Free Alternative to BCV

Hello world!

After some modifications, I was happily living in Vaud canton with my BCV (Banque Cantonale Vaudoise) accout, free of charge because of the “free if you have more than 10k CHF” condition.

Alas, I just received a letter saying that they are changing the conditions : from 10.2021 the account won’t be free, but will have a monthly fee of 2CHF. It is not that much, but I’d rather buy a sandwich or around half a stock of VWO than giving them for free to the bank.

Do any of you have the same problem? Do you have some advice about other alternatives? For now, the most appealing one I found is Zak - advertised by Mr MP as well - but in Lausanne there aren’t many ATMs for withdrawals, which is annoying, and I could not understand if the transfer to, for example, IB or Revolut CHF account is free of charge or not.

Thanks in advance for your help
Matteo :slight_smile:

What’s your profession?

I’m a doctor :smiley:
And i’m filling the space with blabla, because I have to put at least 20 characters for the answer to be published…

What about CSX or Neon ?

If you’re happy with the BCV, why not paying the CHF 2/month ? These fees are reasonable for the services offered.

I closed my Revolut account at the beginning of 2021. I’m using a mix between UBS and Neon, and I’m happy with it.

Raiffeisen is currently free if you only use their bank machines. If you want a Maestro card the 1st year is free then 40CHF/yr, allows you one free withdrawal per month in non Raiffeisen ATM. You get free entry to lots of museums and stuff with the Maestro card.


So can I visit you for free and get free meds?


Bad argument. Banks can work with money to make more money, they earn through providing services such as loans etc. There is no need to charge 2 CHF for something as basic as a bank account.

Doctors cannot cut your heart, lungs and other organs, rent them out to other patients and charge a premium, and then give them back to you later on (and even charge you an administration fee in addition, for the hassle of earning money through your organs).

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Smells of over-optimisation.
On the other hand, maybe it doesn’t and you’re up to something…

Did you calculate the opportunity costs of “having” more than 10k with BCV rather than investing it somewhere else?

Well, bank accounts don’t open, close or operate for free. I doubt that they’re making money on a 2 CHF monthly fee. It’s probably rather a loss leader at that price.

Do doctors offer loss-leading services, because “Hey, I’ll treat you for free, cause I can make money on other patients? Or from the kickbacks I’ll receive for meds from Big Pharma”?

It’s kind of funny reading that from you, of all people, who has been arguing against freeloaders and the redistribution benefitting them.

Why shouldn’t customers pay a fair break-even (or higher) price for a bank account - instead of the bank needing to make money from other services?


such as currents accounts, savings accounts, rent security deposit, credit/debit cards, local/international payments method. Making sure your e-banking or mobile app is as secured as possible. Can they do it for cheaper ? maybe. CHF 2 don’t seem excessive for these services we took for granted.

They are now free alternatives in Switzerland. That’s a good thing. There is a banking option for everyone.

Almost there in the movie Repomen, but that’s irrelevant to our discussion about banking fees.

Having a salary of around 100-250k but not willing to pay CHF 24 per year for a banking service you are happy with…just my kind of humor lol.

If everyone would have this mindset, nobody in the world would earn anything at all.


My two rappens:

I’m not sure about the quality and quantity of services provided by BCV (wrt customer service, security, digital, reporting, features like e-bill, etc etc), but major swiss banks spend hundreds of millions per year to provide that functionality.

Let’s not forget that they must have, even only for your basic account, entire departments of IT, Risk, Legal, Regulatory, etc. It’s a heavily regulated industry. The very statement that is sent yearly to the account holders costs several millions to create and send between all involved, and third parties like vendors, consultants, or even just the Postage.

Projects run regularly in the dozens to optimize every possible cost item, it is unlikely they would shift their position of ‘free’ before doing some serious due diligence about their market (unless like digital banks it was a bait from the get go to grow their VC numbers).

We can debate whether the services could be offered for free, as a stepping stone to more lucrative mortgage, loans and investing offerings later on, but the fee requested is quite fair (most likely at a loss). In fact it’s probably also a way to weed out customers who wouldn’t otherwise grow revenues.

I’d contact a representative and ask them if they have any retention policy in place, they may waive the fees for you for one more year (have you been a good customer though? :smiley: ).

PS: I’m not defending banks, especially since many have abysmal corporate and risk governance (imagine how bad it is under the rug, when we only see the worst cases in the news) - like the analogy above, more than Doctors, I’d see them as Hospitals with all the “Services” they can do and the costs of a big, complex, political organization.


I’m kind of surprised to see this discussion turn this way here, seing as we usually cut hairs lengthwise to try and save 2 cents on some basic fees, spending more in lost time researching alternatives than would otherwise be considered healthy by the rest of society… There are a lot of threads about cheap/free banking solutions around, none of them has elicited such reactions so far.

I’m seconding the Raiffeisen suggestion, but there’s an opportunity cost there too: at least at my branch, you have to own one “share” of the bank, which costs CHF 200 and generates around 2% dividends per year (can vary from one branch to the other). The Maestro isn’t free (as stated by @Barto, it’s CHF 40/year), which could be bypassed by using services like Twint and a fee-less credit card, though you’d get out of luck if you want to withdraw cash from an ATM. So, all in all, a more expensive option than your current BCV deal. I hate the concept of paying monthly fees for a bank account, though, so I’m happy with it.

It’s not excessive and it’s probably very difficult to monetize standard checking accounts but paying <0.1% interests for 3a accounts where the money is stuck longterm or even CDs with a fixed duration that allows for planification on how long the money will be available for the bank to lend it? Come on.

I know they’re not as free as we are to make money with money and must keep some of it safe, which has a cost, but lending money to make money is a core business of most banks. It has become more difficult with negative interests rates, sure, but negative interest rates also means the banks get access to very, very cheap money to lend out. Cheaper than the money we can deposit there, at least, which is part of the problem.


I have Raiffeisen and I am using it more like my main account now.

You need this card to use Premium services, so I count it as a price for museum pass.

Here as well, transitioning from PF to Raiffeisen. Mainly for the museum pass. AS the cost some how and more and less the same.

I know you’re right to some extent, the 2 CHF or 5 CHF or whatever is probably not what makes us poor but it’s a matter of principle.

If I bring money to a bank so they can earn their money with it, I don’t want to be charged for that. I know they need to provide a lot of infrastructure and are subject to heavy regulations etc. (I work for a financial institution myself), but still I consider it a bit rude. I understand if they charge a fee for accounts with low balances to cover costs but if you have a 5 digits sum with them I consider it rude. It’s not like bankers are poor and we have to spend those 2 CHF as a matter of solidarity towards them so they can feed their wives and children.

It feels like being charged 2 CHF at the door for entering a restaurant with the intention to spend money there, just for the sake of it.

I’m currently with SZKB and they provide banking accounts for free including a free Maestro card as long as you have >= 25k CHF with them and that’s a fair deal. If they would start charging me fees I’d probably switch to CSX or whatever product fits best at this point of time.

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We have UBS Family.

We use their credit cards for domestic transactions and use the KeyClub points to fully pay the package.

For credit card transactions abroad we have Neon.

Not talking about you personally, you look like a fair guy. But don’t tell me that banks earn money by charging account fees of 2, 5, or 10 francs per month, I won’t buy it. Banks suppose to earn money by investing money. Sure it is difficult when interests rates are negative, but who are to blame? Central banks maybe? Or maybe financial geniuses that invented subprime mortgage? “Banks” was a synonym of something reliable and banks used to be trusted, but this trust was gone in speculations and corrupted practices that banks were involved in last decades. So don’t be surprised now by the attitude that banks get.

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There are ~90’000 people working in banking in Switzerland. Those people need to be paid, external contractors and the whole infrastructure needs to be paid. The increasing regulations (Fidleg for example) create big costs. Negative interest from the SNB is eating up earnings. You can’t just refinance 10 year mortgages with cash that can be withdrawn tomorrow. Even if you would, mortgage interest rates are so low that they are barerly covering all costs. Banks are actually trying to avoid having too much cash from customers, they don’t want it because it’s actually a losing deal. So the idea of “They have my money, earnings on it should finance my services and thus everything should be for free” is just wrong.

I know that we as a FIRE-community try to optimize the shit out of everything. But goods and services should always require a price, nothing should be really for free. Paying a couple of franks for a product that you are very happy with isn’t a bad thing.


Sure, I am not arguing with the reality. But don’t be surprised by the attitude!

But this is how free market praised by resident libertarians works! If I found an equivalent (at least for my needs / from my point of view) product for lower price, why would I pay more? So you have to try harder to convince me that your product is better.


Just one example of what you get by paying 2 CHF instead of 0 CHF. I can’t tell you if it’s worth it, that’s your choice. But the price itself is irrelevant IMO, price/benefit is important.

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