Sparkasse charges in Switzerland

23 posts in this topic

Posted

Hi Guys,

 

i have a German Sparkasse EC Karte and am traveling to Switzerland in the next few days, are there and 'one off' or percentage charges for ATM withdrawals using the card in Switzerland?

 

I would ask my bank but i cant get through by telephone and the branch is too far away :(

 

Many thanks in advance.

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Posted

 

Hi Guys,

 

i have a German Sparkasse EC Karte and am traveling to Switzerland in the next few days, are there and 'one off' or percentage charges for ATM withdrawals using the card in Switzerland?

 

I would ask my bank but i cant get through by telephone and the branch is too far away

 

Many thanks in advance.

 

All banks like to charge if you don't use their own ATMs, PLUS, you'll be extracting Francs (CHF) from the machine, which always means you'll take some hit on the exchange rate, in addition to possible "exchange" fees.

 

The best way is never to withdraw small amounts in any foreign ATM, anywhere. There are always fixed transaction fees, so if you withdraw 20CHF, you might be charged say, €3. If you withdraw 300CHF, the €3 transaction fee is much less significant.

 

I can't tell you exactly how much you'll be charged, but I can guarantee it won't be "free".

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Posted

Sparkasse SB charged me 6 in Austria, to draw Euros from an Austrian Sparkasse with similar livery, natch. Just because it looks like Sparkasse, doesn't mean it is...

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Posted

The UBS has taken to charging for cash withdrawals at the counter... wait till that catches on in other countries.

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Posted

Thanks Guys,

 

I'm from the UK where all cash points are free for any bank customer to use, i find banking in Germany to be out of date and bad for the consumer...but that's for another discussion :)

 

Ill be taking out about 700 in Switzerland so it looks like Sparkasse will charge me 4.75 (thanks PandaMunich) then the swiss bank takes their unknown cut. As far as i can tell the exchange rate will not be affected and will be the 'middle market rate' without a cut being taken by either bank, is this true?

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Posted

 

Thanks Guys,

 

I'm from the UK where all cash points are free for any bank customer to use, i find banking in Germany to be out of date and bad for the consumer...but that's for another discussion

 

erm, really? I have UK accounts, and I find transactions in and out of the UK all to be incredibly expensive and complicated. My UK Santander current account online banking doesn't even allow for transactions abroad or in any other currency. If I want to transfer money to say, my Spanish account, I have to visit a UK branch and fill out a bunch of complicated forms.

In the Santander online help, there's no mention of it at all. When I create a support ticket, they give my 5 different answers, none of which indicate that transfers abroad are even possible. The only way I found out was to visit a branch. And it's a Spanish bank, for christ's sake.

 

If I use my UK debit card in Switzerland, the transaction fees are as much as 16 pounds per transaction. I used to have a Barclays account, which was absolutely ridiculous in terms of cost and complication. Unbelievable for a supposedly "international" bank.

 

In contrast, I can conduct almost any banking operation online with any bank I've ever held an account with in Europe. And if I use my Swiss debit card in the UK, the costs are consistent with what people have said here.

 

Sorry, but I'd characterise my experiences with UK banks as "third-world" compared to any account I've ever held in any European bank.

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Posted

 

erm, really? I have UK accounts, and I find transactions in and out of the UK all to be incredibly expensive and complicated. My UK Santander current account online banking doesn't even allow for transactions abroad or in any other currency. If I want to transfer money to say, my Spanish account, I have to visit a UK branch and fill out a bunch of complicated forms.

In the Santander online help, there's no mention of it at all. When I create a support ticket, they give my 5 different answers, none of which indicate that transfers abroad are even possible. The only way I found out was to visit a branch. And it's a Spanish bank, for christ's sake.

 

If I use my UK debit card in Switzerland, the transaction fees are as much as 16 pounds per transaction. I used to have a Barclays account, which was absolutely ridiculous in terms of cost and complication. Unbelievable for a supposedly "international" bank.

 

In contrast, I can conduct almost any banking operation online with any bank I've ever held an account with in Europe. And if I use my Swiss debit card in the UK, the costs are consistent with what people have said here.

 

Sorry, but I'd characterise my experiences with UK banks as "third-world" compared to any account I've ever held in any European bank.

 

I agree with the charges problem of course, in the UK they are very high. My main problem regarding the German banking system are the following:

 

- Hardly any Visa Debit, why cant i just have one account to pay everything in and out!

- Charges on some basic debit accounts (i'm looking at you Sparkasse!)

- Charges for using other banks ATM's (this ties in with the above)

- Length of time to transfer between debit accounts (instant to 2 hours in the UK, but up to 3 days in Germany!)

- Slow adoption of advanced payment methods (contact free pay in shops for instance)

- Most restaurants/shops not accepting credit cards and some not accepting any cards at all!

 

I would say that banking locally in the UK is far more convenient than in Germany, but yes, international banking from the UK is riddled with high charges!

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Posted

Sorry but I disagree. From a country with cheques that take days to clear - convenient? customer friendly? give me the German Überweisung system every day. Money transferred in is available the next day and does not sit to the Bank`s advantage until you can get at it.

 

Every Country has it postives and negatives. The US is even worse by far the most primative system there is.

 

BTW - if you want 700 CHF in Switzerland this will exceed the amount allowed on your card for one withdrawal, so you are looking at 2x whatever the Sparkasse is going to charge you.

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Posted

I never use cheques and i don't know anybody that does these days, the English equivalent of the Überweisung system is instant transfer (or up to 2 hours) so the German system is far slower. It wasn't always like this is the UK though, i think you're recalling the 'bad old days' :)

 

Thanks for the tip on the max amount, seems i will get two charges :(

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Posted

Sparkasse is expensive bank because they have the largest ATM and bank system in Germany. I think it will be cheaper for you to order swiss franks directly in your Sparkasse, but not sure.

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Posted

Yes they charge because they have the largest number of cashpoints, they use this power to prevent the progression to abolishing charges for using other banks ATM's. So they are doing you no favor at all where they both charge you for using their account then limit you to using a select number of ATM's without charge :(

 

You're right about the direct approach, i called them and asked about it and it's charge free if you're a local customer and 3 euros if you're with another bank. I also guess the amount i can get isn't limited to the 500 euro max ATM withdrawal so i can get everything i need for just 3 euros.

 

Thanks guys :)

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Posted

 

I agree with the charges problem of course, in the UK they are very high. My main problem regarding the German banking system are the following:

 

- Hardly any Visa Debit, why cant i just have one account to pay everything in and out!

- Charges on some basic debit accounts (i'm looking at you Sparkasse!)

- Charges for using other banks ATM's (this ties in with the above)

- Length of time to transfer between debit accounts (instant to 2 hours in the UK, but up to 3 days in Germany!)

- Slow adoption of advanced payment methods (contact free pay in shops for instance)

- Most restaurants/shops not accepting credit cards and some not accepting any cards at all!

 

 

  • An EC card is as good as (the same as?) a Visa debit card, and I know of practically no-where in Germany that won't take it
  • You may have to pay for your banking here, but in other areas things are much cheaper (the banks have to earn money somewhere!). My German bank charges me 12% on overdrawn funds, my UK HSBC account loads me with 23%!
  • UK used to have charges for interbank ATM transactions until very recently. In Germany many banks group together (e.g. the Sparkasse group) so it's rare not to find a bank where you can withdraw money for free
  • Since 01.01.2012 it is not allowed to take longer than a working day to transfer Euros electronically anywhere in Europe. My experience is it's usually the same day if the transfer is initiated before 16:00. Paper transfers must be completed in a minimum of 2 working days. Compare that to my HSBC account where it takes up to 5 days to clear a cheque once paid in. Cheques are a rarity here, electronic banking is far better developed.
  • Contact-free is an issue, but it's hardly common in UK either. There are too many solutions competing for first place.
  • I don't know anywhere where an EC card is not accepted in Germany. Credit cards less so, but at the same time credit cards are not so common - Germans actually avoid consumer credit, and the economy is all the better for it.

 

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Posted

 

Every Country has it postives and negatives. The US is even worse by far the most primative system there is.

 

Yep, the US banking system is worse than the UK. They still use cheques as the primary method of transaction, and also, try sending money to Germany from a US bank. It's like asking to send money to the moon and costs about the same as sending a bundle of dollars on an apollo mission.

 

But the US is a bit of a different animal because unlike Europe, retail banking is conducted largely amongst themselves. In Europe it's not unusual to send money by überweisung to Italy or France or Holland or wherever.. it happens much more often.

 

 

I never use cheques and i don't know anybody that does these days, the English equivalent of the Überweisung system is instant transfer (or up to 2 hours) so the German system is far slower. It wasn't always like this is the UK though, i think you're recalling the 'bad old days'

 

I haven't seen a cheque in 10 years or more. I have no idea what the look like anymore.

 

Ironically, we opened a Spanish account last year, and I have to say, I believe their online system is the best I've ever seen. Literally, you can perform any banking function simply and easily through your online banking portal - and everything is instantaneous.

 

Even things like say, if the telephone company took too much money via direct debit, you just click on it take it back, and it's in your account instantly. It's unbelievably good.

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Posted

 

Even things like say, if the telephone company took too much money via direct debit, you just click on it take it back, and it's in your account instantly. It's unbelievably good.

 

I've been able to do that with my German bank account for at least 5, maybe 10 years...

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Posted

 

I've been able to do that with my German bank account for at least 5, maybe 10 years...

 

I reckon so. I wasn't trying to start a pissing match between German and Spanish banks, but I thought it not only exemplifies the sophistication of European banks, and I also was a bit surprised to find Spanish banks are every bit as sophisticated.

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Posted

 

An EC card is as good as (the same as?) a Visa debit card, and I know of practically no-where in Germany that won't take it

Depending on the bank, EC card is integrated either with Maestro or Visa debit card (V-Pay, Visa Electron etc), so that you can use the card outside Germany. The reason why EC card is preferred by sellers is that the transaction fee is much lower, than for conventional Mastercard/Visa credit cards. Denmark has a system similar to EC card, it is called Dankort: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dankort

 

I would be happy to see some kind of Eurozone-wide debit card solution (after all, we have SEPA and IBAN, why not a common debit card) rather than increasing profits of Visa-Mastercard cartel.

 

 

Yes they charge because they have the largest number of cashpoints, they use this power to prevent the progression to abolishing charges for using other banks ATM's. So they are doing you no favor at all where they both charge you for using their account then limit you to using a select number of ATM's without charge

Well, I have a DKB account and regularly withdraw cash from Sparkasse ATM without any charge :) Yes, I know it is not easy to get DKB account for a foreigner, but possible.

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Posted

 

 

Well, I have a DKB account and regularly withdraw cash from Sparkasse ATM without any charge Yes, I know it is not easy to get DKB account for a foreigner, but possible.

 

Along with DKB visa card, ING-Diba also offers the similar service. One can use visa card from ING-DIba (its a debit credit card directly linked to account) to get money from any cash-machine, free of charges. Its easy (than dkb) to open ING-DIba account.

 

(personal experience) Also giro card issued by ABN-AMRO from Netherlands can be used to get cash without any charges in euro zone.

 

To me the lack of coperation between the german banks are due to their arrogancy.

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Posted

I have withdrawn about 600 bucks over three transactions here in London. I expect about a €12 fee when on my statement. I no longer argue and just accept it.

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