Neon’s Mastercard is a Swiss debit card that charges no foreignuse or currency-exchange fees.
Wise, Revolut and N26 are popular accounts with debit cards that charge low or no fees on foreign currency transactions, with no additional spread. They should be available to Swiss residents (though I’m not sure about Revolut being available for new sign-ups, since they seem to have figured, again, that Switzerland is not an EEA member state. N26 is a real bank acount (but in EUR). Wise and Revolut are often issuing Visa debit instead of Mastercard.
There is no such thing as a “prepaid credit” card - though the term may have been vernacular to distinguish Mastercard prepaid cards from Maestro debit cards. Post office probably just didn’t accept Mastercard.
Oh, indeed they do, claiming „It is a prepaid credit card, as before. This is how Mastercard defines our card product“.
The term literally doesn’t exist in Mastercard‘s rules. While it may have been helpful - though somewhat inaccurate - before the advent of Mastercard Debit, it is only creating confusion nowadays. Especially when Neon claim it doesn’t need to be „prepaid“, i.e „loaded“ to use - yet at the same time won’t be accepted where credit card is required either.
Sorry, pet peeve of mine (when it would actually be quite simple to distinguish the three types of „debit“, „credit“ and „prepaid“ accurately, as does Mastercard and European legislation).
Personally, I don’t think I’ve never had a failed transaction at coop with my Neon cards (Maestro and later Mastercard). Except for that one time I didn’t have enough money in my account. Been using Neon since 2019, though admittedly I only use the card a few times every year.
It can be worth reconsidering whether you need a debit card at all. Now that basic off-hour banking can be done online (instead of at ATMs), a debit card is primarily a way to withdraw money, and make card-based payments.
The Migros Cumulus credit card is a possible alternative if you only make smaller cash withdrawals (e.g. 200-300 francs), as you can withdraw money fee-free at Migros. You can also use it for card-based payments in Switzerland without fees. You even get a few Cumulus points and some travel insurance.
Twint is another alternative, as it lets you make cashless payments and withdraw money using Sonect.
If you mostly make card-based payments and want just one card for all your spending inside and outside of Switzerland, then the Wise card is a good option. It’s easy to top up your Wise account (using mobile banking, for example).
Neon is an option too. That comes with a whole new private account, but you can just use it as a prepaid account only.
All of the above options are free of annual card fees.
The only real advantage of a debit card over these is that you can easily withdraw large amounts of money at ATMs (e.g. 1000-2000 francs). But if you only occassionally make bigger withdrawals, and if your bank doesn’t charge for counter transactions, you can just make a plan to drop by your bank during office hours.
The card used by Neon is a Mastercard prepaid card. Yuh uses a Debit Mastercard debit card. There are differences in the way payments are settled, and in the fees which must be paid by the merchant (prepaid cards cost more). The general rule is: If a merchant accepts credit cards, the Neon card (and Wise, Revolut) will work. If a merchant only accepts debit cards, then you won’t be able to pay with those cards.
The Post Office only accepts Postfinance debit cards, which is understandable since Visa and Mastercard compete with the Postfinance payment network, and accepting those cards would cost them money in merchant fees. You also get merchants which only accept Postfinance debit cards, especially in more rural areas.
In other European countries, the fee structure for Prepaid cards should be similar to Debit cards due to the EU interchange regulation (case in point: the Netherlands), so I would expect their acceptance to be similar to Debit cards - which, at least anecdotally, is my experience as well.
In any case, Mastercard and Visa debit schemes will probably emerge as the most accepted schemes in Switzerland and Europe - except for rental guarantees where Credit may still be required. Even Postfinance has begun co-branding their debit cards with Mastercard debit.
Hello, thanks for all your answers. My aim is to have a bank that I can trust but also being able to do purchases in other countries and different currencies, with low fees (or ideally no fees ). I honestly do not feel so confortable to have large ammounts of money in a virtual card, so I’m considering to keep my Cantonale Bank account and create a Wise account just for foreign purchases.
This combination is a very good idea, in my opinion.
I also prefer to do my “real” banking at a brick-and-mortar bank, where I can also deposit and withdraw cash, discuss more complicated question, etc. And Swiss cantonal banks (if they have state guarantees) are among the most secure banks in the world.
Wise works great as a prepaid card. I don’t have a debit card from my bank, and have used the Wise card only for some time now. I find using a “prepaid card” makes it much easier to control my spending, compared to credit or debit cards. When you account for all currencies, it has the best rates/lowest costs all around (Neon is good for euros, but more expensive for other currencies). Wise has the added advantage that you can also make low-cost international transfers, if you ever need to.
I agree. Neon actually uses Wise for foreign bank transfers, so for that Wise will always be cheaper. And with Wise you can have digital credit cards, which you can replace as you like, which I like for online shops or subscriptions where I want to have more control over and/or be less concerned about data theft.