CSX Review: Safety, ATM Fees, Usability, and Monito's Verdict
Writing for Monito, Olivia is here to help users navigate the world of money transfer fees, exchange rates, and tips and tricks that help you make your best decisions.
Monito's Managing Editor, Byron has spent several years writing extensively about financial- and migration-related topics.
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CSX is a new phone-based service provided by Credit Suisse, a major player in the world of Swiss banking. CSX offers several types of accounts and a range of features and benefits that bring together the advantages of both contemporary neobanks and traditional banks.
Despite having expensive fees, CSX is a much-needed digital addition to the Swiss banking scene and provides an excellent service for "Young" users under the age of 25. Find out more about whether or not CSX is the right banking partner for you by exploring our independent, in-depth review below.
What Monito Likes About CSX
- Free and easy to use;
- Backed by Credit Suisse, CSX accounts are full-fledged bank accounts;
- Good savings and investment options;
- Great offering for “CSX Young” users under the age of 25;
- Nice benefits for cardholders.
What Monito Dislikes About CSX
- Lots of fees;
- Lack of transparency when it comes to international transfer rates;
- Limitations on who can open an account.
What Is CSX?
CSX is a new phone-based banking app, provided by Credit Suisse, a major player in the world of Swiss banking.
Though traditional banks are still the main players in the financial landscape of Switzerland, neobanks are making an increasingly large impact on the banking sector. As in other countries, traditional banks in Switzerland are threatened by the growth of neobanks. Younger, more tech-savvy users especially are turning towards these newcomers, attracted by polished apps, as well as to the better exchange rates and lower fees for spending abroad offered by the likes of Revolut, N26 or, specific to Switzerland, Neon.
In order to compete, some banks have started offering digital-only accounts aimed at younger consumers, and Credit Suisse is the first major bank to join the fray with its phone-based free CSX plan, provided through its new e-banking app. CSX offers several types of accounts and a range of features and benefits that bring together the advantages of both contemporary neobanks and traditional banks.
So what to think of CSX? How do its fees and rates compare to other neobanks? What noteworthy features does it offer? Is signing up worth it? Read our in-depth review of CSX below to find out.
Credit Suisse only offers its retail banking services in Switzerland, and CSX is no exception: to open an account, you will need to be currently living in Switzerland and be a Swiss taxpayer.
This however doesn’t mean CSX is easily accessible to all Swiss residents. American citizens residing in Switzerland will also be unable to onboard CSX using the app, and it’s unclear whether or not they are allowed to open CSX accounts at all — though Credit Suisse allows American citizens residing in Switzerland to open traditional accounts at a branch.
A few more small print to consider in order when you’re opening a CSX account:
- You must reside exclusively in Switzerland for tax purposes;
- You must be the sole owner of the funds you’ll be depositing in your account (meaning, no joint accounts or claims);
- No more than 3 million Swiss francs may be managed using CSX.
CSX Account Currency
CSX is only available in Swiss francs (CHF), even though Credit Suisse does support other currencies for its traditional accounts. Like most current accounts in Switzerland, it does not offer interest on balance.
Free CSX accounts come with a “Basic White” debit Mastercard, which allows you to pay both in shops and online, in Switzerland as well as abroad, without any transaction fees. Cash withdrawals, however, are not free, even at Credit Suisse ATMs (CHF 2/withdrawal).
You can optionally upgrade your card to a “Premium Black” debit Mastercard for CHF 3.95/month, which primarily allows you to withdraw cash for free at Credit Suisse ATMs. If you’re between the ages of 12 and 25, you’ll be classified as a CSX Young customer, which gets you the Premium Black Mastercard for free, with the added bonus of free cash withdrawals at any ATM in Switzerland.
An important thing to note about these cards is that Credit Suisse, like other traditional Swiss banks, doesn’t allow any of its debit cards to be used with NFC phone payment apps like Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay, even though, as Mastercards, they technically could. For customers who get a credit card with their traditional banking package, that’s not really a problem, but since CSX doesn’t even provide you to get a prepaid credit card, you’re out of luck for the time being. You can, however, use Twint for cardless transactions and online shopping in Switzerland.
As we have seen, basic CSX accounts are free and don’t incur any fees for debit card transactions, whether in Switzerland or abroad. However, any transaction in a foreign currency will still have some hidden fees baked in, as Credit Suisse’s exchange rates will invariably be less favorable than the mid-market rates charged by other providers.
You might also still end up paying for several features, starting with the cash withdrawal fees.
- With the Basic White Mastercard, withdrawals at Credit Suisse ATMs cost CHF 2 each, or €3.5 if you’re withdrawing euros. They are free with a Premium Black card.
- Withdrawals at other ATMs in Switzerland also cost CHF 2 each or €3.5 if you’re withdrawing euros. They are free with a CSX Young Premium Black card.
- Withdrawals abroad cost CHF 4.75 each and 0.25% of the amount of the transaction.
When it comes to transfers and bill payments, Credit Suisse applies the same conditions to CSX as its other accounts and packages:
- Online transfers within Switzerland using the app or Credit Suisse online banking platform are free of charge.
- Online SEPA payments in euro to EU/EAA countries are also free of charge. Note that the receiving bank might still charge some fees!
- Other online international transfers cost CHF 5 each, with correspondent bank fees passed on to the beneficiary. If you want to cover these, you can choose to pay an additional flat fee of CHF 18 for transfers in euros to the EU/EAA, or CHF 24 in other currencies. You can also choose to pass on all charges to the beneficiary. Still, in this case, Credit Suisse charges them CHF 5 for payments under CHF 1,000, CHF 20 for payments between CHF 1,000 and CHF 10,000, and CHF 40 for payments of more than CHF 10,000, on top of which the corresponding bank fees still apply.
Beware the Hidden Fees
CSX does not disclose its exchange rate on international transfers, but because CSX functions through Credit Suisse, you can assume that you will not be dealing with savvy neobank fees but instead with the hidden fees of a traditional Swiss bank. While the exchange rate is not always disclosed, most banks make money through exchange rate margins, and Credit Suisse is no exception. How is this possible? Well, when making an international transfer, banks charge their customers significantly more than the mid-market exchange rate and these amounts can make up to 10% of the total amount of the transfer.
Additionally, you might still end up paying more fees in a few other situations:
- Downgrading from a Premium Black Mastercard to a Basic White Mastercard incurs a one-time fee of CHF 8.
- If you lose your card, you’ll have to pay CHF 20 for a replacement. Blocking the card online is free, but you’ll pay CHF 55 to do so through their helpline.
- If you keep more than CHF 100,000 on your account, a negative interest rate of 0.1% annually will apply – but then again, if you have that much money on hand, you probably also have a better way to keep it.
Other Features and Partnerships
CSX might be an online-only product, but the fact that a traditional bank is offering it means it can both provide innovative features as well as give you direct access to some things you can’t get at a neobank.
CSX Financial Plan, CSX Invest, Pillar 3A, and Savings Account
Another advantage that CSX has over neobanks is access to more traditional banking features, especially when it comes to savings and investments:
- If you just want to keep your money and accrue a little interest, you can open a free savings account, but if you’re interested in planning for your retirement, you might prefer a Pillar 3A account, which is also free and comes with some added tax deductions.
- If you’re in the market for a more hands-on solution, you can also take advantage of CSX Invest, which allows you to invest your money into stocks, bonds, or funds, starting with as little as CHF 100. And if you want to keep track of the money you’ve saved and invested in making the most of your pension, CSX also includes a digital financial planning assistant that makes it easy to project how much you’ll have set aside when retirement comes!
Cheaper Movie Tickets and Discount on Blue Streaming
On top of providing many banking features, Credit Suisse also throws in a nice bonus to its paying and young customers, as CSX Premium Black Mastercard holders get cheaper movie tickets in partnered cinemas. On top of this, with CSX Young, you get a 20% discount on Swisscom Blue streaming services, which are also offered to new Premium Black subscribers until the end of 2020!
Mobile App and Ebanking
CSX uses the same app as regular Credit Suisse accounts: when you first download the app, you’ll get the choice between logging in with an existing account or opening a CSX account in-app. The onboarding process, done through an automated chat interface, is pretty smooth, though it does require a video check of your identity that can only take place between 8 AM and 10 PM local time, and takes a little while. Once your account is opened, you can immediately access it, though you’ll have to wait a few days for your debit card and its PIN to arrive.
The app itself is modern-looking, and it’s easy enough to access its features. However, the user interface can a bit awkward, with a weird lack of responsiveness when clicking on buttons.
It’s also worth noting that you are not restricted to the app and can also access Credit Suisse’s e-banking services through a browser on another device, something that can be especially useful if you lose your phone.
How CSX Works
Open an account
Visit CSX's website and open a free account
Enter the details about your recipient
Tell CSX where you need to send money and to whom.
Set-up your transfer with CSX
Enter how much money you want to send and how you want to pay for your transfer.
Pay for your transfer
Fund your transfer by making a local bank transfer or pay by debit or credit card
Let CSX do the restGo to CSX
CSX will convert your money in the recipient's currency and send it to him through the selected pay-out option.
Credibility & Security
Since CSX is offered by Credit Suisse, you can rest assured that your money is as well protected as it can be: like any other Swiss bank, it is FINMA regulated and the money in your current and savings accounts is insured up to a combined total of CHF 100,000. Its digital security standards are also high, as would be expected from any good retail bank: your app and access to e-banking are protected by Credit Suisse’s SecureSign system, and your Mastercard is protected by 3-D Secure for online transactions.
Is CSX Right for Me?
Despite its hefty fees, there's no denying CSX is a much-needed digital addition to the Swiss banking scene. That being said, whether or not we'd recommend that you sign up with CSX depends on a couple of different factors.
If you're under the age of 25, we really like CSX Young, offering all the advantages of CSX's paying tier but for free, and would recommend it to young users in Switzerland as a good, first account.
If you're above the age of 25 but you lead a largely digital existence and don't often withdraw cash or travel abroad, then CSX remains a good offering for you and your domestic needs.
If, however, you frequently send money abroad, travel, and/or frequently withdraw cash, then we do not believe that CSX is the right banking partner for you. Instead, we recommend that you check out our review of Neon, the first Swiss neobank, and see if it's a better fit for you.
FAQ About CSX
Can I open an account with CSX if I work in Switzerland but live in neighboring France? 🥖
No, you cannot have a CSX account if you are not primarily residing and paying taxes in Switzerland at this time.
Thinking of moving to Switzerland? Have a look at our comprehensive insider’s guide!
Is CSX my best online banking option in Switzerland? 🏆
CSX provides you with an all-digital Swiss bank account that gives you freedoms unavailable through traditional banks, and because it is powered by Credit Suisse, the benefits of a traditional bank. However, it isn’t the only neobank in Switzerland. Check out your options and our review of Neon, another all-digital Swiss neobank, to decide if CSX is your best option.
Can I open an account with CSX if I am temporarily in Switzerland? 🛩
No. You need to be domiciled and taxed in Switzerland in order to open an account with Neon.
Can I open an account with CSX if I'm an American living and paying taxes in Switzerland? 🗽
It is not currently possible for American citizens to open an account through the CSX app. For more specific information, we recommend visiting your local Credit Suisse branch to see if they can accommodate you.