After the implementation of my new Mustachian system of Swiss banks for 2022, I thought about optimizing a bit the number of Swiss accounts we have open.
Knowing that Zak has officially become our Swiss secondary bank backup in case of glitch with neon, my Minimalismo brain side thought we would close one of our two accounts (mine), so that we keep only Mrs. MP's account.
Documentalisto enters the scene
My Documentalisto side felt a wave of panic: "Wait a second, let's calm down my friend! What about all our banking history if we want to make a real estate investment in Switzerland tomorrow, and our mortgage lender asks us for our bank statements for the last 3 months? Haha, let's not be too much of a smart-ass Mr. Minimalismo who wants to delete everything without thinking things through!"
And Minimalismo retorts: "So for one, we have all of our banking history in our fantastic budget app YNAB, and for two, all of our salaries and big expenses were going into Mrs. MP's Zak bank account. So it's all good, you calm down!"
As the two continued to bicker about the sovereignty of my data stored in the cloud, I thought Documentalisto was making an interesting point.
Archive documents with the Swiss mobile bank Zak
Where can I find all my Zak contract documents and other statements?
I'd never looked at that part of the app too much, but you find it super easy:
Then, what I asked myself was if it was really worth downloading them — me being paperless for over 7 years...
Discussion with the Zak team
I first contacted Zak to ask them three questions in preparation for this article.
MP: Are all my documents stored in the Zak bank mobile app available as long as my account is open? Or is there a maximum length of time they are kept, and then deleted if they are older than that? (I was asking this because this was the case at my old school previous Swiss bank...)
Zak: All documents remain available as long as the account exists. Once the account is cancelled, the documents are no longer available to the ex-customer. That does not mean that the documents are deleted, but as ex-customer you do not have access to them anymore.
MP: Also, when I delete my Zak account, are all these documents zipped up and sent to me by email? Or do I have to download them manually?
Zak: The documents will not be sent to you, so you should download and save the documents you need.
MP: Alright, and is there a way to download all the documents in one zip file or something, instead of downloading them one by one?
Zak: There is no option to zip all files, so the document you'd like to have stored outside the app should be downloaded individually.
MP: Well, OK... but just in case, it would be convenient as a future feature of the Zak app :)
In the end, because my Minimalismo side often wins lately, and especially because my Zak account was not used for our daily expenses, I decided to download only my account opening contracts, tax receipts, and the last three months of bank statements.
If we had decided to close Mrs. MP's Zak account, then I would have taken my time and downloaded each document one by one for safety reasons.
By the way, as far as Mrs. MP's Zak app is concerned, I trust our Swiss banks not to lose our data (knowing that banks in Switzerland are required to store data for a certain time), so I don't download anything as backup. It's a parti pris with which I can sleep on my two ears. Especially since I have YNAB as a backup for my entire financial life!
PS: little moment of doubt!
Documentalisto came back to whisper in my ear: "But MP, do you know how long to keep your documents, especially your bank statements in Switzerland? Unless I'm mistaken, there is a retention period for bank documents that you must respect legally!"
A quick Google search, and here I am reassured by the Ombudsman of Swiss banking. In particular this article explaining how a person who no longer had his account statements could ask his bank to recover them from the archives. The text specifies that the banks themselves must keep all their records for at least ten years. Here I am, safe and sound!
PS2: MP, the Personal Finance Ombudsman in Switzerland (aka the Swiss Mustachian Ombudsman)
On a side note: what do you think about me declaring myself Ombudsman of the Mustachians in Switzerland, and that my first paper (that I will send to all insurances? or the FINMA :D?) is about a ban on pillar 3a linked to a life insurance?! I think that would be a funky task!
And you, which strategy do you use to archive your Swiss banking documents?