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My experience with Kaspar&: Round up to Invest

++This is post is my opinion only. I recommend products on my blog that I use myself. I may receive a commission for links posted, which helps me finance this blog and website.++

The Swiss fintech scene has changed tremendously within the last couple of years. With contenders such as Selma, Inyova, findependent and Neon sprouting up, retail investors have now a slew of options available to them.

Founded in late 2020 by Jan-Philipp Schade, Lukas Pachel, Lauro Böni and Sebastian Büchler, Kaspar& has come onto the Swiss banking scene as an intriguing three-in-one player, combining wealthtech, fintech and neobanking in a user-friendly interface. With an asset management license, regulated and authorized by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA in hand, Kaspar& meets the highest standards of investor protection and regulation. What's more, Kaspar&'s unique "Round Up" program makes it easy and nearly seamless to automatically invest in your digital portfolio. You can open an account with Kaspar& online in 10 minutes and with as little as CHF1.

How does Kaspar& work?

Kaspar& combines payment and investment in one app, making investing possible even with small amounts. Each time you pay with your Kaspar& debit card, you can round up to the nearest franc and invest the difference immediately into your selected investment strategy at Kaspar&. For my American readers, this concept is very similar to Bank of America's "Keep the Change" savings program, except rather than just transferring your change into a savings account that hardly yields any interest, at Kaspar&, your change gets transferred into an investment account.

A Kaspar& account offers you:

  • unique round up feature up to the nearest franc or higher with the difference invested automatically

  • a digital-only Swiss bank account with free account management and deposit protection up to CHF 100,000

  • worldwide free of charge payments at interbank exchange rates

  • multiple investment pots for goal-oriented investing

  • transparent fees: maximum 0.85% annual fee on your investments, which includes custody account management, product costs (TER), stock exchange brokerage fees, stamp duties, foreign currencies and administration costs.

  • user-friendly app and onboarding in German (English to follow!)

Invest with Kaspar&

Investing with Kaspar& is very simple and intuitive:

  1. Select your desired investment strategy and level of rounding up and/or select a fixed monthly savings plan.

  2. Make your purchases as you normally would.

  3. Automatically have your spare change transferred to your Kaspar& investment account.

Kaspar&'s investment solutions are similar to those of any robo-advisor. Once you choose your strategy, Kaspar& monitors and rebalances automatically for you. You can flexibly deposit as much as you want at any time, or set up a fixed monthly savings plan, while having your rounded up amounts transferred as well. The minimum initial deposit is CHF 1 and you can make flexible deposits and withdrawals from your account into the investment account at any time.

Kaspar& allows you to create as many different strategies/portfolios as you like: perhaps you want to create a long-term investment strategy for your retirement or to save for a home purchase deposit. For each portfolio, you also have the possibility to choose a "thematic investment focus". There are 9 themes available, such as biotech, digitalization or health, which are implemented using ETFs from iShares. To keep things simple, you can also choose to forego these investment foci and select a strategy that is suitable to your risk level.

With the round up program, Kaspar& effectively lets you invest with very small amounts. You can choose the level of round up (1x all the way up to 10x), giving you another way to customize your investment strategy. Conversely, you can also choose to use a fix amount or a percent amount as your spare change amount.

Kaspar&'s fee structure

Kaspar& is the first provider in Switzerland to offer a complete all-in fee. Everything is included in the 0.85% per year on the invested assets:

  • Transactions in the event of a change of strategy, deposits or withdrawals, or liquidation

  • Tax statement by partner bank Hypothekarbank Lenzburg

  • Investments between CHF1 to 100,000 enjoy a fee of 0.85% per year. Above this amount, the fees decrease to 0.84% and 0.57% per year. This fee includes stamp taxes, custody account management, product costs (TER), foreign currencies, stock exchange fees and administration costs

  • Replacement card: CHF20

  • Cash Withdrawals: CHF5 per transaction

In addition, the management portion of the all-in fee is capped at CHF 34.95 per month. For larger investment sums from around CHF 100,000, the effective costs are thus even lower. The account and the card are always free of charge.

Kaspar& is able to offer such affordable rates because Kaspar& receives the interchange fee to cover to the costs of the free account and free Kaspar& card. Whenever you make a purchase with your Kaspar& card, the merchant pays a small fee to Kaspar& to process the card (called the interchange fee). Kaspar& main source of income lies in its all-in fee, however.

My Experience with Kaspar& thus far

After downloading the app and being guided by Kaspar&'s visually pleasing and easy interface that asks a series of questions to determine your risk level and overall financial situation, it's hardly any effort to select my round up amount and selecting my desired investment strategy.

I chose to stick with the 1x round up, meaning I am only rounding up to the nearest franc and having that transferred into "normal" set investment account. The onboarding took a bit of time, as I was having troubles getting my ID verified, however, once that worked, it was smooth sailing. Once I made my initial deposit, my card came in the mail a few days later with a personalized note, which I really appreciated. Since I am also striving to be a minimalist, I loved getting a white card with black lettering.

Making purchases at my local Migros has so far been very smoothly and I can see that my rounded up change gets transferred into my chosen Kaspar& investment account via the app. The app itself is nicely designed and intuitive to use, although very minimalistic in its offering. The overview page, support page and personal profile page . The log in is a bit different than what I am used to from different apps: here, you enter your phone number rather than your log in name and a password, but it gets you to the same place.

Because Kaspar& is a digital-only service, meaning there is no bank branch (although it has partnered with Hypothekarbank Lenzburg for its banking backend), I cannot directly deposit cash into. I have to transfer funds from an existing bank account. Nonetheless, transfers into the account are quickly deposited into the account. I plan on using my Kaspar& mainly for traveling and making smaller purchases such as buying lunch.

Kaspar& Pros and Cons and Conclusion

My experience with Kaspar& has been solid thus far. From a fairly easy onboarding, to selecting the amount of round up and into which strategy I prefer for my investment account, to receiving my Kaspar& pre-paid mastercard with a personal note, everything has been smooth. Knowing that every purchase is being partially invested into an investment account, makes this a fun and easy way to invest. I don't spend much money on a daily basis except for necessities, so my investment account won't be growing very fast. Given this, setting up a monthly savings plan is crucial to grow the investment account.

Since I am a proponent of #sassylazyinvesting, I think that Kaspar& provides an excellent way to test out the waters when it comes to investing. The very low initial deposit of just CHF1 (!) provides no excuse not to try out the service. The app is easy to use, onboarding is quick and the choices presented to create (multiple investment) account(s) make it easy to graduate into more strategies. Similar to other robo-advisors out there, your portfolio gets rebalanced and monitored automatically for you.

Kaspar& is focused making the barrier to investing as low as possible: starting out as a debit card that helps you invest with micro-amounts is a brilliant strategy to work on the mindset of investing. The few cons presented below are minor considering that Kaspar& provides such an easy way to get started with investing.

If you want to try out Kaspar& for yourself, simply download the app, deposit and CHF1 and get a an additional CHF10 deposited to your account with my code: LOVEANDFINANCE.

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++This is not financial, legal or investment advice and is not a solicitation to buy or sell products. I assume no liability for the accuracy of the information on my website, blog articles and any emails. Trading securities on the stock market is risky and you could lose your entire initial investment. I assume no liability for your decisions. I recommend products on my blog that I use myself. I may receive a commission for links posted, which helps me finance my blog and website.++

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