How banks play hide-and-seek (and why Yuh doesn’t)
Ready or not, here I come! But where are you? Like little kids, bank fees also like to find really good hiding spots. They might be deep in the fine print, or behind the pretence of being “free of charge”. A lot of the time, we don’t even look for them. But we sure are surprised when we find them on our account statements! Keep reading these lines (without having to read between the lines) to find out more about the games that banks play, and how Yuh is different.
The best things in banking should be free
Yuh cares about its Yuhsers and their needs, which is why your account, card, the app, and much more, are all free of charge. We want you to be able to trust us, and we believe transparency is the foundation of a great relationship. So, while most of our services are free, we will be clear with you when this isn’t the case, so you always know what to expect. This approach isn’t as common as we would like to think in the banking industry, where different fees and surcharges seem to be lurking around every corner. So keep reading to find the most common extra costs that you should be aware of, no matter where you do your banking.
Nine surprise bank fees to watch out for
1. Account administration fee
Well, this first one might not be so surprising. You probably already know that most banks charge a flat fee to help cover their overheads. It is usually debited once a month, once a quarter or twice a year. The amount tends to be in the double-digits, and physical banks tend to charge more than online ones.
What Yuh does different: Yuh provides an account, a Swiss IBAN, account management and a securities account free of charge. And free bank transfers – not just within Switzerland and Liechtenstein, but also in euros to the entire European SEPA zone. For transfers in the SEPA zone in a currency other than the euro, we charge a processing fee of 4 CHF.
2. Balance fees
These fees really make you realise how important it is to read the fine print. Some banks will charge you a "service fee" if your account balance is below a certain minimum amount, or "negative interest" if your account balance is over a certain maximum amount. On the bright side, a lot of banks have lifted these penalty rates since the Swiss National Bank increased its official interest rate in autumn 2022. But still – it pays to be vigilant and ask the right questions before signing a contract.
What Yuh does different: Yuh doesn't charge balance fees, we pay you interest on your balance instead – at the impressive rate of 0.5% on savings up to 100'000 CHF/EUR/USD. A recent Ktipp study even showed that we have the best rates in Switzerland.
3. Securities account fees
If you have securities in your portfolio, your bank probably charges you for keeping them. Depending on the amount and type, these fees can quickly skyrocket into the thousands. Online brokers usually charge less than traditional or major banks.
What Yuh does different: You can invest more with Yuh, because your securities account is absolutely free! Additional costs are only incurred for trading. You can find out more here.
4. Card fees
Most banks will charge a fee for your bank card on top of the fees it already charges for account administration. These can sometimes get into the hundreds! Generally speaking, cards that offer more perks like bonus programs, insurance, etc. will be more expensive. You might even get charged for using your credit card, especially when you're abroad – surcharges on foreign currency transactions can be up to 2.5%. Another hidden cost to keep an eye out for when making transactions in different currencies is deviations from interbank rates. Also, avoid making cash withdrawals with your credit card whenever you can, because there is usually a charge of up to 4% of the total amount, plus a minimum commission of about 10 CHF.
What Yuh does different: Our multi-currency Mastercard debit card is so free that you don't even need to pay for its delivery! And don't worry about transaction fees when using your debit card in stores or online, because it can be used for 13 different currencies.
5. Cash withdrawal fees
Even getting your money costs money, especially if you use a cash point that's not associated with your bank. You really always need to read the fine print, especially when you're travelling. Cash withdrawals abroad can get expensive. Sometimes, it's worth exchanging your cash before you leave.
What Yuh does different: With a Yuh card, you can get your money out at any cash point in Switzerland for free once a week. Additional withdrawals cost 1.90 CHF each. If you need to take out cash abroad, we charge a fee of 4.90 CHF.
6. Exchange fees
Another bank service, another bank charge. A lot of financial service providers seem to like to take money from their customers whenever they can, so make sure you give some thought to where you exchange your USD or EUR before your next trip. Sometimes, especially with larger sums, the best option is to change your money at a cash point at the destination.
What Yuh does different: Yuh charges a fixed fee of 0.95% of the amount you're exchanging. Currency conversion in the app is free of charge with no hidden costs. And you can even set a target exchange rate in the Yuh app. For example, if you think that the EUR-CHF rate is going to get better in the future, you can have the app buy it for you when it's cheaper.
7. Withdrawals from savings
In tough times, it might be necessary to dip into your savings account. Some banks add an extra fee on top to try to hold on to the cash. Withdrawal limits have been put on many savings accounts in particular since the financial crisis. This means that if you can't give three months' notice, you can expect a hefty fee for five-figure withdrawals.
What Yuh does different: We don't do this. With a Yuh savings account, you can access your own money whenever you need it.
8. Not enough transactions
You might not think of money right away when you hear the proverb "use it or lose it," but banks seem to. They take it quite literally by charging fees for an account or a card that is inactive, or one that isn't used enough.
What Yuh does different: Your Yuh account and card can hibernate for as long as you want, and we won't charge you a thing.
9. Account statement fees
Banks have to provide customers with an account statement once a month. When these are digital, it's normally free, but if you want the bank to send you a physical copy, you will usually be charged a fee, which can be around 2 CHF per statement. Ask yourself if you really need a paper copy, or if you can make do with the digital.
What Yuh does different: You can always access your account statements in the Yuh app, for free of course. The app provides such a good overview that you won't even need to consider printing anything out, which is also better for the environment.
So, that's it for today's discussion. But we have plenty more to say on a whole range of topics, so check out our other articles. Do you have questions? Take a look at our FAQ, and if you can't find the answer there, feel free to get in touch with our Switzerland-based customer care team. Our wonderful colleagues are looking forward to helping you – for no extra charge, of course. Or maybe it's time to say goodbye to us? We would be very sorry to see you go, but if you do make that decision, closing your account is straightforward and free of charge.