Experience with ZAK (Rant)

So, I have been using ZAK for more than two years now.
I transfer the sum I budgeted for daily expenses and small bills there a pay from there.

I like that it works easily with Google Pay and Apple Pay.
I like the common spending tracking that I use together with my wife.

While the app is simple enough, there are a few gripes I have:

  • I have to enter an mTAN EVERY SINGLE TIME. Even for known recipients and tiny sums. I just had to enter one for 1.30 CHF. Come on!
  • No ebills
  • No payment templates, e.g. for payments with reference numbers. If there is no QR code, I have to enter the recipient with address and all. PostFinance does not require this. (I won’t pay anymore bills from here.)

I could never use it as my primary banking app unless I was dirt poor and could not afford 5 CHF for a banking package. It really makes me appreciate PostFinance.

What are your experiences?
Do you have workarounds for my gripes?

Just installed neon and I see that there are eBills and code scanner, qr and line.

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Yes, I didn’t like ZAK from the beginning and IMHO they just created it to market their regular Bank Cler products.

  • Extremely low limits so you have to call them regularly. I guess they increased the limits in the meantime but there are still limits AFAIK. This is just annoying.
  • Advertisements on the main screen - I hate ads. On screenshots of the product they don’t have those annoying ads but when you install the app, they’re there. Very annoying.
  • No E-Bill. I think this is an artificial limitation and despite telling the opposite - I think they will never implement it but rather want you to switch to a regular Bank Cler product. What is funny, their regular app looks almost similar as Zak and there they have E-bill so most likely they could just copy & paste the code. But they don’t want. Very frustrating.
  • Card fees / FX rates are not competitive.

Zak is basically history and I don’t think they spend anymore budget on it, really. Especially that they can’t implement E-Bill since years despite all users complaining about it, just shows that they don’t even want to make it a good product.

I would prefer Neon & Yuh over Zak, but even Neon & Yuh have their limitations which can be annoying at times and therefore I closed all accounts with any banking apps and just went back to a regular banking package. I don’t want to spend time and deal with annoyances and have my money spread across 10+ apps.

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I have about 30 financial/banking/brokerage apps on my phone. And Zak must be one of the top 2 or 3 that feel clunkiest.

…and when I have to enter the (27-digit) reference number from the payment slip, I can’t just copy & paste it. No, it’ll throw up an error about the number format, unless I bloody manually delete the spaces between the number blocks. Which it can’t even show all in width on my phone‘s screen. So I there’s a little bit sof crolling involved. Infuriating.

For me, scanning the payment slip isn’t always an option, since I often only receive it in a digital format (as in the Swisscard app).

All the leading zeroes in the reference number can be omitted. Not that it fixes your problem, but it makes it at least more bearable…

I don‘t use ZAK but I can recommend Neon.

I suppose the consensus is that ZAK is very limited, on purpose.

I don’t think they are letting the app die. They are spending gazillions on marketing. I saw an offer today where you get 60 CHF if you sign up for ZAK now. All the bloggers including MP offer ZAK promotions.
This must cost them a pretty penny.

The app may be deliberately designed to lure in new customers who can then be upsold to regular Cler products. It’s kind of a freemium model in disguise.
Remember: If the product is free, then you are the product.

Yeah, I have two phones and can use my ZAK phone to scan it from the other, but it sucks really. I’ll just use PostFinance in the future.

Nah, not another account. I have Yuh which is better from a usability point of view, but I don’t plan to make it my main account either.

I guess I’ll just keep using ZAK for what I’ve used it before:
day-to-day card spending and keeping tracking of common expenses.

It works ok for this. But with other accounts being free, I fear that other users may abandon the app once they realise that there are better alternatives.

Out of curiosity, can you name a few of the banking/brokerage apps you have :slight_smile: I’d love to check if there is something I can swap out for something else. Thanks!

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I have the following providers:

Bank

  • PostFinance
  • UBS (for business)
  • Zak
  • Yuh
  • Revolut

3a

  • Viac
  • UBS (indirect amortization, forced)

Broker/Robo

  • DeGiro
  • eToro
  • Selma

If I had to start all over again, I would go for

  • PostFinance
  • Revolut
  • DeGiro
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I see that you use both Yuh and Revolut. Could you please elaborate about their differences a bit? E.g. in what cases one should choose one or the other?

Here’s one case where you might have to use something other than Revolut: Revolut cards fail on Black Friday .

I encountered this issue, not related to the use of paiement card, but I wasn’t able to open the app during 2 minutes… that seemed like 15 minutes. This reinforces the idea that is pretty good to have a plan B.

Sure. If you want to subscribe to either, just DM for a referral code :smiley:

Here goes:
Yuh is a full Swiss bank account and can be used for receiving wages and paying all kinds of bills. If you need a real bank account, it will do that.
You get to buy crypto, some shares and ETFs, directly within the app. Fractional shares are available now. The offer is decent, fees are around 1 % for foreign currencies and I think 1 % on top for crypto.

Fees for payments in foreign currencies with or without card are about 1 %, which is less than most banks.

You get a Swiss debit Mastercard, which currently does not work with Google, Apple and Samsung Pay, but Google and Apple are planned.
There’s a cashback program, in which you around 0.02 CHF per payment back in their own coin which is supposed to grow in value.

Main drawback:
Not a real credit card. Because it’s a debit card, you cannot always assume that you can pay for deposits in hotels and for rental cars. It may or may not work.

Revolut is not a full bank account.

  • It has its strength in foreign currency transactions.
  • It hardly charges any conversion fees. This is a big plus for me and the main reason why I use it.
  • You can buy many kinds of crypto from within the app.
  • You can receive money in other currencies than CHF.
  • If you use up to 1000 CHF per month in foreign currencies, you can save around 30 CHF per month by using Revolut compared to other banks with the free card.

Drawbacks:

  • You cannot pay bills with a Swiss reference number or QR code. You can do IBAN payments, though.
  • Some payments cannot be made because the recipient gets a “paid through Revolut on Behalf of Your Name”. This can be a bother, e.g. with DeGiro and other foreign services which do not accept Revolut originated payments.
  • Customer support is not that good. Just don’t do anything funny like getting huge amounts transferred to your account suddenly, your account may be blocked. I haven’t had any bad experiences, but there a some horror stories going around.
  • Not a real credit card. Revolut cards are not accepted in some places and cannot always be used for rental or hotel deposits.
  • No ebills

It also has a freemium model that make sense if you use foreign currencies a lot.

Hope this answers your question.

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Hope this answers your question.

Much better than I could have hoped! Thanks! :slight_smile:

That also explains your preferred model (PostFinance + Revolut).

It’s funny that that you pointed out multiple times “not a credit card” as a disadvantage and I can see why (some merchants refusing to take anything else but the credit card, e.g. car rentals). But I always seen credit cards inferior to their debit counterparts: poorer spending reporting, occasional accidental interest charges, high fees in general, and higher harm to an ecosystem overall.

Moreover you can always convert a debit card into a credit card with Curve (https://curve.com)
I believe they wire charges over the Mastercard credit card network.

But they have an absolutely evil way of making money.

Quote from their website (how it works):

Curve combines all your cards into a single Mastercard debit card

Can you please explain how Curve is treated as a “real” credit card? I don’t see that on their website, but maybe you have some real life experience.

I did a bit of research. Some of the cards by Revolut and Yuh may work for deposits in some places. They must be debit cards, though, and not prepaid.

I agree that real credit cards contribute to overspending. In that case, the Yuh card is good because you can’t go over your account limit.

Oops that is my bad! I just assumed it works as a credit card, because I’ve used it for deposits etc, where I thought only credit cards worked.
My bad :frowning:

No worries. Just wanted to double-check if I’m missing something obvious :slight_smile:

Usual suspects: Zak, Neon, Yuh, CSX, UBS, Swisscard (and Sonect).
Also counting finpension, VIAC and frankly for 3a among these apps.

Foreign E-Money services: Revolut, DiPocket, Paysera and Wise.
Foreign banks/brokerage: DKB, comdirect, Consors, smartbroker, Fundsmith.

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