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UBS Bank Review 2024 – Pros & Cons

Baptiste Wicht | Updated: |

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

UBS is likely the most famous Swiss bank. Even many foreigners know this big bank. It is also the biggest bank in Switzerland by market capitalization. UBS operates in many countries, not only in Switzerland.

But, is it any good as a banking service? I will answer this exact question in this review.

I will look into UBS’s banking services in detail and see the advantages and disadvantages of this bank.

By the end of the article, you will know whether you should use a UBS bank account.

About UBS Bank
Monthly fee 13 CHF
Users 3’000’000
Card VISA or Mastercard debit card
Currencies CHF
Withdrawals in Switzerland Free at UBS ATMs, 2 CHF at other
Withdrawals abroad 5 CHF
Languages English, French, German, and Italian
Custody bank UBS
Depositor protection 100’000 CHF
Established 1862
Headquarters Zürich, Switzerland

UBS

UBS Logo
UBS Logo

UBS has a long history. It started in 1862 as the Bank of Winterthur. In 1912, it merged with the Toggenburger Bank to form the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS). In 1998, it merged with the Swiss Bank Corporation (SBS), another large union bank.

From this point, they became UBS only, not an acronym anymore. The bank results from more than 300 financial firms merged over time. These firms now form a financial giant.

In 2021, UBS had about 3 million customers in Switzerland. They offer many services:

  • Savings and checking accounts
  • Vested benefits and third pillar accounts
  • Investment funds
  • Broker accounts
  • Mortgages
  • Private wealth management

In this article, I will only focus on UBS’s banking packages.

Keep in mind that I have never used UBS myself. This review results from all the information I could find from UBS and its customers.

Banking features

4.5/5

We look at the features UBS offers for bank accounts. To access the banking features, you have several choices:

  1. The e-banking web application
  2. The mobile applications
  3. Directly in the offices

From the applications, you can do everything you expect from a bank account:

  • See your balance and transactions
  • Pay your bills
  • Transfer money to other accounts
  • Pay e-bills

That’s about all you need from a bank account.

Contrary to many banks, UBS has straightforward banking packages. Their banking package is called UBS Me. They have different versions of the package based on your situation:

  • UBS Me for Young People and students for people between 12 and 30 years old
  • UBS Me for families and couples
  • UBS Me for cross-border workers
  • UBS Me for young professionals (below 32 years old)
  • UBS Me for individuals (everybody else)

The features are the same between the different versions, but the prices differ slightly. This review will cover the UBS Me for individuals (the default version).

With your banking package, you get a CHF private account and several savings accounts (if you want). You will also get a debit card and a credit card included in the package. You can choose between Visa and Mastercard for your cards. You can also use your account with TWINT.

One thing that many people like is that everything is available in English. Both the applications and the support are available in English. English availability is excellent for people who do not speak one of the Swiss national languages.

Overall, UBS Me should have more than enough features for anybody.

Banking fees

3.5/5

We must take a look at the fees for the banking packages.

First, we start with the monthly account price. As you can expect from UBS, their banking packages are not free. First, we must distinguish two versions of the packages:

  • Standard. You will only get statements by email or on the phone
  • Traditional: You get paper statements.

The default price is 13 CHF per month for the standard package and 18 CHF for the traditional package. I hope that most people are using digital statements and should avoid paying 60 CHF per year for paper statements, so we will focus on the standard package.

If you have more than 10’000 CHF on your account or a mortgage with UBS, you will get 5 CHF off your base price. So the Standard package will only cost you 8 CHF per month (96 CHF per year).

With these fees, several things are included:

  • Send money to and from your account
  • Pay your bills and e-bills
  • Pay with your card in shops that support the PostFinance card
  • Withdraw cash in all UBS ATMs

If you withdraw money from another ATM, you will pay 2 CHF to withdraw Swiss Francs in Switzerland, 5 CHF for a withdrawal in EUR in Switzerland, and 5 CHF for any withdrawal abroad.

You can also get modules to get more withdrawal for free at other ATMs:

  • Module Switzerland: 2 CHF per month for two free withdrawals in Switzerland per month.
  • Module Worldwide: 5 CHF per month for four free withdrawals in Switzerland and two free withdrawals abroad per month.

I think there are enough UBS ATMs so that you do not have to use any of these modules.

If you use your card abroad or in foreign currencies, you will pay a surcharge of 1.75% on top of the exchange rate. This fee is expensive, and you should not use these cards for that purpose.

Finally, if you have more than 250’000 CHF on your account, you must pay a 0.75% negative interest rate.

These fees are better than I expected. You can get a good banking package for 8 CHF per month, less than 100 CHF per year. I would probably not pay for it, but it is not horrible.

Personal Account

Interestingly, UBS has another option: The Personal Account.

This is not really a package because there is no card with this account. You can access the account from all the different UBS apps.

The advantage of this account is that it costs only 5 CHF per month. If you have more than 10’000 CHF in your account, it will only cost 3 CHF per month.

In some cases, you may not need a card, so having a cheaper account may make sense.

User Reviews

5/5

We should look at what other users think of UBS.

Usually, I use Trustpilot to get information about a product. But in that case, there are barely 100 reviews of UBS on Trustpilot. They got a terrible average score of 1.5 stars out of 5. However, I do not think we can judge a bank of 3 million customers with 100 reviews.

Many people complain about the fees, but most of the bad reviews are of awful quality and should be ignored.

Looking at the good reviews, it seems like people with private wealth management services are pretty satisfied with UBS’s services.

Unfortunately, I have not found a good source of UBS reviews.

On the other hand, I know many expatriates who use UBS because it accepts foreigners more than other banks. All these people I know are satisfied with UBS’s offer.

I would say that reviews of UBS banking services are very mixed. However, I have not been able to find enough information on the subject.

Security

4/5

We also need to look at the security of using UBS as a bank account.

Currently, UBS customers are protected like any other Swiss bank by the Esisuisse deposit protection scheme. So, if UBS goes bankrupt, customer assets are protected for up to 100’000 CHF.

However, since Esisuisse has a limit of 6 billion CHF and UBS has more than three million customers, the guarantee would only be, on average, 2000 CHF per customer. This total limit is a disadvantage of Esisuisse since larger banks are less protected than small ones.

Now, in practice, things would likely be different. And we have a recent example to prove that. Indeed, in 2008, UBS almost went bankrupt due to the subprime crisis (the so-called Great Recession). And the Swiss National Bank (SNB)  bailed them out with 60 billion CHF.

Today, UBS is considered a bank that is too big to fail. These banks have stronger restrictions to avoid issues. These restrictions do not mean that UBS is safe from bankruptcy. This does not mean that the SNB would bail them out a second time. But I would be surprised if the SNB would not help if turmoil arose again.

So, from a regulation point of view, UBS is relatively safe. From a historical point of view, they are not safe since they already had to be bailed out. However, it is considered much safer these days than in 2008.

From a technical point of view, they have high standards of security. They have options for multiple authentication factors in their digital access. And their website contains a lot of information on cybersecurity, which is a good sign.

I would say that it is currently safe to have your assets at UBS. However, I do not think this is the safest bank.

Alternatives

UBS vs Neon

We can quickly compare UBS with Neon Bank (my favorite digital bank):

Best Digital Bank
 
UBS
5.0
3.0
Free
8 CHF per month
  • Pay abroad for free
  • Everything from your phone
  • In-Person support
  • High limits
  • Free cash deposits
  • No offices
  • Opening fee of 10 CHF
  • Medium limits
  • Expensive abroad
  • Expensive transfers abroad
Best Digital Bank
5.0
Free
  • Pay abroad for free
  • Everything from your phone
  • No offices
  • Opening fee of 10 CHF
  • Medium limits
UBS
3.0
8 CHF per month
  • In-Person support
  • High limits
  • Free cash deposits
  • Expensive abroad
  • Expensive transfers abroad

Overall, UBS is significantly more expensive, but you will get access to their offices, and you can deposit cash easily in your account. You also get higher limits.

Neon is my favorite Swiss bank. You can read my Neon Review for more information.

UBS vs Migros Bank

We can also quickly compare UBS with Migros Bank:

 
 
UBS
3.5
4.0
8 CHF per month
3 CHF per month
  • Well-established bank
  • Good for expats
  • Many features
  • Very affordable
  • All the features you need
  • Expensive account
  • Expensive abroad
  • Expensive international transfers
  • Not available in English
  • Expensive abroad
  • Expensive international transfers
UBS
3.5
8 CHF per month
  • Well-established bank
  • Good for expats
  • Many features
  • Expensive account
  • Expensive abroad
  • Expensive international transfers
4.0
3 CHF per month
  • Very affordable
  • All the features you need
  • Not available in English
  • Expensive abroad
  • Expensive international transfers

There are very few differences between these two bank accounts except for the price. UBS is more well-known, and some trust it more than other banks. Also, Migros Bank is pretty bad if you only speak English.

You can read my review of Migros Bank for more information.

FAQ

What is the difference between UBS Standard and Traditional bank accounts?

Standard is 5 CHF cheaper month but you will not get statements per mail, only digitally. With Traditional, you will receive paper statements.

Who is UBS Bank good for?

UBS Bank is good for people that really want to use UBS. It is also good for foreigners, because they are used to deal with them.

Who is UBS Bank not good for?

UBS Bank is not great for people that want to save on fees. It is also not good if you want a fully digital bank account.

UBS Summary

3.5/5
UBS Bank Account

UBS is the largest bank of Switzerland. They offer several different bank accounts, for different needs.

Product Brand: UBS

Editor's Rating:
3.5

UBS Bank Account Pros

Let's summarize the main advantages of UBS Bank Account:

  • All the features you need.
  • Good reputation.
  • Trusted bank.
  • Not extremely expensive.
  • Good technical security.

UBS Bank Account Cons

Let's summarize the main disadvantages of UBS Bank Account:

  • Relatively Expensive bank accounts.
  • They had to be bailed out in the past.

Conclusion

Overall, I do not see any significant advantage of using UBS bank over other cheap banks. Their prices are not the world’s end since the basic banking package should contain all you need for 96 CHF per year. Nevertheless, they do not have any extra features that other cheaper banks do not provide.

So, I would not recommend changing to UBS if you use another cheaper bank. On the other hand, I would not necessarily switch from UBS to another, more affordable bank.

Many people, especially expatriates, are pretty happy with this bank. It is easier for a foreigner to use than a local or digital bank. Compared to some other banks, it also has good English language support.

Also, many believe their money is safer with UBS. I am not sure that is the case. We should remember that the SNB had to bail out UBS during the last financial crisis. The future will tell if they learned from their mistakes.

If you want a brick-and-mortar bank, I still recommend Migros Bank. I have an account here, and I am satisfied with their services. If you have more than 7500 CHF, you can have an account without management fees. And they have all the features you need. I have a full review of Migros Bank if you are interested.

If you want a digital bank, you should look at Neon. It is my main bank account these days. Setting up an account is straightforward, and all the features you need are available directly in the app. However, you cannot go to a counter and speak to someone. If you want more information, you can read my Neon review.

What about you? What do you think about UBS?

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Photo of Baptiste Wicht

Baptiste Wicht started thepoorswiss.com 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. 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.

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57 thoughts on “UBS Bank Review 2024 – Pros & Cons”

    1. The UBS key4 Pure seems to be very close to what I described in this article, but it directly contains a savings and checking accounts and a debit and a prepaid card. That may be how they justify the price.
      I will take a note about this service, but I try to focus on my time on services that I would recommend, and I don’t think there is much value in key4 at first sight.

  1. Hi Baptiste,

    I discovered your blog this past weekend and I am enjoying reading it a lot. I am foreigner living in Germany (not Swiss), I am a big saver and am considering opening a second bank account…in Switzerland. There are several reasons for that. Currently I would consider UBS because:
    1)it is well known and backed up and
    2) it might be the one with the greatest investment portfolio (stocks and ETFs).

    I’ve read about Yuh but I do not know whether I want a second 100% online bank. I am on N26 and am pretty satisfied but I reckon it might be worth having different services for a second bank account.

    What do you think about these considerations? Do you know other people with Swiss bank account but living in other European countries?

    Cheers and compliments again for the good work!

    1. Hi G

      UBS is not a bad bank if you want to store cash in Switzerland, but I would not recommend it if you plan to invest through it, it will just be way too expensive. Aren’t you better off investing your money through a German broker or Robo-advisor?
      There are some people using Swiss bank accounts from abroad because it feels safer, but these people are generally having too much cash and should likely invest it.
      I personally do not see much benefits in having bank accounts abroad.

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