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Neon Review: Safety, ATM Fees, Usability, and Monito's Verdict

Olivia Willemin

Guide

Byron Mühlberg

Reviewer

Oct 14, 2022
Advertiser disclosure

Neon is an excellent Swiss neobank (8/10) that we recommend without hesitation. We are particularly impressed by the fees for payments at home and abroad (9.3/10) and customer satisfaction (8.3/10). The trustworthiness of neon is also convincing across the board (7.7/10), although the digital bank is still relatively young. This is rounded off by a convincing and user-friendly service (6.5/10).

What Monito Likes About Neon

  • First Swiss neobank;
  • Fully bank accounts backed by Hypothekarbank Lenzburg;
  • Handy and low-cost banking option for Swiss residents;
  • Excellent fees for everyday banking;
  • Decent fees for spending abroad;
  • You can have your Swiss salary paid into neon;
  • Partnered with Inyova, SELMA, and Sonect for extra services;
  • Partnered with Wise for international transfers;
  • Easy sign-up process.

What Monito Dislikes About Neon

  • App not yet up to the standard of other European neobanks;
  • No dedicated TWINT app;
  • Doesn’t disclose the exchange rate when making a payment abroad.
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Monito's Recommendation

We recommend neon to all Swiss residents with limited banking needs who're looking for a low-cost current account on a flexible online interface. Furthermore, due to its low fees for international use, neon is also a good bet for frequent travellers. However, since the pricing for domestic use is also excellent, we're confident in recommending neon to all types of users:—

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Kategorie

Monito Score

Highlight

🔒 Trust

7.7/10

Backed by Hypothekarbank Lenzburg and regulated.

✅ Quality

6.5/10

Capable account with limited banking options.

💸 Cost

9.3/10

Low spending fees in CHF and foreign currencies.

👥 Users

8.3/10

Good feedback on Trustpilot and app stores.

Last updated: 23/12/2021

Who Is Neon For?

Neon is a Swiss neobank and is currently only available in Switzerland to Swiss citizens and Swiss residents who have documentation (passport, ID card) from the European Union or one of these additional countries. Some foreign nationals residing in Switzerland, including American citizens, are not able to open an account with neon at this time.

Note that you need to be taxed exclusively in Switzerland to be able to open and hold a neon account; if you move away, you'll have to close your account – and pay a hefty monthly fee if you don't!

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To improve the readability of this review, we capitalized the name of neon as Neon when it appears in headings and at the start of sentences. The bank's official name is written as the lower-case neon.

How Monito Reviewed Neon's Services

As with all services reviewed by Monito, neon underwent a rigorous evaluation to assess the quality of its service. To begin with, our experts analysed several key criteria, including customer reviews, the percentage cost of various transaction types, top-up options, access to customer service, as well as business and legal metrics such as revenue, appropriate authorisation, and company size. As with all Monito Scores, neon's score was peer-reviewed by at least one Monito expert.

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Reviews are written independently by Monito's editors and recommendations given are our own. Services you sign up with using our links may earn us a commission. Learn more.

Trust & Credibility

7.9

Background check

Banking services in cooperation with Hypothekarbank Lenzburg and deposits up to CHF 100,000 are insured.

Security & reliability

Customers are completely protected by segregated user accounts and HTTPS. The cards are also 3-D Secure.

Company size

Around 70,000 customers and an annual turnover of around a million Swiss francs.

Transparent pricing

The fee overview is understandable, transparent, and user-friendly.

Is Neon Safe?

Yes, neon is very safe and secure. It is partnered with the Hypothekarbank Lenzburg and is consequently a Swiss bank as well as a digital bank. This means that neon is FINMA regulated and that all of its accounts are insured for up to CHF 100'000 of your money. Neon is unique in this regard as it is the only digital bank of its kind that gets to call itself a Swiss bank. Your money stays safe and your mind can rest easy. 

The neon app has state of the art security as well. Your account is verified upon creation by an individual, giving it a more personal touch, and when you later log in to your account, you can do so via fingerprint/Touch ID or Face ID. Your transactions are secured by two-factor authorization, and your data is only stored in Switzerland.

Service & Quality

6.5

Managing the account

Very flexible current account with attractive prices. Account management is particularly straightforward.

Making card payments

Offers contactless payments, online payments, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. Unfortunately, there's no way to split payments with other customers.

Contacting support

Support can only be reached by phone or email during normal business hours.

Using the mobile app

Excellent smartphone app with versatile functions.

How Good Is Neon's Account and Card?

Neon is a Swiss neobank and is only open to Swiss residents. As such, neon currently only offers accounts in Swiss Francs (CHF). As of June 30th, 2020, neon is partnering with Wise to allow you to send money to 20 different currencies.

Neon can be accessed and navigated in English, German, French, and Italian. This applies to its website, its mobile app, and all customer service. 

Neon Card

When you sign up, neon provides you with an exciting, neon pink card that works both to use as a prepaid credit card and to access your balance and withdraw cash from ATMs. The prepaid Neon credit card is a Mastercard connected to your Neon account. You can use it online or in person, anywhere that accepts a Mastercard. 

Card Spending Limits

With the neon card, your daily limit is a withdrawal of up to 1,000 CHF in cash, 5,000 CHF in-person shop charges, and 5,000 CHF in online charges. Your monthly limit is 10,000 CHF. With your neon account (meaning, if you choose to make transactions directly through the app –payments, etc.), your daily transaction limit is 24,000 CHF. 

Features & Partnerships

While neon does not offer every desired feature to its customers, it does have a series of partnerships with similarly-minded fintechs to provide you with the services they themselves do not. Win-win! 

International Money Transfers — Wise

As of June 30th, 2020, neon is becoming the first Swiss bank to partner with Wise (formerly known as TransferWise), the London-based fintech giant that has the highest Monito score for international money transfers, to give you the best rates when making transfers abroad. The Wise functionality is fully integrated into the neon app, so you can make transfers directly from your account into 20 different currencies and to 40 different countries for a fee starting at 0.75% (Wise‘s transparent fee + 0.40% neon convenience fee). This means that the international fee drops from its previous 1.5% to almost half, and you’ll be able to reach more people in more places, faster, and with even more money! 

Here‘s how neon compares with other international money transfer specialists and Swiss Banks:

Neon fees to send money abroad

Learn more about Wise in our in-depth Wise review.

Sustainable Investments — Inyova

Neon does not offer you a savings account and does not allow you to grow your money through interest rates, but what it does do is give you the option of growing your portfolio through a special offer with Inyova Impact Investing. Inyova (formerly Yova) is a Zürich-based fintech that specializes in making impact-based investments that take your interests into mind while looking to invest in a better, more sustainable future for you but also for the future generations. You can invest as little as 2,000 CHF and tell Yova the sustainable areas that you want to invest in, and they’ll take care of the rest. Thanks to neon’s partnership with Inyova, if you choose to invest your money, Inyova waives their one and only fee – the yearly administration fee of 1.2% – for the first year that you invest through them. What better way to look to the future? 

Automated Investments — SELMA

Another investment opportunity neon provides for its customers is SELMA, a Zürich-based fintech that offers its users a fresh and innovative way to approach their 3rd pillar investments, focusing specifically on the 3a pillar. Like neon, Selma is all-digital and is the first in the world to allow you to manage your investments digitally with a digital investment assistant through a chatbot. Perfect for the modern investor. Selma allows you to choose between six investment strategies and then makes your investments for you via ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds). The minimum investment you can make with Selma is 500 CHF and the yearly maximum is 6,826 CHF. Selma charges a 0.68% administration fee on assets and an additional 0.20-0.22% in product costs. 

Free Cash Withdrawals — Sonect

Sonect is an app that allows you to withdraw money from any participating shop or restaurant when you don’t have access to an ATM. Neon has a partnership with Sonect, and any withdrawals made from your neon account with Sonect are free – both of fees and of the headache of finding the nearest ATM!  

Neon's Mobile App

Neon is a mobile-only app, so while it has a website, the way to access and manage your bank account is through its simple but effective app. 

Some highlights: 

  • Well-designed & intuitive.
  • Access to eBill to allow you to receive your bills online. 
  • Through your mobile camera, neon makes it possible to photograph paper bills in order to pay them – always convenient in Switzerland!
  • Similarly, the app allows you to scan an IBAN to make transactions easier. 
  • Wise is now fully integrated into the neon app, making international money transfers as streamlined as possible.

Fees & Exchange Rates

9.3

Everyday use

No day-to-day fees, but a withdrawal fee if you withdraw two cash or more per month.

ATM withdrawals

Up to 2 cash withdrawals are free of charge. Further withdrawals will be billed at CHF 2.

Online spending

Online payments are free of charge regardless of currency and country.

International spending

Payments abroad are free of charge. The Mastercard exchange rate is used.

What Are Neon's Fees and Exchange Rates?

There are no base fees on your neon account. Additionally, there are no fees on domestic payments, no recurring fees, and no fees to use your card abroad. As of June 30th, 2020, neon is partnering with Wise for international money transfers and replacing their 1.5% transfer fee with a fee starting at 0.75% (Wise transparent fee + 0.40% neon convenience fee).

In Switzerland

Beyond the acquisition of the card (10 CHF, 20 CHF for a replacement) and a 2 CHF ATM withdrawal fee (the first two each month are free), there are no additional card fees with neon when used domestically: no recurring fees, no usage fees, and no fee to block your card if it is lost or stolen. 

Abroad

If you use your neon card to pay abroad or in foreign currency, you are subject to the Mastercard mid-market rate. You do not pay additional fees for everyday use. Do note, however, that if you leave the country for good without settling your account, you'll pay a 40 CHF monthly fee until it is closed.

All in all, the following fees apply:

  • Withdrawals: 2 free domestic withdrawals a month, 2 CHF in fees for each additional domestic withdrawal. Abroad: withdrawals come with a 1.5% fee. Cash withdrawals with Sonect are free. 
  • New card: 10 CHF. Replacement card: 20 CHF. 
  • Customer Service Calls: 25 CHF per 15 minutes on the phone. To avoid this fee, contact neon via form or email for free. Remember, the goal is to make your banking experience digital!
  • Foreign Address Fee: As we've mentioned, you can only open a neon account if you're taxed exclusively in Switzerland. If you leave the country for good without settling your account, they will consequently charge you a monthly 40 CHF fee until you do so. If you're planning to move to another country, be sure to close your neon account beforehand!

So how does this compare to other cards? (Especially after Revolut's raised its foreign exchange conversion fees.)

Neon fees to use the card abroad

If you need to withdraw money at an ATM abroad, your transaction will be subject to a 1.5% withdrawal fee.

Customer Satisfaction

8.1

What Experiences Have Neon Users Had?

Customers give neon an overall high rating in various app stores: 4.7/5 stars in the Apple App Store and 4.6/5 in the Google Play Store, recognizing neon’s unique standpoint in the Swiss market. Customer complaints center around bugs in the app, all of which are being worked on and developed by the neon team as their service expands.

Frequently Asked Questions about Neon

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Global Impact Finance Ltd
Rue du Pont 22
1003 Lausanne
Switzerland

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