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Old 02.06.2006, 14:30
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Overdrafts at Swiss banks?

Does anyone know whether UBS or Postfinance have automatic overdraft facilities for salary/personal accounts?

I went shopping at Ikea and became overdrawn. Now I thought if you try to withdraw too much, this is blocked by the system and your transaction will just fail, but apparently not.

Does this mean I have an automatic ovedraft facility (UBS) or can I expect a heavy fine rather than just interest??

Any advice appreciated, also if you know how other banks handle this.

(My understanding is this is called kontoueberziehung in German. I searched the forum and UBS but cannot find any information on this).
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Old 02.06.2006, 15:08
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Re: Overdrafts at Swiss banks?

I think they allow most people 3k before getting ratty.
don't forget you have a limit on the Maestro/other-bank-withdrawals of 5/6k per month on your card too
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Old 02.06.2006, 15:16
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Re: Overdrafts at Swiss banks?

Really? That is amazing. In the Netherlands and Australia you have to apply for an overdraft, and it is quite the process. Until you have one, you pay hefty fines, or you just cannot go into the red (which means direct debits get rejected and you often get billed ~50 CHF for it!).

Thanks heaps for the reply. (I guess it still pays to refrain from going shopping for now though ).
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Old 02.06.2006, 16:22
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Re: Overdrafts at Swiss banks?

I would check with a CA or front office staff but I never saw charges for going into the red.

Now I get "free" banking so get fewer charges. High net worth customer - because they own my house, I suppose
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Old 02.06.2006, 22:37
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Re: Overdrafts at Swiss banks?

Hi Muze7,

I can't speak for the Netherlands, but the EFTPOS system in Australia is real-time. In other words it knows immediately when you have spent too much, and if no overdraft is authorised the transaction is declined.

One has to bear in mind that the system in Switzerland is not real time. This means that you might have 10 francs in your account, but if your limit on your EC card is set to 2000 francs, you can potentially withdraw 1990 and end up in the red.

This doesn't mean that the bank has automatically given you an overdraft - it means they had no choice!

When I first got here I had a limit for the first three months of 100 francs per month on my EC card - despite the fact my balance was over 10k.

Recently things have changed with the EC and I think the processing is faster so you get your limit back quicker (as it gets reset when debited to your account). I think processing might even be same day, but it is no where near realtime. Welcome to 1985.

Hope this clarifies the overdraft issue between Switzerland and Australia :-)
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Old 02.06.2006, 22:42
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Re: Overdrafts at Swiss banks?

Ok that explains a lot. Even though Australia is real time though, they still will try to honour automated debits but then cannot, and therefore you get charged by the bank as well as the company whose dd was declined.

But to get this straight, I have a UBS Maestro card with a limit of 1000 CHF. I thought this meant I cannot use it to pay more than 1000 a day?

Are you both saying this means you can go to -1000 on the UBS account the card is linked to? This is important as I will have to go into the red this month again.
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Old 02.06.2006, 22:48
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Re: Overdrafts at Swiss banks?

What I am saying is that limit set by the EC card is not linked to your bank account. Or another way of saying it is that the bank cannot know that you are about to overdraw and tell the EC card to decline the transaction. (But in Australia it would because the system is hooked directly to your account in real time).

In theory - if the bank were smart they might adjust your EC limit to your account limit at the start of the day, so if you had 500 in your account, they could readjust your EC limit. But I very much doubt whether they actually do this.

So the short answer is you could theoretically go into overdraft to the tune of almost your EC limit before they noticed.

Honoring of direct debit is another issue - I was a few francs short in my account for my last rent payment and it was *NOT* honoured. I mean I've only banked with them for like 6 years
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Old 02.06.2006, 22:49
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Re: Overdrafts at Swiss banks?

By the way - be thankful that the limit is now daily, in the not-too-distant past it used to be monthly!
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Old 02.07.2006, 04:02
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Re: Overdrafts at Swiss banks?

Quote:
Honoring of direct debit is another issue - I was a few francs short in my account for my last rent payment and it was *NOT* honoured.
I am in this situation now and need to pay bills and have to wait a whole month for salary (don't ask, it is not overspending that is the problem).

Are you saying it is possible to withdraw money to the limit of the Maestro card, and then repeat this process every day?

So you could withdraw the limit say 7 days in a row? Somehow I would think they would start saying he, no more, after a day when the payments/withdrawals have been updated and the main acocunt is even further in the red??
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Old 02.07.2006, 10:03
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Re: Overdrafts at Swiss banks?

Quote:
I am in this situation now and need to pay bills and have to wait a whole month for salary (don't ask, it is not overspending that is the problem).

Are you saying it is possible to withdraw money to the limit of the Maestro card, and then repeat this process every day?

So you could withdraw the limit say 7 days in a row? Somehow I would think they would start saying he, no more, after a day when the payments/withdrawals have been updated and the main acocunt is even further in the red??
They may adjust your limit to your account balance on a daily basis. If not, you might be able to get away with spending more than you have in your account for just one day, rather than seven. The only way to find out would be to try it.
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Old 07.10.2006, 22:32
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Re: Overdrafts at Swiss banks?

The overdrafts are allowed, but the system seems inconsistent. That is, I could get anywhere between 500 to 1'000+ CHF into red before the system would reject further Bankomat withdrawals.

And one more thing, if you go into the red, but still need to make bank transfers, make sure you keep an appropriate sum in your savings. You can go into red on your checking, so that the whole balance (Checking + Savings) is negative. Transfers will not go through from checking (as in Marks' rent example above), but it will go from

Thus on balance, you received a "loan", AND are able to make a transfer (utilities, cable, telefone) if you need to, all the while having a totally negative balance. Personally I dislike the situation, but use it oncein a while, especially after vacations or tax payments :-)
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Old 07.10.2006, 22:33
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Re: Overdrafts at Swiss banks?

Transfers will not go through from checking (as in Marks' rent example above), but it will go from SAVINGS
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Old 09.10.2006, 00:45
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Re: Overdrafts at Swiss banks?

Quote:
I am in this situation now and need to pay bills and have to wait a whole month for salary (don't ask, it is not overspending that is the problem).

Are you saying it is possible to withdraw money to the limit of the Maestro card, and then repeat this process every day?

So you could withdraw the limit say 7 days in a row? Somehow I would think they would start saying he, no more, after a day when the payments/withdrawals have been updated and the main acocunt is even further in the red??
Urgh actually no. The EC card has three limits and not just one. The first is the daily limit in Switzerland. The second is the daily limit abroad. The third is the monthly maximum. So you could well run into the third one at some point. Furthermore do not piss off Swiss banks especially two or three letter ones as they can make your life seriously hard...
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Old 09.10.2006, 16:47
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Re: Overdrafts at Swiss banks?

This thread has been revived recently, but the problem has been solved a while ago. . In the end, I used the daily limit to go over. I do know someone who had encountered the monthly limit Richard has been referring to, and it is very unpleasant, especially since a lot of us expats have no idea about its existence until it suddenly appears when you are trying to pay for your groceries...
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Old 09.10.2006, 16:54
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Re: Overdrafts at Swiss banks?

Quote:
Urgh actually no. The EC card has three limits and not just one. The first is the daily limit in Switzerland. The second is the daily limit abroad. The third is the monthly maximum. So you could well run into the third one at some point. Furthermore do not piss off Swiss banks especially two or three letter ones as they can make your life seriously hard...
do bear in mind that your activities at your home bank ATMs usually do not count towards your limits
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Old 16.10.2006, 14:48
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Re: Overdrafts at Swiss banks?

Quote:
do bear in mind that your activities at your home bank ATMs usually do not count towards your limits
Correct - but just to clarify - If use my CS card at a UBS ATM then I will be drawing the money via the EC function - in which case it WILL count to my EC limit. If I use the CS ATM with my CS card then this won't touch the EC limit at all.

The classic case where you may run into trouble is at somewhere like Media Markt where you'll find a 2000 franc daily limit on EC very difficult if you are buying something for 4000 and they don't take credit cards... Most Swiss seem to work around this by having multiple things like post cards as well as EC cards. I've learnt my lesson the hard way at Media Markt and now go there with pocket fulls of cash whenever I might be buying something large.
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Old 17.10.2006, 16:03
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Re: Overdrafts at Swiss banks?

I have a B permit and my salary is deposited to Credit Suisse every month. When I applied for a bank account, they let me one which does not allow overdraft. Is this the same case for all B permit holders in other banks?=
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Old 17.10.2006, 18:11
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Re: Overdrafts at Swiss banks?

Quote:
do bear in mind that your activities at your home bank ATMs usually do not count towards your limits
Just to clarify this is not your home bank as in the actual bank but the branch itself where the Maestro function is somehow ignored and the money directly deducted out of your account. Please note though this is only going to apply to your monthly limit as your daily limit will still be in place no matter where the money is withdrawn from!
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Old 17.10.2006, 18:57
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Re: Overdrafts at Swiss banks?

Quote:
I have a B permit and my salary is deposited to Credit Suisse every month. When I applied for a bank account, they let me one which does not allow overdraft. Is this the same case for all B permit holders in other banks?=
I had the same when I opened my account last year. I was told the law was changed to stop automatic overdrafts as too many people were running up huge overdrafts by spending too much money on top-ups for their mobile phones.
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Old 18.10.2006, 02:18
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Re: Overdrafts at Swiss banks?

Maybe I should clarify what I was asking in the original thread. With overdraft, I meant a kind of Dutch and Anglo-Saxon type facility where you have an agreement with the bank stating you can go down to a fixed amount, say 1k, or 2k, or 10k etc. You know if you go into the red, you will pay a certain amount of interest. This is what I would define as an overdraft facility.

However, what the Swiss seem to have if I understand Mark, Richard and others correctly, is that you can go occasionally into the red, depending on a complex relationship between your daily limit, monthly limit, and any payment orders you might have given on that day. In other words, you could be overdrawn on a certain day for more than your limit, and there is also no interest charge for this. Secondly, as someone said, if you do this regularly, the bank may not like you very much. This is also in great contrast with a true overdraft, since they won't care in that case as they charge you a high interest and they have agreed to it beforehand in the first place.

Now I hope I have understood and explained these fundamental differences correctly; if there is a 'classical' overdraft facility in CH however, with a fixed total amount and a fixed charge, please correct me. My guess is though that this is fundamentally impossible as Mark said the systems here are not real time, which to me would seem a requirement to implement true overdrafts properly.
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