Bank fees have risen sharply in recent years in the low or negative interest rate environment. In future articles, you will find tips on controlling investment fees (management fees, custody fees and transaction fees in particular) which can be astronomical. In the meantime, here are some other bank fees that you should also keep an eye on:
– Account management: You should avoid paying too many duplicate fees between different institutions, often as much as CHF 5 per month. Depending on the interests of each institution, certain services may be worth paying for: the possibility of withdrawing foreign currency in cash with an account in the corresponding currency (Postfinance), attractive cultural offers (Raiffeisen), an interesting magazine (Swissquote) or safe deposit box services at the state banks.
– Credit cards: With credit cards, customers pay an annual fee, which can be avoided. Fees for foreign currency or for withdrawing money can sometimes be very high with very significant commissions from the banks for foreign currency transactions.
– Foreign currency exchange service: Often unfavorable rates are charged, even in many online banks. The lack of transparency makes it difficult to find the best rates.
– Mortgage: When concluding a contract or when renewing a fixed-rate mortgage, the costs between different options are significant in view of the volumes involved. Unlike account management, there is often a lot of room for negotiation. It is very important to compare several offers in order to make substantial savings. Competing offers should be collected in due time, in order to strengthen the negotiation position and thus increase the chances of obtaining better conditions.
– Pillar 3a: With the 3a savings account, there are usually virtually no fees and rates are currently very low. Several companies, some of which are still relatively young, offer a Pillar 3a with intuitive and easy-to-access applications. They generally offer comparatively attractive services and a high degree of flexibility. To date, however, there is no service offering management fees around 25-30bps, and the minimums are around 50bps. At this rate and before I get to 25-30bps, I still prefer to take advantage of tax deductions while lowering the mortgage on my house, until a really attractive service is offered.