After proposing educational material dealing mainly with portfolio management, investment approaches and financial news reviews, you will now discover some information concerning practical tools used by Guide Finances members. In the coming months, you will find practical information on two brokers (Interactive Brokers and DEGIRO), an article on the most suitable payment methods, on the appropriate use of credit cards and on a free account in Switzerland. The educational material will continue to be available on the site on a regular basis.
The free account recommended here is only available to Swiss residents (apologies to international readers…however all other reviews will be applicable to all).
At Guide Finances, we welcome all initiatives, which allow savers to minimize the fees paid to financial intermediaries and keep more money in their pocket. Zak offers a free bank account in Switzerland and a good product with no hidden fees and a welcome gift of cash (CHF 50), which we would like to introduce here to readers living in Switzerland.
Who is Zak?
Zak is the innovative subsidiary of Bank Cler (formerly Bank Coop), itself part of the Basler Kantonalbank group. In 2018, Bank Cler launched Zak, Switzerland’s first smartphone bank, underlining its claim to be a digital pioneer among Swiss retail banks. Therefore, it is a recent offering, but not a chaotic startup thanks to its group’s backbone.
BKB and Bank Cler have an independent customer base, each with its own brand and capital. This will remain the case, according to group CEO Basil Heeb, not least because the parent bank BKB enjoy a state protection and Cler not. However, deposit protection system guarantees the security of small savers: since Zak is part of Bank Cler, a Swiss bank regulated by the FINMA, your money remains in Switzerland with an insurance up to 100’000.
The advantage is that Zak is an integral part of Bank Cler and offers customers, especially from the younger generation, digital solutions and a basic offer completely free of charge. In addition, Zak benefits from the infrastructure, for example in product processes or in accounting, of a very well established group. If you need to, you can also physically visit any of the 30+ Bank Cler branches. The icing on the cake is that the customer support is good and generally very responsive.
Zak in Practice
Opening a Zak bank account is very easy. The process of registering a Zak account on your smartphone or tablet is very simple, if you are over 15 years old, live in Switzerland and have a valid ID or passport. It will take you less than 10 minutes to complete the process from the comfort of your home. You can open an account directly from your Apple and Android devices (tablet or phone). Simply download the app and follow all the steps by answering the usual questions. Once you have the opportunity to insert your code, enter GUID50. You now have a free Swiss account (free transfers and Visa debit card) with a free welcome amount of CHF 50!
Download the App Zak
Insert the promo code GUID50 and get CHF 50!
You only need to avoid using the card at third-party bank ATMs (CHF 2 fee) and using the app for currency conversion or international payments (1.2% fee for foreign purchases with the Zak Visa prepaid card). Otherwise, you can really manage your finances without any charge with account administration, card use and payment transactions free in Switzerland. Only avoid buying on the internet or abroad.
The free account has some minor shortcomings such as the limitation to Swiss Franc currency, the rigidity of changing the monthly limit, the lack of a chat function or the incompatibility with Twint (but paying with Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay are possible). On the other hand, most of the usual features are included in the application: consult your banking operations, enter transfers or standing orders or scan bills in Swiss format.
If Zak convinces you can enter the Zak voucher code GUID50 after downloading the app (App oder Play Store), which will give you a starting credit of 50 francs and at the same time support the production of free financial education material. After opening your free account, simply use the code GUID50 in the corresponding section of your profile and you will receive a bonus of 50 CHF deposited to your account, absolutely free of charge.
The advantages of Zak are numerous:
- Very easy to register and login,
- No account management fees,
- No debit card fees,
- All features such as bill scanning and joint pots are available on your phone,
- Use of Cler Bank branches in case of questions about your Zak account.
So it’s definitely worth a try, first as a supplement to your usual account, especially since it’s easy to use, offers you a welcome bonus of CHF 50 and covers all the usual private expenses for free!
Source: «Gier hat Rolle des Schrittmachers», 16.10.2021, Finanz und Wirtschaft cler.ch/get-zak