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Yapeal is a very recent digital bank that was introduced to the public in 2020. They are the first bank of Switzerland to have a Fintech banking license.
Yapeal is advertised as the next generation of banking with many features and straightforward onboarding. They have a free tier, but several of their features are not free.
In this review, we are going to see exactly what is Yapeal: its features, its price, its advantages and disadvantages, and much more!
Yapeal was founded in 2018 and is trying to introduce a completely different style of banking. It is an entirely digital bank, without any offices for its clients. Everything is done on mobile directly.
Interestingly, Yapeal is the first bank to obtain a Swiss Fintech License. This is a new kind of banking license. So, Yapeal is officially a Swiss Fintech Bank. We will see in the next section exactly what this means for their customers.
While they claim to offer a completely different banking style, they still offer the same features as most banks in Switzerland. You can pay your bills with this account and make domestic transfers. They only offer a Visa Debit Card with your account.
Since they are focused on mobile-banking, they offer support for Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. This is great for people that like paying with their smartphones. But this is hardly a novelty since most digital banks now offer these features.
They also have support for e-bills that a lot of people look after. This is a great thing since few digital banks already have this feature. Also, they are the only bank to have full integration inside the app. In other digital bank apps, they are bringing you to an ugly website from inside the app to handle e-bill. So, if you have an avid user of e-bill (I am not), you may like this.
Finally, you can also transfer money directly to other users of the application. These transfers are instant.
On the other hand, one feature that is really missing is the ability to make international payments. This may not be useful to everybody. But I have to make at least a few international payments per year. But this feature is on their roadmap, so we can expect that they add this in the future.
On their website, they are really trying hard to not only be a bank but be a community. I think they are trying too hard, and this makes their website appalling to me. But this may be different for other people. I could not care less about the community of my bank. I want good features that work and a good price for them.
Yapeal and the Fintech License
As mentioned before, Yapeal has a special Fintech banking license. FINMA launched this new kind of license in 2019. But Yapeal was the first institution to get one.
Compared to a standard banking license, there are several limitations:
- The bank is limited to deposits up to 100 million CHF
- The bank is not allowed to invest client assets
- The bank is forced to deposit all the clients in the Swiss National Bank (SNB)
So, this license is basically a limited banking license. But this new kind of license is supposed to be easier to obtain than a standard banking license.
Another difference is that there is no security deposit protection. If the bank bankrupts, the money is not protected up to 100’000 CHF like other banks. On the other hand, this does not really matter since they will directly store your cash in the SNB. So, security should be fine.
Overall, it does not change much for customers whether the bank has a full banking license or a fintech license. It is only a limitation for the bank itself.
Swiss banks are expensive, and it is important to avoid paying too much in banking fees. So, let’s take a look at the fees of Yapeal.
They have three different pricing tiers:
- Loyalty is free
- Private costs 4.90 CHF per month
- Private+ costs 8.90 CHF per month
The free Loyalty account is quite limited:
- No domestic payment
- Not possible to pay bills and no e-bills
- No free cash withdrawals even in Switzerland
- You have to pay 7 CHF to get the Visa debit card.
You can basically only use mobile payments (Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Apple Pay). You can also transfer money to other users of Yapeal. All cash withdrawals in Switzerland in CHF will cost 2 CHF and 5 CHF for EUR. Cash withdrawals abroad have a 1.5% fee.
I do not even see the point of this Loyalty account tier. It is free, but it is also useless if you cannot even make a domestic payment from it or pay your bills.
The Private account adds support for domestic payments, paying bills (orange slips, QR Bills, and e-bills). Also, the Visa debit card is now free with this tier.
The Private account is already more interesting. But all the features are very basic since you would get them with most Swiss banks. And 4.90 CHF per month is already not cheap for a bank account, in my opinion. Also, you still do not get any free cash withdrawals with this tier.
Finally, the Private+ account adds free cash withdrawals in Switzerland in CHF and EUR and abroad.
If you pay annually, you will save two months of subscriptions. You would pay 89 CHF per year for the Private+ account and 49 CHF per year for the Private account.
One good thing about Yapeal is that international payments are very cheap. They are using the Visa transfer rate, which is generally quite good. And Yapeal does not add any markup to the transactions.
Finally, there is one more fee we need to talk about: negative interest rates. Indeed, Yapeal will charge you 0.80% negative interest on amounts higher than 25’000 CHF. For loyalty accounts, the limit is 10’000 CHF. This makes Yapeal a terrible place to hold a significant amount of money. These are the lowest amounts from any Swiss bank I know.
The technical security at Yapeal is good. They are verifying all their customers during the onboarding process. And they are emphasizing security for their transactions as well.
We already talked about depositor protection. Since they have a Fintech license, they have no depositor protection guarantee (no esisuisse). On the other hand, they are forced to deposit your money in the Swiss National Bank. So, the security will be about the same in case of bankruptcy.
So, overall, there is nothing wrong with the security of Yapeal.
Let’s summarize the pros of Yapeal:
- Very good integration of e-bill
- Access to Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay
- Cheap international payments
- A free account tier
- Available in four languages
Let’s summarize the disadvantages of Yapeal:
- The free account of Yapeal does not have enough features to be useful
- The paid tiers are more expensive than most other Swiss banks
- Negative interest rates on your money starting at 25’000 CHF
- This is the lowest amount without interest in Switzerland!
- Extremely cringy website
- Minimal information on the website
- No TWINT
- No support for international transfers
Yapeal vs Neon
Finally, we should also compare with another digital bank. For me, the best digital bank in Switzerland is currently Neon. So, let’s compare Yapeal and Neon.
While Yapeal has a Fintech license, Neon does not have a banking license. But they are depositing your money in an official Swiss bank. So, from a customer perspective, there is no difference between the two models.
On the feature side, there are not many differences between these two banks. They both offer the same features for mobile payments and domestic payments. One advantage of Neon is that they offer international transfers while Yapeal does not. So, if you ever have to do an international transfer, you should use Neon.
Both also offer purchases abroad for free with their card. Neon has a Mastercard while Yapeal has a Visa. It should not really matter since both are quite equivalent.
Where the differences start is when we look at the fees. The Neon account is always free, while only the basic Loyalty tier of Yapeal is free. And Neon has much more features than the Loyalty account of Yapeal.
At Neon, you get 2 free withdrawals per month. With Yapeal, you have to pay 2 CHF per withdrawal with the Private account, or you get them for free with a Private+ account. The Private account is 49 CHF per year, while the Private+ account is 89 CHF per year.
On top of that, if you have more than 25’000 CHF in your account, you will have to pay a 0.8% fee on it with Yapeal, while this would be free with Neon.
The only advantage of Yapeal is that you can get cash withdrawals abroad for free with the Private+ account. This would cost 1.5% with Neon. So, if you withdraw more than 6000 CHF abroad per year, Yapeal will be cheaper. But very few people are withdrawing this kind of cash abroad.
Overall, Neon has more features than Yapeal, but it is also significantly cheaper in almost every use case. If you are looking at getting a digital Swiss bank account, I would greatly recommend Neon over Yapeal.
Overall, I do not find Yapeal very appealing (see what I did!). They have interesting features, but these features are already available in most digital Swiss banks.
On top of these features, they have significantly higher prices than other digital banks like Neon and Zak. Even my traditional bank, Migros, is cheaper than Yapeal!
Personally, I do not see any advantage in Yapeal against other digital banks. It feels like an expensive gimmick that tries to build a community and insists on trying to appeal to young people with mobile phones. I think people should focus on a bank’s features and their prices rather than their looks and community. But maybe I am already too old for this kind of bank?
If you are looking for a bank, you should read my comparison of Switzerland’s best banks.
What about? What do you think about Yapeal?