BERN, SWITZERLAND – PostFinance, Swiss Post’s banking arm, is simplifying its accounts as of March 2013, it announced 1 November. The bank is gradually being partially privatized and in 2013 will be given banking status.

It will still fulfill its public service function as a national bank that is obliged to offer an account to any Swiss citizen including those living abroad and any resident of Switzerland.

Despite the changes, a PostFinance spokesperson told GenevaLunch, the bank will continue to offer bank accounts to US citizens who are resident in Switzerland.

It is virtually the only bank that will do so, and it accepts all Swiss citizens, including those who live in the United States and who have recently seen their accounts with other Swiss banks closed due to new American  regulations for foreign banks.

Two types of private accounts

The new system will provide private customers with two options, one for CHF5 a month and the other for CHF12 monthly.

The first fee is charged “regardless of whether the account is managed electronically or on paper. This price includes various services for retail customers, such as unlimited payment and standing orders, pre-franked reply envelopes and the PostFinance Card. PostFinance will continue to offer its debit card free of charge.”

A client whose assets remain above CHF7,500 will not be charged the monthly fee.

A second account option is designed for “customers who are frequently on the move and who invest in funds. It offers free
cash withdrawal worldwide and reduced issuing commission when subscribing to funds. The account management fee will be twelve francs per month, but is not charged if customer assets exceed 25,000 francs.”

Business account fees to go up

The last price change for private customers was eight years ago, and for business customers 13 years ago. The new accounts system affects business customers as well. They will pay CHF60 a year, up from CHF36, as of 1 January 2013, but no fee if CHF7,500 in assets are held with the bank. The fee includes services such as two PostFinance Cards and pre-franked reply envelopes for correspondence with PostFinance.

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