are with the new application. Most users liked the previous application, while they do not like the new application that does not have enough features and does not work. I think this shows that they did not concert with users when developing the new application.

There are still 9 reviews with 5-star. However, four of these reviews are from the same user, so we should ignore them. The rest of the reviews are extremely vague. They basically say that they have no problem, but they do not say anything specifically good about the services.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to really distinguish between PostFinance as a bank or as a broker when it comes to reviews. But if PostFinance bank has a bad reputation, it is already a good indication that PostFinance e-trading would have a bad reputation as well.

Overall, I would conclude that PostFinance has a very bad reputation among its users. As such, I would be careful about using it.

PostFinance Pros

Let’s summarize the advantages of PostFinance:

  • Trading is easy
  • Mobile and desktop applications
  • Custody fees are counted towards trading fees
  • Relatively low fees for large orders
  • Well-established bank and broker

PostFinance Cons

Let’s summarize the disadvantages of PostFinance:

  • Very high trading fees for small operations
  • Very high currency conversion fee
  • You need to have a PostFinance bank account to use PostFinance E-Trading
  • Poor reputation

Conclusion

Overall, I think PostFinance is not a very good broker account for Swiss investors. The main issue is that this is linked to their main bank account offering. So, the only users that may want to use PostFinance e-trading are the users of PostFinance banking packages.

However, PostFinance banking packages are definitely not the greatest in Switzerland. And PostFinance e-trading itself is not the greatest broker offer in Switzerland either. Therefore, I would not recommend using PoStFinance for brokerage services.

If you want the best broker for Swiss investors, I would recommend using Interactive Brokers. You can read my review of Interactive Brokers if you want more details.

If you want a Swiss broker, I would recommend using Swissquote. For more information, you can read my review of Swissquote. Since the PostFinance platform is based on Swissquote’s and Swissquote is actually cheaper and better than PostFinance e-trading, it is better to use Swissquote directly.

What about you? What do you think about PostFinance as a broker?

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.

5 thoughts on “PostFinance E-Trading Review 2021 – Pros and Cons”

  1. Hi there,
    I’ve got a comment not exactly about PostFinance, but still about Swiss brokers.

    I’ve worked out that FlowBank uses another broker called “ExAnte” under the hood (https://exante.eu/).
    Today I noticed one of their job offers says “Connaissances de différentes plateformes de trading, MT4, MT5 et Exante un plus” (https://www.flowbank.com/career, “Junior Trading Platform Engineer”).

    I know ExAnte and they are very good. Almost as cheap as IB, but with higher fees on cash withdrawals (30 EUR fee) and minimum deposit of 10k EUR. Maybe one day I will find an article about them on your website, Mr. Swiss? :)

    1. Hi,

      I remember you already brought that point in my Flow Bank review.
      At this point, I do not plan to review more foreign brokers, I prefer to focus on Swiss brokers. If I go outside of Switzerland too much, I will have to review thousands of brokers. From a quick look, I do not see any advantage of Exante over IB, so I will still focus on IB.

      1. Hello,
        You’re right. Last time I mentioned this as well, but at that point it was only my guess based on the screenshots in FlowBank’s website. Today I found a confirmation as well.

        I see your point regarding the primary focus of this blog and I admit it sounds very reasonable.

        Regards,
        Alojzy

  2. I thought since the trading platform is run by Swissquote then the securities would be deposited with Swissquote and not, as you say in the section about safety, with Postfinance?

    1. Hi Nick,

      I am not entirely sure about that, because I have not found information very clear on PostFinance website.
      However, I have found this article (https://www.postfinance.ch/en/about-us/media/newsroom/press-releases/postfinance-launches-new-e-trading.html) that says:
      On the basis of its licence to operate as a securities dealer granted at the same time as the banking licence in June 2013, PostFinance now acts as a client dealer and custodian bank. Swissquote is responsible for custody account management on behalf of PostFinance.

      For me, the means that all the assets are stored in PostFinance and that Swissquote just manages them.

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